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Lightning Round: Alex Barré-Boulet makes his season debut for Tampa Bay

It was a muted debut, but Barré-Boulet looked a little more comfortable than he has in the past.

NHL: NOV 30 Lightning at Blues

It’s been almost a year since Alex Barré-Boulet played in the NHL. On December 4th, 2021 he played 9:32 in a 3-2 overtime win against the Boston Bruins. He finished a -2 and didn’t record a point (the fifth straight game without a point) before he was assigned back to the Syracuse Crunch. After a bit of a readjustment period he finished the season strong in the AHL and was off to a hot start this season. In 74 games over the last two seasons with the Crunch he’s put up 87 points (10 goals, 67 assists) and was leading the league in scoring when he was called up to the Bolts.

For some reason he hasn’t been able to translate that scoring success at the NHL level and has struggled to play a defensive role on the bottom-six role as well. Due to the absence of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Barré-Boulet, and based on his play to start the season in Syracuse, earned the call-up as the Lightning found themselves short a forward.

It’s hard to gauge his play based on one game, especially one in which he played 10:01 (9:55 at 5v5 and :06 of 4v5). It’s also a bit harder to judge since the lines were a little scrambled due to the early injury to Rudolfs Balcers. According to Natural Stat Trick he spent most of the game (4:48) on a line with Vlad Namestnikov and Corey Perry. As a trio they finished even on shot attempts (4-4), shots (2-2), and a slight edge in scoring chances (2-1).

Individually he had two shot attempts and one scoring chance (which was considered a high-danger one). Barré-Boulet was credited with one takeaway and zero giveaways while he lost the one face-off he took. Due to some of the special teams play, there were long periods of time where he was on the bench (along with Perry and Namestnikov).

With the numbers being what they are we have to rely a little more the eye test and, honestly, the 25-year-old looked fairly comfortable out there. He was bumped off the puck a few times, but also didn’t shy away from contact in the corners. The coaching staff did run him out there for the end of the game as he played around two minutes following the Nick Paul empty-net goal.

Was it enough for him to get another look? Possibly. With the Lightning heading up north on a back-to-back, there is a chance he sticks around, especially with Cole Koepke still nursing an injury and depending on the severity of the issue that Balcers is dealing with. Even with the current injury situation, roster spots will tighten up once Anthony Cirelli returns, Barré-Boulet is throwing his name into the hat as one of the players that may stick around.

Lightning / NHL News

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