While perusing Cap Friendly the other day I took a look at some of the players not currently on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster right now and realized that the Syracuse Crunch are likely to have a pretty intriguing, and young, defensive corps next season. Young, as in the oldest person that should suit up regularly is Trevor Carrick who is all of 28-years-old.
With some quick back-of-the-napkin speculating the pairs to start the season are likely going to be:
Sean Day (24) - Darren Raddysh (26)
Trevor Carrick (28) - Nick Perbix (24)
Ryan Jones (26) - Jack Thompson (20)
Also fighting for ice time will be a trio of youngsters in Declan Carlile (22), Tyson Feist (21), and Dmiti Semykin (22). Not too many grizzled veterans in that grouping, eh? The relative youth for the Lightning’s AHL affiliate is a good sign. They need to be able to develop in-house talent to take over spots on the Tampa Bay roster when the Zach Bogosian’s of the world move on to retirement. Perbix is likely at the top of that list and will be competing for a spot on the NHL roster in training camp, but based on past history, there is a good chance he at least starts the season in Syracuse.
Of course, with youth comes learning pains, so the first few weeks (or months) might be a little rough for Max Lagace in net as his blueliners figure things out on the fly. That tends to be a trait for Ben Groulx’s teams anyway, but this year could see a few more growing pains than usual. The beauty of the AHL is that there really isn’t a roster limit so the team can carry nine defensemen and rotate them in as needed while getting some of the rookies like Thompson and Feist acclimated to the professional leagues.
I’m sure that’s the plan at least. A plan that will last until either another Lightning defender finds themselves banged up and needing a replacement (Perbix, Day, and Raddysh would likely be the first call-ups) or injuries take a toll on the Crunch. Last season 17 different players suited up for at least one game on Syracuse blueline. Hopefully, they don’t need quite that many this upcoming season.
There is a good chance that the future cornerstones for the Lightning blueline are getting their start in Syracuse this season. That’s a pretty good reason to keep an eye on them.
Lightning / NHL News
Raw Charge Top 25 Under 25: #23 Daniil Pylenkov [Raw Charge]
Pylenkov is an intriguing defensive prospect who will get some playing time on a very good KHL team this season. If the 21-year-old excels, it could fast-track his career with the Lightning.
Hot Seat Radar: The Tampa Bay Lightning [The Hockey News]
Victor Hedman? Really? That’s who you’re putting on the hot seat Adam Proteau? If the removal of Ryan McDonagh puts anyone under pressure, it’s going to be Mikhail Sergachev. Sergy is going to see the biggest change in roles among the bluliners. Hedman is going to Hedman. Also, how dare you call Erik Cernak “unspectacular”? Does this man look anything less than spectacular?
Fashion Friday pic.twitter.com/kXU9c0TZUI— Erik Černák Photos of the Day (@CernakOTD) August 19, 2022
Lightning need to give Vasilevskiy more rest [The Hockey Writers]
It’s always an awkward balance between putting your best team on the ice and making sure the players that make up your best team have adequate rest for the games that really count, i.e. the playoffs. Can Coach Cooper find that balance for his all-world goaltender next year? We all know that if Vasy had his druthers (druthers: preference, first appeared in the English language as “drathers”, likely as a contraction for “I’d rather” or “would rather”) he’d play every minute of every game in the regular season and playoffs.
More wholesome Hedman content via Gabby Shirley’s Twitter account:
when the Hedman boys were home, they were usually in the basement playing floorball, which is basically hockey with a ball not a puck … now, the basement looks more like a museum but the grandchildren still have the space to play or, in Rio’s case, vacuum whenever they are there pic.twitter.com/WFFnvwjNlu— Gabby Shirley (@Gabby_Shirley_) August 31, 2022
During our mailbag segment earlier this month, a reader asked if there were any details about a Lightning Fan Fest. Well, it looks like there will be another Kickoff Weekend on October 1st (my dad’s birthday!) as they celebrate their 30th season of existence. More details to follow.
Who's ready to kick off our 30th season? pic.twitter.com/eceHLHcAxa— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) August 31, 2022
Steven Stamkos is 19 goals away from recording his 500th career NHL goal. I say we start a petition to convince him to return to this look until he hits that magic number.
when Steven Stamkos bleached his hair in juniors pic.twitter.com/VPuHEY9rM5— Jen (@NHLhistorygirl) September 1, 2022
Wild trade Dmitry Kulikov to the Ducks [Hockey Wilderness]
The Minnesota Wild cleared up some cap space ($2.25 million) as they shipped the soon to be 32-year-old defenseman to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for future considerations. Anaheim will be the fifth team he’s suited up for since the 2019-20 season.
There are quite a few elder statesmen on this list (Joe Thornton, PK Subban) but one name that sticks out is 29-year-old Evan Rodrigues. The center put up 19 goals and 24 assists as the third center behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (or as their fill-in when either of the Pittsburgh Penguins legends were hurt). Odd that he hasn’t been picked up yet.
The Sabres are bringing back the black and red buffalo head, an iconic look from 1996-2006 that coincided with some of their best years. I know a lot of people associate that uniform with Dominik Hasek, but for me it brings back memories of Maxim Afinogenov flying down the ice and scoring against the Lightning.