Tampa Bay Lightning claim Alex Barre-Boulet off waivers

He’s back!

The Tampa Bay Lightning have claimed forward Alex Barre-Boulet off waivers from the Seattle Kraken. He boomerangs back to them after the Lightning waived Barre-Boulet prior to the submission of their opening night roster and was claimed by the league’s newest franchise. Seattle was third in the waiver priority order, and so had a good chance of getting him when they placed the claim. Now, he’s back with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization after his short stint in Seattle.

In two games with Seattle, Barre-Boulet recorded one assist after posting three goals in 15 games last season for the Lightning. Barre-Boulet played 9:05 in his first game with Seattle and 8:12 in his second game. In that second game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he only played nine seconds in the third period and did not play the rest of the period. As reported by Marisa Ingemi of the Seattle Times, Coach Hakstol after the game said that was a coaches decision. He then did not play in the following game for Seattle.

Barre-Boulet comes back to the Lightning organization at a time when they are trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of Nikita Kucherov who is out of the line-up for some time to a lower body injury. A lot of fans have speculated that Barre-Boulet could fit into his spot on the first line as he did for a time last season.

I believe though that Barre-Boulet will need to earn that opportunity. If he’s even in Tampa. Word hasn’t come out yet one way or the other, but if no other team behind the Lightning (and there were 7 teams behind them in the waiver priority order) made a claim on Barre-Boulet, then he is treated as having cleared waivers and the Lightning can immediately assign him to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL without going through waivers again.

The Lightning of course can assign him to the NHL roster. The team currently only has 12 healthy forwards on the roster, and after Kucherov was placed on LTIR, they have room to add a 13th forward to the roster and were probably due to do so before this Saturday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. As one of the last players cut from training camp Barre-Boulet would make sense.

The thing that makes me pause from thinking that Barre-Boulet would instantly get a shot on the first line is that he didn’t even earn a spot on the roster for opening day. He didn’t beat out Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk. Even with his potential being higher than both players, he didn’t win a spot. Neither Raddysh or Katchouk have exactly dazzled so far, but Barre-Boulet had gotten much more of an NHL chance than either of those prospects had and he still failed to beat them in the training camp competition.

I believe that Barre-Boulet, if he’s on the NHL roster, will need to earn the opportunity. He’s going to need to practice hard and practice well to get the coaching staff’s attention. Maybe being waived and then waived again will be a wake up call for him. Maybe it will be the motivation that he needs to kick it up a notch and take a big step towards reaching his potential. At least, I hope he’ll take it that way.

For now, it seems the Lightning are set on going with Steven Stamkos on the top line next to Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point. Coach Jon Cooper experimented with Corey Perry on the first line in Tuesday night’s game, but that experiment ended pretty quickly and he was reunited with Ross Colton and Pat Maroon. At the moment, Mathieu Joseph looks to be the one that’s getting the opportunity in the top six playing with Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli on the second line.

The Lightning do need to look for a spark though. Something to kick start them and get them into gear. So far to start the season, they’ve muddled their way to a 2-2-0 record and have yet to lead during a game so far as they’ve taken both of their wins on overtime goals. Saturday’s test against the Colorado Avalanche is going to be a tough one as they take on another Stanley Cup contender here early in the season.