Quick Strikes: Erik Cernak makes his NHL debut and the Lightning lose to the Sabres

Carter Hutton stole the show.

The Bolts

Before the game yesterday, the Lightning recalled defender Erik Cernak from Syracuse. He made his NHL debut in Buffalo and played a good game. He didn’t look out of place and appears to be at least as good an option as Slater Koekkoek whom he replaced in the lineup. Look for Cernak to continue to play until Anton Stralman is ready to return to the lineup.

As for the game, the Lightning got goalie’d. Carter Hutton held them to one goal despite the Bolts outshooting the Sabres handily.

So that was frustrating.

The Tampa Bay Lightning out-shot their opponents 30-19, including 22-8 in the final two periods, and still lost 2-1 to Carter Hutton, Jeff Skinner and the league average Buffalo Sabres. Oh, and let’s not forget two key posts at the end there. Anthony Cirelli had the only goal for the Bolts on the night off a great pass from Alex Killorn. Louis Domingue was also incredible in net, he just got beaten by a goalie who posted an absolutely diabolical .967 save percentage.

The Prospects

Justin’s weekly Crunch Corner column dropped yesterday. These should be must read for all Lightning and Crunch fans. There’s no better place to keep up with what’s happening in Syracuse.

When the Crunch are rolling (as they were on Sunday), they are the ones putting that pressure on the other team. Syracuse isn’t doing it consistently right now, and it leads to games like Friday night: disjointed, lots of effort for no result, and defending instead of attacking.

I don’t know if Connor Ingram is going to be a good NHL goalie. But I’m not sure it matters because he seems to have plenty of other career options.

While the Crunch continue to create innovative content, the Rochester American are copying Syracuse’s ideas from two years ago. It’s fine though. Not everyone can be an innovator. Some people are followers.

The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets returned Adam Clendening to his natural habitat: the NHL waiver wire.

Clendening is one of those players where his results on paper differ significantly from how he’s perceived by coaches. He always seems to have good numbers but he can never find consistent playing time. With so many teams needing help on the right side of defense, he might get claimed. But inevitably, we’ll see him back on waivers at least once more this year.

Arvind wrote a quick piece at Pension Plan Puppets looking at who is responsible for taking the bulk of the shots for the Maple Leafs. He identified some interesting trends including how much Morgan Reilly is shooting.

There are a few interesting takeaways here. Lets start with the defensemen. The most obvious thing is that Rielly and Gardiner (Rielly in particular) take more shots than their defense partner. This is natural, given their offensive gifts. Rielly has the shot frequency of a forward right now. Per minute of ice time, he’s shooting more frequently than any Leaf not named Auston. This is well above his shot rate in years past.

To some extent, that is probably a little suboptimal. Rielly gets up in the play a lot for a defenseman, but a lot of his shots are still relatively low value shots from the point.

The Habs have depth issues, which tends to happen when your GM constantly swaps skilled bottom-six forward for grinders. Even so, they look better than most people expected this season. Habs Eyes on the Prize explored options for trying to improve their depth in the short term.

If they’re looking to make a trade, they might want to look no further than a team they dealt with in the off-season: the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets as a whole are a team in very good shape for the near future, with a great mix of veterans and young players alike. Their issues arise from some head-scratching decisions made by head coach Paul Maurice, who seems to favour players like Brendan Lemieux and Ben Chiarot over Jack Roslovic, Nic Petan, or Sami Niku.

As per the terms of service, every NHL blog is required to write at least one article about trading for William Nylander. Mile High Hockey did their duty yesterday.

Does Tyson Jost plus another piece make sense?

Tyson Jost plus Cale Makar makes a lot of sense in that you’re the Avalanche are improving their lineup while giving up some future depth.

Before you scoff at that return, remember that no one values a team’s prospects higher than their own fans. Cale Makar is a tremendous talent, but if you can give up an unknown for a known elite talent, an NHL GM will make the trade every time.

When will we be fulfilling our obligation here at Raw Charge? Never. We vow not to inject ourselves into the conversation without well-sourced reporting as justification. We definitely don’t have an article coming out later this morning about Nylander. Absolutely not. No way.

But we do though and you should read it when it comes out.