Quick Strikes: Connor Ingram is sent to ECHL Orlando

An “internal matter” apparently prompted the move.

-Nothing like some organizational goalie news a month or so before playoffs to shake up a person’s dull Wednesday, eh?

Around 1:30 or so yesterday, a few astute fans noticed that Tampa Bay Lightning prospect and Syracuse Crunch goalie Connor Ingram had posted an Instagram story that placed his location at Walt Disney World. This was strange for several reasons, not the least of which was the fact that the Crunch should have been in Utica, New York, not Orlando, Florida. Quiet alarms began going up, but no one wanted to risk speculating much until official word was released.

A few hours later, it was revealed that the Lightning had decided to send Ingram to the Solar Bears of the ECHL, switching him with Martin Ouellette. Ouellette will back up Eddie Pasquale in Syracuse for the time being. According to an article on Syracuse.com, Ingram’s demotion is an “internal matter.” There is no current timetable for Ingram’s return to Syracuse, but Ingram seems to be remaining optimistic:

“As an athlete, you go through ups and downs all the time,’’ Ingram said. “You’ve just got to enjoy it. The sun will come up tomorrow. Obviously, you want to play in the best league you can. But I want to play, too. This is a step for me. All I can do is play the games (with Orlando) and be where I am. I don’t pick what league to play.’’

When the news first broke, Alan and Achariya teamed up to cover the transactions here on Raw Charge. The two avoided any heavy speculation or conspiracy theories, and presented the their guesses and the known facts simply and clearly:

Without delving too deeply into pure speculation, perhaps the organization has specific things they want him to work on and feel he has a better opportunity to address those at a lower level. Perhaps they also want him in Orlando where he’ll be closer to Tampa and the Lightning’s goaltending staff.

On the surface, this is a confusing move. But the Lightning organization has been consistently effective in player development so they likely have a reason for this decision. Whether we get that explanation publicly is another question.

But for now, the Solar Bears are getting a huge addition in net. And for the Crunch, they get Ouellette, who has been one of the best goalies in the ECHL for the past several years and is a more than capable backup for Eddie Pasquale during the stretch run.

Yesterday, Patrick Williams discussed Ingram in an article about young and talented goalies in the AHL that was published before Ingram’s demotion.

The 21-year-old was sidelined with an injury for five weeks, but he is justifying the decision Tampa Bay made in selecting him in the third round (No. 88) in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Ingram earned playoff work in his rookie season with Syracuse and has emerged as one of the AHL’s top goalies for a strong Calder Cup contender. In 22 games, he is 14-7-0 with a league-leading six shutouts. His .922 save percentage leads the AHL, and his 2.26 GAA ranks second.

Overall, this move seems to have created less waves than the original rumor that fans were fighting against late last week, that the organization was looking to trade Pasquale. Although Ingram is a talented AHL All-Star with a ton of potential, he’s also young and in the early part of his career. He hasn’t really played much since his injury this past December, and Pasquale and Ouellette have handed the Crunch’s crease just fine. What will happen next is certainly a bit of a mystery, but Raw Charge and its writers will keep everyone as updated as possible.

-Here, we need dis after all that:

-Anyway, moving on...Look! Compliments towards Nikita Kucherov! Shocking. So. Shocking.

-The Lightning is hosting a food drive tonight!

-It’s March, which means scoreboard watching is becoming a thing. How are the Lightning’s potential playoff opponents doing?

If a fourth team is going to make the playoffs from the Atlantic, the Montreal Canadiens are by far the most likely. And if they make it, they would probably be the first round opponent for Tampa. But the Metropolitan Division could still secure both wild cards. The Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Columbus Blue Jackets are all competing for third place in the Metro. The two teams that don’t earn that spot will be in contention with Montreal for the two wild card spots.

-When news broke earlier this season that Steven Yzerman was stepping back a bit and that Julien BriseBois was taking over as general manager, there were a lot of questions about how it was all going to work out. Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com published a piece yesterday about the current arrangement.

BriseBois: “I talk to him pretty much every day. He was obviously very involved in the month leading up to the [2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25]. He was involved in all of our midyear meetings. And I know he’s been a resource as well for our coaches and our players. I know he’s reached out to some of them; some of them have reached out to him. Obviously, he’s been a great sounding board for me, but he’s been a great sounding board for our entire organization.”

-As I write this in New York, it is 13 degrees outside, with a below zero windchill, and y’all down in Florida are all, “oohh, get the next piece in our grill set!”


-Sled hockey legend Khrista Matthews recently helped her Tampa Bay Lightning program capture the Tier V championship at the 2018-19 USA Hockey Sled Classic. She talked to USA Hockey about what’s kept her going.

Matthews, who lost the use of her legs at age 13 in a car accident, credits being an athlete in training as helping to save the life of her and her sister, Melissa, on that tragic day in 1991 when a wrong-way driver smashed into the vehicle that was carrying them on a New Hampshire highway. She still rides her handcycle daily and also swims, while volunteering at local hospitals as a way to give back for all of the medical treatment she has received.

“I feel like I have to continue to be an athlete and not just any athlete, an all-around, good athlete and be an asset to every team or whatever activity I’m doing because I was saved by being an all-around athlete,” Matthews said.

-After a relatively strong week where the Crunch earned six out of eight potential points, the team climbed back up to #3 in Elite Prospects’ Power Rankings.

-Crunch captain Gabriel Dumont is on the cusp of a team record:

-Something special happened with Syracuse's victory last night:

-The Crunch has another celebrity bartending appearance lined up for tonight. This time, Mitchell Stephens and Nolan Valleau will be raising money for Upstate Galliason Children’s Hospital.

-Crunch fans. Man. Y’all. Y’all let me down. Y’all let me down hard.



...Uh...Very warm congratulations to Karl Goehring and Matt Taormina, and coach Ben Groulx. Well deserved.

(...At least we haven’t lost all sense....)

-Otto Somppi’s performance in the ECHL from last week continues to get attention.

-The Solar Bears also made a roster move yesterday:

-ESPN+ ranked the top 50 NHL prospects. It’s pay walled, so I have no idea where they placed everybody, but...I’m sure the article is good!

-Kevin Power of Blue Shirt Banter wrote a persuasive article on Mika Zibanejad and how he’s the center the New York Rangers are rebuilding around.

He’s answered every question and challenge the Rangers have thrown at him thus far, and with the team in the midst of a rebuild, the 25 year old has cemented himself as the focal point of the next great Rangers team.

-Marcus Johansson of the Boston Bruins has a lung contusion. I do not know what that is, and I will not be googling it, but it sounds awful.

Marcus Johansson was brought to the Massachusetts General Hospital during the game against Carolina on March 5 for evaluation. Testing revealed a lung contusion. He was monitored overnight and was discharged today after further evaluation by specialists.

He will be re-evaluated in approximately one week.

-Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals told a unique story to The Players’ Tribune about...Mario Kart?

I have never owned a video game system in my life, so I barely knew what they were talking about. But then, you know … you’re coming back from dinner or something, and you hear the guys yelling from behind the door of some hotel room….

“WEEEEE-HEEEEEE! Boom! You’re done! You’re done!

-Sarah Nurse is going to be the next Canadian star future hockey players will be looking up to. (The Athletic - pay walled)