Richard, Tanner

Bolts Re-sign Pair of Swiss Prospects

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have resigned forwards Joel Vermin and Tanner Richard to a one-year, two-way contracts, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Vermin, 24, skated in six games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 regular season, recording one assist and a plus-1 rating. He made his NHL debut on November 19 and recorded his first point on November 21 at the Anaheim Ducks. Vermin recorded a season-high for ice time on November 21 against the Ducks with 12:22.

The 5-foot-11, 192-pound forward also appeared in 37 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League this past season, posting nine goals and 21 points to go along with six penalty minutes. Vermin ranked 10th on the Crunch for points despite only skating in 37 games. He has played in 118 career AHL games over three seasons, all with Syracuse, recording 22 goals and 55 points.

A native of Frauenkappelen, Switzerland, Vermin was selected by the Lightning in the seventh round, 186th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Richard, 23, played in 71 games for the Crunch during the 2015-16 season, recording 11 goals and 54 points to go along with 57 penalty minutes. He ranked first on the Crunch for points and assists (43). Richard’s 71 games played also ranked second on Syracuse. The Jona, Switzerland native has appeared in 214 career AHL games, all with the Crunch over four seasons, notching 26 goals and 112 points.

The 6-foot, 195-pound forward appeared in 95 games with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League over two seasons, posting 24 goals and 110 points. During the 2012-13 season while with the Storm, he led the team for assists with 51 and ranked second for points with 62.

Richard was selected by the Lightning in the third round, 71st overall, at the 2012 NHL Draft.

AHL Game Day: 3-20-16 IceCaps at Crunch

IceCaps crushed under an avalanche of multi-point nights by Syracuse.

STJ-2
SYR-6

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 24 shots for the victory. Bath in the waters of sweet, sweet goal support, Kristers. Savor it.

First Period
STJ Hudon, (21) (Holloway, MacMillan), 1:23
SYR Gourde, (11) (Blujus, Richard), 7:10
SYR Tambellini, (24) (DeAngelo, Gourde), 14:25 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Richard, (10) (DeAngelo, Tambellini), 9:16 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (12) (Koekkoek), 10:46
SYR Drouin, (6) (DeAngelo, Richard), 12:31
STJ Hudon, (22) (Ellis, Holloway), 14:49 (PP)
SYR Drouin, (7) (McGinn, Vermin), 19:45 (PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Yanni Gourde, Tanner Richard, and Jonathan Drouin were the game's three stars. Jeff Tambellini and Anthony DeAngelo also had multi-point nights, with DeAngelo breaking the 40 point plateau for the season with his 3 assists.

Syracuse continues to hover just on the outer edge of the playoff picture with just 11 games left in their regular season. Their 6-2-1-1 record in the last 10 games and back-to-back wins have given them a chance, but they'll need to keep up the pace to make it to the dance.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 3-13-16 Crunch at Falcons

Furious comeback bid falls short.

SYR-2
SPR-4

Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the loss. All three goals were on deflections, including one off a Crunch stick.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SPR Dauphin, (9) (Mermis, Reese), 9:22 (PP)
SPR Mermis, (2) (Gaudet, Selleck), 17:38
SYR Tambellini, (20) (Gourde), 18:51 (SH)
SPR Bunting, (9) (Reese, Mermis), 19:44 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Tambellini, (21) (DeAngelo, Darcy), 13:27 (PP)
SPR Szwarz, (6) (Dauphin, Selleck), 19:59 (EN)

Jeff Tambellini was the game's second star.

Jonathan Drouin was held scoreless for the Crunch, although he was extremely active in the contest, registering 5 shots on goal and creating multiple chances.

Center Tanner Richard was held out of the lineup, possibly for a potential recall to Tampa Bay in light of injuries suffered in the Lightning game earlier in the afternoon.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 3-13-16 Lightning at Blue Jackets

Lightning stare down adversity... and smack it in the mouth.

TB-4
CBJ-0

Ben Bishop stopped all 37 shots he faced for the shutout victory. Columbus' fans decided to make Bishop a target after he was interfered with on a goal that was waved off early in the game, and the Blue Jackets ran Ben several times, including a pretty wicked leg sweep by Foligno. All the sweeter for Bishop, who handed down some U of Maine Justice by blanking his would-be tormenters.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
5:29 TB Stamkos(30), (Kucherov)

Third Period
8:45 TB Namestnikov(12), (Johnson)
10:54 TB Stamkos(31), (Palat)(SH)
14:39 TB Palat(12), (Stamkos)(SH)

Steven Stamkos, Bishop, and Ondrej Palat were the game's three stars.

The Lightning entered this game pretty well needing a win, having dropped their last 3 with 2 of those being distinctive clunkers against Philly. That's why Bishop was in net today, when if all things were even I think this is a start Cooper might've slid Vasilevskiy's way. Columbus has learned to play a little tighter defensively under Tortorella and they're an extremely physical (goonish) team. They push the envelope of the rules. And, further complicating things, the Lightning ended up playing over half the game with 9 forwards after Valtteri Filppula and Nikita Kucherov had to leave the game with injury (the latter taking a sucker punch in a post whistle scrum from Prout that should be suspension-worthy, in my opinion, if the league gives a damn about protecting its stars).

Tired and sore, the Lightning answered the bell. They manufactured the goals they needed to get the 2-0 lead, they played tight enough defense, and they eventually broke it open on a couple of masterful shorthanded goals by Stamkos and Palat. Today wasn't a game that the Lightning would've circled on the calendar heading into it, but the way they handled adversity in a chippy game makes this a far more important victory than it may have looked on paper.

A little comment on Columbus before I move on: that team is an embarrassment. Let me reiterate: that team is an embarrassment. God bless Tortorella for getting them to play hard, but the fine line between playing hard and playing dirty got obliterated this afternoon. You had Foligno low-bridging a goaltender and body-slamming Namestnikov. You had Prout sucker-punching a Russian goal scorer in a post-whistle scrum that may have concussed Kucherov. You had Bourque slashing Tyler Johnson across the hands with the game well out of hand. You had Calvert slashing another Lightning player right at the final buzzer. That says nothing about all the other stick infractions, clutching and grabbing, and sucker punches and slashes the Blue Jackets got away with as the game wore on. They started to look like a glorified Central Hockey League team as things wore on, and the NHL out to seriously be ashamed there's a product like that anywhere on the league's ice. I wish John Tortorella all the best in taking a book of matches and a gallon or two of lighter fluid to that roster in the offseason in the pursuit of building a team that isn't an appalling laughing stock for anyone who cares about seeing the game played the right way.

With Valtteri Filppula hurt, I wouldn't be shocked to see a Tanner Richard recall, as he was held out of Syracuse's lineup today.

With 1 game left to play in Segment Seven of the season, the Lightning have cleared the minimum 12 points they needed from the 10-game set by 1 point. That means the next contest against Toronto on Tuesday will be an opportunity to pick up 2 more insurance points and drive the magic number they need in Segment Eight of the season to comfortably make the playoffs down even further from 11, which is where it currently stands.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-11-16 Sound Tigers at Crunch

The return of Drouinsanity overshadowed by the wizardry of Witkowski.

BRI-2
SYR-5

Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for the victory. Zettler continues to ride the hot hand after Wilcox has gone 4-0-1 in his last 5 starts. He's got a sporty .934 save percentage thus far in his four starts in March.

First Period
SYR Witkowski, (2) , 13:15
SYR Tambellini, (19) (Vermin, Dotchin), 13:49
BRI Kearns, (22) (Halmo, Lafranchise), 19:42

Second Period
SYR Witkowski, (3) (Drouin, Peca), 11:14

Third Period
SYR Gourde, (9) (Richard, Taormina), 14:23
BRI Fritz, (2) (Quine, Finn), 18:17
SYR Gourde, (10) (Richard), 19:42 (EN)

Luke Witkowski, Jeff Tambellini, and Tanner Richard were the game's three stars.

Oh, and Jonathan Drouin had a helper in his return to active duty.

Syracuse is starting to put a little stretch run together, having earned points in those 5 straight games. They draw Rochester Saturday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-6-16 Crunch at Falcons

Syracuse pulls away at the end.

SYR-6
SPR-3

Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 35 shots for the victory. He's gotten points out of his last 4 starts and has evened his record at .500 for the campaign.

First Period
SPR Shinnimin, (4) (Grant, P. Samuelsson), 3:31 (PP)
SYR Vermin, (4) (Peca, McGinn), 10:43
SPR Bunting, (8) (Reese, Dauphin), 15:47

Second Period
SYR Blunden, (20) (Richard, DeAngelo), 10:46 (PP)

Third Period
SYR DeAngelo, (6) (McGinn, Peca), 4:29
SPR Cunningham, (18) (Szwarz, Shinnimin), 5:47
SYR Richard, (9) (Blunden, DeAngelo), 10:06 (PP)
SYR Blunden, (21) (Gourde, Richard), 16:57
SYR McGinn, (19) (Blujus, Witkowski), 18:49 (EN/PP)

Mike Blunden and Tanner Richard were the game's first and second stars. Both had 3 point games, as did Tye McGinn and Anthony DeAngelo. DeAngelo is now riding a 7 game points streak and has points in 10 of his last 11.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-4-16 Crunch at Pirates

Crunch score 3 unanswered to make Portland walk the plank.

SYR-3
POR-1

Adam Wilcox allowed 1 goal on 30 shots for the victory.

First Period
POR Brickley, (5) (Weegar, Gaunce), 4:57 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (8) (Walcott, Richard), 15:28

Second Period
SYR Richard, (8) (DeAngelo, McGinn), 17:55

Third Period
SYR Angelidis, (7) , 19:55 (EN)

Tanner Richard and Wilcox were the game's first and second stars.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2-28-16 Crunch at Senators

Crunch steal a wild, improbable win.

SYR-5
BNG-4 (SO)

Adam Wilcox allowed 4 goals on 32 shots before stopping 4 of 5 in the penalty shot session for the 5-4 SO win.

First Period
BNG Puempel, (14) (Varone, Kostka), 1:19 (PP)
BNG Leduc, (8) , 3:46

Second Period
BNG Puempel, (15) (Akeson), 8:53

Third Period
SYR Blunden, (17) (Richard, DeAngelo), 5:42 (PP)
SYR Blunden, (18) (DeAngelo, Richard), 9:32 (PP)
SYR Vermin, (4) (Blujus, Dotchin), 15:26
BNG Kostka, (5) (Varone, Akeson), 19:11
SYR McGinn, (17) (Richard, Tambellini), 19:51

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- Blunden, Peca
BNG- Akeson

Mike Blunden and Tanner Richard were the game's first and third stars.

A 3 goals deficit in pro hockey SHOULD be a death sentence. Syracuse improbably erased a 3 goal deficit after 40 minutes only to see ex-Lightning property Mike Kostka put Bingo ahead with under a minute to go. Not to be deterred, Tye McGinn tied the game with under 10 seconds to go before Matthew Peca eventually put it away in the Shootout. When you cough up a 3 goal lead like that, it's emotionally devastating. When you come back and win a game by erasing one, it can be emotionally galvanizing. We'll see if the Crunch get a bounce off of this win.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-29-16 Bears at Crunch

Bears pull away to halt Crunch point streak.

HER-5
SYR-3

Adam Wilcox allowed 4 goals on 25 shots for the loss.

First Period
SYR Richard, (6) (Blunden, Gourde), 1:01
SYR Erne, (8) (Blunden, Richard), 5:55 (PP)
HER Boyd, (10) (Carey, Gomez), 6:26 (PP)

Second Period
HER O'Brien, (3) , 1:01
HER Mitchell, (8) (Carrick), 5:08
SYR Gourde, (7) (Martindale, Witkowski), 8:48 (SH)
HER Gazley, (10) (Djoos, Camper), 11:10

Third Period
HER Collins, (10) , 18:55 (EN/SH)

Yanni Gourde and Tanner Richard were the game's second and third stars. Richard's multi-point night puts him at 5 goals and 13 points in 13 games for the month of January. Richard had just 1 goal and 15 points this season prior to the new year.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-20-16 Crunch at Marlies

Allan Walsh publicity stunt postponed for a short time for a hockey game.

SYR-4
TOR-5 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 5 goals on 44 shots for the OT loss.

First Period
SYR Blunden, (9) (Erne, Taormina), 12:25 (PP)
TOR Loov, (1) (Brennan, Arcobello), 18:29

Second Period
SYR Darcy, (3) (Paradis, Witkowski), 19:13

Third Period
TOR Arcobello, (13) (Leipsic, Kapanen), 5:22
SYR Richard, (5) (Gourde, Blunden), 5:59
SYR DeAngelo, (4) (Gourde, Richard), 6:39
TOR Hyman, (8) (Baier, Soshnikov), 10:47
TOR Arcobello, (14) (Morin), 18:33

Overtime
TOR Leipsic, (12) (R. Rupert), 1:22

Tanner Richard was the game's third star.

Prior to the game the Tampa Bay Lightning suspended Jonathan Drouin for failure to join the Crunch for tonight's game. Drouin's agent issued a statement claiming that the Lightning had told his client that a trade was imminent and that the agent and the player had made the decision to forego further games in the AHL to avoid the risk of injury prior to any trade. The tell in this situation is that the Crunch are playing Toronto tonight, which makes the decision by Drouin and his agent look like a very transparent attempt to create a media feeding frenzy in one of the two biggest media markets in Canada in order to force Steve Yzerman's hand.

If a trade were close at hand, though, Drouin and Walsh have almost certainly jeopardized it with this stunt. The move is clearly an orchestrated effort to hurt the organization while Drouin also, point blank, gave up on his teammates in both Tampa Bay and Syracuse in the process. Any GM worth their salt will now view Drouin and his baggage (Walsh) with an even more jaundiced eye, harming his value and putting Yzerman in a difficult position. Drouin's trade value may be depressed in the short term by this stunt, perhaps making the prudent course for the Lightning to stand pat and force Drouin to report back to Syracuse, which would also send the correct message in terms of organizational discipline. But, do the Lightning really want a player who has put self interest above the good of his team and organization in such a public display in the locker room in Syracuse, even if Drouin could be forced to show up?

Rock, meet hard place.

Fortunately, there is some short term pressure relief in Tampa Bay due to the team's current rise in the standings. Given the team looks resurgent without Drouin, there is less urgency to leverage the player as an asset to help the club up top. So perhaps an extended hiatus for Drouin might not be the worst thing in the world at this moment. In the end, Drouin and Walsh's tantrums aside, the Lightning still hold all the cards in this situation, and they can certainly wait this situation out as long as they please.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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