Thomas, Ben

Bolts Re-Sign Defensive Prospect Ben Thomas

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Ben Thomas to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.

Thomas, 23, played in 67 games with the Crunch last season, recording two goals and 16 points to go along with 24 penalty minutes. The Calgary, Alberta native set a career high with a plus-18 rating and netted his first career shorthanded goal during the 2018-19 season.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound defenseman has skated in 218 career AHL games, all with Syracuse over the past four seasons, registering 10 goals and 63 points to go along with 112 penalty minutes. Thomas has also appeared in 29 career Calder Cup playoff games, posting five goals and 13 points. He was originally drafted by the Lightning in the fourth round, 119th overall, at the 2014 NHL Draft.

AHL Game Night: 2-9-19 Crunch at Wolf Pack

Crunch dominate to keep pace in the division.

SYR-6
HFD-0

Eddie Pasquale stopped all 21 shots he faced for the shutout victory.

First Period
11:01 SYR Stephens (3), (Barre-Boulet, Labrie)

Second Period
2:02 SYR Colton (8), (Thomas)
5:20 SYR Thomas (1), (unassisted)
10:13 SYR Raddysh (14), (Conacher, Gaunce)

Third Period
17:09 SYR Stephens (4), (unassisted)(EN)(SH)
18:20 SYR Masin (2), (Colton, Volkov)(EN)(SH)

Ben Thomas, Pasquale, and Ross Colton were the game's three stars. After a two month hiatus due to injuries, Mitchell Stephens also returned to the fold with a splashy two goal effort.

Syracuse still lurks two points back of Rochester for the division lead with two games in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11-2-18 Senators at Crunch

Crunch hold tight in Third Period of wild, high-scoring affair.

BEL-4
SYR-5

Connor Ingram allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the victory.

First Period
7:42 SYR Yan (2), (Katchouk, Raddysh)(PP)
8:57 BEL Sturtz (1), (LaBate, Leier)
15:56 SYR Verhaeghe (2), (Barre-Boulet, Thomas)
19:16 BEL Tambellini (4), (Murray, Percy)(PP)

Second Period
0:48 SYR Volkov (1), (Katchouk)(PP)
4:38 SYR Andreoff (4), (Foote, Verhaeghe)(PP)
11:13 SYR Volkov (2), (Thomas, Raddysh)
16:38 BEL Tambellini (5), (Carey, Murray)(PP)
16:52 BEL Batherson (5), (Balcers, Sieloff)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Alexander Volkov, Ben Thomas, and Boris Katchouk were the game's three stars. Volkov, who was among the last cuts from the Lightning's camp, had been notably absent from the goalscoring ledger throughout the early parts of this AHL campaign. Good to see him open his 2018-2019 account tonight and good to see fellow prized prospect Boris Katchouk go get a couple of helpers to boot.

Hopefully this starts the climb back up the mountain for the Crunch. They've got at least two games in hand on the rest of the North Division, so if they can string some W's together, they can quickly climb to the middle of the divisional pack with teams like the Sens.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Opinion: Lightning at the Halfway Mark

Forty games into a historic 2017-2018 season, let's take a moment to pause, step out of the moment, and take stock of where the club is. Sitting halfway through the campaign expectations for the team, which missed the postseason just a year ago, are sky high for good reason. Not only is the Lightning atop the NHL standings a full 13 points ahead of the pace they need to be in order to make the postseason, but the team leads a bevy of organizational and individual statistical categories.

Let's pump the breaks on prematurely planning a Stanley Cup championship parade, though. There's still half of the regular season and the postseason left to play, and as good as the team is, it's not without blemishes. How General Manager Steve Yzerman addresses those blemishes (or doesn't) and how any potential changes alters team chemistry (or doesn't) will have a lot to say about whether the team lives up to its perceived potential. So, with all of that in mind, let's look at how the team got here, what its weaknesses are, and what might happen next.

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