TAMPA BAY –The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent defenseman Matt Taormina to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. It is his second stint with the Lightning.
Taormina, 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, played 76 games with the Worchester Sharks of the American Hockey League last season, notching 11 goals and 38 points. He led all Sharks defensemen for goals and points. Taormina’s 11 goals were also a career high in the AHL. He has played in 308 career AHL games with Worchester, Syracuse Crunch, Binghamton Senators, Lowell Devils and Albany River Rats. He has registered 42 goals and 159 points.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Mike Angelidis to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Angelidis, 30, skated in three games with Tampa Bay last season, recording 12 penalty minutes. He also played in 64 games for the Syracuse Crunch in 2014-15, recording 20 goals and 38 points while serving as the team’s captain. Angelidis ranked third on the Crunch for both goals and points, while leading the team with 138 penalty minutes. He has been captain of the Crunch since the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
Earlier today, the Lightning's AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch announced the signing of minor league veteran defenseman Joey Mormina had re-signed a one-year contract with the Crunch.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have issued qualifying offers to five players, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Receiving qualifying offers were forward Carter Ashton, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Philippe Paradis along with defensemen Andrej Sustr and Luke Witkowski
The deadline for NHL clubs to issue offers is today. By issuing qualifying offers to the aforementioned players, the Lightning are given the right of the first refusal or draft choice compensation should the player sign an offer sheet with another NHL club.
Players not receiving a qualifying offer include forwards Cody Kunyk, Dalton Smith, and Danick Gauthier along with defensemen Mark Barberio and Daniel Milan. These five players are now unrestricted free agents.
TAMPA BAY –The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed right wing Mike Blunden to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Blunden, 6-foot-4, 216 pounds, played in two games with the Lightning last season, recording two penalty minutes. He played in 33 games with Tampa Bay’s top minor league affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, in 2014-15, recording 13 goals and 22 points. Despite a limited number of games he ranked tied for sixth on the Crunch for goals.
One of the things we've seen repeatedly in the Yzerman-Murray drafts is the penchant to spend a pick or two on players with the potential to immediately impact the Syracuse Crunch. Twice Head Amateur Scout Al Murray has spent first round picks on older first-time draft-eligible players (Namestnikov and DeAngelo) that could be fast tracked to the AHL after just one additional junior season. With later round draftees Cedric Paquette and Henri Ikonen, Murray once again dipped into the 19-year-old pool, allowing Syracuse to benefit from them have quicker access to the professional development pipeline. We've also seen Murray draft three players that were basically draft-and-sign guys (Ondrej Palat, Kristers Gudlevskis, and Cameron Darcy) that were eligible to immediately slot into the AHL after being drafted. Gudlevskis (pictured) was drafted out of Europe, and while Darcy just wasn't quite ready last year, the expectation when he selected was that he'd transition immediately to Syracuse or ECHL Florida. In this article, I'll first highlight some of the one-and-done players from Pete Choquette's 2015 Bolt Prospects Draft Review, and I'll also throw out at least five players to keep your eye on in the later rounds as potential draft-and-sign guys that could help the Crunch this fall.
The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired Blainville-Boisbriand overage defenseman and captain Daniel Walcott Monday, adding a puck-moving defenseman to the organizational roster.
The Lightning have had an abundance of success under Steve Yzerman picking up undersized cast-offs who can skate and have a high hockey IQ and skill level. Walcott certainly fits the mold. He stands just 5’11” and weighs under 2-bills, but put up 41 points in 54 games with the Armada as a 20-year-old this season.
David Andrews planted the seed before the last American Hockey League All-Star Classic in January.
The AHL president was in the office of Syracuse Crunch owner Howard Dolgon and made his case: The league would be playing its 80th season in 2015-16. Syracuse is one of the league's charter members. Would the Crunch want to host the 2016 all-star game?
"Over a period of a few weeks or a month or two, we chatted about it and tried to arrive at a formula for hosting it," Andrews said.
With many of the details ironed out, the AHL officially announced the Crunch would host the AHL skills competition on Jan. 31 with the All-Star Classic on Feb. 1 at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Down to the final buzzer, the Syracuse Crunch couldn't find a way out of their slump.
The Crunch tied the score late in the first period but the Penguins finished with three power play goals and goalie Matt Murray shut the door with 33 saves, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton beat Syracuse, 5-2, in Game 3 the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.
The Crunch lost 12 of their final 13 games and was swept 3-0 in the series.
"I thought we had a great run up until the last three weeks of the season," said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. "I didn't see a lot of ups and downs. I saw a pretty consistent hockey team that won a lot of games and worked extremely hard and played really well."
Too little, too late.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Wins the Series 3-0
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 23 shots for the loss. He finishes the playoffs with the ugly 0-3 mark and an .833 save percentage after seeing his regular season save percentage slip to .900 at the finish line. He's a prospect at a crossroads.
WBS Wilson, (1) (Sheary, Ebbett), 7:53 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (1) (Witkowski, Peca), 16:53
WBS Sheary, (1) (Kostopoulos, Pouliot), 2:39
WBS Sheary, (2) (Wilson, Dumoulin), 1:59 (PP)
WBS Pouliot, (1) (Kapanen, Chorney), 4:30 (PP)
SYR Richard, (1) (Koekkoek, Gourde), 5:36
WBS Ebbett, (1) (Uher), 18:42 (EN)
Yanni Gourde was the game's second star.
This team accomplished a lot of good things this season, particularly when you look at the development of their young defensemen. It's a shame they just ran out of gas at the end of the season, because they showed amazing resiliency and the ability to really fight above their weight class all season long. There are some reinforcements coming in the way of some top Lightning prospects like Erne and DeAngelo next season, but it'll be critical for the team to find the right mix of veterans and semi-veterans to form the heart of the team next year.
We'll see which prospects go up top to join Tampa Bay as Black Aces. For the ones that do, it'll be a great opportunity to see what the big time is like up close.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
One of the worst nights in Lightning organization history.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Leads the Series 2-0
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the loss. He played ok, from all indications, but the Crunch really need a goaltender to win a game for them right now.
WBS Megna, (1) (Ebbett, Sheary), 2:32 (PP)
WBS Rowney, (2) (Archibald, Harrington), 16:32 (PP)
WBS Kostopoulos, (1) , 19:59 (PP)
WBS Kapanen, (3) (Sheary, Ebbett), 16:10
Zettler went with some wholesale lineup changes, but unfortunately that didn't lead to any offensive production. The good news, I suppose, is that the shot totals were nearly even at 29-27 in favor of the Pens. With that said, the Crunch continue to look like a team without much life, and Game Three may only offer an opportunity for players who will need to be key contributors in Syracuse next season, like Matthew Peca to get a little more seasoning.
Box score from TheAHL.com.