TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Gudlevskis, 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, played in 41 games with the Syracuse Crunch last season, posting a 16-12-8 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. He led all Crunch goaltenders (min. 13 games) in games played, wins, save percentage, goals-against average and shutouts. Gudlevskis won a season-high five consecutive games from March 19 through March 26.
The Aizkraukle, Latvia native has played in two career NHL regular season games, notching a 2.00 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage with a 1-0-1 record. Gudlevskis has also participated in two Stanley Cup Playoff games, posting a 1.50 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage. He has skated in 121 career AHL games, all with Syracuse, and posted a 59-37-12 record with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
Gudlevskis was drafted by the Lightning in the fifth round, 124th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft. He played in two games for Latvia at the 2014 Winter Olympics, including a 55-save performance against Team Canada in a 2-1 quarterfinal loss.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Gabriel Dumont to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Dumont, 5-foot-10, 181 pounds, appeared in 71 games with the St. John’s IceCaps last season, notching 19 goals and 49 points. He ranked tied for second on the team for goals and was third for points.
A native of Ville Degelis, Quebec, Dumont has played in 18 career NHL games, all with the Montreal Canadiens, recording a goal and three points. He has skated in 389 career AHL games with the IceCaps and the Hamilton Bulldogs, registering 92 goals and 203 points. The former IceCaps captain also participated in the 2012-13 AHL All-Star Classic.
Dumont was drafted by Montreal in the fifth round, 139th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Jeremy Morin to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Morin, 6-foot-1, 189 pounds, played in 59 AHL games last season with the Rockford IceHogs, Toronto Marlies and San Jose Barracuda. He registered 16 goals and 42 points. Morin also skated in four Calder Cup Playoff games with San Jose.
A native of Auburn, New York, Morin has appeared in 82 career NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets, registering 10 goals and 22 points. He has also played in 267 career AHL contests and amassed 97 goals and 200 points.
Morin was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the second round, 45th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Letourneau-Leblond, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, played in 52 games with the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League last season, notching a goal and six points. His 131 penalty minutes led the team. Letourneau-Leblond also played in three Calder Cup Playoff games.
The Levis, Quebec native has played in 41 career NHL games with the New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins, recording three assists and 101 penalty minutes. Letourneau-Leblond has also played in five Stanley Cup Playoff games. He has skated in 448 career AHL games with the Devils, Albany River Rats, Lowell Devils, Abbotsford Heat, Norfolk Admirals and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He has recorded 26 goals, 65 points and 1,692 penalty minutes. Letourneau-Leblond has played in 14 career Calder Cup Playoff games.
Letourneau-Leblond was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the seventh round, 216th overall, of the 2004 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Michael Bournival to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Bournival, 5-foot-11, 194 pounds, played in 20 games with the St. John’s IceCaps last season after suffering an injury. He recorded a goal and eight points while in St. John’s.
A native of Shawinigan, Quebec, Bournival has spent his entire professional career in the Montreal Canadiens organization. He has skated in 89 career NHL games with Montreal, notching 10 goals and 19 points. Bournival registered career highs of 60 games played, seven goals and 14 points in 2013-14. He also appeared in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games that season. Bournival has played in 104 career AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs and St. John’s, netting 16 goals and recording 50 points.
Bournival was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the third round, 71st overall, of the 2010 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have issued qualifying offers to seven players today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
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.
Forward David Broll was not issued a qualifying offer and will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2016.
BP Commentary (Chad): Really no huge surprises here. McGinn is a nice depth forward who will continue to help Syracuse. Gourde was not part of the Black Aces last year despite being a call-up earlier in the season, but he was hurt. He's also nice depth, a year removed from leading the Crunch in goals. Nesterov was a no-brainer though he's been passed by Slater Koekkoek, but again, depth. Broll's exit isn't surprising. Boko Imama could take his spot as the Crunch's pugilist, though he doesn't have a contract. Boko can go back to Saint John as an overager, or he could be signed to an AHL deal and have his rights retained, and therefore wouldn't count against the organization's 50-man roster. The guess here is Tampa Bay is in a wait-and-see mode over the summer.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have hired Benoit Groulx to become the head coach of its American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, Crunch General Manager Julien BriseBois announced today.
Groulx, 48, was the head coach and general manager for the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League during the 2015-16 season, guiding his team to a record of 46-19-2-1. The Olympiques were defeated in the 2016 QMJHL Quarter-Final by the Moncton Wildcats four games to two.
Groulx has worked 13 total seasons as a head coach in the QMJHL with the Hull/Gatineau Olympiques, posting a career record of 460-293-18-59. He led his teams to league championships in 2003, 2004 and 2008, earning QMJHL Coach of the Year honors for the 2003-04 season while coaching the Olympiques.
The Hull, Quebec native also served on the coaching staffs for Team Canada at the 2004 U18 World Championships as well as the 2014 and 2015 IIHF World Junior Championships. Groulx was an assistant coach for the Gold Medal winning Team Canada at the U18 World Championships in 2004. Groulx was also an assistant coach for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in 2014 as Canada was defeated in the Bronze Medal game by Russia. The following year, Groulx was the head coach for Team Canada, winning the Gold Medal and earning a perfect 7-0 record during the tournament.
The Syracuse Crunch resorted to desperate hockey late in the season.
Despite a promising start, midseason injuries and call-ups left the lineup scrambling, forcing some players to play out of position and outside of their normal roles. A nine-game slide in January and February made the chances of a playoff berth a longshot, but the Crunch rallied with 18 out of 24 possible standings points in March.
Ultimately, the late season push came too late. The Crunch couldn’t keep the frantic pace and finished fourth place in the North Division with 79 points (32-29-11-4), eight away from a playoff spot.
“I don’t think we played desperate hockey early enough in the season,” Crunch forward Tanner Richard said. “It’s a good lesson for me and every other guy that’s here … You can’t wait until the last 15 or 20 games to make your playoff push. The points at the start of the season are worth the same as the ones at the end of the season, and the ones at the end are harder to get.”
Crunch go quietly into that good offseason...
Adam Wilcox allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the loss.
LV Swavely, (3) (Goulbourne, Sanheim), 8:26
LV Brent, (10) (Conner, Willcox), 4:00
LV Aube-Kubel, (2) (Lindblom, Bardreau), 12:06
SYR Tambellini, (28) (Peca), 19:36 (SH)
LV Sanheim, (1) (Martel, Padakin), 6:43
LV Martel, (22) (Padakin), 19:09 (EN)
SYR Tambellini, (29) (Darcy, Broll), 19:43 (PP)
Jeff Tambellini finished the season just 1 goal shy of a very solid 30 goal campaign.
There were some good signs for the Crunch down the stretch of the campaign, but not enough to say for certain the team has turned the corner. Heading into 2016-2017, they're getting an infusion of more talent, but they'll remained challenged by a lack of top end speed/skill that hasn't been replaced since the Kucherov's and Namestnikov's of the world moseyed their way to Tampa Bay. The Lightning need to get back on their horse identifying more of those speed/skill players via the draft and with undrafted free agents if they want to rebuild the depth in their pipeline and have this Syracuse club playing in the postseason and getting meaningful experience next season.
Box score from AHL.com.