Prior to the draft I took a stab at what the Lightning roster would have to look like to be a conference contender. In the write up, the generic “acquisition” player was slotted in both the second and third pairs of the defensive six, and Paquette and Callahan were in the top-11 forwards (Jon Cooper frequently dresses 11/7 rather than the traditional 12/6), adding grit, character, and physicality. The latter two were part of Cooper’s wish to balance out the size of the forward group while becoming a harder team to play against. I had a third acquisition on defense in the 7/8 spot, as well as the obvious No. 2 goalie slot.
Now a week after the free agent frenzy, Yzerman has done – in my opinion – exactly what was needed to become a conference contender. While he added two defensemen and not three, he added two to the top-4 instead of one to the top-4 and two to the bottom-3 on the blueline. Big ups to Stevie-Y for that. I also had Sustr slotting down to Syracuse – barely – in order for him to get more developmental minutes. That’s exactly what’s happened, too. Purcell also moved as expected, though that one was fairly obvious due to contract status and player type.
Before I bruise myself with pats on the back, I had Brett Connolly going to Syracuse due to the glut of forwards blocking him. This was a stroke of derpius since Connolly is waiver eligible and therefore a demotion to the AHL has a near zero chance of happening. Nice going, genius.
At any rate, here’s how I see the roster playing out come October. Lines are speculative, of course, as they’ll change five minutes into the first game. This is more of a who-ends-up-where list:
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Cody Kunyk to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Kunyk, 24, made his NHL debut with the Lightning on April 13 at Washington, logging 10:12 in ice time. He was signed by Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent on March 20, 2014.
The Sherwood Park, Alberta native skated in 37 games for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks last season, posting 22 goals and 43 points to go along with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-13 rating. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound forward led the Nanooks for goals, points, power-play goals (six) and shorthanded goals (two). Kunyk was named the WCHA's Player of the Year and to the First Team All-WCHA team. He also led the WCHA for scoring during the 2013-14 season.
Kunyk skated in 148 games over four seasons at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, amassing 60 goals and 133 points. He set career highs his senior year for goals, assists (21) and points. Kunyk became the 30th Nanook in program history to join the 100-point club with a goal on November 22, 2013.
Despite no official release by the organization, the Tampa Bay Lightning have apparently signed defenseman Matt Corrente to a one-year, two-way contract per the player's twitter account and corroborated by capgeek.com. Corrente, a 6'0" 205 lbs right-handed defenseman, is a another depth signing in a recent trend of acquisitions that include
The Carolina Hurricanes signed Corrente last summer and he spent the entire season playing for team's AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers, leading the team in penalty minutes with 136. Corrente was a 1st round pick in the 2006 draft by the New Jersey Devils and spent 5 seasons in that organization, amassing 34 games with New Jersey and another 163 games with their AHL affiliate Albany Devils.
Corrente will join Jean-Philippe Cote and Joey Mormina in anchoring a veteran presence on the Syracuse blueline that sports a young crop of defensive prospects slated to include Luke Witkowski, Nikita Nesterov, Artem Sergeev, Slater Koekkoek, Dylan Blujus, and Jake Dotchin.
I finally had the chance to make it out to the Ice Sports Forum to catch up with some of the attendees and observe a good chunk of the 3v3 action. Following are some brief impressions and takeaways from my time at the rink:
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Andrej Sustr to a one-year, one-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.