The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned defenseman Matt Smaby to the Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton.
Smaby, a 6-5, 220-pound native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was recalled on November 27 and served as a healthy scratch November 28 at Minnesota. He has skated in 17 games with Norfolk this season, recording a goal, two assists and 22 penalty minutes. The 24-year-old has appeared in 141 career AHL games with Norfolk and Springfield, tallying four goals, 21 assists and 131 penalty minutes.
Downie, who was recently acquired in the Steve Eminger deal, has 1 goal and 13 points to go with 51 penalty minutes in 10 AHL games this season between Norfolk and Philadelphia. The forward also appeared in six scoreless games amassing 11 penalty minutes for the Flyers prior to being dealt to the Lightning. The pesky winger has appeared in 38 career NHL games with 6 goals, 12 points, and 84 penalty minutes.
Smaby has 1 goal and 3 points in 17 games with Norfolk this season to go along with 22 penalty minutes. The stay-at-home defenseman played well with Tampa Bay down the stretch of last season and has played 14 career NHL games with 12 penalty minutes.
Both players offer to raise the grit and intensity level of a Lightning club recently accused of lacking those elements by Head Coach Rick Tocchet.
Olaf Kolzig played well stopping 37 of 39 shots in the loss. He also deserved better.
03:47 NYR Wade Redden, (Markus Naslund, Scott Gomez)(PP)
12:12 NYR Scott Gomez, (Aaron Voros, Wade Redden)
Don't be fooled by the score. The Lightning were never really in this game until a late surge when they tried to get the equalizer to steal at least a point. The Lightning were outshot 39-19 in the game and, generally, outplayed in every facet. For all the weapons that the club has, they showed absolutely no structure this weekend. The team may be very fortunate that they play so few games in the opening month of the season, because right now they look light years away from being able to be a competitive team, let alone a winning team.
Janne Niskala had 4 hits in 14:14.
Vladimir Mihalik was -1 in 12:15 with 2 hits. He was caught on Gomez's goal standing around and not tying up the man in front.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot and 2 hits in 14:53 and he was 75% on draws. On the good side, he rang a post that almost tied the game up in the second period. On the bad side, he took a lazy hooking penalty late that killed the Lightning's rally. All that said, he got nearly 15 minutes tonight, and that's the kind of ice time he needs from Coach Melrose.
Roster moves will no doubt be coming tomorrow. At a minimum, the club will have to send Karri Ramo down to Norfolk now that the roster limit reduces to 23. There will also probably be at least one move made on defense when Paul Ranger returns to the lineup. The obvious move would be to send Mihalik down to Norfolk. However, I could imagine Jamie Heward being the odd man out as well. Also, expect some pressure to bring Matt Smaby back up sooner or later. Initial reports out of Norfolk camp are good for Smaby, and you can make a strong argument he never should have been sent down in the first place. Adding spice to the situation are rumors that the club may move Shane O'Brien, who was a healthy scratch in this afternoon's game.
Per the Tampa Tribune, following the Thursday's preseason game with the New York Rangers, the Lightning made 3 more roster cuts prior to leaving for Europe.
Tampa reassigned prospect defenseman Matt Smaby and forwards Zenon Konopka and Brandon Bochenski to the Norfolk Admirals training camp. Konopka and Bochenski will have to clear waivers before the reassignment is completed, and the these two will be placed on waivers Friday morning.
Dana Tyrell was also returned to Prince George of the WHL.
Norfolk defeats Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh 0:51, Jordan Staal 1 (Evgeni Malkin, Ben Lovejoy)
Tampa Bay 3:50, Janne Niskala 1 (Brandon Bochenski, Jussi Jokinen)
Tampa Bay 7:06, Wyatt Smith 1 (Matt Smaby)
Tampa Bay 8:40, Brandon Bochenski 1 (Radek Smolenak, Jussi Jokinen)
Pittsburgh 15:18, Petr Sykora 1 (power play) (Miroslav Satan, Jordan Staal)
Pittsburgh 10:11, Petr Sykora 2 (power play) (Janne Pesonen, Alex Goligoski)
Pittsburgh 17:06, Sidney Crosby 1 (shorthanded) (unassisted)
Tampa Bay 18:41, Brandon Bochenski 2 (Janne Niskala)
Tampa Bay- Jokinen, Stamkos
Karri Ramo stopped 26 of 30 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping both shooters he faced in the penalty shot session.
This is as significant a win as you can get in the first matchup of preseason in September. The Lightning iced a team that basically represented the bulk of their players ticketed for Norfolk of the AHL while the Pens essentially iced their NHL regulars. This is a Pens team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last season and the Lightning prospects and AHL pros gave them all they could handle and more en route to victory. It speaks volumes for the future of this franchise.
Lots of prospects in this game:
The Lightning pull out a dramatic victory in the Steve Stamkos sweeps in the final game of the year.
Mike Smith stopped 20 of 23 shots for the loss.
Matt Smaby was -1 in 17:27 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot.
The big payoff? The Lightning now have a 48.2% chance of getting the #1 pick in the draft this summer and super prospect center Steve Stamkos of Sarnia.
The kid deserved better tonight.
Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 39 shots in the loss. Ramo held the game at 1-1 despite a 2 to 1 shot disparity in favor of the Capitals until a third period power play allowed the Caps to break the deadlock for good. With just a little more goal support, Ramo might've had a signature win to close out his season.
Matt Smaby was -1 in 16:20 tonight with 5 hits and 1 blocked shot. He also took a pair of minors: one for tripping and one for holding.
Congratulations to Jeff Halpern on hitting 20 goals. That's the silver lining in tonight's mess.
Mike Smith allowed 6 goals on 32 shots in the loss.
Matt Smaby was -1 in 22:09 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots. That's the first time in his NHL career he's broken the tape on 20 minutes of ice time, so it's a small milestone.
Atlanta dealt a blow in their own quest for Steve Stamkos.
Mike Smith allowed just 1 goal on 23 shots for the loss. Can I just say, "Case in point?" After seeing Karri Ramo go 2-0-1 including a sterling effort against the division leading Canes, Smith got well quickly to play the Thrashers tonight and with only a smidge of goal support he would've won. That's what having two young lions competing for the starting job will do for the Lightning. You won't get that if Smith isn't being pushed because he has a sad sack retread as a backup.
19:40 of even hockey for Matt Smaby with 1 shot on goal and 3 hits. The fact Matt has been even with over 18 minutes of IT in both of these one goal nailbiters only helps his resume going into next season in pursuit of an NHL job. And I'll pose the question again: if Smaby finishes out the year continuing to garner 5-6 minutes more IT than Mike Lundin, does that mean he's passed Lundin on the depth chart? When I heard Coach Tortorella's comments about Ramo and Lundin, I obviously was strongly against sending Ramo down to the minors next season. However, if Lundin doesn't hit the weight room hard this offseason and get the upper body strength he desperately needs, Coach might have a legitimate point about the young blueliner.