Promotion/Demotion

What to Expect from Nikita Nesterov

The Tampa Bay Lightning recalled defenseman Nikita Nesterov from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Nesterov, 5-foot-11, 199 pounds, has played in 32 games with the Crunch this season, recording three goals and 14 points with at plus-4 rating and 26 penalty minutes. He leads all Syracuse blue-liners for goals and points while ranking tied for second for plus/minus.

A native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, Nesterov has played in 86 career AHL games, all with the Crunch during the previous two seasons. He has registered seven goals and 30 points with 65 penalty minutes.

Nesterov was selected by the Lightning in the fifth round, 148th overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

What to Expect:

No player on the Syracuse Crunch has improved more since last season than Nesterov. There are two things to take away from that statement: Nesterov’s improvement and just how bad he was last year.

Namesnikov Sent to Syracuse

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that the club reassigned forward Vladislav Namestnikov to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.

Namestnikov, 22, has skated in 23 games with the Lightning this season, posting three goals and seven points to go along with four penalty minutes. He recorded his first career NHL goal and assist on October 13 against the Montreal Canadiens. The 6-foot, 182-pound forward has played in 27 career NHL games, all with the Lightning over the past two seasons.

A native of Zhukovskiy, Russia, he has appeared in 100 career AHL games, all with the Crunch, registering 26 goals and 69 points. Last season he set AHL career high totals for games played (56), goals (19), assists (29), points (48) and penalty minutes (40).

BP Commentary: Finally.

What to Expect from Vladislav Namestnikov

The Lightning recalled center Vladislav Namestnikov and goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced Friday. Gudlevskis was recalled on an emergency basis due to an injury to Ben Bishop.

According to the Lightning’s press release, Namestnikov, 21, has skated in 31 games this season with Syracuse, posting 13 goals and 30 points to go along with 19 penalty minutes. He ranks tied for first on the team for points and assists. The Zhukovskiy, Russia native also ranks tied for first on the Crunch for power-play goals with six. The 6-foot, 183-pound forward has skated in 75 career AHL games over the past two seasons, all with the Crunch, recording 20 goals and 51 points.

He was originally drafted by the Lightning in the first round, 27th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.

Sustr Focuses on Big Picture After Reassignment to Syracuse


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite being sent to Syracuse for more ice time, Andrej Sustr hasn't seen much game action.

The 6-8 defenseman, hurt on his second shift since being reassigned by the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this month, practiced with the Crunch Tuesday. After missing five games, he is nearing a return to the lineup.

“It’s been pretty good,” Sustr said of working his way back into game shape Tuesday. “I’m aiming for this weekend.”

With Syracuse on a five-game losing streak, the addition of Sustr is a major shot in the arm to a struggling Crunch defense that has surrendered 23 goals in the past five games.

Panik Plans to Work His Way Back to Tampa Bay


By Jeremy Houghtaling

After skating in a red practice jersey Tuesday, Richard Panik reiterated his intentions -- he came to play.

In his first game of the season with the Syracuse Crunch Saturday, the 6-3 Slovakian winger posted an assist before absorbing a thundering check by the Hershey Bears’ Tyson Strachan. Panik quickly got up from the hit, and instead of taking the game off Sunday to rest and recuperate an apparent upper body injury, he was back on the ice against the Sound Tigers Sunday.

“He gamed it out against Bridgeport,” said Crunch coach Rob Zettler.

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