Numerous reports are surfacing today that the Tampa Bay Lightning have waived defensemen Matt Lashoff and Mike Lundin for purposes of reassignment to the Norfolk Admirals. These two transactions represents the final players cut from the Lightning training camp ahead of Wednesday's 23-man roster deadline. Lashoff, a former 1st round pick of the Boston Bruins, was acquired at the 2008-09 trade deadline as the centerpiece for forward Mark Recchi and his subjection to waivers is a bit of a surprise considering his perceived NHL upside.
This leaves the Lightning with 12 forwards, and if plans remain to keep 8 defensemen, one forward spot open for a possible waiver addition.
The Lightning still needs to get down to 23 players, and essentially have to choose two of Lukas Krajicek, Matt Smaby, Matt Lashoff, David Hale, and Mike Lundin. Technically, they could keep three extra defensemen until further roster moves are made to get them down to 8.
BP's guess: Lashoff and Smaby remain due to their one-way contracts, youth, specialties, and upsides. Both would be prime candidates to be plucked off waivers, also. It would seem the best management of assets would be to retain those two.
(Norfolk Admirals/Tampa Bay Lightning release)
The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, assigned ten players to the Admirals today including six players returning from the 2008-09 Norfolk squad, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced. Returning to the Norfolk roster from last season are goaltender Riku Helenius, defensemen Vladimir Mihalik and Ty Wishart, and forwards Blair Jones, Juraj Simek and Paul Szczechura. Goaltenders Jaroslav Janus and Dustin Tokarski and forwards Martins Karsums and Dana Tyrell have also been assigned to the Admirals.
According to a report published by Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, the Tampa Bay Lightning waived prospect forwards Martins Karsums and Blair Jones Friday for purposes of reassignment to the Norfolk Admirals. The fate of Karsums and Jones will be known at noon on Saturday, but Karsums reportedly has a European out-clause in his contract and it is speculated that he would return to Europe instead of accepting reassignment to the AHL.
Damian Crisdotero of the St. Pete Times is reporting that in addition to the waiver move made with Radek Smolenak last night, the club has returned 2009 first round pick Carter Ashton to Lethbridge of the WHL after an impressive first camp with the team.
Crisdotero points out something interesting regarding Smolenak's waiver claim: the Blackhawks start the season in Finland this year and are in a situation similar to the Lightning last season when they started in Prague, Czech Republic. The Hawks have a handful of nicked up forwards and therefore are likely to carry a few spare players on the roster that won't be on the team after it returns to North America. If the Hawks waive Smolenak after they come back to the states, the Lightning will get first right to reclaim Smolenak. So, the Lightning may get the benefit of Smolenak getting a handful of NHL games worth of experience and retaining his services to boot.
The Lightning are expected to make more cuts tomorrow, presumably with a view toward leaving the bulk of the Admirals' roster in Norfolk before leaving town to continue their preseason slate.