In and Out
Erik Erlendsson blogs on who the Lightning will and won't qualify before July 1st according to Jay Feaster. Note: this isn't a complete list.
Analysis on the flip.
Contract talks will continue with Janik but the Lightning chose not to give him a qualifying offer because if he retained arbitration rights it would've been difficult to get Janik signed to a two-way contract.
There are no huge surprises on the list. The biggest name departing is former 2nd round pick Adam Henrich. Put simply, Henrich can't skate. A young man should not move around the rink like Dave Andreychuk. And, unlike Andreychuk, Henrich doesn't display the intelligence, talent or heart to make it in the NHL. It simply was not justifiable to keep Henrich in the organization when after three years as a pro he still couldn't establish himself in the AHL.
There's an interesting situation now developing with the exit of Morgan-Cey. Cey struggled in the second half of last season but looked like he might still stick around after the announcement that Vasily Koshechkin would not come to North America this season and Kevin Beech was not signed. Just who will be minding the nets in Mississippi of the ECHL next season. The Lightning love the ECHL for developing goaltenders but they don't have the numbers right now to put two prospects in goal in Mississippi next season unless Karri Ramo fails to make it in Tampa and the team signs another netminder. Joe Pearce? Sign Kevin Beech to a short term deal now that he's a free agent? Sign a veteran? Maybe another prospect has caught the scouts' eyes? I'd hate to see the Lightning not have two prospects in Mississippi next year because that's the one thing the ECHL is actually useful for when it comes to grooming talent.
It mystifies me why Mitch Fritz got qualified. I'm firmly convinced his skating is just too poor to ever cut it in the NHL and he's standing squarely in the way of Brandon Elliot climbing the ladder to the AHL. Elliot's not nearly the badass (pardon my francais) that Fritz is, but he skates well enough to possibly make it to the NHL some day as a Darcy Hordichuk type middleweight instigator type. Maybe there's something I'm missing here, but this doesn't make sense to me from a developmental standpoint.