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The Book on Boutin

There have been a lot of questions surrounding goaltending prospect Jonathan Boutin in the last week or so.

Eyebrows were first raised roughly a week ago when Boutin, a 2003 third round pick who was named AHL Goaltender of the Month last December for AHL Springfield, was demoted to ECHL Mississippi and Ryan Munce was named the backup netminder in Norfolk.

Just a few days and one Admirals regular season game later, it was learned Ramo would miss 3-4 weeks with a high ankle sprain, opening the door for Boutin's return.

However, eyebrows were raised even higher when Morgan Cey was named to the Admirals roster instead of Boutin, who was thought to be a sure-thing for Norfolk going into the season.

With no reports of an injury to Boutin, what contributed to this apparent fall from grace?

According to the Lightning, Boutin did not have a good training camp in Norfolk, though he showed signs of stronger play toward the end of the camp. The collective thought among all Lightning staff, including Norfolk coaches, was Munce and Cey had simply outplayed Boutin, on whole, during the camp.

As Lightning followers know, players earn roster spots based on a meritocracy system. The fact Boutin had more AHL experience (59 games) than Munce (0) and Cey (2), did not outweigh his poor camp performance.

Also factoring into the decisions was Boutin violated an unspecified team rule. According to Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster, the club has addressed the issue and moved forward.

However, for a variety of reasons, Boutin was assigned to the ECHL and told to "play his way back to the AHL level."

Feaster states the injury to Ramo “certainly opens the door for [Boutin], provided he gets himself ‘together’ and gets the job done … and assuming Munce and Cey don't close the door on him by their own performances.

“The injury creates a great opportunity for all three.”

Thanks to their camp performances, Munce and Cey will get the first opportunities under the meritocracy system, starting with Munce’s AHL debut tonight in Bridgeport. He was called up to Springfield last season but did not see game action.