Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have returned five prospect invitees to the their respective junior squads.
Goaltender Michael Zador was returned to Oshawa (OHL), while forwards Matias Sointu, Alex Hutchings, and Kyle DeCoste were returned to their OHL clubs in Ottawa, Barrie, and Sault Ste. Marie, respectively. Technically, DeCoste never participated in the Lightning training camp, having been excused last weekend due to a death in the family. Hutchings, a 2009 4th round pick, drew praise from Tampa head coach Rick Tocchet who called out Hutchings as being a player he particularly liked. The Lightning also returned defenseman Mark Barberio to Moncton (QMJHL), where he is expected to vie for QMJHL defenseman-of-the-year honors.
Tampa must sign DeCoste and Barberio to NHL contract before June 1, 2010 or face losing their rights to these players.