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Can Brayden Point make the Lightning?

Brayden Point been extremely impressive in the preseason, with two goals in three games.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Brayden Point been extremely impressive in the preseason, with two goals in three games.

4

October

The Lightning insists it doesn't need to rush forward prospect Brayden Point.

Associate coach Rick Bowness said Point is an NHL player, it's just a matter of when.

How about now?

Point, 20, survived the Lightning's major cut down Sunday, and is one of the final 27 players remaining in training camp. While it appears likely Point, heading into his first full pro season, would start the year in AHL Syracuse, he's been extremely impressive in the preseason, with two goals in three games.

Can Point make the opening night roster?

"The mere fact he's here gives him that chance," coach Jon Cooper said. "He's performed extremely well in all the exhibition games he's played. Now they're going to be amped up a little bit. You consider those first two weeks of camp getting your feet wet, jumping into games. Now you get down to the last couple games, teams are primarily gearing up for the regular season and playing most of their crew.

"This will be a really good evaluation time for him and us and we'll see how he handles it."

The Lightning does have an open forward spot to start the season, with wing Ryan Callahan expected to be out until mid-November due to hip surgery. But Cory Conacher, signed to a one-way deal in July, was thought to have an inside track. And there's Joel Vermin, who impressed in a six-game callup last season and has also been strong this preseason.

But Point is being given every chance, put on a line with Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn at Monday's practice. He was on the power play unit too. Thursday's exhibition in Florida should be a big test.

"Unless you put him in that position, you'll never be able to see what you have," Cooper said.

 

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 10:50am]

    

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