Lightning brass says it was disappointed in defenseman Matt Lashoff during training camp
Matt Lashoff was in a difficult spot, and the Lightning was in a tough spot, too, as to how to handle him this season.
Lashoff, 23, who did not come into camp in the top six, had to do everything he could to convince the team to keep him in the NHL. The Lightning, with a solid top six in place, figured Lashoff would not be served well sitting on the bench with an NHL club.
In the end, it sounded as if Lashoff made the Lightning's decision easy as the team sent him and Mike Lundin to AHL Norfolk.
"I don't think he came into camp vying for a job," coach Rick Tocchet said. "He's a good prospect, and I think he's going to be a good defenseman, but I don't know if he had a good camp. I think there's an urgency to his play that has to be shown. I was disappointed in his camp, yeah. I thought he would have been a little bit better prepared knowing the numbers on defense and the competition."
GM Brian Lawton said he believes Lashoff, a good skater who can handle the power play, did not correctly gage the level of competition there would be in camp, especially considering Lashoff showed some spark with Tampa Bay last season.
"What happened to him, in some degree, was it was a little overwhelming for some of the younger players in regards to the level of competition," Lawton said. "Matt and I discussed that, and he probably didn't respond the way he needed to find long-term success. But that's part of being a younger player, and he'll be stronger for it."
"He needs 25 minutes a night down there, taking a leadership role, getting up with the play, getting the puck and making good decisions," Tocchet said. "I just think he needs a confidence level, and needs to play a lot. I think that's the main goal for us with him is to play a lot down there."
As for Lundin, Tocchet said he just got caught up in a numbers game.
"A tough one," Tocchet said. Mike Lundin played really well. ... It's not like Mike Lundin did anything wrong."