Tampa Bay Lightning loves surging prospect Cory Conacher, but an NHL deal has "timing issues"
Norfolk’s Cory Conacher entered Saturday leading all AHL rookies in scoring with 27 points on 13 goals and 14 assists, continuing the fine play which made him one of training camp’s best stories.
“His play away from the puck, his overall understanding of the system has really come together over the course of the last month,” Norfolk GM Julien BriseBois said. “He’s been a really good addition to our organization and right now he’s looking like a good prospect for the NHL.”
First, Conacher, 21, must sign an NHL contract. He currently has a minor-league deal. The Lightning owns Conacher’s rights until July 1, when he can become an unrestricted free agent. BriseBois said Tampa Bay has informed Conacher and his agent “we are planning on signing him.”
“But there are timing issues,” BriseBois added, so the team is “holding pat.”
Because Conacher is more than 20 years old, he will lose one of the three years in which he is exempt from waivers as soon as he plays one pro game under an NHL contract. In that sense, it would be better for Tampa Bay to sign him after the season.
“We have other players (in Norfolk) doing really well in terms of who we call up next if we need a player,” BriseBois said.