Tampa Bay Lightning training camp roster reduced to 39; more cuts coming Saturday
Sorry it took so long to get this posted, but we flew three hours today from Winnipeg to Norfolk, Va., for Friday night's scrimmage and had to get two stories written for the Saturday newspaper, my actual job, as quickly as possible as we got here at 5 p.m. Traffic in Norfolk is tough.
Anyway, the Tampa Bay Lightning's training camp roster was reduced to 39 on Friday as left wing Radek Smolenak was claimed off waivers by the Blackhawks and the Lightning sent center Carter Ashton back to Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League. Had Smolenak not been claimed, he would have been sent to AHL Norfolk.
Smolenak had to catch a 9 p.m. flight to Finland, where the Blackhawks face the Panthers to start the season. If, for some reason, Chicago doesn't like Smolenak and puts him back on waivers, the Lightning has first crack to claim him.
Ashton, drafted 29th overall in June and who actually got a turn on Vinny Lecavalier's line, was sent back with nothing but praise from general manager Brian Lawton.
"I really like him," Lawton said. "He's just ta guy who goes to the net. He's everything we'd hoped he'd be. He's a young guy who, in our opinion, can be a guy on our roster. He's got some things to work on but we're very pleased."
As for the scrimmage tonight against the Admirals, good to see defenseman Paul Ranger on the ice in his first action since March's surgery to fix a torn labrum in his left shoulder. It is a very informal affair with Lecavalier playing for the Admirals in the first period. Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Jeff Halpern, Alex Tanguay, Ryan Malone and Matttias Ohlund came off the ice after the first.
Hey, it's been a long trip.