James Wisniewski part of Lightning cuts
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said veteran defenseman James Wisniewski would be given every chance to make the team on his camp tryout.
Wisniewski, 32, fit a key need, a right-shot defenseman for the power play.
But after watching him in three exhibitions, the Lightning released Wisniewski from his tryout Sunday, part of 24 cuts to trim the roster to 29. Wisniewski showed his passing ability/vision, but admitted he struggled to adjust to the team's system of defensemen joining the rush. He missed all of last season with a torn ACL suffered in his first game with Carolina, so these were his first full games in a year and a half.
"For me it's harder," Wisniewski said Saturday. " A couple times I've done something and I'm like, 'Oh, that's my fault.' And they say, 'No, it's a great job; it's the forward's (responsibility).' Just never played that way before. But it takes some getting used to."
The Lightning hopes to get more on the power play from Nikita Nesterov, who had a goal and five shots Saturday. And it's uncertain how many defensemen it plans to keep to start the season. If Wisniewski were signed, it could add to salary cap crunch with just $5-$5.5 million left and restricted free agent Nikita Kucherov still unsigned.
There weren't many other surprises on the cuts, with a large portion headed to AHL Syracuse (several need to clear waivers). Wing Joel Vermin made the cut, and could compete for a bottom six spot with Cory Conacher. Prospect Brayden Point also remains, the Lightning believing he deserves a longer look heading into his first full pro season.
The other cuts: Mike Bournival, Cameron Darcy, Adam Erne, Yanni Gourde, Mike Halmo, Brian Hart, Henri Ikonen, Pierre Leblond, Tye McGinn, Jeremy Morin, Matthew Peca, Tanner Richard, Mitchell Stephens, Jonna Tammela, Dylan Blujus, Adam Comrie, Jake Dotchin, Dominik Masin, Matt Taormina, Ben Thomas, Daniel Walcott, Adam Wilcox, Nicola Riopel.