Slater Koekkoek recalled by Lightning
The Lightning, in need of a boost on the blueline, recalled defenseman Slater Koekkoek Monday night.
Koekkoek, 22, should be available for Tuesday's game against the Islanders in Brooklyn. It's just a matter of if he gets a chance to play.
Koekkoek, the former first-round pick, made his first opening night roster this season, but was a healthy scratch the first three games. The Lightning sent him down so he could get playing time, as opposed to being in the press box in the NHL. Koekkoek played well for the Crunch, with two assists, and a plus-3 in five games. Mat Taormina was called up in Koekkoek's place, but never appeared in a game while up.
The Lightning has lost three consecutive games, and giving up so many odd-man rushes and breakaways are a big reason why. With Koekkoek, Tampa Bay could go with seven defensemen, or Koekkoek could take a spot in the lineup at times from Nikita Nesterov. Koekkoek appeared in 10 playoff games last summer, a minus-1, with coaches trusting him in key situations.
Koekkoek, a left-shot and gifted skater, should get his much-awaited opportunity.