Point makes Lightning roster heading into opener
The Lightning set its final roster for Thursday's opener, and forward prospect Brayden Point is on it.
Point, 20, entering his first pro season, had an impressive training camp, with three preseason goals. He got the nod over the likes of Cory Conacher, Erik Condra and Joel Vermin, all of whom were reassigned to AHL Syracuse on Tuesday after clearing waivers.
"We felt like (Point has) earned the right for us to give him a look right off the bat," GM Steve Yzerman said.
Yzerman said part of that decision to send Condra, Conacher and Vermin down was salary cap based. For instance $950,000 of Condra's $1.25 million salary won't count against Tampa Bay's cap; none of Conacher's $575,000 will. "Some very difficult decisions," Yzerman said.
The Lightning will carry 13 forwards, including wing Ryan Callahan, who won't start the season on long-term injured reserve after all. Yzerman said Callahan, recovering from June hip surgery, could return earlier than anticipated, though likely still not until November. He has been practicing but not cleared for contact.
Forwards: Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, Valtteri Filppula, Vladislav Namestnikov, J.T. Brown, Cedric Paquette, Brian Boyle, Brayden Point, Ryan Callahan.
Defensemen: Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, Andrej Sustr, Jason Garrison, Braydon Coburn, Nikita Nesterov, Slater Koekkoek.
Goalies: Ben Bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Joe Smith, Times staff writer
day in Brandon to get re-acclimated with his teammates.
Kucherov missed the Lightning preseason, but played for Russia in the World Cup of Hockey, which should make him more prepared to start the season.
"I hope so," Kucherov said, per the team's website. "I've never played that kind of tournament before a season, and I've never been in this kind of situation. I don't know what to expect, but I think it's going to help me be, it don't take a little while to get into the season. This year, it's going to maybe be a little quicker. But I think it was great to have that tournament before the season."
The Lightning has to set its roster, and become cap compliant, by 5 p.m. today. The three forwards it placed on waivers Monday - Erik Condra, Cory Conacher and Joel Vermin - all cleared at noon today.
But in signing Kucherov, the Lightning checked off a critical final piece of the puzzle.