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Tampa Bay Lightning keeps Brett Connolly on final roster, sends Dana Tyrell to minors

BRANDON — Brett Connolly earned the right to stay, at least for now.

That was the bottom line for the Lightning, which Tuesday reduced its roster to the maximum 23 players by sending Dana Tyrell to AHL Norfolk.

The move means Connolly, 19, who had a team-best three goals in the preseason and tied for the lead with five points, gets to prove he can play in the NHL.

It is basically a nine-game tryout. That is how many games the right wing can play before he must be sent back to juniors or the clock starts on his three-year, $2.7 million contract.

"It's exciting," said Connolly, the No. 6 overall pick of the 2010 draft. "It's every kid's dream to play in the NHL, but I still have to prove myself."

The innocent bystander is Tyrell, 22, who last season played 78 games for Tampa Bay, came to camp in the best shape of his career and whom general manager Steve Yzerman agreed did nothing to lose his spot.

He simply did not need waivers to be sent to the minors.

"I have no doubt that he's disappointed," Yzerman said. "But we want to see Brett Connolly. He's earned the right, and the things he does on the ice is a need that we have, so we want to see him play."

The Lightning has seven defensemen on its roster, not including Mattias Ohlund (knee), who is on injured reserve, and minor-league defenseman Scott Jackson, also on IR and who eventually will be sent to AHL Norfolk.

That means the team could keep 14 forwards with two goalies. Of the 15 remaining forwards on the roster, only Tyrell did not need waivers, which gave bubble players Mattias Ritola, Blair Jones and Tom Pyatt a break.

"It's definitely tough that it's (the business) as well as your play," Tyrell said. "It's definitely motivating. Everything that happens along your journey is just another thing that makes you want to prove yourself."

POSITIVE NEGATIVES: Monday's MRI exams showed no structural damage to Ohlund's knee or C Dominic Moore's back, coach Guy Boucher said.

Ohlund will miss at least Friday's opener at Carolina. Moore, who left the ice midway through Tuesday's practice (something Boucher said was planned), is expected to play.

. fast facts

Lightning roster

Goaltenders: Dwayne Roloson, Mathieu Garon

Defensemen: Marc-Andre Bergeron, Eric Brewer, Brett Clark, Bruno Gervais, Matt Gilroy, Victor Hedman, Pavel Kubina, Mattias Ohlund (injured reserve)

Forwards: Brett Connolly, Steve Downie, Adam Hall, Blair Jones, Vinny Lecavalier, Ryan Malone, Dominic Moore, Teddy Purcell, Tom Pyatt, Mattias Ritola, Marty St. Louis, Ryan Shannon, Steven Stamkos, Nate Thompson

Note: Minor-league defenseman Scott Jackson is on injured reserve and will be assigned to AHL Nofolk when done rehabilitating a surgically repaired knee.

Tampa Bay Lightning keeps Brett Connolly on final roster, sends Dana Tyrell to minors 10/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 10:08pm]
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