The Lightning, ahead of the NHL lockout expected to begin at midnight tonight, assigned 18 players to AHL Syracuse on Friday, including right wing Brett Connolly, who played 68 games last season for Tampa Bay, and J.T. Brown, the highly touted wing signed last season out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Assigned players did not have to clear waivers.
Wing J.T. Wyman was placed on waivers before his assignment to Syracuse because of an AHL rule that necessitates waivers for players who did not finish last season with an AHL team or were not on a playoff-eligible list, Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said.
Assigned to Syracuse were forwards Connolly, Brown, Cory Conacher, Danick Gauthier, Alex Hutchings, Tyler Johnson, Alexander Killorn, Vladislav Namestnikov, Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik; defensemen Mark Barberio, Radko Gudas, Dmitry Korobov, Charles Landry and Dan Milan; and goaltenders Riku Helenius, Pat Nagle and Dustin Tokarski.
In addition, BriseBois said, "the hope is" forwards Mike Angelidis and Pierre-Cedric Labrie, and defensemen Keith Aulie, Evan Oberg and Matt Taormina will be signed to minor-league contracts to avoid passing them through waivers before assigning them to Syracuse.
JOB SECURITY: The Lightning gave its employees some good news Friday when it announced the organization is not planning immediate staffing changes if the lockout begins as expected. The announcement was made by chief operating officer Steve Griggs at a company meeting at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Neither Griggs, owner Jeff Vinik nor chief executive officer Tod Leiweke would comment. It is believed the policy could be reconsidered if a lockout extends well into the season or if the season is canceled.