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Lightning places Panik on waivers

Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 1:36pm

The Lightning has placed wing Richard Panik on waivers.

Panik, 23, is a very skilled forward, and had a good training camp, but Tampa Bay feels it still needs to see more consistency out of him. He was up and down last season, racking up three goals and 10 assists in 50 games, while being a minus-9 and sometimes finding himself a healthy scratch.

"It's always been about consistency with him," assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said. "The skill set is there, the tool box is great. Other guys beat him out for a job. It's that simple. We're keeping 23 guys that believe give us the best chance of winning games this year and right now he's 24."

The Lightning will find out by noon Thursday if Panik clears, and it hopes he does. What is working in the team's favor is that by putting him on waivers so late, a day after other teams had to file their rosters with the league, he could sneak through.

If so, Panik still has some work to do with Syracuse. "He needs to not only game in game out but shift in, shift out, be out there trying to make a difference."

Panik did play better in training camp and preseason, throwing his body around more and becoming more engaged in games. It was his best camp while with Tampa Bay, coach Jon Cooper said. But the strong play of Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Kucherov and Brett Connolly squeezed Panik off the roster.

Cooper described Panik's situation in a fitting way:

"Some times you're watching Richard and he's a manchild, he can be the best player on the ice. And sometimes, you don't notice him."

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