WINNIPEG — The Lightning prepared for their nine-day break that begins Saturday with roster moves. They put Luke Schenn on waivers and reassigned Alex Volkov to AHL Syracuse.
Volkov’s return to the AHL corresponded with Pat Maroon’s return to the lineup Friday for a 7-1 win against the Jets after missing three games following a slide into the boards on his right shoulder against the Flyers a week ago.
Volkov was recalled when Ondrej Palat got hurt and stayed when Maroon followed. He looked more confident in his second NHL stint than he did in his first one. He recorded his first point, an assist, but also took a couple of penalties.
Those moves were made before Cedric Paquette was hurt against the Jets. He blocked a shot off a foot, left the game and didn’t return. With nine days before their next game, the Lightning don’t need to make a corresponding move right away.
With Ryan McDonagh back and the Lightning finally fully healthy, they were back to eight defensemen. That’s a lot of defensemen — two scratches each game.
Before the season started, general manager Julien BriseBois said he was comfortable carrying eight defensemen. But then the Lightning sent Schenn to the AHL to start the season. He returned to the Lightning on Oct. 30 after Victor Hedman was hurt.
Schenn has played a total of 15 games since then, and only three of the Lightning’s past 20. Assuming he clears waivers and is reassigned to Syracuse, he’ll be a valuable edition to a back end that could use help.
Without Schenn, the Lightning will have 21 players on the roster, just one healthy scratch on defense. They have carried 22 players, one fewer than the maximum, to create salary cap space.
If Paquette is healthy by the end of the break, the Lightning could carry 21 players. They also could decide to bring a forward back up to have an extra healthy skater at each position.
For now, it makes sense development-wise and cap-wise to keep forwards, including Volkov, in the AHL.
Contact Diana C. Nearhos at email@example.com. Follow @dianacnearhos.