Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Lightning’s Alex Barre-Boulet happy to be back after ‘crazy week’

After spending 11 days with the Kraken, including playing in the franchise’s first win, the forward is back where he started and ready to contribute however he can.
The injury to Nikita Kucherov opened the door for Alex Barre-Boulet to return to the Lightning.
The injury to Nikita Kucherov opened the door for Alex Barre-Boulet to return to the Lightning. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Oct. 23

TAMPA — Alex Barre-Boulet was trying to move on from the Lightning when he got the call.

The Lightning placed the 24-year-old forward on waivers Oct. 11, the day before their season opener. Barre-Boulet was picked up immediately by the Kraken, then skated with the team for 11 days before landing back on waivers. On Friday, the Lightning reacquired him.

“It was a crazy week, obviously,” Barre-Boulet said. “I was getting adjusted to Seattle, (and) it was a great experience, but obviously happy to be back.”

Related: With Lightning’s Stanley Cup celebrations over, getting back to winning has a nice ring to it

Rookies Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk initially beat out Barre-Boulet for final roster spots with Tampa Bay. The team’s salary cap situation also came into play.

When Seattle’s franchise had to place five players in COVID-19 protocol on the eve of their opener, Barre-Boulet played in two games, logging one assist and just over 17 minutes of action. He also contributed to the franchise’s first win in Nashville.

“It was fun,” he said. “Being a part of that first win was something cool, but I don’t think they have the same goals as here. Here, it’s you want to win the Stanley Cup every year and over there it’s a new franchise and they don’t know what to really expect so far, so it’s great being back but I had a great time over there.”

Related: Lightning receive Stanley Cup rings at private ceremony

As players returned to the Kraken, the Lightning’s own Nikita Kucherov landed on long-term injured reserve. He cannot return before Nov. 13 and could be out longer. A hole in the team’s first line means Barre-Boulet has a shot to make an impact.

Having experience skating with Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point on the top line is certainly an asset; he skated with them in 12 games last season. He also has a knack for finding the back of the net — ranking among the AHL’s top six scorers in his first two seasons with Syracuse — and his speed is key.

He won’t skate in tonight’s game against the Avalanche — he didn’t get back to Tampa Bay until late Friday night — but he’ll have the chance to play on the upcoming road trip that starts Monday in Buffalo, per coach Jon Cooper.

“(He) probably put a few airline miles on his ticket,” Cooper joked. “We didn’t want to lose him in the first place, understand why teams grab guys off waivers, everybody’s in a different situation, but (it’s) good to have him back, especially in a time when adding a little bit more skill to our lineup can help.”

Barre-Boulet made his NHL debut in late February and scored three goals in 15 games with the Lightning last season, but the team expects more out of him at this point in his career.

Related: Can Nikita Kucherov still be a force for the Lightning while sidelined?

Follow all the action on and off the ice

Follow all the action on and off the ice

Subscribe to our free Lightning Strikes newsletter

We’ll send you news, analysis and commentary on the Bolts weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

“As soon as I saw Kuch was injured, I was like, ‘Aw, this is my shot to be in Tampa,’” Barre-Boulet said. “I’m going to work hard even if I’m not playing or if I’m in, it’s not going to change my work ethic. If they need me on the fourth line, I’ll be ready and if they need me on the top line, I’ll be ready, too.”

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

• • •

The Tampa Bay Times has commemorated the Lightning’s second consecutive Stanley Cup title with a new hardcover coffee table book, Striking Twice. Order now.

Sign up for Lightning Strikes, a weekly newsletter from Bolts beat writer Eduardo A. Encina that brings you closer to the ice.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.