With the Lightning blueline getting closer to full strength, rookie defenseman Luke Witkowski became the odd man out Tuesday, reassigned to AHL Syracuse.
Defenseman Braydon Coburn (lower body) could return by Thursday's Game 1 against Detroit. Andrej Sustr (upper body) might as well.
With fellow rookie Nikita Nesterov stepping up, earning power play unit (two goals in last two games), Witkowski is being returned. Witkowski played in 16 games over two stints and has handled himself well, using his 6-foot-2 200-pound frame to bring a physical element, including a team high eight hits Saturday.
With the confidence he gained this season, expect him to play a role in next year's team.