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Forum: Armchair-GMJul. 30, 2021 at 11:41 p.m.
Forum: Tampa Bay LightningJul. 30, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>CoopsTroops</b></div><div>A strange season where the Crunch only played 3 teams and had a 1-off affiliation with the Florida Panthers has come to an end. The Crunch will finish the 2021 season with a 19-12-1 record after beating the Rochester Americans 5-3 while down 2 skaters. Between the constant changing faces of players going up and down between Sunrise’s and Tampa’s taxi squads I think this was a good season for the team and individual players. Syracuse GM Stacy Roest must agree as head coach Ben Groulx has already signed a new contract to return behind the bench for the Crunch next season.

I am going to post all the Lightning affiliated players stats, and thoughts on them, below. While multiple Florida players played a big part of the success of the team over the season, I will not include them as this is going to be long enough as is. Player stats will be organized by total points and players who are only on AHL contracts will be denoted by an (AHL) tag.

<strong>Syracuse Crunch skater stats:</strong>
Boris Katchouk LW 29GP 11G 23A 34P +17
Taylor Raddysh RW 27GP 12G 17A 29P +2
Otto Somppi C 32GP 12G 14A 26P +16
Ryan Lohin C/LW/RW 25GP 7G 8A 15P +2
Peter Abbandonato RW (AHL) 28GP 5G 10A 15P +4
Sean Day LD 29GP 3G 12A 15P +3
Jimmy Huntington C/RW/LW 28GP 5G 9A 14P +6
Alex Barre-Boulet RW 10GP 8G 4A 12P +9
Antoine Morand C 19GP 5G 7A 12P +1
Devante Stephens LD/LW (AHL) 26GP 5G 6A 11P +14
Gabriel Fortier LW 30GP 6G 4A 10P +3
Ben Thomas RD 16GP 1G 8A 9P +8
Alex Green RD 26GP 1G 8A 9P +5
Mitchell Stephens C 4GP 1G 7A 8P +2
Gemel Smith C 3GP 3G 3A 6P +5
Andreas Borgman LD 12GP 3G 2A 5P +5
Cal Foote RD 6GP 1G 3A 4P +1
Cole Koepke LW/RW 9GP 2G 1A 3P +5
Ross Colton C 3GP 1G 2A 3P +1
Dmitry Semykin LD 9GP 1G 2A 3P -4
Daniel Walcott LW 9GP 1G 2A 3P +4
Nikita Pavlyechev C (AHL) 8GP 0G 3A 3P +2
Luke Witkowski RD/RW 14GP 0G 2A +8
Declan McDonnell RW 16GP 0G 2A 2P Even
Jack Thompson RD 1GP 0G 1A 1P +2
Jaydon Dureau LW 2GP 0G 1A 1P -1
Gage Concalves C/LW/RW 2GP 0G 1A 1P -3
Jack Finley C 2GP 0G 0A 0P -1
Odeen Tufto C 4GP 0G 0A 0P Even

<strong><em>Player Thoughts:</em></strong>
<strong>Boris Katchouk LW</strong>
Katchouk was the team MVP in my eyes. He did everything the team asked of him and did so at the highest level. He was an essential part of the PK and PP, played center for a little bit, and drove offense at 5on5 while playing great defense. Raddysh may have been the one to get the call-up to the taxi squad for a week or so, but Katchouk was Syracuse’s best player and probably the most improved.

<strong>Taylor Raddysh RW</strong>
Much of Raddysh’s story is like Katchouk’s. A staple on the PK, PP, and the top line that drove offense for the Crunch most of the season. I think Raddysh and Katchouk both have a spot with the Lightning next season as they both greatly improved and dominated their AHL competition at times.

<strong>Otto Somppi C</strong>
Somppi has a convincing argument to be called the Crunch’s most improved player. Nothing more than a depth forward in his first 2 seasons with Syracuse, he started this season as the 2C/3C, but through call-ups and outright better performances he laid a firm claim to the 1C job as the season progressed. He can play the PP, but probably has more value as a PKer in the NHL. I think he’ll see some games with Tampa next year.

<strong>Ryan Lohin C/LW/RW</strong>
Lohin is an interesting case as he is an older prospect in the Lightning system (will be 25 in June) and only just completed his 2nd AHL season after turning pro after 3 years of NCAA hockey. He looked like nothing more than a depth forward to begin the season, but eventually became a valuable player as the 2C down the stretch. His ELC will conclude this season, so his future with the organization comes down to if BriseBois offers him a new contract. I think he showed enough progression, and with Syracuse shaping up to be a young team next year I think his experience would be valuable.

<strong>Peter Abbandonato RW (AHL)</strong>
I believe Abbandonato’s AHL contract comes to an end after this season. While not officially part of the Lightning organization, he served as a valuable 2RW/3RW for Syracuse over the season. He played on Lohin’s RW down the stretch. I do not think he will receive an ELC, and whether he receives a new AHL contract is TBD. I think he is valuable from an experience standpoint, like Lohin, but his future is TBD.

<strong>Sean Day LD</strong>
Day was a pleasant surprise for the Crunch this season. The Bolts signed him to a 1-year deal after his ELC with the New York Rangers expired without a qualifying offer. He spent his last season in the Rangers system as an ECHL player, but flawlessly stepped into a regular role on the left side of the Crunch’s defense. He would be considered and offensive defensemen, but he showed consistent defense throughout the season. I think he will be signed to a new contract, but probably won’t see any games in Tampa unless the sky is falling with injuries.

<strong>Jimmy Huntington C/LW/RW</strong>
Huntington is a jack of all trades. Played up and down the forward lines and even played defense for a few games during the middle of the season when the Crunch had some defensemen depth issues. There’s nothing that really stands out about his game other than he’s a hard worker. He was signed as an undrafted free agent 2 years ago and has another year on his ELC. Next year will be big for him in determining his future.

<strong>Alex Barre-Boulet RW</strong>
We have seen BB in Tampa this year, so I won’t say much on him. He’s a very good AHL player, and next year he’ll have to prove he can play in the NHL whether that is with us or someone else (Seattle).

<strong>Antoine Morand C</strong>
Acquired in the trade that sent Volkov to Anaheim, Morand played a 2C/3C role for most of his time in Syracuse this season. His stats with the Crunch were noticeably better than they were with ANA’s AHL affiliate, and he has 1 more year on his ELC. He’s a skilled forward, but I do not think there’s enough skill there to ever make it out of the AHL. Also, his defensive play could use some improvement. He will be an important player for the Crunch next year though.

<strong>Devante Stephens LD/LW (AHL)</strong>
Stephens was acquired early on last season in a trade that sent Matthew Spencer to the Sabres. He had an unremarkable year with the Crunch last year and was not offered a new NHL contract. He started this season with the Orlando in the ECHL, but when his call-up came he made the most of it and played as the 1LD for part of the season. He moved around between defense and forward as needed but played his best as a defenseman. I think his AHL contract was only a 1-year deal, but arguably played well enough to earn an NHL contract. Whether that is with Tampa or someone else is TBD. If no NHL contract comes, I am sure Syracuse would love to have him back on an AHL deal.

<strong>Gabriel Fortier LW</strong>
Fortier had an okay rookie AHL season. He was given opportunities, as he at one point played on the top line, but never really took off. For most of the season he was paired as Morand’s LW, but I don’t think they ever really looked great together on the ice. Fortier’s most memorable part of the season will be having the first goal of the season for the Crunch with a feed from Katchuok on the PK. He has 2 more years on his ELC, so still plenty of time to improve.

<strong>Ben Thomas RD</strong>
Thomas is another player who saw time in Tampa this year, so I will not say too much on him. It took 5 AHL seasons, but his perseverance finally paid off. I think he’s earned a new contract next year, but he will be a UFA. I think he’ll continue to be a reserve option for Tampa in the future as long as some other team doesn’t think they can get more out of him in the NHL.

<strong>Alex Green RD</strong>
Green had a decent rookie year after 3 years in NCAA, but will probably need to find another gear next year if he wants to make the NHL in any capacity. He was given limited minutes and scratched at times to begin the year, but became the 1RD/2RD as the season progressed. I like him for the future if he continues to develop as he skates well, plays solid defense, makes good passes, and has a hard shot (when he chooses to use it). The question may be if he does any of them well enough to stand out, but I think he will get there.

<strong>Mitchell Stephens C</strong>
Stephens dropped in for a few games while recovering from his injury to remind everyone he’s above the AHL level of talent. It was quite fun watching the Katchouk-Stephens-Raddysh line dismantle (understatement?) the competition.

<strong>Gemel Smith C
</strong>Speaking of centers above the AHL level, we have Gemel Smith. He had a remarkable game where he scored a hat trick in the first 10 minutes of 1 of his games and recorded 2 more assists for a 5-point game. I am not sure what his future holds beyond this season, but he would be a valuable option to have back with the Crunch next year. We’ll have to see if a consistent NHL opportunity comes with the Bolts or someone else next year though.

<strong>Andreas Borgman LD</strong>
Borgman is what Borgman is. He’s a tweener between the AHL and NHL. Looks out of place at times in the NHL, but thoroughly looks in control in the AHL. I suspect he might return to European hockey next season.

<strong>Cal Foote RD</strong>
Foote returned for what will probably be his final stint with the Crunch late in the season. He looked rough at first but eventually found his game. Next year he’ll have to prove he can be relied on as a full-time NHL player.

<strong>Cole Koepke LW/RW</strong>
Koepke had a solid stint with the Crunch this year after his NCAA season ended. His ELC does not officially start until next season but was a constant in the lineup once he arrived this season. He did not light up the scoreboard but showed off his rocket of a shot a few times and played sound defense. He even got some work in on the PK. He started off at his natural position of LW but played some of his last games at RW as needed since the Crunch lacked natural RWs. Koepke will be someone to keep an eye on going forward.

<strong>Ross Colton C</strong>
Called up at the start of the season and the rest was history. He should not be in the AHL anytime soon.

<strong>Demtry Semykin LD</strong>
Semykin leaves a lot to be desired. He played half of his games as a forward (due to defensive depth) and did not look particularly great at any point. He’s a big physical bruiser with a hard shot, but could be considered a liability when on the ice. He’s still very much a long-term project and he still has 2 years left on his ELC.

<strong>Daniel Walcott LW</strong>
Walcott is just an energizer bunny when on the ice. He’s not going to light up the scoreboard, but he’s a solid depth option to bolster any line he’s on. If for some reason Witkowski is not re-signed this offseason, Walcott is the natural replacement for the Crunch’s captaincy. Walcott signed a 2-year deal starting next year.

<strong>Nikita Pavlychev C/LW (AHL)</strong>
Pavlychev played the first year of his 2-year AHL contract between Syracuse and Orlando, mainly providing Syracuse with a depth forward option. His size is impressive but needs to develop more before he becomes an AHL regular. I do not think he’ll be anything more than a depth forward in the AHL. I do feel for Pavlychev though because he did score his first AHL goal this season, but had it overturned after a review that could have gone either way.

<strong>Luke Witkowski RD/RW</strong>
The Captain had an okay year. Not the best defenseman, not the best forward, but a sturdy guy on the backend who can be relied upon for his leadership and PK ability. He spent most of the year injured though. He should return as the Crunch captain next year pending a new contract.

<strong>Declan McDonnell RW</strong>
Mr. Irrelevant from last season’s draft had a quiet rookie season. He would have spent the season with his OHL team, but the OHL failed to get their season started and thus McDonnell was able to spend the entirety of the year with Syracuse. He spent most of his time on the 4th line in a depth role and showed some flashes to start of the season, but his 2 points in 16 games showed he did not do much. He’s a hard worker on the ice and plays sound defense, but upside is definitely a question. He’ll have another year in the OHL before the Bolts have to make a decision on signing him to an ELC.

<strong>Jack Thompson RD</strong>
Drafted last year in the 3rd round, Thompson played his only game of the season for Syracuse in their finale. Due to the OHL not starting he spent much of the spring in Europe and spent around a month or so practicing with Syracuse before finally getting into a game. I was very impressed with his offensive skills as he moves the puck well, skates well, and has a great hard shot. Defense was okay, but not bad by any means. His one assist was a slapshot that I think would have gone in clean, but someone in front of the net got their stick on. It was a small sample size, but he could be a 3rd round gem. He will return to his OHL team next season though.

<strong>Jaydon Dureau LW</strong>
Dureau got into a game before the WHL season started and into the season finale for the Crunch. He did not really show much with the Crunch but put together a solid WHL season where he outscored his teammate Seth Jarvis, Carolina’s #13 overall pick from last years draft. He will be eligible for the AHL next year as he was drafted as an overager in last year’s draft. I expect he’ll be signed to an ELC unless Lightning staff think he would get better experience in another season with Jarvis as his linemate in the WHL.

<strong>Gage Goncalves C/LW/RW</strong>
Ignore the +/- on Goncalves because I assure you he is the real deal. Same story with game time in the AHL as Dureau, but Goncalves was noticeable. He played on the 2nd line LW in his first game and the RW of the top line in the season finale. A playmaker with good size, a good shot, and good hockey IQ. I think he’ll get a chance at his natural center position in his first full year with Syracuse next year, but he looked good on both wings when given a chance this season. I remain very high on the future of Goncalves with the Lightning.

<strong>Jack Finley C</strong>
Pretty unremarkable 2 outings for Finley, our first pick of last year’s draft. He is quite young though since he was one of the youngest players of last year’s draft. He’ll have plenty of time to develop as he’s already signed to an ELC. He returned to his WHL team, like Dureau and Goncalves, during the middle of the season but never played a game as he picked up a season ending injury sometime between leaving the Crunch and his WHL team’s first game. He’ll return to the WHL next year.

<strong>Odeen Tufto C</strong>
Tufto was picked up as a free agent after 4 years of NCAA hockey. He only played a limited number of games before missing the rest of the season. I had assumed coaches thought he might need more practice time, but he was a no-show even with the Crunch down 2 skaters in their season finale. That leads me to believe he picked up an injury that kept him out. Barre-Boulet was with the Crunch around the time of Tufto’s 4 games and they looked good together as they were often on the same line. He did not get on the scoreboard, but I think he had 2 assists taken away by overturned goals. Undersized and 24 years old with a 1-year ELC will make next season especially important for Tufto. I like his skillset as a playmaker, but he is going to need to hit the ground running next season. It will be interesting to see if they have him move to RW as he might not stick down the middle at his size.

Well, if you got this far thanks for reading! I mainly do this to organize thoughts on players for myself, but I am happy to share my thoughts on the future Lightning players with anyone interested. If there’s any questions about a particular player or the Crunch in general, I would be happy to answer the best I can. I am eventually going to post an ACGM with what I predict/hope next year’s Syracuse roster will look like, and will include a link it just below this sentence.

End of season roster: <a href="https://www.capfriendly.com/armchair-gm/team/2397722">https://www.capfriendly.com/armchair-gm/team/2397722</a>
Predicted/Hopeful roster for next season:
<a href="https://www.capfriendly.com/armchair-gm/team/2484671">https://www.capfriendly.com/armchair-gm/team/2484671</a>
End of season prospect pool assessment:
<a href="https://www.capfriendly.com/forums/thread/484251?post_id=2537533">https://www.capfriendly.com/forums/thread/484251?post_id=2537533</a></div></div>

You have too much time on your hands....
Forum: Seattle KrakenJul. 17, 2021 at 10:26 p.m.
Forum: Toronto Maple LeafsJun. 29, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.