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NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning Shake Up Roster Before Season Opener

TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Lightning wasted no time Monday morning making many changes to solidify their roster. This preseason, Carter Verhaeghe’s name stuck out a lot, and we should look forward to hearing it more–Verhaeghe not only officially made the Lightning roster, but will be making his NHL debut wearing jersey number 23 at the home opener Thursday night against the Panthers.

Saturday night, after the preseason finale, Verhaeghe said he felt like did everything he could do, that he had a good game and something he could build on. His focus was to just keep on improving, which Coach Cooper confirmed in Saturday’s press conference. “Verhaeghe has been impressive…he’s come along a lot in the last 2 years.” The Lightning typically see the right kind of spark in athletes and present opportunities for them to take off in their career.

In other good news, Brayden Point was back in a regular jersey for Monday’s morning skate, indicating that we can expect to see him sooner rather than later in the season. Point is finally pain-free after managing to push through a torn labrum in his hips and hip surgery this past spring. Versatility is in full effect as well with Luke Witkowski, an original defensive player now on the roster at wing. He’ll bring a needed physicality up front.

Unfortunately, as much as we heard Volkov’s name and saw some strong skating out of him this preseason, Volkov was waived and sent up north. As for some questionable players heading into Thursday’s home opener, Paquette more than likely won’t play, and Johnson and Hedman will be a day-to-day evaluation. The potentially fitting line up for the home opener will be:

Palat-Cirelli-Killorn
Joseph-Gourde-Verhaeghe
Maroon-Smith-Witkowski

McDonagh-Cernak
Sergachev-Shattenkirk
Coburn-Rutta

________________________________________________________________

Kasey Hudson is a Tampa team contributor for Florida National News. | social@floridanationalnews.com

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