Earlier today, Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced through the team’s official website that the Lightning have reassigned left wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie to the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.
As I said previously, while I happen to enjoy watching Labrie play, I am not entirely surprised at this move. In fact, I can almost go as far as saying that I saw this coming.
In the 13 games that he has suited up for with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, he is pointless. More so, he has a minus-4 rating and 20 minutes in penalties.
When it comes to dropping the gloves, Labrie is one of the Lightning’s go to guys; however, when it comes to finding the back of the net, that has not been his specialty this season.
Now, there is both a good side and a bad side to this story. The bad side is that the main roster has lost one of the fans’ favorites. Also, it means that the Bolts have lost one of the few guys they have that can stand their own when the gloves hit the ice.
However, the good news is that this move was not made for no reason at all. For Yzerman to have made this move must mean that someone on our injured list is getting ready to return. If I had to guess, I would say that this someone is LW Ryan Malone. Malone has a good, solid presence in front of the net and is very good and picking up rebounds. Also, after spending as long as he has on the injured list, he will certainly be playing like he has something to prove. This could supply some much needed energy to the Lightning offense.
Also, as far as Labrie is concerned, I think some time in Syracuse will be a two-fold experience.
Firstly, I think it will help him get his head back in the game and give him some time to find his groove once again. Also, with the Crunch having dropped 8 of their last 10 games, it is apparent that they need something to spark their game once again. Ever since Vladislav Namestnikov broke his hand this season, the Crunch seemed to have lost a lot of their drive. Adding someone like Labrie to the lineup could help spark that once again.
I think it is worth noting that after the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, Labrie becomes an unrestricted free agent. After being moved to the Crunch, it will be interesting to see if he decides to remain with the Lightning, or explore the free agency.
Of course, there are a lot of contracts that the Lightning will have to look at next season, but that is another story for another day.
What do you think of the Lightning’s decision to move Pierre-Cedric Labrie to the Syracuse Crunch? Do you think the move will help him find his game once again? Furthermore, do you think that he will still be with the Bolts organization when the 2014-15 season starts? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.