He’s Back! How does Alex Barre-Boulet returning help the Lightning

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Alex Barre-Boulet is back! One of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s biggest prospects is back with the Lightning after being claimed off waivers from the Seattle Kraken. Barre-Boulet was originally put on waivers with the purpose of sending him down to the AHL to continue his development. He was picked up by the Kraken, who played him for one game, where he put up an assist.

Barre-Boulet has performed well with the Lightning’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, putting up 8G, 4A, 12P in 10 games in the 2020-21 season, and the year before putting up 27G, 29A, 56P in 70 games. Alex Barre-Boulet was also a star in the QMJHL back in the 2017-18 season, putting up an outstanding 53G, 63A, 116P in 65 games, leading the entire league in goals, assists, and points. Barre-Boulet also put up 3G and 3P in 15 games with Lightning in the 2020-21 season.

Barre-Boulet went undrafted and signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2018 offseason, where fans immediately noticed that he was going to be a star in the AHL, and he proved the fans right, becoming a top player for the Syracuse Crunch, putting up 34G, 34A, and 68P in 74 games, becoming an instant star. The only player to get more points on the Syracuse Crunch roster was Carter Verhaeghe, who was picked up by the Florida Panthers in the 2020 offseason as a free agent, where he went on to become one of their best top 6 players.

With Alex Barre-Boulet back with the Lightning, how does he help them fill in the hole that Nikita Kucherov’s injury left? First off, Alex Barre-Boulet is a very talented goal scorer who isn’t afraid to show it. He instantly became a top player when he joined the Syracuse Crunch in the 2018-19 season, and has only gotten better from there. Fans were happy to see Barre-Boulet on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster midway through the 2020-21 season, and he played well on the star-studded Lightning team, earning him self a very respectable 15:15 average time-on-ice, and seemed to play well on a line with Steven Stamkos, who’s play style mixes well with Barre-Boulet’s.

If Barre-Boulet can play like he did last season, we should expect for him to have a Ross Colton type season, surprising the entire league with the skill people didn’t think they’d see in the NHL by such a player. Of course, fans will be surprised to see a potential future Calder winner come out of a top team in the league, with Ross Colton (TBL), Michael Bunting (TOR) and Bowem Byram (COL) being the biggest examples.

Barre-Boulet looks ready to make a semi-permanent jump to the NHL, especially after his impressive game with the Seattle Kraken despite only playing a little over 8 minutes. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he spends another 10-20 games with the Syracuse Crunch to get some more development in before joining the Lightning before Kucherov’s potential return in late December/early January. If he plays well and stays on the roster, he will most likely play on the second line with Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn, moving Anthony Cirelli down to the third line with Ross Colton and Mathieu Joseph, and most likely bumping either Taylor Raddysh or Boris Katchouk to be scratched.

Barre-Boulet’s main role will be a mix of playmaking and sniping, helping set Stamkos up and, if possible, getting set up himself. If he can get used to the pace of the major leagues, he should have no issue putting up 20-30 points with the Lightning if he plays around 30-40 games this season, and will use the opportunity to produce with Kucherov out of the lineup temporarily. He’s looking to be locked on the main roster next season, and this season will be his time to shine on his new old team.

Barre-Boulet may potentially make a return on Saturday, when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Colorado Avalanche.

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