With the conclusion of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s development camp and 3v3 tournament, there were several standouts and bright looking futures ahead. I will focus on two defensemen that are under contract already. They will play for the Syracuse Crunch this season. Could either of these players play in the NHL?
RD Nick Perbix
The oldest man at the Lightning’s development camp took the college route out of high school and Tampa has waited for him since they drafted him in the sixth round of the NHL Entry Draft back in 2017. Which makes him the longest lasting Lightning drafted player left in the pipeline. When his final season of college hockey concluded towards the end of last season, he joined the Syracuse Crunch’s top four to conclude their season and to begin his professional career. Scoring eight points in 12 games and one in five playoff games with a plus three rating despite Syracuse being eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs is quite encouraging.
During the 3v3 tournament, Perbix did not put up big points. He added a calming presence and an unusual defensive effort not usually seen in these yearly events. His senior year in high school and college, including playoffs, he produced points at a point per game or better. The NCAA is viewed as a more defense-oriented league compared to some other leagues, making it all the more impressive. This evidence leads me to believe that he plays a strong two-way defensive game. Only amassing one penalty call against him in 17 AHL contests so far is a good sign too.
With one year remaining on his entry level deal, he has got to prove that he can continue to succeed at the professional level. Fortunately, he has a history of succeeding. He even got into four recent Olympic games playing for the USA recording one assist and a plus three rating. After some more experienced players, Darren Raddysh and Sean Day, look for Perbix to be called up. The likelihood of that many injuries occurring to cause that situation is admittedly slim, but we saw a short-term influx of injuries causing Day, Raddysh, Andrej Sustr, and Fredrick Claesson to get into several games apiece just last season. This season will start seeing the Bolts down one defenseman in Zach Bogosian who is going to be out to begin the start of the regular season while recovering from his off-season surgery. With Tampa showing off several new players to start the season including Ian Cole, Philippe Myers, and Haydn Fleury it’s not a guarantee to see Perbix in any games for the Lightning just yet but there is a chance.
LD Declan Carlile
For the second time in two articles, I am including an undrafted player that the Bolts signed before the last season ended that could have easily gone unnoticed by many. That last article is here. I think it is worth noting that the Lightning often sign undrafted forwards to an entry level deal, not defenseman. That should say something about what they think of 22-year-old Declan Carlile. He, like Nick Perbix, also signed on to finish the season with the Syracuse Crunch last year after his college season concluded.
He managed one goal, two assists, two penalty minutes, and a plus two rating in 10 games with the Crunch on the third pairing. In the four playoff games, he had one penalty called against him and was minus one. Not the best playoff performance, but a strong showing in the regular season. However, he put up big points in the NCAA for Merrimack College and in the 3v3 tournament. In 83 NCAA games, he put up 56 points with a plus four rating. In the 3v3 tournament championship game, he scored two goals. One of these was during a two on one opportunity and the other down low and both were one-timers. His game looks to be more of an offensive style.
With two of the Crunch’s top four defense not being brought back, Carlile should see some of that ice time come his way. He very well may find himself playing on the same pairing as Nick Perbix. A left shooting and right shooting pair make sense. He is behind Perbix on the depth chart as well as other more experienced players I mentioned earlier so he shouldn’t see any NHL action this season, but injuries do happen. He should have a better chance next year with additional experience under his belt, but he will have even more competition from Roman Schmidt, a Tampa drafted player whom I will be talking about more in my next piece.
Three Defense Stars of the 3v3 Tournament
Honorable mentions: Eamon Powell, Jack Thompson
Third star: Nick Perbix
Second star: Declan Carlile
First star: Roman Schmidt
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