This was originally published at BoltProspects and being logged here.
Despite the large void the NHL lockout has created, the hockey season is already long upon us as various amateur and professional leagues throughout North America and Europe have already wrapped up their preseasons and are set to begin or are already in the thick of regular season action. The Lightning’s new AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, open their 2012-2013 season tonight with an impressive roster that boasts most, especially the nucleus, of last season’s Calder Cup-winning roster and an infusion of talent with varying professional experience (J.T. Brown, Brett Connolly, Danick Gauthier, Riku Helenius, Dmitry Korobov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Jared Nightingale, Matt Taormina and J.T. Wyman). In the absence of big-league action, watching much of the (currently foreseeable) lifeblood of the Lightning’s future skate and bond together is a much-welcomed tonic.