With Anthony Cirelli close to returning, the Lightning need to open up both salary cap and roster space to bring him back onto the active roster. They made one of those moves this morning as they announced that they’ve sent winger Cole Koepke to AHL Syracuse.
The 24-year-old didn’t have any NHL experience heading into this season but made the roster out of training camp and has played close to a full-time role to this point. Koepke has suited up in 17 games for Tampa Bay this season, logging a little over nine minutes a game on the fourth line while chipping in with a goal and 22 hits.
Last season, Koepke was a productive forward with the Crunch, notching 20 goals and 19 helpers in 69 contests and at this stage of his development, a chance to play a much more prominent role in the minors will likely be beneficial.
Tampa Bay will have to wait to find out the fate of defenseman Philippe Myers for a few more hours. He was placed on waivers yesterday and his potential demotion coupled with Koepke’s return will give the Lightning just enough cap space to be able to activate Cirelli.