James O'Brien

Kevin Poulin
AP

Bolts scoop up Poulin, who was waived by Isles

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The Tampa Bay Lightning claimed (now-former) New York Islanders goalie prospect Kevin Poulin off of waivers on Sunday, according to New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

Injuries opened up an obvious need at the backup position for the Lightning, at least in the short-to-medium term. Andrei Vasilevskiy is out after vascular surgery, while Kristers Gudlevskis was dealing with some bumps and bruises himself.

The biggest loser of this move might just be Ray Emery; the veteran goalie is battling for a gig in Lightning training camp.

Poulin, 25, found himself in limbo with the Islanders, as Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss seemed firmly in place for the near future.

He still needs to make an impression sooner rather than later, but this move makes plenty of sense for just about everyone involved.

One other thing to possibly note, by the way:

Update: Yes, indeed this was bad news for Emery.

Caps’ Burakovsky as a center: Improving, ‘not perfect’

New York Rangers v Washington Capitals - Game Four

Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky told the Washington Post that he’s getting more comfortable as he transitions back to the center position.

Granted, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.

“I do feel a lot more comfortable,” Burakovsky said. “There’s still a lot of things to work on. Everything’s not perfect, so there’s a lot of stuff I have to watch on videos and learn and try to do better. But I think it’s been pretty good in this preseason so far.”

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz praised his eagerness to learn and work ethic, but he provided some constructive criticism of the 20-year-old:

” … He has to recognize a little bit more that there’s a real confined area, so when he does get the puck in the middle of the ice, sometimes you’ve just got to move it just a hair quicker and then get it back,” Trotz said.

As far as forwards go, centers tend to carry the greatest two-way burdens.

Can he pull it off? Maybe, but chances are that it will also be a work in progress.

Rangers cut camp roster to 25, including demoting Skjei

2015 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional
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The New York Rangers assigned the following players to the Hartford Wolf Pack, their AHL affiliate, late on Saturday:

Luke Adam, Mat Bodie, Ryan Bourque, Brian Gibbons, Ryan Graves, Magnus Hellberg, Brady Skjei, and Chris Summers.

The names that likely stand out the most are Adam, Gibbons, Hellberg and Skjei (pictured). The Rangers are getting pretty close to cementing their final group heading into 2015-16, as their training camp roster is now down to 25 players.

New York Newsday’s Steve Zipay passed along a series of interesting observations regarding these cuts last night:

It certainly would be interesting if the Rangers subjected Emerson Etem to waivers.

Report: Defense (maybe Byfuglien?) is on Boston’s shopping list

Dustin Byfuglien
AP
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Imagine, for a moment, a blueline featuring two super-heavyweights in Zdeno Chara and Dustin Byfuglien.

(You may also imagine the ice cracking when they’re on it at the same time.)

It’s not a situation that is imminent, yet the rumor is at least being batted around regarding the Boston Bruins. First, here’s Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe:

 … The Bruins need help on defense with Dennis Seidenberg out for two months following back surgery. Byfuglien, the dynamic right-shot rover, would help. But the Jets are set in goal long term with Eric Comrie and ex-UMass Lowell puckstopper Connor Hellebuyck in the minors under Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson. The Jets would want one of the Bruins’ two 2016 first-rounders and help off the roster. Winnipeg has to budget cash for Andrew Ladd (unrestricted), Jacob Trouba (restricted), and Mark Scheifele (restricted), whose deals will expire after this season. As unique as Byfuglien is, the UFA-to-be is 30 and is seeking what could be his final big contract. Byfuglien would be a good addition for the Bruins as well as any other club, but one that would come at a cost.

There may be at least a tiny bit of fire to go with the smoke, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Bruins are looking for a blueliner … but not exclusively Byfuglien.

Byfuglien’s cap hit of $5.2 million is virtually assured to balloon in his next contract, so the Bruins would need to decide if a] they could (or would want to) re-sign Byfuglien or b] he’d be worth a key asset if he only plays with Boston as a “rental.”

Again, it doesn’t sound like GM Don Sweeney has his finger hovering over the trigger to make a deal moments from now.

It’s also worth noting that Byfuglien might not be Boston’s first choice as an upgrade, for a variety of reasons.

Still … it would be fascinating, wouldn’t it?

Chicago releases Jan Hejda from tryout

Colorado Avalanche v Anaheim Ducks
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Saturday featured quite a few instances in which teams cut their training camp rosters down to size, and the Chicago Blackhawks were no exception.

The standout name was Jan Hejda, who was released from professional tryout contract. Forward Tanner Kero also couldn’t make the grade, yet he’ll just go the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.

Hejda, 37, enjoyed a better outlook when he initially received that PTO back on Sept. 12.

Since then, Chicago bolstered its lineup with full contracts (re-signing Michal Rozsival) and added a PTO defenseman with arguably more in the tank in Lubomir Visnovsky.

At his advanced age, it’s anyone’s guess if Hejda lands with another NHL team or if he’ll need to settle for a job in the AHL or overseas.

If nothing else, the thick resume he brought to Chicago helps his chances of finding work somewhere else.

As CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers notes, the Blackhawks’ training camp roster is now down to 36 players.