Haas: It’s NHL Or Bust For Bolts Tyrell

by Jason Haas | Posted on Monday, September 2nd, 2013

DTyrellAs NHL training camps prepare to get underway, many young players will be looking to make an impact and perhaps stick with the big club. The Tampa Bay Lightning is certainly not short on young guns with players like Tyler Johnson, Richard Panik, and Ondrej Palat. All are contenders to make the Bolts roster after seeing some NHL ice time last season.  One player who is fighting to establish himself is Dana Tyrell. (Photo/Susan Ferlita)

The 2007 second round pick has not played a full season in the NHL since his rookie year in 2010-11. Since then, a combination of injuries, underwhelming play and increased system depth have led to Tyrell bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL.  The Alberta native has one year remaining on his contract at a $600,000 cap hit and at 24 years old, he may be running out of chances with the Lightning organization.

Let’s examine Tyrell’s situation:

The Good:  Tyrell’s speed.  GM Steve Yzerman spoke often of the team’s “mix” last season, particularly when Alex Killorn was recalled from Syracuse at Tyrell’s expense. Tyrell’s speed is a nice complement to Pierre-Cedric Labrie‘s brawn, should the two end up as the spare parts at the NHL level.

The Bad:  System depth. The aforementioned Johnson, Panik and Palat are all contenders to make the roster and Labrie has a roster spot locked down after earning a one-way contract. Brett Connolly may not let the Lightning leave him in the minors for another year. Tyrell will need to impress in camp and will need to start producing points as well. He’s similar in build to Tom Pyatt and thus far, Pyatt has been a slightly better point producer at the NHL level.

The Verdict:  At this point, Tyrell is likely to be waived at the end of training camp.  Let’s assume ten forward roster spots are filled (Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Valtteri Filppula, Jonathan Drouin, Teddy Purcell, Ryan Malone, Nate Thompson, B.J. Crombeen, Alex Killorn and Labrie), likely leaving three more forward positions open. Given his ability to chip in points now and again, Pyatt should have a leg up on Tyrell.  With his penalty killing prowess, sniper’s accuracy and little left to prove in the AHL, Tyler Johnson should be good for a roster spot as well. Between Panik, Palat and Tyrell, the Lightning is likely to choose Panik. He hits everything that moves and can really add a dangerous depth scoring element to the team.  Palat could make it, but will likely be given another year in the AHL in a top six role.

It’s a shame to see Tyrell on the bubble. His speed is an X-factor and many thought he could be Tampa’s version of Detroit’s Darren Helm. Perhaps he will stay healthy and continue to develop, but it’s not looking good at this moment. There is however, plenty of time between now and the start of the season and anything can happen.

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Jason Haas
About the Author

Senior Writer Jason Haas is a native Michigander who came to Tampa after graduating college with an Advertising and Marketing degree. It seems as if fate intervened since he has shared his hockey fandom with the Lightning since 2002.

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  1. BigKahuna BigKahuna says:

    Well said. I love the guy as a player but it looks like he’ll be squeezed out by the youngsters. The lost time because of the knee surgeries may have cost him his career.

  2. Jason Haas Jason Haas says:

    I don’t know if his career is over at this point, but certainly it looks like his time in the organization might be after this season. Definitely seems like the kind of player that could flourish overseas – but at the same time, he’s never really been a big point product, even in junior.

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