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NHL trade deadline fallout for the Syracuse Crunch

Credit: Syracuse Crunch

The 2024 NHL trade deadline has passed, how will the moves made by the Tampa Bay Lightning affect the Syracuse Crunch?

The trades an NHL team makes throughout the season sometimes affect their American Hockey League club as well. This is especially prevalent at the National Hockey League trade deadline when teams go in one of two directions. Some take a “home run” swing for a big name, which results in high draft picks and prospects leaving the organization. Others trade an established star and bring in those high picks and prospects in hopes of future glory.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, the parent club of the Syracuse Crunch, are still a playoff contender. Although they are no longer the Stanley Cup favorite they have been over the past several years, they are still a dangerous team that believes they can still win it all. As such, they made three trades at the deadline in hopes of boosting their chances at another cup.


Two of the three trades have no impact on the Crunch whatsoever, as the Lightning moved draft picks and signing rights as compensation. The other trade, however, left a gaping hole in the Syracuse defense corps.

On March 7, the day before the NHL trade deadline, Tampa Bay traded defenseman Jack Thompson and a 2024 third-round draft pick to the San Jose Sharks for forward Anthony Duclair.

What does it mean to the Crunch?

Thompson played just one game for Tampa Bay this season but was a revelation for Syracuse. Drafted in the third round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft by the Lightning, he was having an outstanding season for the Crunch. Playing in his second full season in Syracuse, he had five goals, 27 assists, 17 power-play points, and 113 shots. Thompson was second on the Crunch in the scoring at the time of the trade.

Syracuse Crunch Jack Thompson (21) skating with the puck against Belleville Senators Kyle Betts (11) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, February 3, 2024., Belleville won 4-3 in OT. Photo credit: Syracuse Crunch.

Jack Thompson’s breakout could not have happened at a better time for the Syracuse Crunch. In 2022-23, he had 23 points as a rookie for Syracuse. Thompson’s offensive contributions were not as needed then, as defensemen Darren Raddysh and Trevor Carrick were in the midst of big seasons. Raddysh was recalled to Tampa Bay in the second half of the season and never came back, while Carrick returned to the San Diego Gulls in the offseason. The departures opened the door for Thompson to get more ice time in 2023-24 and it paid off.

Replacing Thompson

Syracuse is solidly in a playoff spot in the North Division race, sitting in first place (as of March 10) with 16 regular season games remaining and 14 points ahead of sixth place Laval. With everything that has gone right for the team this season, the Crunch will now need one of their defensemen to step up and replace Thompson’s points production.

Sean Day had 40 points in 2021-22 for Syracuse and was the team’s leading scorer among their defenseman that season. He struggled last season, posting no goals and 14 assists, but has rebounded this season – posting five goals and 16 assists in 42 games played. With Thompson in San Jose, Day has a chance to earn more ice time at both even strength and on the power play while adding to his point totals.

While Day has enjoyed a renaissance this season, he is not the leading scorer among defensemen on the Crunch with Thompson gone. That title belongs to Declan Carlile, who has 25 points in 56 games. Now in his second full American Hockey League season, Carlile has already passed his point total from last season with six of them coming on the power play. He also has 90 shots, which is third on the team.

Declan Carlile (#72), along with Gabriel Dumont (#40) and Hugo Alnefelt (#60) defend the front of their net during their home opener against the Bridgeport Islanders on October 14, 2023. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

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