Luke Witkowski(53) Tampa Bay Lightning

Luke-Witkowski2

Tampa Bay Lightning 6th round pick in the 2008 draft (#160 overall) brutish defenseman Luke Witkowski(82) survives over 200 penalty minutes through a complete 76 game AHL regular season schedule to receive his first recall to the parent club from affiliate Syracuse Crunch.

At 6’3″ 213 lbs. he’s certainly a bit of a wide body protecting his zone and delivering crushing checks to opposing team members.

He definitely showed an affinity for the rough stuff in 2 years of USHL American junior hockey but was making smarter decisions to avoid the penalty box once he arrived at Western Michigan University.

He was made team captain in his senior year after winning the 2012 NCAA (CCHA) Championship as a junior, where he wore an “A”.

The 24-year old may only be filling in for a spot due to a starter’s injury but could easily carve out more time protecting teammates with some hard-nosed play.

Original story: 10/20-14

He was in and out of the lineup for his first recall but managed to stick around for a good six weeks before being sent back to the minors in early March and getting his second call-up at the end of the same month that would stick until the end of the regular season.

It ended up equaling his first 16 NHL games for 2014/2015. He had no points and a 0 rating, while inflicting pain on any opposing forward that happened to roam into his zone.

He returned once again to Syracuse Crunch and played three Calder Cup Playoff games with 1 assist before exiting in the first round.

The now 25-year old signs on for another season on a two-way deal but you can bet he’s going to make it difficult for them to send him back to the farm.

Luke-Witkowski