The Rochester Americans announced a pair of signings today, but it was also met with news of one departure.
Both Alex Lepkowski and Frederick Roy have signed AHL deals with Buffalo’s top affiliate, but word came that the Syracuse Crunch have signed former Amerk Evan Rankin to a one-year AHL deal.
Lepkowski, who comes to the Amerks after finishing his career in the OHL where he was a member of the Barrie Colts, was drafted by the Sabres in 2011 but had yet to land an NHL entry-level deal. The 6’4″, 205 lb. defenceman is coming off of a nine point (0-9) year in Barrie. Not known for his offence, Lepkowski’s size is his greatest asset and his towering frame helps him in his stay at home role.
At just 20 years old, Lepkowski has room to grow his offence, but if his junior output is any indication, it’s unlikely he’ll become more than a 15-20 point player at the professional level.
His best numbers came in 2011-12, when he put up eight goals and three assists in 51 games, and added another two goals and one assist in 13 playoff appearances.
Roy, the son of former NHL goaltender and current Avalanche general manager Patrick Roy, is back in Rochester after playing 64 games with the storied franchise last season. In his first professional season after a 92 point (27-65) QMJHL season, Roy struggled to show that he could produce at that rate in the pro game. In all of 2012-13, Roy had a mere ten points (8-2), but the Amerks re-upped the 22-year-old Montreal native for another year.
While playing for the Quebec Remparts under his father’s tutelage, Roy was named the league’s best defensive forward and earned a spot on the first all-star team.
Rankin, who joins a host of other new faces in Syracuse, will finally get a chance to become an AHL regular. Throughout his pro career, Rankin has never played in more than 48 AHL games, but this season he could easily change that.
After taking the long way around — Rankin made his way to the AHL after working his way through the NCAA, Central Hockey League and ECHL — Rankin earned a spot with the Amerks in 2011-12. In 35 games that season, the Portage, Mich., native had 29 points (15-14), and kept his pace up the following year, posting 14 goals and 17 assists in 48 games last season.
The contract with the Crunch, an aforementioned one-year deal, will give Rankin a chance at a full-time job in the ‘A’ and a chance to possibly make his way to the top of the hockey ladder.