Rampage announce deal with Timmins

Scott Timmins will be back in the black and silver this coming season.

Timmins, a 23-year-old centre, has signed a new one-year, two-way deal with the Florida Panthers. Drafted by the Panthers in the sixth round of the 2009 draft, Timmins came to the Cats after five seasons in the OHL split between the Windsor Spitfires and Kitchener Rangers.

During his OHL career, the Hamilton, Ont. native suited up for 285 games and potted 104 goals and 105 assists. While he’s not the most pure scorer, Timmins has shown an ability to get to the net and get the goals you wouldn’t necessarily see from your all-star forwards.

Last season, in 65 games with the Rampage, Timmins tallied 11 goals — which tied his career high — and added 13 assists. His 24 point campaign saw the 5-foot-11, 190 pound forward fall just short of his 2011-12 career high of 27 points (11-16).

The Panthers brought Timmins up to the NHL for a brief stint in the lockout shortened season, having the three time OHL and two-time Memorial Cup Champion suit up in five games with the big club.


Caruso signs one-year, two-way deal with Panthers

Defenceman Michael Caruso will be suiting up with the San Antonio Rampage again next season, as he’s been re-signed to a one-year, two-way contract with the parent club Florida Panthers.

Caruso, who has spent the majority of the last five seasons as an everyday AHL player, was drafted by the Panthers in the fourth round of the 2006 draft. A two-way defenceman who’s not known for his ability to score, Caruso can still contribute, but he’s defensively responsible and his understanding of the game is beneficial to the Panthers organization.

In 318 games in the AHL, split between San Antonio and the Rochester Americans, Caruso has tallied 13 goals and 34 assists, adding another four assists in 10 playoff games.


Panthers sign Gilroy, Matsumoto and Rampage ink four

The Florida Panthers have announced one-year, two-way deals with defenceman Matt Gilroy and forward Jon Matsumoto, and their farm team announced that they’ve signed four players to AHL deals.

After the Panthers announced the pair of deals, news came that the San Antonio Rampage had come to terms with Jared Gomes, Jed Ortmeyer, Zach Miskovic, and Trevor Lewis.

Matsumoto, a 2006 third-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, spent last season between the AHL’s Worcester Sharks and Chicago Wolves. With the Sharks, where Matsumoto played 60 games, the shifty center put up 32 points (14-18) in 60 games, before tallying just one goal in five games while on loan with the Wolves. Through his career, Matsumoto has primarily been an AHLer, spending 498 games in the minors, totalling 342 points over that time. While he has 149 goals and 193 assists at the minor league level — a rate of nearly .70 points per game — Matsumoto hasn’t been able to translate that success to the NHL.

In 14 NHL contests, the Ottawa, Ont., product has only been able to put up two goals. His last NHL action came in 2011-12, when he suited up for a single game with the Panthers.

Gilroy, who was a highly sought after free agent after winning the Hobey Baker Award in 2009-09, hasn’t quite lived up to his billing as a top NHL prospect. Last season, while with the New York Rangers organization, Gilroy appeared in only 15 games with the Blueshirts. While not in the Rangers lineup, Gilroy was playing in the ‘A’ with the Connecticut Whale.

In 34 games with the Whale — now back to their original namesake as the Hartford Wolf Pack — Gilroy had six goals and nine assists.

On a Panthers team that isn’t incredibly deep at the D position, Gilroy stands a chance of having an extended stay with the Cats, but there’s a possibility he could suit up with the Rampage for more than a handful of games as well. If his two-way deal is any indication, the Panthers don’t have expectations of Gilroy being a full-time NHL player next season.

Aside from these two two-way NHL deals, the Rampage brought back three players — Gomes, Ortmeyer, Miskovic — from last season on AHL deals for 2013-14, as well as Lewis, who is not to be confused with the Stanley Cup Champion of the same name.

Gomes, who came to the Rampage last season as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Prince Edward Island, had a respectable first professional season. In 73 games with San Antonio, the Brampton, Ont., native had 16 goals and 17 assists. At 6’1″ and 174 lbs., Gomes could probably do with bulking up a bit, but the 24-year-old proved to management that he belongs there and they’ve brought him back to see if he can do it all again.

In Ortmeyer, the Rampage are bringing back a player that used to be an NHL regular at the beginning of his career. With stints with the Rangers, Predators, Sharks, and Wild, Ortmeyer is a veteran of nearly 350 regular season NHL contests with 22 goals and 31 assists over that time. While he had trouble finding the scoring sheet with any consistency in the NHL, at the AHL level the 34-year-old Omaha native has had a point almost every other game with in the ‘A’. The signing brings the Rampage back their alternate captain from last season, and a veteran presence to one of the most prospect heavy teams in the NHL.

Miskovic, a 28-year-old from River Forest, Ill., has spent the four seasons in the AHL after coming to the league as an undrafted free agent out of St. Lawrence University of the NCAA. Initially signed on to play with the Hershey Bears, Miskovic has put together quite the career for an AHL defenceman. A skilled puck mover, the 6’1″, 185 lbs. Miskovic has 19 goals and 42 assists in his 194 career games, and won the Calder Cup in 2009-10 as a part of the Bears powerhouse. While only playing in six contests during that run, Miskovic contributed to the tune of one goal and one assist in six games.

Lewis, who doesn’t quite have the credentials of the other three, has played in only six AHL games in his career. Over those games, Lewis contributed one goal.

After a season spent with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, Lewis is making the jump the next level. In 24 games with the Cyclones, Lewis has five goals and 13 assists.


Report: Yonkman, Stortini sign with Ducks

According to RDS, Nolan Yonkman and Zack Stortini have signed two-year deals with the Anaheim Ducks.

Yonkman, a 12-year AHL veteran, has spent the last three seasons in the Florida Panthers organization, captaining the San Antonio Rampage for the last two campaigns. At 6’6″, 251 lbs., Yonkman’s a towering force on the blue line and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves.

The 32-year-old vet has played over 600 games in the AHL, but he shouldn’t be expected to show up too often on the score sheet. Through his career, Yonkman has only scored 16 goals and added 63 assists. Seventy-nine points in 601 career regular season games doesn’t make Yonkman an offensive force, but it’s his understanding of the game and the efficient use of his size that will make him an attribute for the Norfolk Admirals.

Stortini, 27, comes to Anaheim from a season spent in the Canadiens organization last year. While with the Bulldogs, Stortini suited up for 73 games, amassing 241 PIM. With all that time spent in the box, it’s no wonder Stortini contributed only two goals and four assists — his hands aren’t necessarily used for scoring.

With Montreal’s signing of Nick Tarnasky, Stortini became expendable, and will help fill a hole on the Admirals roster. While he may be playing third or fourth line minutes in Norfolk, Stortini will still bring a veteran voice to the locker room and help guide Anaheim’s youngsters.

RDS reported that both deals are two-way contracts.

Parros trade sends Lefebvre to Rampage

The Montreal Canadiens filled a need for some toughness up front, and sent AHL/ECHL forward Philippe Lefebvre back the other way.

Lefebvre, 22, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Montreal Canadiens in September 2009, and has since had stints with Montreal affiliates the Hamilton Bulldogs and the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers.

While with the Bulldogs, Lefebvre was good for 18 points (9-9) over 92 games.

A second overall pick in the 2007 QMJHL entry draft, Lefebvre’s development hasn’t exactly gone the way many would have expected, but the Trois-Rivieres, Que., product looks to be slowly putting together a career. Not the elite scorer that some would have projected him to be, Lefebvre is still early in what could be a very long career. If he continues to develop, he could find himself a spot up front for the Rampage and, possibly, the Panthers a few years down the road.

Along with Lefebvre, Florida also acquired a seventh-round draft pick in 2014.