AHL Today: St. John’s goes for seven, Albany and Springfield battle for Northeast Division

AHL Today is a roundup of the night that was, the day ahead, and anything you may have missed. Your quick look at what’s going on around the league.

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To Watch:

  • PROVIDENCE at ST. JOHN’S: The IceCaps host the Baby B’s in an attempt to win their seventh straight. The Bruins and ‘Caps, only separated by three points in the standings, are fighting for positioning in the Eastern Conference. Michael Hutchinson, formerly of the Bruins, hasn’t relinquished the goaltending duties since this run began, and posted a .932 SV% through January. Brenden Kichton is coming off Rookie of the Month honours, and looks to carry the hot hand into the game. Niklas Svedberg has started the last three games for Providence, but Malcolm Subban could see a spot start.
  • ALBANY at SPRINGFIELD: In a divisional battle, the Devils roll into Springfield to take on the Falcons. Albany walked away with a shutout win the last time the two met, but aside from the win/loss columns, the two teams are almost eerily evenly matched. Goals for? Springfield 136, Albany 139. Goals against? Springfield 119, Albany 120. Springfield comes in losing four of its last five in regulation, so Albany can gain some ground in the division if they take advantage of the sliding Falcons.

Last Night:

  • No games on the schedule.

Moves:

Abbotsford Heat
Joni Ortio (G) To: Calgary Flames
Ben Street (F) From: Calgary Flames
Thomas Heemskerk (G) From: Quad City Mallards
Chicago Wolves
Dmitrij Jaskin (F) To: St. Louis Blues
Hamilton Bulldogs
Christian Thomas (F) To: Montréal Canadiens
Norfolk Admirals
Chad Painchaud (F) From: South Carolina Stingrays
Sami Vatanen (D) From: Anaheim Ducks
Toronto Marlies
Gregg McKegg (F) From: Toronto Maple Leafs
Jerred Smithson (F) To: Toronto Maple Leafs
Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins
Nick D’Agostino (D) From: Wheeling Nailers
Harrison Ruopp (D) From: Wheeling Nailers
Worcester Sharks
J.P. Anderson (G) To: San Francisco Bulls

News & Notes:

  • AHL linesman Chris Woodworth is taking his craft global: working the lines in Sochi. [Democrat & Chronicle]
  • The Texas Stars posted an amazing time-lapse clip of the changeover in Cedar Park as they go from basketball court to ice surface. [Texas Stars]
  • An interesting opinion piece by Clare Austin at Puckology supporting Riku Helenius and positing that the situation may have been the result of some mismanagement. [Puckology]

Tyler McNeely heads to Germany

The second division DEL team Starbulls Rosenheim have announced they’ve come to terms with Tyler McNeely.

McNeely, 26, split last season between the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays and the AHL. In 31 games in the AHL — four with Providence, 27 with Lake Erie — McNeely potted one goal and eight assists, scoring another 44 points (13-31) while in the ‘E’.

The former Northeastern University captain came to the AHL after finishing his four year tenure in the NCAA. McNeely’s career high AHL totals came in 2011-12 while a member of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. That season, McNeely tallied nine goals and 12 assists in 66 games.

 

Bruins announce Camper signing

Former Miami (OH.) University captain Carter Camper is getting another shot with the Bruins.

Boston announced today that they’ve inked the 25-year-old Camper to a one-year, two-way deal that will bring the forward back to the organization for at least one more season.

Camper, who primarily plays centre and right-wing, has spent the last two season in Providence with the Bruins farm club. Last season, in 57 games with the P-Bruins, Camper put up 10 goals and 37 assists, one shy of his career high of 48 points.

It was in the playoffs, however, that Camper had his coming out. In 12 postseason games with Providence, Camper has 13 points — 8 goals and three assists.

During his NCAA career, Camper scored at a pace of more than a point per game, amassing 69 goals and 114 assists in 156 games. A 2011-12 AHL all-star, Camper is also a two-time NCAA first team all-star and was a Hobey Baker finalist in 2010-11.

Bruins ink four, including goaltender Johnson

Chad Johnson’s hard work looks like it will finally pay off in a backup role for the Boston Bruins.

Johnson, forwards Bobby Robins, Nick Johnson, and defenceman Mike Moore, signed two-way deals with the Bruins yesterday.

At 27, Johnson is likely going to slot behind Tuukka Rask on the Bruins depth chart. With the loss of last season’s backup Anton Khudobin, the Bruins had a hole to fill in net and did so with the 2006 fifth-round pick Johnson.

At 6’2″ and 174 lbs., Johnson isn’t the biggest goalie, especially by todays standards, but scouting reports praise his movement and speed in goal. Last season, Johnson appeared in four games for the defensive-minded Phoenix Coyotes, and posted a 1.21 GAA and .954 SV%. At the AHL level, Johnson has played over 150 games, and posted a career best 2.49 GAA and .919 SV% as a member of the Connecticut Whale in 2011-12.

In Robins and Johnson, the Bruins get two players who couldn’t be more different.

Johnson, 27, is a two-way forward who will contribute a bit up front, likely in the 35-50 point range. In 2010-11, as a member of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, Johnson tallied 20 goals and 19 assists in 40 games. If he hadn’t missed time due to injury that season, Johnson easily would have eclipsed his previous career high of 43 points, a total which he put up over 61 games in 2009-10.

A Penguins draft pick in 2004, Johnson can play at the NHL level, but he’s best utilized in the AHL. He could fill some holes in Boston if need be, but his primary use will be in the middle of the lineup for the P-Bruins.

What separates Johnson from Robins is Robins proclivity to drop the gloves. At 6’1″ and 220 lbs., Robins doesn’t shy away from dropping the gloves, and he knows it’s his role. The 31-year-old has bounced around the minors, and, until last season, hadn’t had a full time shot in the AHL since playing 80 games with the Binghamton Senators in 2006-07.

In 74 games last season, Robins had 11 points (4-7) to go along with a staggering 316 PIM. Robins also dressed for 12 playoff games last year with Providence, racking up one goal, one assist, and 69 PIM in 12 games.

Moore, the only defenceman of the bunch, isn’t the most offensively minded, but he’ll contribute while giving the team a rock on the back end. Above all else, however, is Moore’s leadership ability. In 5 seasons in the AHL — four with the Worcester Sharks, one with the Milwaukee Admirals — Moore has been given the alternate captaincy once, and captained both the Sharks (2010-11) and Admirals (2012-13).

In 304 career games in the ‘A’, Moore has 88 points (19-69) to go along with 407 PIM.

 

Seguin, Eriksson swap hits AHL rosters

It may have involved a couple NHL stars, but the Tyler Seguin-Loui Eriksson deal definitely helps the Providence Bruins roster.

The Bruins, who finished last season atop the Eastern Conference, added a couple pieces today in Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith, and Matt Fraser.

Morrow, previously dealt to the Stars in the trade that sent former Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow to the Pittsburgh Penguins, is considered one of the brighter prospects in the deal, but the 20-year-old has yet to show signs that he is ready to make the jump. In 66 AHL games last season, Morrow only found the back of the net five times, while assisting on 14. Come playoffs, Morrow added another two goals and an assist to his totals in just eight games.

Morrow, a first round draft pick of the Penguins in 2011, has yet to produce up to expectations. Morrow has some developing to do before he sticks full-time at the NHL level.

Dallas’ inclusion of the 23-year-old Fraser is going to pay almost immediate dividends for Providence if he doesn’t find a role on the big club. Though he’s yet to make his mark in the NHL, Fraser has been the picture of offensive consistency in the AHL. In only 137 games in the minors, Fraser has already amassed 70 goals to go along with 31 assists. The totals are a bit slanted, sure, but Fraser has the pure goal scoring instinct.

Smith, a 22-year-old right wing from Toronto, was picked by Dallas in the third round of the 2009 draft. The only piece to really split time between the AHL and NHL, Smith contributed 35 points (14-21) in the A with the Stars, and also saw action in 37 NHL games, helping out with three goals and six helpers. At the moment, it’s hard to see where Smith will fit into a much deeper Bruins team, and in all likelihood he’ll start the season in Providence with the Baby Bs.

However, the Stars — who admittedly look to have gotten the better long-term NHL return in Seguin — didn’t really rake in much on this deal as far as building their farm. Included in the deal, seemingly as a throw in, was Bruins prospect Ryan Button. Button, 22, hasn’t been able to make a full-time jump out of the ECHL and into the AHL, so his presence in the NHL seems like a longshot. In his 60 AHL games, the blueliner has been in on three goals, but has never been the triggerman.

A Bruins third rounder in 2009, Button is still young and could just be taking the long way around in his development, but on the NHL level, this trade is a retooling for the big club, and an AHL win for the Bruins organization.

Goaltenders Brust, Sabourin head overseas

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Barry Brust will be back in a European jersey in 2013-14.

Two veteran AHL netminders are heading to Europe, freeing up spots in their former organizations.

Barry Brust has reportedly signed a deal with the KHL’s Medvescak Zagreb after spending the last season in Abbotsford. Brust playing in 35 games last season, with a 2.50 GAA and .911 SV%. A Calder Cup champion in 2010-11 with the Binghamton Senators, Brust will be on his second stint in Europe after spending a year in Germany with DEL’s Straubing Tigers.

At 29, Brust hasn’t spent a ton of time in the NHL. His only taste of the big leagues was an 11 game stint in 2006-07 with the Los Angeles Kings. In his 11 games in the NHL, he posted a dismal 3.70 GAA and .878 SV%.

In addition to Brust, journeyman goaltender Dany Sabourin is also heading across the pond.

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Dany Sabourin will get a shot at a full-time starting role in Austria next season.

Sabourin, 32, has been a serviceable backup at every level. Over the last 11 years, the 6’4″ netminder has played in Johnstown (ECHL), Saint John, Calgary, Las Vegas (ECHL), Lowell, Wheeling (ECHL), Wilkes-Barre, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Manitoba, Springfield, Providence, and Hershey.

After his three year tenure in Hershey — where he played in 78 games — Sabourin is headed to the Graz 99ers of the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga.

Wheels on the Bus: Draft Day

Well, that took a lot longer than expected.

After a three-minute time limit was imposed on drafting teams, some thought the first round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft would take no longer than two hours. Three hours later, the first round hadn’t ended, and the hubbub about there being trades into the double digits was all for naught. All told, there were seven deals including players and a handful of picks-for-picks deals.

It wasn’t the biggest day as far as movement in the AHL goes, but a few years down the road you might be seeing a number of players from this year’s draft class getting some seasoning in the A. Continue reading