Panthers sign Weegar to entry-level deal

By Jared Clinton (@JPDClinton)

With the junior season over, the wave of Canadian Hockey League signings continued today with the Florida Panthers announcing they’ve inked defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to a three-year entry-level deal.

A seventh-round pick of the Panthers in 2013, Weegar had an outstanding season in 2013-14, setting career highs in goals, assists, points, and, for what it’s worth, plus-minus.

In 61 games with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Moosheads, Weegar tallied 12 goals and 47 assists, but really came to life in the playoffs. During the QMJHL’s tournament, the 20-year-old scored five goals and 17 helpers. This season he was named to the QMJHL’s Second All-Star Team.

The nephew of former NHL defenseman Craig Rivet, it’s most likely that  Weegar will suit up with the San Antonio Rampage next season.

(Cover image courtesy San Antonio Rampage/Flickr)

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Report: Mastumoto making the move to Germany

By Jared Clinton (@JPDClinton)

American Hockey League veteran Jon Mastumoto has, according to a report from player agency group Markovic & Binder, signed a contract with a team in the German DEL.

Drafted by the Flyers in the third round of the 2006 NHL entry draft, Mastumoto hasn’t been able to translate his game to the NHL. With his contract expiring, now seems as well-timed as this move could have been for the 27-year-old Ottawa native.

A tremendous college player, Matsumoto registered over a point-per-game while playing for the NCAA’s Bowling Green, and was able to carry his play over to the AHL. In 486 regular season AHL games, Matsumoto has racked up 145 goals and 179 assists for 324 points.

After spending three seasons in the Philadelphia system, the centreman signed a deal with the Hurricanes and spent the better part of his two years in Charlotte with the Checkers. Following his stint in Carolina, Matsumoto jumped around, spending time in San Antonio, Worcester, AHL Chicago, before playing out last season back in San Antonio.

In 29 games in 2013-14, Matsumoto tallied six goals and four assists.

UPDATE: The Schwenningen Wild Wings have announced the signing of Matsumoto. Terms of the deal have not been released.

From the Wild Wings release — and roughly translated — the team will bring him in to fill a top-six role.

 

AHL Today: Amerks win streak to five, Hoffman pots four

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:

  • TORONTO at OKLAHOMA CITY: These two teams don’t play very often — they’ve only faced off six times in the last five years — so there’s not a long history here. However, of note, Will Acton will be facing off against his former team for the first time since leaving the Marlies to head to the Barons this past summer. Oklahoma is coming into the game having lost back-to-back games in regulation, and are hoping to avoid a slide that would put them ever further back in the West. Already near the basement, the Barons are on the verge of losing their season if they can’t right the shit. A loss to the Marlies would not help their cause.

Last Night:

  • ROCHESTER 4, CHICAGO 1: The Wolves struck just fifteen seconds into the game, but they wouldn’t pot another. After Adam Cracknell’s opening salvo, the Amerks held steadfast and came back in waves potting four unanswered. Goals for Rochester came from Kevin Porter, Brayden McNabb, Colton Gillies, Alex Hutchings. Johan Larsson contributed with a pair of helpers, and the Amerks have pushed their streak to five.
  • SAN ANTONIO 4, TEXAS 2: There are dominating, three-period shot-barrage type wins, and then there are what you could call goalie wins. For San Antonio, you could call the victory over Texas a goalie win, as Michael Houser stopped 44 of 46 shots sent his way. Jed Ortmeyer had two tallies for the Rampage, including the game-winner which came in the first frame. In the loss, Stars goaltender Josh Robinson allowed four goals on just 18 shots.
  • BINGHAMTON 6, WORCESTER 3: The Mike Hoffman show rolled into Worcester as the Binghamton forward potted his 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd goals of the year. A five point night for Hoffman — he added an assist, just for good measure — helped the Sens handily defeat Worcester. Forward Scott Fleming made his debut for the Sharks after getting the call to the ‘A’ from the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets.

(Moves, news, and notes after the jump.)

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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.

Rampage add Turgeon, Urban, re-sign Lee

To go along with the Panthers re-signing of Rampage defenceman Michael Caruso, the San Antonio Rampage have signed three free agents.

The Rampage announced that they’ve come to terms on AHL deals with Tony Turgeon, Dennis Urban, and John Lee.

Turgeon comes to the Rampage after completing three years at University of Nebraska-Omaha, and is a massive defenceman. At 6’4″ and 231 lbs., the Grand Forks, ND., native is a physical blue liner who has potential to be a punishing force on the back end for the Rampage.

Never a prolific scorer in the NCAA, the Rampage will see any contributions from Turgeon as a bonus. In his three seasons in the NCAA, Turgeon registered six assists in 62 games. There’s a possibility Turgeon could spend time between the AHL and ECHL.

Urban, 25, comes to San Antonio after making the jump to the AHL just last season. After four years at the NCAA’s Robert Morris University, where the defenceman tallied 112 points (28-84) in 136 games, Urban found himself in the ECHL with the Reading Royals. After a season and a half in the ECHL, Urban got a shot with the Worcester Sharks.

Worcester brought Urban to the Sharks’ top affiliate on a loan, where he scored four goals and added 13 assists in 36 games.

Lee, who suited up in 50 games with the Rampage last season, is back for another go-round with the Panthers top affiliate. In his stint with the Rampage, Lee scored a goal and registered six assists, and added 40 PIM to his stat line.

Prior to landing in San Antonio, Lee spent four seasons at the University of Denver, where he tallied 43 points (8-35) in 162 games.

Update: According to the San Antonio Rampage, Tony Turgeon will be moved to forward next season. (s/t @RampageNate)

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.