AHL Today: Evans, Grant, Desbiens suspended, Griffins back on top

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.


To Watch:

  • ST. JOHN’S (23-16-1-2) at PROVIDENCE (22-15-1-5): In a rematch of a Friday matchup, the Bruins host the IceCaps. Friday night, the two teams combined for nine goals as the IceCaps skated away with a one-goal victory. Jerome Samson had the winner on the powerplay with 10 minutes remaining in the final frame. Michael Hutchinson, who has had the call in three straight, made 32 saves in the win. IceCaps goaltender Eddie Pasquale hasn’t seen the net since giving up six goals on 34 shots to the Manchester Monarchs.

Last Night: 

  • GRAND RAPIDS 4, TEXAS 1: In the rematch between the top two teams in the West, Grand Rapids exacted revenge for their 6-4 Friday night loss. A four goal second period, including two from Landon Ferraro, helped the Griffins to the victory. With the win, Grand Rapids move back atop the Western Conference.
  • MANCHESTER 3, PORTLAND 2 (OT): The Monarchs wore the throwback threads, and Linden Vey made sure the team skated away in style. With two second left in overtime, Vey, who was just recently reassigned to Manchester, took the puck off the half wall, moved to the middle of the ice, and fired a wrister through Pirates goaltender Louis Domingue.
    01:25:2013 Vey OT Goal MANvPRT

Pat Nagle (G) From: Texas Stars To: Idaho Steelheads
Mikael Samuelsson (F) From: Detroit Red Wings To: Grand Rapids Griffins
Cody Bass (F) From: Columbus Blue Jackets To: Springfield Falcons
Dustin Jeffrey (F) From: Dallas Stars To: Texas Stars

News & Notes:

  • The AHL has announced suspensions for the Griffins D Brennan Evans, and LW Triston Grant have both been suspended resulting from incidents on Friday. Evans will sit three games for an elbow, Grant for a slew-foot.
  • Guillaume Desbiens has also been suspended one game for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of Lake Erie’s game last night vs. Hamilton.
  • Bob Howard posted some great photos of Denis Hamel’s induction ceremony in Binghamton last night. Go to his Twitter account to see them all.

(Cover image via Manchester Monarchs Official Instagram account)


AHL Today: Muse posts 31-save shutout; top spot in West on the line

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.


Weekend Watch:

  • GRAND RAPIDS at TEXAS: Tops in the Western Conference, the Grand Rapids Griffins head into Cedar Park tonight with their sights set on putting some distance between themselves and the Texas Stars. With the injuries to Detroit, the Griffins roster has been picked over, but the Stars have been moving along at a steady clip and could have their offence bolstered by Dustin Jeffery as soon as tonight.
    – In all likelihood, Tom McCollum will get the call between the pipes for the Griffins, going up against the Stars’ Josh Robinson, who made ten saves in a relief appearance for injured Christopher Nilstorp, who went down in the Stars 4-3 shootout victory over the Iowa Wild.
    – The Griffins are won both meetings with the Stars, outscoring Dallas’ farm team 10-5 in a weekend set.
    Notables: Robinson hasn’t suited up against the Griffins this season. Travis Morin has eight points over the last three games, and rookie Curtis McKenzie has points in three straight, including a four assist night on Jan. 17 when the Stars took on the Checkers. Jordin Tootoo comes into the game riding a three-game point streak, and scored the game winner in the Nov. 29 meeting between these two.

Full schedule, news, and notes after the jump. Continue reading

AHL Today: Lake Erie looks to snap skid, Texas loses Nilstorp in W

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.


On the schedule tonight:

Rochester heads into Lake Erie as both teams move in different directions. Lake Erie has dropped its last five, while Rochester has picked up a win in its last two outings. Lake Erie, only five points back of second spot in the division, needs a win to bring themselves two points closer to third place Rochester.


  • Lake Erie: Mark Olver (9-19-28), Bryan Lerg (12-15-27), and Andrew Agozzino (9-17-26) are all clustered within two points of each other.
  • No goaltender has been confirmed for tonight, but Calvin Pickard and Sami Aittokallio have split time all season, and with Pickard between the pipes for Lake Erie’s last contest, look for Aittokallio to get the call.
  • Rochester: Top point getter Phil Varone (8-25-33) got the call to Buffalo yesterday, so he won’t be in the lineup tonight. Luke Adam (15-10-25), who is scoring at a more torrid pace with over a point per game, will have all eyes on him as Lake Erie looks to stop their slide.
  • Nathan Lieuwen has had the net for three of the last four, so expect Hackett to get the call tonight.

Oklahoma City and Charlotte meet up tonight in Carolina, both with two game win streaks on the line. Oklahoma stands to slide up the standings in pursuit of the final playoff spot. The win would put them two points out of the final spot in the Western Conference.


Evening round-up:

     – Colton Sceviour had his bobble head night last night in Cedar Park. The resemblance? Suffice to say Sceviour wasn’t thrilled.

     – Threw together a Storify of the action on Twitter during the hubbub over the possibility of the St. John’s IceCaps and Winnipeg Jets affiliation agreement possibly ending with a new AHL team landing in Thunder Bay. Click the image below.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 9.01.30 AM

Report: Fyten signs deal in OKC

According to Stephen Meserve of 100 Degree Hockey, former Texas Stars forward Austin Fyten has signed a one-year, AHL only deal with the Oklahoma City Barons.

Fyten, 22, spent 11 games with the Texas Stars last season, where he tallied two assists.

An AHL deal for the 22-year-old is a nice vote of confidence in his game, as the forward spent the lion’s share of the 2012-13 campaign in the ECHL with the Idaho Steelheads. While with the Steelheads, Fyten was nearly a point per game player. In 46 games last season, the winger had 41 points (14-27) in 46 regular season games, adding another 11 points (5-6) in 17 playoff contests.

After spending the majority of his junior career with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, Fyten went undrafted and found himself a deal with the Steelheads before he opened eyes during his stint with the Stars. During his WHL tenure, Fyten had 59 goals and 73 assists over 220 games.

Via Meserve:


Fortunus signs two-year AHL deal with Stars

Maxime Fortunus is back with the Texas Stars on a two-year AHL contract.

Fortunus, the Stars’ captain, comes back to the club after spending the last four seasons in Cedar Park, and the last eight seasons in the AHL.

At 29, Fortunus is an AHL veteran of 568 games, in which the blue liner has put up 49 goals and 131 assists, adding another 27 points (6-21) in 94 playoff games. Through his AHL career, Fortunus has suited up for the Houston Aeros, Manitoba Moose, and the Stars, and got his first taste of the NHL in 2008-09 when he suited up for eight games with the Dallas Stars.

Stephen over at 100DegreeHockey wrote about the signing, and had this to say:

The term of the deal leads me to believe that the Stars are investing in Fortunus’s leadership abilities following the success of last season under his captaincy. Two year deals are rare in the AHL mostly due to the constantly shifting rosters. Texas has had only two in its history, both captains. Landon Wilson signed a two year deal but only played one season due to injuries.

Fortunus joins Luke Gazdic, Francis Wathier, Travis Morin and Colton Sceviour as first-year Stars to remain with the club through its fifth season.

Texas is coming off of a loss in the Western Conference semi-finals last season, and Fortunus helped the team to the Calder Cup Final in 2009-10, Texas’ first season in the league.

AHL Stars sign Robinson, Hedden

The Texas Stars announced a pair of signings to help the team next season.

Both Josh Robinson and Mike Hedden have signed one-year AHL contracts with the Dallas Stars top affiliate.

Robinson, a Michigan native who spent his college years with the NCAA’s Mighican Tech, comes to the Stars after a full season with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads. Signed by Texas as an undrafted free agent, Robinson’s numbers in the NCAA weren’t the most impressive — his career best GAA was 2.83 and his SV% topped out at .909 — but in the ECHL last year Robinson put together respectable numbers.

While with the Steelheads, Robinson appeared in 39 regular season games and posted a GAA of 2.57 and SV% of .925, and was named the ECHL Rookie of the Month in November. Robinson continued his stellar play in the post season with a 2.50 GAA and .919 SV%.

With the loss of Richard Bachmann, there was a spot for another goaltender to split time between the AHL and ECHL, and Robinson fills that void.

Hedden, a 28-year-old from Dunnville, Ont., has spent the last two seasons in Texas after cracking the roster on a full-time basis. Prior to landing with the Stars, Hedden had spent time in Rockford, Rochester, Grand Rapids, and in the ECHL with the Toledo Walleye. The 5’9″ forward has played 145 games in the AHL — 139 of those with the Stars — and has tallied 34 goals and 42 assists.

This is Hedden’s third straight one-year deal with the Stars.

2011-12 AHL all-star Mueller heads to Texas

The Dallas Stars announced yesterday that they have signed former Nashville Predator and Milwaukee Admiral Chris Mueller to a one-year deal.

The contract, a two-way deal that will see Mueller make $300,000 in the AHL, gives Mueller a chance to spend time with both Dallas and their top affiliate in Texas.

After a barrage of additions up the middle, Mueller will have to make it on the wing if he’s going to shine with the big club. In 37 career NHL games, all with Nashville, the West Seneca, NY., native has scored twice and added six helpers. Mueller is only a year removed from an impressive AHL campaign, however.

In 2011-12, while with the Milwaukee Admirals, Mueller scored 32 times and added 28 assists in 73 regular season games. The year prior, also as a member of the Ads, Mueller had an outstanding playoff, scoring four goals and contributing seven assists for 11 points in just 13 games.

Only 27, Mueller will fill a veteran spot on the Texas Stars roster, and the short term on the contract could prove as fuel for the forward to take his game to another level.

Bachman lands with the Oilers

Richard Bachman, who saw action in 31 games with the Dallas Stars over the last two seasons, has been signed give the Oklahoma City Barons  some help in goal.

Bachman, who was drafted by the Stars in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, has spent his entire pro career in the Stars organization.

In Texas, Bachman has the starting role with the AHL’s Stars during the 2010-11 season, backstopping the team in 55 games and posting a 2.20 GAA and .927 SV%. The following year, Bachman got the call to backup Kari Lehtonen and make spot starts in relief of the oft injured Stars starting goaltender.

Though his NHL numbers leave something to be desired — he had a dismal 3.25 GAA and .885 SV% last season in 13 games — Bachman’s been able to show signs that he could be something more than just an AHL starter. In Texas, over four seasons, Bachman has had a steady GAA that often floats around 2.50 and a save percentage around .910. At only 25, Bachman still has room to develop, and will get that change in OKC.

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.

Gazdic re-ups with Stars

Luke Gazdic will be back patrolling the ice for the Texas Stars in 2013-14.

Gazdic, a 23-year-old forward from Toronto, Ont., inked a one year deal with the Dallas Stars organization, but will likely spend the entirety of the season with Texas.

The former Erie Otter (OHL), Gazdic brings a willingness to drop the gloves back to the Stars lineup. In 256 AHL contests, he has been involved in 62 fights.

From the Stars’ release:

Gazdic is the Stars’ all-time franchise leader in penalty minutes and holds single season team records for penalty minutes (155) and major penalties (21). He ranks fifth all-time on Texas in games played, 10th in goals and 14th in points. Gazdic is a member of the Original Texas Stars, one of eight players who have played every season of the team’s existence. He was Dallas’ sixth round selection (172nd overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.