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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Viedensky re-signs with Worcester

Marek Viedensky, a seventh-round draft pick in 2009 by the San Jose Sharks, has re-signed with the San Jose Sharks.

Viedensky, who has spent 66 games with the Sharks over the past two seasons, comes back for a third year with San Jose’s top affiliate. In his AHL career, Viedensky has posted nine goals and eight assists, but spent a part of last season in the ECHL with the San Francisco Bulls.

A former Saskatoon Blades and Prince George Cougars forward, the 6-foot-3 and 194 pound centre had a stellar junior career. In 207 games in the ‘Dub, Viedensky tallied 82 goals and 123 assists, putting him at nearly a point-per-game in the WHL.

Viedensky’s new deal with the Sharks is a one-year, two-way contract.

Trio of AHLers head overseas

Alex Plante, Steven Zalewski, and Mike Connolly — all AHL regulars in 2012-13 — have all inked deals in Europe.

Plante, who was an alternate captain for the Oklahoma City Barons last season, is heading to Austria’s Dornbirner EC on a one-year deal after he and the Edmonton Oilers organization parted ways. Drafted in the first round, fifteenth overall, in 2007 by the Oil, Plante was never able to convert his potential to a job in the NHL.

A defensive defenceman, Plante’s got NHL size but could never quite piece together the other parts of his game. Through his AHL career, which spanned 233 games, Plante registered six goals and 38 assists.

Zalewski, who suited up in 73 games with the Devils affiliate in Albany last season, has signed a one-year deal with Lukko of SM-Liiga. Zalewski, 26, split his AHL career between the Worcester Sharks and Albany, but never got anything more than a brief look in the NHL.

A versatile forward that can play both centre and the wing, Zalewski is an AHL veteran of 406 games, tallying 83 goals and racking up 157 assists. In his 10 NHL games, Zalewski failed to register a point. He was a fourth round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks in 2004.

Connolly, a 24-year-old centre who suited up in 65 games with Lake Erie last season, has inked a one-year contract with Augsburger Panther of the DEL. In 65 games with the Monsters last season, Connolly scored nine goals and added 14 assists.

A member of the 2010-11 WCHA First All-Star Team, Connolly was also an alternate captain with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs that season, helping to lead the team to the Frozen Four Championship. In 118 AHL games — after coming to the league as an undrafted free agent — Connolly registered 22 goals and 38 assists.

All three will be eligible to come back to the AHL next season.

Worcester adds four to roster

The Worcester Sharks have announced they’ve signed Riley Brace, Jimmy Bonneau, Lane Scheidl, and Kyle Bigos to one-year AHL contracts.

Brace, a 21-year-old who spent eight games with the Sharks last season on an amateur tryout, signs his first professional contract after spending the last four seasons in Mississauga with the OHL’s Steelheads and St. Michael’s Majors. During his four years in the OHL, Brace scored 89 goals and added 145 assists over 304 OHL games, adding another 10 goals and 25 assists in 48 playoff games.

While on his ATO, Brace tallied three goals and three assists, and showed promise for what he could do over a full season in the ‘A’.

Bonneau, who has spent the last two years in Worcester, comes back to the team for another go-round. The 6’3″, 223 lb., Bonneau began his pro career in 2005-06 with the ECHL’s Long Beach Ice Dogs and has made his way up to the AHL using his size. In his AHL career, Bonneau has only registered ten goals and 15 assists, but he’s also put up 818 PIM over that time.

Though usually in the bottom-six, Bonneau knows what it takes to win a championship at the minor-pro level, winning a Kelly Cup with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones in 2007-08.

Scheidl, who spent four seasons bouncing around the Western Hockey League before landing with the Regina Pats, is back with the Sharks after signing his first pro deal at the end of the 2012-13 WHL season. A 21-year-old that can play both the wing and defence, Scheidl suited up in 11 games with Worcester last season and helped out to the tune of a goal and an assist.

In his WHL career, Scheidl proved his ability to find the back of the net and distribute the puck, putting up 88 goals and 98 assists in 277 regular season games in the ‘Dub.

Bigos, the only true positional defenceman of the four signees, is a tower 6’5″, 240 lb. defensive defenceman. A native of Upland, Calif., Bigos spent his last four years with the NCAA’s Merrimack College, where he tallied 47 points (14-33) in 133 games and was named to the 2010-11 All-Academic Team.

Originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 entry draft by the Edmonton Oilers, Bigos was sent to the Sharks just last month in exchange for defenceman Lee Moffie. At 24 years old, Bigos is in the perfect spot to continue his development in the AHL.

After newly appointed Worcester GM Joe Will spoke about how active he wanted to be at his new post, these four signings go to prove that Will is dedicated to helping Worcester ice the most competitive team possible.

Defenceman Comrie gets NHL deal

After failing to capitalize on his first NHL deal, Adam Comrie has made it all the way back thanks to the San Jose Sharks.

Comrie, 22, was drafted in the third round by the Florida Panthers in 2008 and promptly signed to an entry-level deal, but failed to make it to the NHL in that time. Now, after working his way all the way up from the ECHL, Comrie has signed a one-year deal with the Sharks.

In 2012-13, Comrie split time between the ECHL’s Reading Royals and the Sharks top affiliate in Worcester. In Reading, the Kanata, Ont., native tallied 17 goals and 16 assists in 45 games before making his way to Worcester on loan from the ECHL club. Comrie made the best of his shot in the AHL, scoring three goals and adding 12 assists over 24 games.

At 6’4″ and 205 lbs., Comrie possesses the size to be an AHL regular, and the contract with the Sharks all but guarantees he’ll be able to start the season in Worcester.

Terms of the contract have not been released.

Will named GM of Worcester Sharks

The San Jose Sharks have appointed long-time assistant general manager Joe Will the new GM of the Worcester Sharks.

Will, who has been with the Sharks organization since the team entered the league in 1990, will continue to fill his role as assistant GM of the NHL’s Sharks on top of his new duties.

Since being named the NHL Sharks assistant GM two seasons ago, the team has had a record of 68-45-17 over 130 games, including an appearance in the Western Conference semi-finals.

From Will’s bio on the Sharks official website:

Will works closely with Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson on all daily departmental functions and his primary responsibilities include contract research and negotiations, scouting operations, fiscal planning, salary cap analysis and hockey administration. He’s the lead coordinator and planner for the
Sharks training camp scouting meetings and scouting conference calls each season.

One of his most important duties involves the tracking, analyzing and projecting of the team’s player payroll relative to the current and future National Hockey League salary cap to give the team the financial flexibility to ice a championship-caliber team each season.