Prospect Ramblings – AHL Free agency

Hayden Soboleski

2016-07-03

Looking at the AHL signings around the league in this Sunday's Ramblings…

 

As hundreds of millions of dollars got spent on top tier talent around the NHL, organizations quietly filled out their AHL rosters over the last few days as well. While these players are typically of low fantasy value, signings can also be a sign of of a new shot at making the big step into the NHL. Information is taken from around the internet and twitter, but the best resource by far that I've come across is this page on aroundthea.com. Here is a quick look at what your team's affiliate has done, and who may be tryin their hardest to finally create an impact with a new club:

 

Albany (NJD) – No one of fantasy relevance (at least I hope not or the Devils are in trouble). This assumes Beau Bennett gets a crack at the NHL roster, if he fails there like in Pittsburgh then he becomes their biggest AHL addition. Call-up worthy RFA Reid Boucher has yet to be re-signed.

 

Bakersfield (EDM) – Very quiet on the AHL front given a long list of UFAs they have yet to decide on. Only re-sgnings so far, no outside help.

 

Binghamton (OTT) – Much busier than the above. Casey Bailey, Michael Kostka, Buddy Robinson all resigned and could see call-up action. Brought in AHL vets Michael Blunden and Tom Pyatt (remember him?). RFAs Puempel and Dzingel will be re-signed and will have the best swings at making an NHL push this season after seeing brief stints in 2015-16. Lots of UFAs to decide on as well tht have seen NHL action (including Frattin, Akeson, Dziuzynski).

 

Bridgeport (NYI) – No incoming contracts, so presusumably are planning on resigning some of their long list of RFAs and UFAs. None will see more than an emergency call-up's worth of the NHL.

 

Charlotte (CAR) – RFA Ryan Murphy needs a new contract and another chance to prove he's ready for Hurricane duties. Michal Jordan is a UFA in a similar boat –  will see at least some NHL ice time when injuries arise, but he has the power to earn more than that. Matt Tennyson was signed this morning, hurting both these players' chances.

 

Chicago (STL) – This will be a doozie. Brought in former Avs Agozzino and Bleackley who will be AHL leaders and likely push for call-up action when necessary. Fromer NHL hopeful Caron was also resigned but his shot has likely passed. Goalie Phoenix Copley needs a new contract, and will battle with new face (in North America anyways) Ville Husso for the crease. Ty Rattie is RFA but will surely be signed and is the most likely to stick with the big club come October. Useful AHLer Benoit, Harrold, and Kristo are all UFA and could be call-up worthy on a team less loaded with fringe talent.

 

Grand Rapids (DET) – Newcomers Matt Lorito and Ben Street are both strong AHL players who will improve Grand Rapids and likely see fourth-line duties with the Wings briefly. RFA Ryan Sproul may make yet another push to get out of the AHL.

 

Hartford (NYR) – Signed forever a depth-dman Adam Clendening, who will probably get the call when innjries arise in the Big Apple.  RFA Nicklas Jensen is always good for decent AHL numbers.

 

Hershey (WSH) – (very) depth guys Sill, Carey were re-signed and veteran Brad Malone brought in. All may receive a call for brief periods but should absolutely not be on your fantasy radar.

 

Iowa (MIN) – Incoming are Victor Bartley (who can fill a depth d role) and Alex Stalock (who will take over the AHL crease and be 3rd on the Minny depth chart). Up front, Dalpe and Graovac were re-signed with RFA Schroeder likely also back in the mix. 

 

Lake Erie (CLB) – Almost zero signings, niether new faces nor free agents. Brought in Scott Harrington via the Kerby Rychel trade who will push for an NHL spot throughout the year. 

 

Lehigh Valley (PHI) – Depth defenseman Mark Alt was brought back and Andy Miele brought in to lhelp improve the AHL squad. RFA Nick Cousins will be given a contract and should have an NHL spot within his grasp at training camp. 

 

Manitoba (WPG) – No fantasy-notable incomings or signings. RFA J.C. Lipon will want a spot on the Jets but will have to work his butt off to get one (not out of the question). UFA Patrice Cormier might be on his last legs of NHL hopefullness.

 

Milwaukee (NSH) – AHL veteran trevor Smith will lead the way in the AHL and could be a veteran call-up on occasion like he was with the Leafs. Matt Irwin once had NHL semi-regularity and could earn it again with solid play with the Admirals. Mystery Cody Hodgson is a UFA but may prefer a major role overseas to an AHL role in North America. D-man Stefan Elliott always seemed so close in Colorado but never quite took the step…could see one more chance.

 

Ontario (LAK) – In the biggest news of the weekend, Ontario landed highly sought-after free agent Paul BIssonnette himself. Master of fisticuffs and twitter was a part of their last AHL championship. Brought in RFA goalie Jack Campbell via trade who will see a fair amount of crease-time but isn't on any NHL radars at the time being.

 

Providence (BOS) – re-upped Seth Griffith who will most likely stick in the NHL this season. Yet-to-be-signed Colin Miller is also a good bet to see occasional NHL action but with less long-term stability.

 

Rochester (BUF) – Big man Justin Falk and former highly-valued Taylor Fedun were both brought in to help the defensive corp and both could see brief NHL stints without me being overly surprised (especially the former). Lotsof UFAs left to decide on including Kaleta who may be of PIM value.

 

Rockford (CHI) – Lots of useful AHler signed externally, but none that will see more than one or two games with the Hawks. 

 

San Antonio (COL) – Major turnover in the Avalanche AHL dressing room (8 new in, 8 old out) but none of real fantasy relevance. Brought over Swedish 2014 draft pick Anton Lindholm for his first taste of North American action. RFA Duncan Siemens is getting another shot, Colorado must really believe he has more to offer than he has shown so far.

 

San Diego (ANH) – Brought in veteran defenceman good guy Nate Guenin who will likely split time between the NHL and AHL. With Andersen and Khudobin moving on, Dustin Tokarski will either be AHL starter or NHl backup. 

 

San Jose (SJ) – No incoming action to speak of. No re-signing notes worthy of fantasy news. RFA Dylan Demelo should be brought back and fight for an NHL spot, but earning more than his split last year will be tough. 

 

St. John's (MTL) – RFAs taken care of and UFAs wont be returning, so slow news here. AHl producer Chris Terry is now in the mix but wont be getting an NHL chance ahead of the young guys who have been knocking all year.

 

Stockton (CAL) – Lots of outs, no ins so far but over half a dozen UFAs that could be back and notable (Kakladal, Ortio, Shore). RFAs Hamilton and Wotherspoon will probably stay but dont bother keeping fantasy tabs here.

 

Springfield (FLA) – The change of affiliation (formerly ARI, now FLA) is the only real news to report here. Carry on.

 

Syracuse (TBL) – New additions include scorer Jeremy Morin and NHL experienced Michael Bourneval, both will have the chance in training camp to snag a spot with the Lightning. Latvian hero Gudlevskis in coming back for another year in the blue paint. 

 

Texas (DAL) – Depth defenceman Bodnarchuck was signed, but will only see a glimpse of the NHL if the organization's younger players ready for a shot all strike out.

 

Toronto (TOR) – Russian top performer Nikita Zaitsev will make his North American debut next season, with most people anticipating it being with the Leafs not the Marlies. Nice surprise from 2015-16 Holl will come back. RFAs Carrick and Leivo will both earn contracts and will be fantasy relevant immediately, both have real upside even if their roster spot isn't a sure thing right away.

 

Tuscon (ARI) – Acquired Anthony DeAngelo at the draft, who tore up the AHL last season and is a strong bet to be a Coyote in 2016-17. Jamie McBain is another new face likely to spend more time in Glendale than Tuscon. Former NHL backup Justin Peters is the new AHL starting netminder, and d-man Tinordi will look to bounce back after being suspended for PED use. Also: the Tuscon Roadrunners logo looks weirdly more like woody woodpecker than the roadrunner…cartoon nostalgia coming back.

 

Utica (VAN) – Thought to be going overseas, Croatian Rendulic will now be reporting to Utica. Could push for a Canucks spot out of camp but highly unlikely. Also signed QMJHL scorer Yan-Pavel Laplante to try to add some scoring to the depleted organization.

 

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (PIT) – Added former 1st-round-pick d-man Stuart Percy who could earn a spot on the Penguins with some stable play. Re-signed perrenial fringe AHLer Tim Erixon. New D-man Warsofky also has some NHL games under his belt. Lots of depth options here for the Penguins.

 

***

As always, thank you for reading and best of luck in your summer drafts!

Hayden Soboleski

@soboleskih

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