Prospect Ramblings: Player migrations hint at the future (March 11)

Mark Allan

2017-03-11

Austin Czarnik could get some valuable NHL experience down the stretch with Boston while fellow center Ryan Spooner is out indefinitely with a concussion.

 

If you scan the migration of players between the NHL and either the minor leagues, junior or collegiate teams, you can spot some intriguing glimpses into what might be one day. As I often do when I ramble for Dobber Prospects, here’s this week’s analysis of promotions, demotions and signings.

Boston Bruins

C Austin Czarnik recalled from Providence Bruins.

The small but feisty Czarnik could be up with the NHL club for awhile considering C Ryan Spooner is out indefinitely with a concussion. In his first game since being called up, a 6-1 win over Detroit, Czarnik had a significant third-line role, skating 15:47 mainly with Frank Vatrano and Jimmy Hayes and getting 1:16 on the power play and 1:45 on the penalty kill. The undersized and undrafted Czarnik projects as at least a bottom-six hound using his quickness to harass opponents. He has just 13 points in 48 games as an NHL rookie, but 61 points in 68 AHL games last season and another eight points in seven games this season suggest a potential top-six role as an overachiever.

Calgary Flames

D Rasmus Andersson recalled from Stockton Heat (AHL).

The 20-year-old’s promotion was necessitated by day-to-day injuries to Calgary blueliners Dougie Hamilton and Michael Stone. It’s debatable how much icetime the 6-1, 209-pound Swede will receive in what is expected to be a limited callup, but it’s significant because it should provide Calgary’s 2015 53rd-overall pick with his NHL debut. Blessed with a solid frame, good work ethic and offensive instincts, Andersson has three goals and 19 assists with an encouraging plus-14 rating in 50 games with the Heat in his pro debut after two seasons with the OHL’s Barrie Colts. A right-handed shot, he looks like a sure NHLer.

Carolina Hurricanes

G Alex Nedeljkovic reassigned to Florida Everblades (ECHL).

After a brief, illusory NHL callup to give Michael Leighton a chance to get in some AHL work, Carolina’s 37th-overall pick from 2014 was returned to the depths of the ECHL. After underwhelming numbers of 3.40 and .881 with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, his stats of 2.77 and .913 in five ECHL games aren’t much better. Still only 21, Nedeljkovic has time to forge a successful pro career if he can translate his scintillating performance for the 2017 WJC champion Americans. He’s got two more seasons on his entry-level deal with the Hurricanes.

Dallas Stars

LW Curtis McKenzie signed to one-year contract extension.

The 6-2, 205-pounder’s calling card is physical play combined with defensive responsibility. After a surprising 61-game, 55-point AHL campaign last season that included 120 PIMs and plus-11, Dallas’ sixth-round pick in 2009 has spent the entire season in the NHL with a modest 11 points in 43 games combined with 67 PIMs and plus-7. The veteran 26-year-old prospect seems to have finally carved out a bottom-six NHL role that could help you in pools that count penalty minutes and plus-minus. Dallas is particularly glad to have him while agitating and versatile LW Antoine Roussel is out until the second half of April with a hand injury.

G Landon Bow signed as undrafted free agent.

The two-year NHL entry-level deal followed an AHL-only contract with Texas last summer. After posting 2.24 and .929 peripherals with the ECHL