2014 Free Agent Tracker (as of 9/1/14)

Signed for 2014-15:

Tim Sestito

Jon Merrill

Stefan Matteau

Reid Boucher

Raman Hrabarenka

Graham Black

Scott Wedgewood

Reece Scarlett

Joe Whitney

Darcy Zajac

Ben Johnson

Mike Sislo

Cam Janssen

Adam Larsson

Scott Clemmensen (signed as FA 7/1)

Keith Kinkaid

Maxime Clermont

Corbin McPherson

Brandon Burlon

Scott Timmins

Rod Pelley

David Wohlberg

Dan Kelly

Restricted Free Agents (all given qualifying offers):

Eric Gelinas

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Kelly Zajac

Chris McKelvie

Harry Young

Riley Boychuk

Moving On:

Harri Pesonen (signed w/Lausanne (SUI) 5/20)

Alexander Urbom (signed w/Severstal (KHL) 6/6)

Mattias Tedenby (signed w/HV71 (SHL) 8/14)

Artem Demkov (signed w/HK Sochi (KHL) 7/10)

Mike Hoeffel (signed w/Springfield 7/25)

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Holiday Weekend Updates

After a relatively quiet August…it’s my second post this week!  Just a few notes to pass on before I can finally start enjoying my Labor Day weekend:

-After only returning to Albany on an AHL only contract in 2013-14, Dan Kelly was signed to a new 2 year, 2 way contract yesterday.  He set career highs in games played (71), points (17), and plus/minus (+13), while appearing in one playoff game.  He also was Albany’s selection as the AHL’s Man of the Year for his work in the community. The Lowell/Albany all time plus/minus leader at +36, he is one of just 3 Albany regulars (Tim Sestito and Darcy Zajac the others) remaining from the first Devils season of 2010-11.

-Per Fire and Ice, captain Rod Pelley will be returning on a 2 way deal (no terms given), while David Wohlberg, who was a restricted free agent, receives a one year AHL deal.  In his second tour of duty with the organization, Pelley appeared in 74 games and scored 20 points (13 G, 7 A), and appeared in all four playoff games.  Wohlberg had a strong second full season, appearing in 62 games and scoring 12 points (5 G, 7A), played in one playoff game, and was chosen as Most Improved by the coaching staff at the annual Booster Club awards banquet.

The final Free Agent Tracker of the offseason will be out Monday at around noontime.

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2014-15 Schedule Revealed

Finally, finally, finally (and did I mention finally?) the day has arrived.

After waiting for the NBA to get their schedule finalized (since a few Western Conference teams share the building), the AHL released the full 2014-15 schedule this morning.  Here is the full Albany schedule, followed by a breakdown:

(all home games in CAPS)

OCTOBER

11-at Adirondack

17-at Bridgeport

18-BRIDGEPORT

21-WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON

24-at Hartford

25-HARTFORD

NOVEMBER

1-BRIDGEPORT

2-PORTLAND

5-at Hartford

8-at Bridgeport

9-at Bridgeport

12-SYRACUSE

14-at Portland

15-at Portland

21-WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON

22-at Binghamton

23-BRIDGEPORT

26-HARTFORD

28-LEHIGH VALLEY*

29-UTICA

DECEMBER

2-SPRINGFIELD

5-at Providence

6-PORTLAND

7-ADIRONDACK

11-at Hartford

14-LEHIGH VALLEY*

19-at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

20-at Syracuse

26-at Syracuse

27-SPRINGFIELD

30-PROVIDENCE

JANUARY

2-SYRACUSE

3-at Bridgeport

4-at Bridgeport

9-HERSHEY

10-BRIDGEPORT

11-at Springfield

14-SPRINGFIELD

16-at Lehigh Valley

17-at Hershey

21-BRIDGEPORT+

23-at Worcester

24-WORCESTER

29-at Lehigh Valley

30-ST. JOHN’S

31-ST. JOHN’S

FEBRUARY

4-at Manchester

6-at Springfield

13-HERSHEY

14-at Hartford

15-HARTFORD

20-at Syracuse

21-at Utica

22-at Springfield

27-at Syracuse

28-at Hershey

MARCH

1-BINGHAMTON

6-at St. John’s

7-at St. John’s

13-WORCESTER

14-SYRACUSE

15-SPRINGFIELD

18-NORFOLK

21-NORFOLK

22-HARTFORD

27-at Norfolk

28-at Norfolk

APRIL

1-MANCHESTER

3-at Springfield

4-BINGHAMTON

10-at Binghamton

11-at Hartford

12-at Worcester

15-SYRACUSE

17-at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

18-HARTFORD

*at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

+at Prudential Center, Newark

Looking at the numbers:

First, the opponents…

36 intra-division games, with Bridgeport and Hartford 10 times apiece, and Springfield and Syracuse 8 times.

20 games against the East Division (Binghamton, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Norfolk, Wilkes-Barre), evenly split with 4 games each.

16 games against the Atlantic: 4 each with Worcester and St. John’s (back on the schedule for the first time in 2 seasons), and 2 each with Manchester and Providence.

Only 4 games in the Western Conference: 2 with Adirondack, 2 with Utica.  No Rochester yet again.  It’s actually going to be nice not having to see Adirondack 20 times this year (okay, it just seems that way but still).

3 neutral site home games, with 2 back in Atlantic City on November 28th and December 14th…and both against Lehigh Valley.  Great idea Lou, you just gave up two home crowds to Philly with that one!  And again, no one was told about this happening.

However, there is a game at the Rock on January 21st against Bridgeport.  About time the AHL Devils returned to the NHL home!

Only 9 3 in 3 weekends this year, but a majority of them are in the second half of the season.

Longest homestand comes in March, a 6 game stretch from the 13th-22nd.  The longest road trip comes just before that, a 5 game trip from February 20th-28th.  St. John’s and Norfolk two game swings are both in March as well.

Breakdown by day: Sunday 13, Monday 0, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 8, Thursday 2, Friday 23, Saturday 26.  Very weekend heavy schedule as usual.  And a couple of Tuesday home games, which I find rather weird.

Once again this season, all Saturday home games with the exception of January 24th (a 2 PM start to accommodate the annual RPI-Union matchup) will start at 5 PM. Look at it this way…if New Jersey plays the same night, you can get dinner and still catch at least half the game afterwards!  Sundays are at 3 PM, while all other start times are at 7.

The All Star Classic is scheduled for January 25th and 26th.  More information, including format and location, to come.

One more scheduling note to pass along, as a second preseason game was announced last week: the team will travel to Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, Connecticut, on October 1st to take on the Wolfpack.

 

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2014 Free Agent Tracker (as of 8/1/14)

Signed for 2014-15:

Tim Sestito

Jon Merrill

Stefan Matteau

Reid Boucher

Raman Hrabarenka

Graham Black

Scott Wedgewood

Reece Scarlett

Joe Whitney

Darcy Zajac

Ben Johnson

Mike Sislo

Cam Janssen

Adam Larsson

Scott Clemmensen (signed as FA 7/1)

Keith Kinkaid

Maxime Clermont

Corbin McPherson

Brandon Burlon

Scott Timmins

Restricted Free Agents (all given qualifying offers):

Eric Gelinas

David Wohlberg

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Rod Pelley

Kelly Zajac

Chris McKelvie

Harry Young

Riley Boychuk

Moving On:

Harri Pesonen (signed w/Lausanne (SUI) 5/20)

Alexander Urbom (signed w/Severstal (KHL) 6/6)

Mattias Tedenby (signed w/Lev Praha (KHL) 6/9; transfer to Atlant Mytishchi 7/2)

Artem Demkov (signed w/HK Sochi (KHL) 7/10)

Mike Hoeffel (signed w/Springfield 7/25)

 

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There’s Actual News!

We interrupt a lovely summer day with…actual updates!  To get caught up:

-Two more restricted free agents have re-signed with New Jersey:

In a move that some found, well, interesting, Brandon Burlon was signed a 2 year, 2 way contract.  The defenseman has yet to play more than 57 games since turning pro in 2011, mostly because of the logjam of prospects in the organization (Gelinas, Merrill, Larsson to name a few).  He did manage to set a career high in goals this past season with 5 in 54 games, while mostly being used in even strength and power play situations.  Unless Dan Kelly re-signs, he will be the most experienced A-Devil defenseman to return this season in terms of years played.

Also returning is forward Scott Timmins, signing a 1 year, 2 way contract.  Acquired in late September from Florida for Krys Barch, Timmins was a pleasant offensive surprise from the start.  In his fourth pro season, he set a career high in points with 39 (13 goals and 26 assists) in 70 games (he did miss time due to a knee injury in November/December).

The updated free agent tracker will be out on Friday at noon.

-And the first preseason game has been announced, via Lehigh Valley, who announced their full preseason schedule earlier today.  The Devils will travel southwest to the new PPL Center on Saturday, October 4th for a 7 PM faceoff.  Hopefully the first of many game announcements to come (one local game other than in Adirondack would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath).

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Off to Rookie Camp

Today marked the first day of New Jersey’s annual rookie camp in Newark.  A total of 41 players have taken the ice, some familiar to Albany/New Jersey fans, some not so familiar.  After clamoring for days as to who was attending, late last night the roster was released:

Goaltenders:

Anthony Brodeur, Jeremy Brodeur, Charlie Finn, Scott Wedgewood.

Defensemen:

Seth Helgeson, Joe Faust, Raman Hrabarenka, Joshua Jacobs, Steve Santini, Ryan Rehill, Curtis Gedig, Tyler Wood, Reece Scarlett, Damon Severson, Ryan Johnston.

Forwards:

Myles Bell, John Quenneville, William Brodeur, Graham Black, Blake Pietila, Connor Chatham, Stefan Matteau, Ryan Kujawinski, Miles Wood, Brandon Baddock, Ben Thomson, Joey Dudek, Reid Boucher, Jayden Hart, Tom Hartnett, Ben Johnson, Blake Coleman, Matt Lorito, Ross Mauermann, Eric Faille, Ryan Rosenthal, Brandon Shea, Darcy Murphy, Matt Needham, Roberts Lipsbergs, Michael Ambrosia.

Breaking down the roster:

-8 players appeared in at least one game for Albany during the 13-14 season (2 others were on the roster, but never saw action)

-15 of 17 draft picks over the last three seasons, including all 2013 and 2014 selections, are in attendance.

-16 players were free agent invites.

-Another Devil family tradition, as the Brodeur boys–goalies Anthony and Jeremy, and forward William–take over where the Pandolfos, Parises, Giontas, and Zajacs left off (Nolan, the 4th Zajac brother, was actually at Winnipeg’s rookie camp earlier this month).

The Devils PR Twitter released a camp guide earlier today, while In Lou We Trust has the breakdown by position.

And the A-Devils have a wrapup of the first day here.

 

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New Divisions, New Rules

The AHL just wrapped up its annual meetings in South Carolina this week…and with it, came a few big changes for the 2014-15 season:

-Yesterday, the divisional alignment for the season was announced, and with Lehigh Valley joining the lineup and Abbotsford moving east to Glens Falls, it’s an interesting setup:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic: Manchester, Portland, Providence, St. John’s, Worcester (no change)

East: Binghamton, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Norfolk, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Northeast: Albany, Bridgeport, Hartford, Springfield, Syracuse

WESTERN CONFERENCE

North: Adirondack, Hamilton, Rochester, Toronto, Utica

Midwest: Chicago, Grand Rapids, Lake Erie, Milwaukee, Rockford

West: Charlotte, Iowa, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Texas

The Phantoms move from Adirondack in the Northeast to the East Division, Syracuse moves from the East to the Northeast Division.  Abbotsford leaves the West with Adirondack going to the North.  Lake Erie moves from North to Midwest, and Iowa moves from Midwest to West.  Got all that?

Now, with Albany and Adirondack in different conferences, I’m hoping this means there’s a slight reduction in the season series.  Yeah, who am I kidding, I’ll still see them 20 times…

The playoff format remains the same from last season: Division winners will comprise the top 3 seeds, while the top 5 non division winners earn a spot.

Also from the meetings came some rule changes:

-Overtime periods are extended from 5 minutes to 7 minutes, starting as a 4 on 4 for the first three minutes, then going to 3 on 3 for the rest of the session.  If it gets to a shootout, it’s 3 rounds instead of 5 (like in the NHL).  Teams will change sides before the period begins, and also a full dry scrape of the ice surface will precede the start.

-If a player assesses two major penalties for fighting or three non-fighting majors in a game, they will receive a game misconduct.

-If a player loses his helmet during play and does not leave the ice immediately or put the helmet back on properly, they will receive a minor penalty.

And finally, mark your calendars: This year’s home opener will be on Saturday, October 18th.  With the season beginning on October 11th, it appears Albany will begin the season on the road for the second straight year.

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