Tag Archives: Roster Moves

Week 6 Recap: Almost Perfect

For a 3 in 3 weekend that saw many miles logged over three different states…5 out of a possible 6 points is not a bad showing.

11/13 at Providence: 4-2 W

It was off to Rhode Island to start the weekend with the first matchup of the season against the Bruins.  And it wasn’t long before the visitors got on the board…Joseph Blandisi (his 5th) and Blake Pietila (his 4th on a power play) would score 3:15 apart midway through the first for a 2-0 advantage.  Reid Boucher would make it a 3-0 lead with a power play tally of his own midway through the second.  The amazing stat of that period?  That one goal came on just two Devil shots for the middle 20 minutes, talk about efficiency.  Providence would break up the shutout late in the second period thanks to the first goal of the season from former River Rat Brett Bellemore.  Boucher would add his second of the game just 1:57 into the third for a 4-1 Devil lead.  Rookie Noel Acciari would add a power play tally a few minutes later, but that was as close as the Bruins would get, as the Devils killed off two separate late penalties and survived 2 6 on 4 shorthanded situations to pick up their third straight win.  Yann Danis would pick up his seventh win, stopping 21 of 23 shots.  Vojtech Mozik assisted on the first three Devil goals, Brandon Burlon had two helpers, and Pietila, Seth Helgeson, and Corey Tropp each had an assist.

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Joseph Blandisi-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Blake Pietila-Corey Tropp

Chris McKelvie-Ryan Kujawinski-Paul Thompson

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Raman Hrabarenka/Dan Kelly

Brandon Burlon/Reece Scarlett

Yann Danis/Doug Carr

Out: Scott Wedgewood, Jim O’Brien, Marc Andre Gragnani (inj), Blake Coleman (susp), Max Novak, Graham Black, Corbin McPherson (extra)

Power Play: 2 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 5 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 12. Shots on Goal: 15.  Shots Allowed: 23.


Saturday: With Raman Hrabarenka getting injured in Friday’s win, Joe Faust was recalled from Adirondack as insurance.

11/14 at Lehigh Valley: 2-1 W (OT)

While I was spending the evening in New Jersey watching the parent club shut out Pittsburgh, the Devils traveled to Allentown to take on their former divisional rival the Phantoms.  The power play came through yet again late in the first period as Mike Sislo scored his 8th of the season for a 1-0 lead.  Albany would outshoot the hosts 14-3 during the opening 20 minutes, a total that took nearly the entire game for them the night before in Providence.  But the Phantoms would wake up and eventually tie the game midway through the third on a Petr Straka goal.  The game would go into overtime, where less than 2 minutes in Joseph Blandisi would score the game winner, extending Albany’s winning streak to 4 games.  Doug Carr drew the start and picked up his first win, stopping 21 of 22 shots.  Three Devils would add helpers.

The Lineup:

(best guess from what I could gather from the boxscore/highlight reel)

Reid Boucher-Blake Coleman-Corey Tropp

Matt Lorito-Joseph Blandisi-Mike Sislo

Blake Pietila-Ryan Kujawinski-Max Novak

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Doug Carr/Yann Danis

Out: Scott Wedgewood, Jim O’Brien, Paul Thompson, Marc Andre Gragnani, Graham Black, Raman Hrabarenka, Ben Thomson, Joe Faust

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 13.  Shots on Goal: 29.  Shots Allowed: 22.


11/15 at Springfield: 2-1 L (OT)

It was back to New England on Sunday afternoon as Albany finished off a 5 game road swing in Springfield.  Halfway through the first, the Falcons had a goal waved off by the refs when the puck supposedly did not make it over before the net was dislodged.  But then a video review was called…and the decision reversed.  And that was literally all the offense for most of the game…there were more fights (2) than actual goals.  But with 2:25 to go in regulation, the Devils finally got on the scoresheet and tied things up thanks to Paul Thompson’s first goal since returning from injury (and just his second of the year overall).  It was on to overtime for the second straight day, where on a couple of occasions the Devils nearly completed the comeback.  But with just 16 seconds to go until going to a shootout…Eric Selleck would send the game winner past Yann Danis, denying Albany a perfect weekend (the Falcons ended up with a perfect 6 for 6 weekend of their own).  Danis would finish with 35 saves on 37 shots.  Vojtech Mozik and Dan Kelly had the lone helpers of the day.

The Lineup:

Reid Boucher-Blake Coleman-Corey Tropp

Matt Lorito-Joseph Blandisi-Mike Sislo

Blake Pietila-Ryan Kujawinski-Paul Thompson

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Doug Carr

Out: Scott Wedgewood, Jim O’Brien, Chris McKelvie, Marc Andre Gragnani, Max Novak, Graham Black, Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 5 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 22. Shots on Goal: 34. Shots Allowed: 37.


My Player of the Week:

There were a total of 7 goals scored this weekend…and Vojtech Mozik assisted on four of them.  Since getting into the lineup the second week of the season, he has been quietly climbing up the ranks, leading the team and tied for third in the league with a +9 rating.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (8)

Assists: Matt Lorito (9)

Points: Mike Sislo (13)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+9)

Penalty Minutes: Joseph Blandisi (31)

Wins: Yann Danis (7)

GAA: Yann Danis (1.97)

Save Percentage: Yann Danis (.926)

The Vault:

Taking it back to 2011, when Blake Coleman won the Junior Player of the Year award from USA Hockey:

Up North with the Thunder:

Adirondack split a pair of games this week to finish out a 6 game road trip.  Friday night Ken Appleby stopped 22 of 23 shots in a 4-1 win over Atlanta, while Joe Faust had an assist.  Saturday Appleby would suffer a 3-2 loss at the hands of Greenville, stopping 21 of 24.  He is now 7-2-0 with a 1.89 GAA and a .934 save percentage.  The Thunder return home to a very easy schedule this week, just a Wednesday morning matchup with Norfolk.

This Week’s Schedule:

A much easier slate this week, as the Devils return to home ice for the first time since November 1st to start a 4 game homestand.  Friday night the Falcons make their first trip to the Capital Region to finish off a home and home.  Saturday afternoon the red hot Penguins make their only visit of the season.



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Weekly Primer, Issue 2

Quick Hits:

-The Devils begin the week 0-1-0-0, looking for their first points of the season.  They are tied for last place in the North Division with Utica, who also sit at 0-1-0-0.

-First recall of the season to New Jersey goes to…Yann Danis, who was summoned to back up Keith Kinkaid Tuesday night at home against Nashville while Cory Schneider became a first time dad to a baby boy, Wyatt.  He was officially sent back to Albany on Wednesday, while Reid Boucher was sent down and recalled on paper to make room.  Ken Appleby was recalled from Adirondack for a day before being returned to the Thunder.

-Injury report: All but Scott Wedgewood (ankle) will be available to play this weekend.

Saturday, 10/17 and Sunday, 10/18 at Toronto

Where: Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

When: 3:00 PM both days.

Season Series: First 2 meetings of 6.  Future matchups: November 1st @ Albany; March 1st @ Toronto; March 13th & April 10th @ Albany

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 2-0-0-0, 4 points, 1.ooo winning pct, first place in North Division.

Leading Scorers: Josh Leivo, 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists); 6 players with 2 points; Garret Sparks, 1-0-0, 1.85 GAA, .931 save pct; Antoine Bibeau, 1-0-0, 3.00 GAA, .875 save pct

Need to Know:

This is the first matchup between the two teams since December 10, 2011, a 4-1 Toronto win on home ice; the Marlies are finishing up a four game homestand to start off the season, including a sweep of Manitoba last weekend; games will be televised on RogersTV in Canada.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TorontoMarlies

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Week 1 Recap: The Curse of Broome County

Oh, Opening Day.  It’s a wonderful thing when the first game of hockey season that counts arrives.  New players, new promise, and the hope that you can start off on the right foot on your quest for the playoffs and the Calder Cup.  The Devils began their sixth season on Saturday evening with a new look lineup and hopes that they can build on their near playoff miss from last season.  But it was in Binghamton…and whenever Albany goes into that building, everything seems to happen.  And not in a good way.

10/10 at Binghamton: 4-1 L

With Scott Wedgewood out due to injury, Yann Danis drew the starting assignment in net.  Also making their Devil debuts: Joseph Blandisi, Blake Coleman, Jim O’Brien, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, and Corey Tropp.  Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond made his first appearance back in an A-Devil uniform since April 10, 2011.

Blake Pietila

Blake Pietila

Blake Coleman

Blake Coleman

In the first, both teams would exchange power play goals.  Colin Greening would put the home team up first just 16 seconds into the first penalty kill of the season halfway through the period.  Joseph Blandisi would return the favor with his first professional tally on the back end of a 5 on 3 chance (well, 5 seconds after the 5 on 3 portion ended, anyway) to tie it up.  Second period things appeared to be swinging in the Devils favor, with more offensive zone play and just 2 penalties called against (including the ever popular playing without a helmet penalty…Tropp missed the memo on that one), but nothing past Binghamton goaltender Chris Driedger.  Eric O’Dell would break the tie late in the second period…and after that, the bottom would fall out for the visitors.  The curse of the building, among other things, would take over in the third period, as Albany could only manage 5 shots on goal.  David Dziurzynski and O’Dell would score 6:53 apart to put the game away for the hosts.  And then there was the discipline, or should I say, lack thereof (it also didn’t help that the lone referee missed a few blatant calls)…31 penalty minutes total for the period, including losing both Seth Helgeson and Raman Hrabarenka late in the game due to a scrum in the corner.  Danis played well in defeat, stopping 28 of 32 shots, while Gragnani had the lone assist.

The daily Well.  That escalated quickly.

The daily Well. That escalated quickly.

We missed you, PL3.

We missed you, PL3.


The Lineup:

Ryan Kujawinski-Jim O’Brien-Paul Thompson

Blake Coleman-Joseph Blandisi-Mike Sislo

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Corey Tropp

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Blake Pietila-Max Novak

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Raman Hrabarenka/Seth Helgeson

Corbin McPherson/Brandon Burlon

Yann Danis/Doug Carr

Out: Dan Kelly (unknown), Ben Thomson (healthy), Graham Black (inj), Matt Lorito (inj), Scott Wedgewood (inj), Vojtech Mozik (inj)

Power Play: 1 for 6.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 4. Penalty Minutes: 37.  Shots on Goal: 33. Shots Allowed: 32.


My Player of the Week:

My first choice for the season–drumroll please: Yann Danis.  Despite the loss, he had a good first night in net filling in for Scott Wedgewood.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Joseph Blandisi (1)

Assists: Marc-Andre Gragnani (1)

Points: 2 players tied with 1

+/-: 9 players tied with 0

Penalty Minutes: Raman Hrabarenka (12)

Wins: 0

GAA: Yann Danis (4.00)

Save Percentage: Yann Danis (.875)

The Vault:

Replacing Obligatory Fight of the Week, this space will be for digging into the Youtube archives and finding some past info on members of the roster.  This week, here’s an interview with Joseph Blandisi from January 2014, just after he joined Barrie in the OHL:

Up North with the Thunder:

On Saturday, Ken Appleby was reassigned to Adirondack, and was immediately put to work, starting the Thunder’s preseason opener in Glens Falls, a 5-4 overtime loss to Manchester.  He stopped 23 of 28 shots, while Alexandre Carrier scored in the first period.  Joe Faust also saw action and finished with a +1.  Adirondack will travel to Manchester Sunday afternoon to finish off the home and home series with the Monarchs, then the regular season begins on Friday evening in Elmira.

The Week Ahead:

The road swing to start the season continues to the northwest, as Albany travels to Toronto for the first time since the 2011-12 season for a two game weekend set.  Both games on Saturday and Sunday are 3:00 afternoon starts.  Also this week…Fanfest at the TU Center on Wednesday!  There may be a few items tweeted from that, so stay tuned.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Before the Games Begin

A few pieces of business to take care of before Season 6 finally gets underway on Saturday night:

You can look here for your official season opening roster. But just how did it get to that?

-When I posted the final free agent tracker on September 1st, there were 6 players remaining on the free agent list that had not found a home for the season.  2 ended up staying put (Corbin McPherson and Joe Faust), while 3 others have found new homes: Scott Timmins signed with San Jose and will be playing for the Barracuda; David Wohlberg is off to Florida of the ECHL after starting in camp with Charlotte; and Maxime Clermont has returned to school in Quebec, playing for Concordia University.  Darcy Zajac is the last one standing, although according to Comcast he’s in New Jersey.

-Final roster moves from camp: Seth Helgeson was the last cut from New Jersey’s training camp, being reassigned to Albany on Tuesday.  Joe Faust and David Shields (the last remaining PTO in Albany camp) were sent to Adirondack, where the Thunder’s camp got underway on Sunday.

-With Scott Wedgewood (ankle) out for a week and Yann Danis’s (back) status up in the air for the weekend, goaltender Doug Carr was brought in on a PTO on Wednesday.  He split last season between Adirondack and Colorado (ECHL), posting a 4-3-0 record with a 3.30 GAA for the Flames and a 10-10-0 mark with a 2.65 GAA for the Eagles.  There is a chance Ken Appleby may be making his professional debut on Saturday if Danis is unable to go.

-The last two days have also seen two transactions that may have a lot of potential for this team, although one may not happen right away.  On Wednesday afternoon (with the news breaking during the Martin Brodeur number retirement ceremony, no less), New Jersey acquired forward Brian O’Neill from the Kings for a conditional 7th round draft choice in 2017.  Most in the NHL Devil fanbase were like, who is this guy?  But in the AHL…yeah, he’s kind of a big deal.  Last season he lead Manchester to the Calder Cup and won league MVP in the process, leading all scorers with 80 points (22 G, 58 A) in 71 games and adding another 20 points during the playoff run.  He will remain on New Jersey’s roster for the time being, but if he is to be reassigned to Albany, he will have to go through waivers first.

Then on Thursday, a curveball: Chicago reassigned forward Corey Tropp to Albany.  He spent the last two seasons with Columbus, where in 2014-15 he put up 8 points (1 goal, 7 assists) in 61 games.  His last appearance in the AHL was a 6 game stint in 2012-13 with Rochester.

-Now for the setup for me for Season 6:

Like last season, all pregamers will be on a weekly basis.  Noontime release on the first gameday that week.

Recaps will follow the day after the last game of the week, with a quick summary, highlights, and lineups.  I’m also bringing back a Player of the Week and the team leaders, along with injuries, Thunder updates, and what’s upcoming.  New this year: what I like to call The Vault.  Since there may not be as many Obligatory Fights of the Week, The Vault will be a random interview/highlight reel with a current member of the roster back in the day.  A Before They Were Devils, if you will.  As for photo galleries…well, no separate entries for those.  I will include a few photos right in the recap, with all extended galleries over on the Facebook page (a reminder that it does still exist, so if you haven’t Liked it, please do so).

With that said…let’s go and be United In Red!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Preseason Split

Welcome to October!  For all of you that have been begging for it since April…you can stop complaining now! (I kid, I kid.)

Before Season 6 of Albany Devils hockey kicks off on Saturday in the Southern Tier, there was a preseason slate to get through first.  The Devils traveled southwest to Pennsylvania to take on the Bears and the Penguins on back to back nights to tune up for the regular season.  And it was a mixed result:

10/1 at Hershey: 2-1 W

The brief preseason slate got off to a good start with a win in Chocolatetown.  After a scoreless first period, Max Novak would score on a power play 47 seconds into the second period for a 1-0 lead.  Nathan Walker would tie it up for the hosts with a short handed goal nearly six minutes later.  After a few extra curriculars midway through the second and early in the third, Blake Coleman would give Albany a one goal lead with six and a half minutes remaining in regulation.  Ken Appleby drew the start and played well in his third goalie audition, stopping 28 of 29 shots.  Joseph Blandisi would add two assists.

10/2 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 2-1 L (OT)

It was due north on Interstate 81 for the second game of the week, as Albany took on the Penguins.  Much like the night before, both teams were scoreless through the first, but on Friday it was the home team that would strike first.  Conor Sheary would give the Pens a 1-0 lead 8 minutes into the second period.  Joseph Blandisi would continue his strong preseason play by tying the game up at 1 4:35 into the third period.  The game would then carry over into overtime, where Kael Mouillerat would score the game winner off a 2 on 1 breakout play with just 25 seconds to go in the extra frame to give the Pens the win.  Scott Wedgewood would stop 33 of 35 Penguin shots.

With the preseason wrapped up, just who is left on the roster?  With final cuts from New Jersey having to be made by Tuesday, there may still be a couple of more players sent down.  After New Jersey’s preseason wrapped up on Friday, Marc Andre Gragnani cleared waivers and was reassigned to Albany, while Alexandre Carrier, Gunnar Hughes, and Jacob Sweeney were released from their tryouts.  Carrier will report to Adirondack, where he signed with the Thunder earlier this week, along with Hughes.

This Week’s Schedule:

It all starts for real on Saturday, as the Devils kick off the season with a quick trip west to Binghamton to take on their old/new division rival, the Senators.  Also before the weekend: once the final roster is complete, I’ll update with that plus how I plan on running blog postings for the season.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cuts, Camp Begins, and Visiting Old Friends

It’s been a busy few days in Devil land…and for myself as well.  With A-Devils camp officially opening for business this afternoon (and the first games coming up later this week), let’s get caught up with how training camp in the Garden State has been going.

-After Wednesday night’s loss to the Islanders in Brooklyn, the first round of cuts was announced:

Going back to juniors: goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie/OHL); defensemen Josh Jacobs (Sarnia/OHL), Ryan Rehill (Kamloops/WHL), and Colton White (Sault Ste. Marie/OHL); and forwards Brandon Baddock (Edmonton/WHL), Connor Chatham (Flint/OHL), and Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie/OHL).  Alexandre Goulet, who had been in camp on an amateur tryout, was also let go.

Going to Albany: Yann Danis, Dan Kelly, Jacob Sweeney, Graham Black, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, and Ben Thomson.

The Albany seven will join Joe Faust, Max Novak, Corbin McPherson (all on AHL contracts) and Alexandre Carrier, David Shields, and Gunnar Hughes (tryouts) at Albany’s camp.

-Friday night myself and a friend called ourselves up to New Jersey to check out the first home exhibition game.  And I must say, I’m glad I made the trip.

Adam Henrique greeting fans in the Towers...

Adam Henrique greeting fans in the  Towers…

Scott Wedgewood warming up

Scott Wedgewood warming up (Gio in the background)

When you get to see the first New Jersey win of the preseason (with a former A-Devil in net in Keith Kinkaid) and reunite with your first favorite A-Devil who remembers you even though it’s been at least 3 years since you last spoke to him…it’s a perfect way to kick off your hockey season.

-This just in: New Jersey has made its second round of cuts.  The following 15 players are en route to Albany (additionally, John Quenneville was returned to his junior team in Brandon), with some likely needing to clear waivers first in order to do so:

Goaltenders: Ken Appleby, Scott Wedgewood.

Defensemen: Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Vojtech Mozik, Reece Scarlett.

Forwards: Joseph Blandisi, Blake Coleman, Ryan Kujawinski, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Matt Lorito, Jim O’Brien, Blake Pietila, Mike Sislo, Paul Thompson.

The Devils roster stands at 27, so there may be another additional 1-2 players coming later.  By the end of next weekend, there will be a clearer picture of who will be here, who stays in New Jersey, and who may be heading north to Adirondack.




Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Free Agent Update #1: No Crickets Here!

We interrupt your Fourth of July weekend festivities to give you a recap of the first 3 days of the free agent signing period.

In the past, I would sit back and watch every other team load up or re-sign players like crazy during the first few days of July…and hear nothing out of New Jersey.  For days.  Or even weeks.

But not this year.  The new regime has come in and re-signed one big piece and picked up four others that do address needs for Albany.

Let’s start with Wednesday’s signings:

-First came the highly anticipated signing of forward Blake Coleman to an entry level deal.  A 3rd round draft choice in 2011, he just completed his collegiate career at Miami (OH), where in his senior season he appeared in 37 games and set a career high in both goals (20) and assists (17) while serving as assistant captain.  In 143 games over his four seasons, he scored 60 goals and assisted on 47 others.

-A few hours later, another expected signing: forward Paul Thompson (#21 on the AHL Big Board), coming off a career season, returns on a 2 year 2 way deal.  A late summer signing last year, all Thompson did was set a Albany/Lowell franchise record for goals in a season (33), was second in the league in power play goals (13), and represented Albany at the AHL All Star Classic in January.

-Then late Wednesday, a signing out of left field: forward Jim O’Brien (#11 on the Big Board) was signed to a 1 year, 2 way contract.  This may not sound like much to fans in New Jersey, but for the AHL level, this is a pretty big signing.  He split last season between Novokuznetsk Metallurg of the KHL and Hershey, scoring just twice in 22 games in Russia, but picking up 10 goals in 32 games with the Bears (and an additional 3 goals in 10 playoff games).  He does have some NHL experience, appearing in 63 games over parts of 3 seasons with Ottawa, and was also a member of Binghamton’s Calder Cup winning squad in 2010-11.

Friday saw two more players sign on the dotted line:

-The second goaltender/#3 on the depth chart hole has been filled, and it’s a familiar name to New Jersey fans: much like his new goaltending coach did last summer, Yann Danis (#56 on the Big Board) returns to the organization for his second tour of duty, signing a 1 year 2 way deal.  The journeyman netminder spent last season with Norfolk and Hartford, going 5-6-0 with a 2.72 GAA and .914 save percentage with the Admirals, and 12-7-4 with a 2.35 GAA and .921 save percentage with the Wolfpack.  He spent the 2009-10 season as Martin Brodeur’s backup, only seeing action in 12 games and going 3-2-1 with a 2.05 GAA.

-The second signing comes in the form of a 1 year 2 way contract for defenseman Marc Andre Gragnani, a name not familiar at all to New Jersey fans, but has a good AHL resume.  He spent last season with Bern in the Swiss-A league, putting up 37 points (8 G, 29 A) and a +13 in 49 games.  He has a bit of NHL experience, appearing in 74 games for Buffalo, Vancouver and Carolina, but most of his career has been in the AHL, playing in Rochester, Portland and Charlotte.  He won the AHL’s Eddie Shore Award (given to the top defenseman) in 2010-11 while with the Pirates.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized