Yes, I’m Still Here.

Such is life during the offseason. It’s been almost two weeks since I wrote something up. Most of this is likely old news, but there’s a couple new notes to pass on as well.

-The AHL conference finals are almost set, as both Oklahoma City in the West and Syracuse (continuing the run they started last season in Norfolk) in the East have clinched spots. Grand Rapids (in the West) and Providence (in the East) are both up 3-2 in their respective series, but it’s getting quite interesting in the Bruins-WBS series, especially after a Game 5 win for the Penguins last night. Here’s the first hand account via our friends at Chirps From Center Ice.

-The Utica AHL rumors refuse to go away. It appears that Vancouver, who purchased the Peoria Rivermen from St. Louis back in April, may be in talks to bring the franchise to the old Aud for 2013-14 after talks broke down with the city of Peoria. According to an article from the Utica Observer-Dispatch, it may happen, but there is much work to be done to get the arena up to AHL standards (i.e. new video board, rebuilt locker rooms, etc.), much like what Glens Falls had to do when the Phantoms first arrived back in 2009. If this move were to happen, this would make for some switching around of the divisions, I would think. How about reuniting the old Empire State Division from the mid-late 90s? Just a suggestion.

-A few members from this year’s Devils squad also had a chance to help their respective countries in the World Championships. Earlier today the U.S. team, featuring Stephen Gionta and Bobby Butler (and former River Rat Jamie McBain) clinched a bronze medal by beating Finland in a 3-2 shootout (they do shootouts for medals? Make them play till it’s over like everyone else!), after blowing a 2-0 lead in the third period. Also making appearances during the tournament were Raman Hrabarenka for Belarus (or Roman Graborenko…must be a translation of his name?) and Andrei Loktionov for Russia.


A Mostly Weekly Update…

It’s week 2 of the offseason for me…taking some time out of enjoying the sun and getting this thing updated.

-Earlier today, something long overdue: per CapGeek and Fire and Ice, the Devils have signed Joe Whitney to a two year, two way contract. After being invited to the Devils 2011 rookie camp and signing as an AHL free agent at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, Whitney has proceeded to lead the A-Devils in scoring the last two seasons.

-Catching up on some old news:

On Monday the NHL revealed the 2013 draft order via the lottery…New Jersey will be picking 9th in the first round. Due to various trades, they have a total of 4 draft picks this year: 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 6th round. The Devils are holding a drawing to win tickets to the draft, held at The Rock on June 30th (yes I entered…do I expect to win? Nope).

Add another original River Rat to the retired list, as Brian Rolston officially announced his retirement on Tuesday. He was originally drafted 11th by New Jersey in 1991, and made his pro debut with the River Rats during Albany’s inaugural 1993-94 season. He was a member of New Jersey’s first Stanley Cup championship in 1995 (after starting the lockout shortened season in Albany), spending the next 4 seasons with the Devils before being dealt to Colorado for Claude Lemieux early in the 1999-2000 season. He also played in Boston and Minnesota before returning to New Jersey prior to the 2008-09 season. He spent another 3 seasons in Jersey, before spending what would become his final season with Boston and the Islanders in 2011-12.