Now that we’ve had two days to try and get over the whole Ilya thing, a couple of news items to pass on:
-Earlier this week, the AHL announced divisions and playoff format for the 2013-14 season. No changes at all in the Eastern Conference, but due to Peoria and Houston leaving and Utica and Iowa coming in, a slight adjustment in the West. One that left me scratching my head and double checking my North American map. Utica moves in to the North Division with Rochester, Toronto, Hamilton, and Lake Erie. Iowa moves into the Midwest Division with Chicago, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, and Rockford. A new West Division was formed, featuring Abbotsford, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Texas. You have to feel for the artists formerly known as the River Rats on this one. Not only are they in their fourth different division in four years, but now apparently North Carolina is in the western part of the country (last I checked, they were in the East Coast I thought). As if their travel schedule isn’t already brutal, I can only imagine how many division games they will get. As for Utica…it would have made more sense to put them in either the East or even the Northeast Division due to location and send a team like Syracuse, who’s closer to the North teams proximity-wise, to the other conference. But I don’t make the schedule or the division, I just watch the games. The playoff format will stay the same as last season: 3 division winners and the remaining top 5 teams in the conference get in the postseason. First round is a best of 5, with the remaining 3 rounds a best of 7.
-Congrats go out to the Devils front office, who were recgonized by the AHL for most season ticket growth in the Eastern Conference!
-2 more re-signings to report this week: first on Thursday, restricted free agent Harri Pesonen signed a 1 year, 2 way deal to return for his second season. He posted 31 points (14 G, 17 A) in 64 games in his first North American season, and even got in 4 games up in New Jersey. Then last night, rookie defenseman Raman Hrabarenka (or, if you’re in Europe, Roman Grabarenko) earned himself a 3 year entry level contract after being on an AHL-only deal last season. He only dressed in 34 games due to injury and being an extra on the roster, but still managed to put up 1 goal and 4 assists. He also represented his home country Belarus in the World Championships, scoring 1 goal in 7 games.
That leaves six restricted free agents left to be signed, for those keeping track.
Still waiting on word on which Devil prospects will be participating in this year’s development camp, starting this week. I’m hearing a few names here and there, but will wait until the official full list is out to do a post on that.