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!



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.