Tag Archives: news and notes

Calder Cup Update 5/3

At approximately 1:03 AM this morning, a Ryan Carpenter overtime goal in San Jose would officially put an end to the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs.

Since Friday, the field of 8 has been set…and there are some surprises.

-On Sunday, the top two seeds in the Atlantic were both knocked out in Game 5’s:

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the regular season champs, became the first team since 1996 to finish first overall in the AHL, then get knocked out in the first round after Providence defeated the Penguins 2-1.  Lehigh Valley, the second seed, would go down in Game 5 to Hershey 3-2.  In any other season, these would be two major upsets, but with the strength of the top 5 teams in the division (Bridgeport, the 5th place team, would have ran away with the North Division title if the old crossover rule was still in effect), both series truly could have gone in either direction.

The Atlantic Division Finals will get underway on Saturday in Hershey, with Game 2 to follow Sunday afternoon.  The series will then shift to Rhode Island on May 11th, 12th, and the 14th if necessary.  Games 6 and 7 would be in Hershey on May 16th and 17th.

-The Central Division gets underway tonight in Chicago, as the Wolves and Grand Rapids will square off.  Game 2 is Friday in Chicago, then the series shifts to Michigan on Saturday for Game 3 and Monday for Game 4.  If necessary, Game 5 is May 13th in Chicago, Game 6 May 15th in Grand Rapids, and Game 7 May 16th in Chicago.

-Syracuse and Toronto will kick off the North Division finals in central New York, with Game 1 on Friday and Game 2 Saturday.  The series then heads to Canada for Game 3 May 9th and Game 4 on May 10th.  If necessary, Game 5 is May 13th in Syracuse, Game 6 May 15th in Toronto, and Game 7 May 17th in Syracuse.

-Finally, in the Pacific, San Jose and San Diego both finished off 5 game series wins on Tuesday, with the Barracuda finishing off Stockton and the Gulls eliminating Ontario.  Their division final gets started on Friday in San Jose, followed by Game 2 on Saturday.  The series moves to San Diego on May 10th, with Game 4 on the 12th.  If necessary, Game 5 is May 13th, then Games 6 and 7 are in San Jose on May 16th and 17th.

Two pieces of Devils news to report (as we are still celebrating the Draft Lottery win on Saturday):

-Vojtech Mozik became the first departure on Wednesday, signing with the KHL’s HC Vityaz Podolsk.  Thus begins the fun with translation season.

-And finally…https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAlbanyDevils%2Fvideos%2F1887736881251985%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>All. The. Feels.

Stay tuned as the season in review returns with Part 2 tomorrow night…

 

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The Day Before…

Let’s call this the pre-pregamer, if you will.

Before the postseason officially begins tomorrow night, there are a few storylines on both sides:

-The Devils added another forward on Tuesday: 2015 3rd rounder Blake Speers has joined the team after finishing his season with Sault Ste. Marie.  He made three appearances in New Jersey early in the season, going scoreless before returning to the Greyhounds.  If you recall, he was on the roster last season during the playoffs as an amateur tryout, but did not see any action.

SSM teammate Colton White joined him earlier this afternoon.

-Also on Tuesday, the Marlies released their postseason roster.  You may recognize a couple of names on the list…

…and one of those familiar names was profiled in today’s Times Union.

At least two Marlies regulars, Kasperi Kapanen and Nikita Soshnikov, are currently up with the Maple Leafs as they take on the Caps in Round 1.  That series would finish by Tuesday at the latest, so depending on the result, you may or may not see anyone come down from the Leafs till the “if necessary” portion of the series.

-As for the rest of the AHL?  Here’s your other first round matchups:

East:

N1 Syracuse vs. N4 St. John’s–series begins Friday in NFLD

A1 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. A4 Providence–series begins Friday in RI

A2 Lehigh Valley vs. A3 Hershey–series begins Friday in Allentown

West:

C1 Chicago vs. C4 Charlotte–series begins Thursday in NC

C2 Grand Rapids vs. C3 Milwaukee–series begins Friday in MI

P1 San Jose vs. P4 Stockton–series begins Friday in SJ

P2 San Diego vs. P3 Ontario–series begins Friday in SD

Pregamer will be out an hour earlier than usual, at 3 PM on Thursday.  This will be the only pregamer for the series.  First recap will be on Sunday, time to be determined (as someone who has sat through multiple playoff OTs on a few occasions, you need to prepare for the worst I guess).

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Midweek Update: And the Awards Go To…

A few news items before we hit a busy weekend:

-For the first time in 2 years, the Booster Club was able to have a formal awards banquet, which sadly became the last one Tuesday night.  So who were the big winners?

As voted on by the membership, including myself:

-Offensive Player of the Year: Ben Sexton (also my pick)

-Defensive Player of the Year: Vojtech Mozik (me: Blake Coleman)

-Unsung Hero: Ben Sexton (me: Kevin Rooney)

-Most Electrifying Player (by definition: the player who gets the crowd excited): Luke Gazdic (me: Joe Blandisi)

-Fan Favorite: Rod Pelley (me: Joe Blandisi)

Next, who was named as one of the three stars of the game the most?

2nd/3rd Star: Brian Gibbons

1st Star: Ben Sexton

Finally, who had the most Chili Goals?  Definition: if a Devil scores the third goal of the game at home, you get free Wendy’s chili.  The final Chili Goal champ is Blake Coleman with 4.

In roster news, the first of the class of 2016 has arrived on an amateur tryout, in the form of goaltender Evan Cormier.  He finished off his season with Saginaw last week, where he went 23-19-2 with a 3.23 GAA and a .899 save percentage in 49 appearances for the Spirit.

And now a division playoff update:

While I was in New Jersey watching Dallas defeat the parent Devils in overtime(and also seeing Coleman score his first NHL goal), both St. John’s and Utica lost, while Toronto defeated Syracuse.  That created a few changes in the North pecking order:

  1. Toronto, 79 points, .581
  2. Syracuse, 77 points, .575
  3. Albany, 73 points, .545
  4. St. John’s, 74 points, .544
  5. Utica, 71 points, .530

The Devils magic number to clinch a playoff spot sits at 17 with 9 games remaining.

Syracuse takes on Binghamton tonight in the Southern Tier, where a win would put them right back in first place.  This is especially important, with a two game showdown against the Marlies coming up at home this weekend.  St. John’s opens a two game set at home this weekend against the Senators, while Utica has a 3 in 3 weekend with Rochester twice before a return trip to Wilkes-Barre on Sunday.

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Midweek Update: Another Deadline

Think after the NHL Trade Deadline on March 1st no more moves could be made?

Well…not exactly.

The AHL has a trade deadline of their own, Wednesday at 3 PM, for final roster tweaks before the playoffs to be made.  After this time, the only new players that will most likely be added are via junior callup (like Pavel Zacha here last year, for example) or college amateur tryout (i.e. Nick Lappin last year).

The Devils were quite busy before the deadline:

Sunday: Karl Stollery was summoned back to New Jersey for an emergency recall (it does not count against the 4 max recalls the parent Devils get for the rest of the regular season) thanks to an injury to Damon Severson.  He did appear in the Devils’ 3-0 loss to the Blue Jackets at The Rock.

Monday: In a rare post deadline trade, Brandon Gormley was dealt to Ottawa for the ever popular future considerations.  Gormley was a victim of the defensive numbers game, only appearing in 35 games.  He will be spending the rest of the season in Binghamton.

Also, defenseman Jacob MacDonald, who has spent the last two months with Albany on a professional tryout from Toledo, received a 2 year AHL contract that will run through next season.  Since joining the team on January 6th, MacDonald has become one of the more consistent Devils on the blue line, with 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in 19 appearances.

Tuesday: Stollery and Kevin Rooney were both returned to Albany as New Jersey kicked off a three game road trip in Columbus.  In a whirlwind week for Rooney, he signed an entry level deal Monday, was recalled on Wednesday, made his NHL debut Thursday in Washington, played in front of over 50 friends and family Saturday in Boston, then got his first home game in on Sunday.

Meanwhile, around the North Division:

-Toronto picked up Rochester captain Cal O’Reilly on loan before the deadline Wednesday.

-Utica acquired forward Emerson Clark from Chicago on Wednesday for future considerations.

Three teams in the playoff race are in action this evening: Syracuse hosts St. John’s while Toronto visits Rochester.  I’ll tweet out the standings once both games are complete tonight, setting up for the weekend.

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Midweek Update: It’s March!

Welcome to March 1st everyone!

Today is a big day…it’s NHL Trade Deadline Day, and also, rosters need to be set for AHL postseason.  So to keep everyone up to speed, here is what New Jersey has done over the last couple of days:

Monday: Two transactions:

Blake Coleman was given his second recall of the season after Pavel Zacha was placed on IR.  He appeared in the Devils 4-3 OT loss to Montreal at The Rock.

Also, it was announced that Kevin Rooney, who has been with Albany all season on an AHL deal, was signed to a NHL entry level deal for the remainder of this season.  A well deserved reward for the rookie, who has been the only A-Devil to appear in every single game so far this season.

Wednesday:

-Rooney was recalled and is expected to make his NHL debut tomorrow night in Washington.

-Out of the three trades New Jersey made at the deadline, only one affected Albany: Reece Scarlett, who was the longest tenured current A-Devil, was dealt to Florida for forward Shane Harper.  In 39 games with the Thunderbirds, Harper has 19 points (7 G, 12 A).  He made his NHL debut with the Panthers on October 13th against New Jersey, and would appear in 14 games, scoring twice.  Local fans may remember Harper from the Adirondack Phantoms, where he spent three-plus seasons.

Also this afternoon: Coleman, Rooney, Joe Blandisi, Steve Santini, and Miles Wood were all papered to Albany then recalled to New Jersey, making them eligible to return to the AHL anytime through the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.  Seth Helgeson, who cleared waivers over the weekend, was officially reassigned with the addition of Dalton Prout from Columbus (for Kyle Quincey).

 

Now let’s take a look at what’s going on around the North Division:

-No changes for Utica despite the mumps hitting the Canucks hard.

-Binghamton lost defenseman Michael Kostka, who was dealt to Calgary as part of the Curtis Lazar-Jyrki Jokipakka deal.

-Rochester received former Union College defenseman Mat Bodie from the Rangers for forward Dan Catenacci on Tuesday.

-St. John’s lost forward Sven Andrighetto, who was dealt to Colorado for forward Andreas Martinsen.

-Syracuse ended up the big winners in the division thanks to a pair of deals:

In the Brian Boyle deal with Toronto, the Crunch picked up Marlies forward Byron Froese and his 22 goals.  In a sort of related move, former River Rat/A-Devil Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond was loaned to the Marlies.

Tampa Bay and Florida swapped AHL goaltenders: Adam Wilcox is off to Springfield, while former A-Devil Mike McKenna will join Syracuse.

-Toronto also picked up former A-Devil Mike Sislo in a loan deal with San Antonio, sending Colin Smith to the Rampage.

 

The NHL deadline may have passed, but the AHL has until March 8th at 3 PM to finish up any intraleague trades or loans.  So…there may be more to come, stay tuned.

 

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Offseason Notebook #9

Getting you caught up on the news of the week:

-The last of the restricted free agents came to terms, as Reid Boucher agreed to a new 1 year, 2 way contract on Wednesday.

-Adding another name to the Moving On category…fill in defenseman Joe Faust, who spent the last two seasons as mostly an extra, signed an ECHL deal with the Idaho Steelheads.  Updating the list…that’s 12 players who have left (that’s more than half a normal lineup!), and three that still need a home for the new season.

-On Thursday, the NBA released their full schedule for 2016-17.  And why is this significant?  With two teams (Lake Erie…I mean Cleveland…and San Antonio) sharing their building with an NBA franchise, this is the last hurdle to cross before the 2016-17 AHL schedule is ready to go.  The last two seasons it took till nearly the end of August for a schedule to drop, if there’s any indication.

And finally a few links:

All About the Jersey gives an early roster preview.

NHL.com picks their top 5 Devil prospects.

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Offseason Notebook #8

This week in the Notebook:

-What had been rumored for several weeks became official on Monday, as Marc-Andre Gragnani became the second Devil to head overseas, signing on with Dinamo Minsk of the KHL.

-Also in the Moving On category: Brandon Burlon became the first signing for the Coyotes AHL affiliate in Tucson, signing a one year AHL contract.

With Burlon leaving for the desert, 11 players that finished the season in Albany have moved on to other teams, with 4 still in need of homes for the upcoming season.

-For the second straight preseason, New Jersey prospects will join the Bruins and Sabres in Buffalo for the Prospects Challenge, to be held September 16th-19th at the HarborCenter.  All three teams will play a round robin tournament, with two games for each team.  The Devils will take on Buffalo on Saturday, September 17th, then face the Bruins the following day.

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