NHL Labor strife is over. Hockey is back!
Apparently, what I have been doing and everything going on in the AHL the past three and a half months has gone unnoticed, like it didn’t even happen. Meh. Consider me bitter that I’m not blogging up the highest level of hockey anymore. Whatever. I’m not here to vent.
Training camps are opening all across the NHL. While focusing on the effect on the AHL’s East Division, I offer the following:
Wilkes-Barre / Scranton / Pittsburgh
No real shockers here. Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Brian Strait, Beau Bennett, Jayson Megna and Eric Tangradi are in camp. 9 defensemen, 15 forwards and two goaltenders.
Bortuzzo and Strait must clear to be re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre. I have a gut feeling Pittsburgh doesn’t want to lose them to waivers, so they may stick. Despres doesn’t need to clear, so I would assume he will be back sooner rather than later.
Tangradi will never be seen in Wilkes-Barre again. This is his time. He either makes something of it or is traded. Bennett is either top-six in Pittsburgh or top-six in Wilkes-Barre. Him toiling on a third line in Pittsburgh getting thirteen minutes a game will do nothing for his development. Third line is not his style.
Megna getting an invitation to camp was a shock to me. But Jonathan Bombulie had some great insights on Megna getting the invite which, if you sit back and think, make sense.
Now what’s left is what becomes of Brad Thiessen, Jeff Zatkoff and Steve MacIntyre, who are currently on waivers, per TSN’s Bob MacKenzie.
Hershey / Washington
Braden Holtby and Cameron Schilling were invited to camp. For Holtby, he was playing in the AHL because he could. He is Washington’s #1 in goal and will never be heard or seen again in the AHL.
Norfolk / Anaheim
Emerson Etem, Peter Holland, Patrick Maroon, Kyle Palmieri, Devante Smith-Pelly and Nate Guenin are among some of the names invited who helped out the struggling Norfolk Admirals, who presently sit last place in the division. To try and put a band-aid on things, the Admirals recalled six players
from their ECHL affiliate Fort Wayne. (edit: Norfolk brought a hodgepodge of ECHL players, not all from Fort Wayne, thanks to reader Kim in the comments who now knows I am illiterate ~) )
Syracuse / Tampa Bay
Mike Angelidis, Cory Conacher, Pierre-Cedric Labrie Keith Aulie, Matt Taormina get invites along with Tyler Johnson, Mark Barberio, J.T. Wyman and Radko Gudas. Dustin Tokarski does not.
With the lead Syracuse has padded on the rest of the division, it may not matter who goes up. Here’s Lindsay Kramer from The Post-Standard in Syracuse’s take on things which include some names recalled from ECHL Florida. Also, blog buddies Chairman How’s Glorious Army give their take, and aren’t scared. Nor should they be.
Binghamton / Ottawa
No team in my mind has been looted as much as the Binghamton Senators. Yes, last night they won with a patchwork lineup. But they beat the last place Norfolk Admirals team, equally victimized by NHL camp invites.
Here is Ottawa’s training camp roster. Ben Bishop and Robin Lehner go up leaving Nathan Lawson to tend the nets on the Southern Tier. Common knowledge seems to think that Lehner will be back.
Patrick Wiercioch, Andre Benoit and Mark Borowiecki are the defensemen that get invites. Jakob Silfverberg and Mike Hoffman go up from the forward corps. I have always believed that Binghamton was going to be a huge beneficiary of the NHL lockout, which they have thus far, so time will tell if the B-Sens could ride the momentum of a hot start all the way to the finish. Here’s the Press & Sun-Bulletin take on things.
I’m sure these moves will be analyzed backwards and forwards all this week. It’s a light week for the Penguins this week as they are in Norfolk on Tuesday then they play the Bears in the Outdoor Classic a week today. So more than enough time for players to return from camps or players to get called up from their ECHL affiliates. I’ll do the best I can on staying on top of it all for you as the week progresses. Always, latest news can be found on Twitter. Then maybe Facebook, but never Instagram.