Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

NHL Free Agency — Day 1

The first day of NHL Free Agency is nearly in the books (calling it a day at 7 pm or thereabouts, but there are always more signings into the evening, so depending on what time you are seeing this, check back for any updates as they warrant) and here’s who signed where and how it affects the AHL’s Atlantic Division:

Pittsburgh Penguins (WBS): David Warsofsky and Andrew Agozzino signed for two years. Two huge offensive threats for the AHL’s Colorado Eagles last season, Agozzino scored 60 points with the Eagles with 19 of those (8 goals, 11 assists) coming on the power play. I had him #9 on my Big Board. Warsofsky you will remember from the Penguins a few seasons ago, he had 15 assists on the power play last year for the Eagles. I had him at #40 on my Board.

There is your big time scorer for Wilkes-Barre. 60 points isn’t anything to sneeze at and anytime you can snag a guy in the top ten on the Board, that’s a really good thing.

(no links with the rest of the signings noted below as they were all scattered, just trust me)

Philadelphia Flyers (Lehigh Valley): Were very active on Day 1, signing ten players, none bigger than Cal O’Reilly who signed an AHL deal straight up with the Phantoms. I had him as my #3 on the Big Board. Lehigh Valley also re-signed Greg Carey (#10) who was far and away their best player last season. The full list includes Andy Andreoff (#16), Kyle Crisculo, J-F Berube (#84), Kurtis Gabriel, Nate Prosser, Andy Welinski, Chris Bigras and Tyler Wotherspoon, these guys signed NHL contracts.

Phantoms are on track to score a boatload of goals next season.

Washington Capitals (Hershey): I thought they lost more than they gained, actually. Yes, they re-signed guys like Liam O’Brien a month or so ago and Mike Sgarbossa (#6) this past weekend but lost Nathan Walker (#44) and Riley Barber (#13) to outside the division as well as their best defenseman Aaron Ness (#17). They did sign Philippe Maillet (#21) from Ontario / Los Angeles. G Vitek Vanecek who was a restricted free agent and hr re-signed Monday afternoon.

New York Rangers (Hartford): Signed Danny O’Regan (#26, 40+ points in three seasons) and Greg McKegg who I had as an NHLer and not part of this years Big Board. Later, they added Harry Zolnierczyk (#25), Vincent LoVerde and Tom McCollum (both unranked vet guys with a Calder Cup to each of their names) Hartford has a lot of holes and these signings come in looking to patch them.

Boston Bruins (Providence): The Bruins signed G Max Lagace (#39), Brendan Gaunce (#51) and Josiah Didier (unranked) – Providence was looking good coming in, these guys show up to make them better.

Florida Panthers (Springfield): Now ex-Penguin Ethan Prow (#8) and Tommy Cross (#66, played for Cleveland, good on PP and 35 points a season) both sign with Florida / Springfield.

Didn’t see anything yet from the Islanders (affecting Bridgeport) or Carolina (affecting Charlotte) yet. The Checkers were pillaged, losing a lot of their key guys that brought them a Calder Cup in June.

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In other news, the Penguins announced six guaranteed home dates for the upcoming season. All Saturday dates. They are as follows:

Saturday, October 12, 2019
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Saturday, February 8, 2020
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Saturday, March 28, 2020

The October 12 date makes me believe that the Penguins open the 2019-20 season on the road. For contrast, Hershey announced their home opener for October 5. We’ll see, I’d expect the AHL schedule out late next week if prior history is any indication.

I’ll be back for Day 2 if the situation warrants a blog post. As always, the AHL Big Board will update as free agency keeps on.

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