The impact of the NHL trade deadline on the American League goes mostly unnoticed in the hockey world.
But NHL GMs’ moves this week gave new shape to the Calder Cup playoff race. The effect, if any, of the moves remains to be seen and there are still moves that could come, as the AHL does not finalize teams’ playoff rosters until Wednesday. Below is a look at which teams stand to benefit from this week’s roster movement and which clubs could be in tough going forward.
The River Rats profited nicely from the Carolina Hurricanes’ yard sale on Wednesday. Justin Peters is a likely bet to see crease time in Carolina as the Hurricanes play out the stretch, so the acquisition of Justin Pogge in the Aaron Ward deal helps nicely.
Rookie Mike Murphy is out with an injury, meaning goaltending chores have been left to Mike Morrison. Pogge’s strange season will now take him to Albany. For all the critique of Pogge, he has rebounded nicely in San Antonio with a run-of-the-mill team, going 12-7-3 with a 2.57 GAA and a .920 save percentage.
Albany also snagged big Finnish winger Oskar Osala from division rival Hershey as part of the Joe Corvo swap. Osala, an AHL sophomore, chipped in 15 goals with a remarkably deep group of Hershey forwards and now could see first-line ice time.
The Moose most benefited by what they did not lose. Rumors centered around stout goaltending prospect Cory Schneider as a likely candidate to depart in a deadline deal to help firm up the Vancouver Canucks for a playoff run. Instead, a deal for Schneider, named the AHL’s top goalie last season, never panned out and the Moose remain strong in net.
The Moose also picked up the services of Peoria captain Yan Stastny for the minimal cost of winger Pierre-Cedric Labrie. Stastny, with 10 goals and 27 points in 49 games, did not do much with the Rivermen this season, but escaping a losing environment in Peoria has the potential to rejuvenate the veteran, who will also firm up the Moose at the center position.
Mathieu Schneider headed off to Phoenix and Anaheim loanee Nick Boynton went to Chicago, however.
The Rampage had survived – even thrived at times – during a brutal 14-game road trip last month and sat eight points behind Texas for the closest available playoff spot going into the weekend.
But the NHL trade deadline ravaged the Rampage, who lost a goaltender (Pogge), a defenseman (Anders Eriksson), third-leading scorer (Kevin Porter) and the club’s No. 2 man in goals (Chad Kolarik).
All the Rampage has to show in return is Alexandre Picard, whom the Columbus Blue Jackets finally discarded. Hartford goalie Miika Wiikman, who has slumped badly in his third AHL season, also heads to San Antonio.
Pittsburgh exchanged Luca Caputi, the AHL Penguins’ leading goal-scorer with goals, in the Alex Ponikarovsky deal. Replacing Caputi’s AHL production won’t be easy.
Chicago and St. Louis swapped AHL goaltenders, with Hannu Toivonen going to Rockford and Joe Fallon coming to the Rivermen. Defensemen Danny Richmond also went to Rockford, with Daryl Boyle heading to the Rivermen…John Grahame departed Adirondack to sign with Colorado. The Avalanche subsequently sent the veteran goalie to Lake Erie…Bridgeport sent winger Greg Moore to Syracuse for blueliner Dylan Reese and forward Mike Radja…An hour north in Hartford, the Wolf Pack picked up gritty center Kris Newbury for winger Jordan Owens. Eriksson’s acquisition pushed Mathieu Dandenault out of a job in Hartford…Detroit shipped out Andy Delmore, a disappointment in a disappointing season for Grand Rapids, to Calgary for Abbotsford winger Riley Armstrong…Aaron Palushaj, who sputtered in Peoria with just five goals, heads to the Montreal organization for Matt D’Agostini…Mathieu Roy went from Syracuse to the Florida organization…Atlanta traded Nathan Oystrick’s rights to Anaheim, but the veteran is expected to remain with the Chicago Wolves. Likewise, Toronto goalie Joey MacDonald’s rights went to the Ducks, but the goaltender will stay with the Marlies…Providence lost toughness and leadership on the wing with Craig Weller’s departure to Florida in the Dennis Seidenberg move.
From THN.com American League correspondent Patrick Williams, Around The AHL keeps tabs on the world’s second best circuit, details all the news and notes and profiling prospects destined for the next level. It appears every weekend only on TheHockeyNews.com.