Prospects climb and fall on NHL depth charts throughout the course of the season. Here are three American Leaguers whose play has led to their stock rising or falling through this AHL season’s opening four months.
THOMAS MCCOLLUM – GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS
Detroit’s work at the NHL draft table each June has become legendary around the league and Grand Rapids has been a refinery for talent that has later sparkled in the Motor City.
It is much too early to write off McCollum, a 20-year-old goaltender taken in the first round (30th overall) of the 2008 draft, but the early returns are troubling. McCollum fashioned a phenomenal final Ontario League season last year and led Brampton to the OHL final in May.
Since then, however, McCollum has undergone a rocky transition to the pro game (7-11-0, 3.50 GAA, .878 save percentage) in Grand Rapids. In early January, McCollum lost his job to Jordan Pearce – another rookie prospect – and headed to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.
McCollum returned to the AHL, but he is not close to unseating starting goaltender Daniel Larsson on the depth chart.
CHARLES LINGLET – SPRINGFIELD FALCONS
The best gig Linglet could secure last summer as a 27-year-old with four AHL seasons on his resume was another AHL contract with Springfield. A horrendous 2008-09 season limited Linglet’s bargaining power considerably and he was not able to land an NHL contract.
After 31- and 24-goal seasons in 2006-07 and 2007-08, St. Louis shipped Linglet to Springfield last season after he managed just one goal in 37 games with Peoria. While the Falcons are a disaster yet again this season, Linglet has rebounded and sat fifth in AHL scoring heading into the weekend with 53 points. Linglet’s 41 assists place him behind only Keith Aucoin and Jason Krog.
PASCAL PELLETIER – PEORIA RIVERMEN
Pelletier, a big off-season signing for the Crunch, got off to a poor start in Syracuse and was dispatched to Peoria 25 games into the season. A 37-goal scorer just two years ago, Pelletier hasn’t produced much more after changing teams and has just 34 points – including nine goals – in 51 games this season.
THIS AND THAT
• Portland’s Mark Mancari took player of the week honors for a six-assist, seven-point performance in three games with the Pirates.
• The AHL welcomed two new cities to its fold this week. Edmonton announced its prospects will play out of Oklahoma City next season. Oilers farmhands are currently with the Springfield Falcons, whose 2010-11 fate remains unknown now that they have lost the Edmonton affiliation. Carolina is moving its AHL talent closer to home, courtesy the relocation of the Albany River Rats to Charlotte, N.C. Published talk remains strong that Albany will snag another NHL affiliation for the 2010-11 season.
• Much activity toward shuffling the AHL’s make-up of teams for next season still could happen. Anaheim lacks a sole affiliation and a number of clubs still have to firm up affiliation plans for next season.
• The Texas Stars lost defender Ivan Vishnevskiy after the parent Dallas Stars shipped the 21-year-old Russian to the Atlanta Thrashers for goalie Kari Lehtonen. The Thrashers subsequently loaned Vishnevskiy to the Chicago Wolves. The 2006 first round pick (27th overall) represented Texas in the AHL All-Star Classic last month.
• Peoria and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton swapped veteran defensemen on Thursday. Steve Wagner (three goals, 15 points in 46 games) headed to the Pittsburgh organization for Nate Guenin (three goals, five points in 41 games).
• Goalies from this season’s AHL All-Star Classic flashed their talent last weekend. Albany’s Justin Peters and Houston Aeros netminder Anton Khudobin earned wins in their NHL debuts. Back in the AHL, Alexander Salak of the Rochester Americans checked in with a 53-save effort at Binghamton.
• The Hershey Bears own a 17-game home winning streak heading into its next home contest Sunday evening against the Lowell Devils. The Bears are also the first AHL team since the 1992-93 Binghamton Rangers to rack up 80 points through the opening 50 games of the season.
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.