William Karlsson(22) Norfolk Admirals

William Karlsson2

Anaheim Ducks‘ 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft (#53 overall), Swedish-born center William Karlsson(22) already has 4 seasons of pro hockey in his home country, including the last pair in the SHL with HV71.

He scored 19 goals with 46 assists in 105 games and previously played 60 contests as a teenager in the tier 2 league, Allsvenskan.

The 6′ 180 lbs. forward was a point-per-game guy with a +25 rating in 2011/2012 for Västerås.

Signing his 3-year entry level deal for the current season, he was loaned by the parent club to skate on more season in Sweden.

With their playoff elimination, he was recalled to join minor league affiliate Norfolk Admirals.

In 6 AHL games he has his first North American pro hockey goal and a 3 assists, while playing a hard-working, highly skilled style.

At 21-years old he’ll most definitely be competing for a NHL roster spot for his official rookie year, 2014/2015.

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Coach Roy Sommer Worcester Sharks

Roy Sommer2

Worcester Sharks‘ coach Roy Sommers stood behind the bench for his now league leading 1,257th AHL game.

He started his journey 16 years ago in 1998 with then San Jose Sharks‘ farm club Kentucky Thoroughblades, then moved with the team to 5 minor league famed seasons at the helm for Cleveland Barons.

Continuing his move with affiliates east, he achieves the record feat in his 8th year in Central Massachusetts.

The 56-year old former played only three NHL games but managed to score his only goal in the show in his debut.

He also won a Calder Cup trophy with Maine Mariners in 1984 and skated in 147 AHL and 195 IHL games.

He hung up his skates after 8 seasons, just after his 30th birthday.

Straight after retirement, he started as an assistant coach for a pair of seasons before moving on to 5 winning campaigns in the ECHL and two more as an assistant in the NHL.

 

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Derek Whitmore(11) Adirondack Phantoms

Derek Whitmore

Undrafted 6th year left wing Derek Whitmore(11) was having problems fitting in to a veteran laden  Hershey Bears‘ lineup after signing a one-year minor league contract with the team upon his return from a short, half season stint in Germany’s DEL skating for Augsburger Panther.

He did reasonably well overseas connecting for 9 goals and 14 assists in 26 games.

Loaned in a player swap at the trade deadline to Adirondack Phantoms, the 5’11″ 185 lbs. forward has benefited, scoring almost as many points with his new squad in half the amount of contests.

He’s well off his 40+ point pace from 2010-2012 in Buffalo Sabres‘ affiliate system but given another full season workload could find the mark again.

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Patrick McNeill(8) Springfield Falcons

Patrick McNeill

Columbus Blue Jackets‘ 7th year defenseman Patrick McNeill(8) must be liking the first change of scenery in his pro career.

He’s reached a new high in scoring with 11 goals with minor league affiliate Springfield Falcons and second most for points, currently at 36.

Originally a Washington Capitals‘ 4th round pick in the 2005 draft (#118 overall), he spent his first 6 seasons in the team’s prospect system skating for Hershey Bears.

The 6′ 198 lbs. blue liner initially showed strong offensive instincts in four campaigns of OHL juniors with Saginaw Spirit, leading all d-men scoring 77 points in 2005/2006.

He has yet to realize his first NHL contest but has appeared in a whopping 386 AHL games, registering 44 goals and 144 assists with a combined +36 rating and a back-to-back Calder Cup Championships in 2009 and 2010.

The 27-year old is signed to a 1-year, 2-way deal through the end of 2013/2014.

A contract extension may well depend upon how he and the team perform in the upcoming postseason but he’s certainly right on track.

See related: 8/3-11, 6/19-12

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Michael Hutchinson(33) St. John’s IceCaps

Michael Hutchinson

Goaltender Michael Hutchinson(33) has been on quite the ride through the hockey ranks this season since being left unqualified by the team that drafted him, Boston Bruins.

Originally a 3rd round pick in 2008 (#77 overall), he spent the first three years in their prospect system tending net mostly with Providence Bruins.

He was reassigned on a couple of occasions to ECHL affiliate Reading Royals through his first two campaigns.

None of it compares to the roller coaster ride he’s still on this season backstopping cages in three different leagues.

The almost unassumingly large 6’3″ 192 lbs. free agent net minder signed fairly quickly with Winnipeg Jets for a 1-year 2-way contract.

He was in training camp but quickly reassigned to AHL farm team St. John’s IceCaps and it didn’t stop there as he was sent along to Ontario Reign to start his fourth pro season.

This was where he stepped it up because in 28 starts he won 22, good enough for third in the league, lost a lowest 4 contests and posted a 2.08 GAA and .921 SV%.

He would receive an early Christmas gift on recall but it didn’t last as he was sent back down again. In early 2014 though, he was summoned up once again and due to injury ending up splitting starting duties.

Earning his time in net, he managed a 15-5 record, helping to solidify the IceCaps‘ postseason berth.

The stellar play of the 24-year old earned him his first NHL games.

In three appearances he won 2 and lost 1. One of his wins was against his former team in a shootout and his 1.64 GAA and .943 SV% should almost assuredly score the future restricted free agent an extension.

First up though, he could be on his way to help bring the Calder Cup to the Rock.

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Andrey Pedan(3) Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Andrey Pedan

New York Islanders‘ 3rd round pick in the 2011 draft (#63 overall), extra large 6’4″ 215 lbs. Russian-born defenseman Andrey Pedan(3) missed a good portion of his rookie season with minor league affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers due to an upper body injury that put him on the sidelines for almost three months.

Appearing in only 25 AHL games, he still was able to connect for 5 goals and 5 assists while playing a punishing shutdown style in his own zone.

His -1 rating is also nicely accountable on a team with a league second worst goal differential.

He’s been in the parent club’s training camps ever since he was selected but returned to junior hockey as a teenager, where he skated a few seasons with Guelph Storm before signing his three-year entry level deal.

No doubt this is a player that has been widely scouted, as he was a first round grab in both the 2010 KHL and OHL drafts.

He obviously decided to try his skates on North American ice for a shot at the NHL.

The 20-year old may return to the farm club for a full year of development in 2014/2015, but could very well be on the short list for a recall, especially if he continues to display more of his offense-minded upside.

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Maxim Kitsyn(48) Ontario Reign

Maxim Kitsyn

Los Angeles Kings‘ 6th round pick in the 2010 draft (#158 overall) Russian-born left wing Maxim Kitsyn(48) had a bit of a struggling first half of his rookie season, finding himself in an out of the lineup with AHL affiliate Manchester Monarchs.

His 3 goals and 1 assist in 20 contests wasn’t enough to crack a tough roster of skaters that have mostly been together in the prospect system for awhile.

The sturdy 6’2″ 192 lbs. forward already has five seasons, 110 games of KHL experience to his credit. He put together 10 goals and 9 assists, playing in the league since he was 16-years old.

He also spent the latter half of 2010/2011 playing in the OHL with Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors and parts of seasons in the Russian tier two league and juniors in his home country.

He was almost routinely a point-per-game guy in these levels of hockey.

Reassigned to double A affiliate Ontario Reign, he has managed to produce at a similar clip.

In 31 ECHL games he’s potted a handy 13 goals and 15 assists with an amazing +15 rating and has unloaded 100 shots on the net.

The 22-year old signed a three-year entry level contract and is definitely the exact kind of big frame offensive-minded player they call up to the NHL and sticks.

He can easily bring his game up to another level but will have to want it bad to get the look.

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Caleb Herbert(40) Hershey Bears

Caleb Herbert3

Washington Capitals‘ 5th round pick in the 2010 draft (#142 overall) right wing Caleb Herbert(40)  signed a two-year entry level deal, leaving University Of Minnesota-Duluth after leading the team in scoring and penalty minutes in his third season at the school.

His contract kicks in starting in 2014/2015 but no time has been wasted to get his legs wet as they send him to minor league affiliate Hershey Bears on an ato.

In his first game he connected for his first pro goal and assist.

For his encore he got the opening tally and his third contest he received two minutes for holding and no points. There’s goes that average.

In three AHL games the totals rest (for the moment) at 2 goals, 1 assist for 3 points and a +3 rating. All games were also important wins for the team.

The 6′ 194 lbs. 22-year old forward has been in the parent club’s training camps since his selection and will no doubt be fighting for a slot on the NHL roster out of his fifth camp to start his rookie season.

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Brodie Dupont(91) Iserlohn Roosters

Brodie Dupont

7th year veteran center/left wing Brodie Dupont(91) circled back to rejoin the AHL team he spent the first four years of his pro career with.

Originally a New York Rangers‘ 3rd round pick in the 2005 draft (#66 overall) he skated his only NHL game with them in 2011.

He signed a pto with minor league affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack at the beginning of the season to return to North American hockey after winning the 2013 Italian Cup Championship with Valpellice Bulldogs.

That followed a less than fruitful stint traded to Nashville Predators organization and reassigned to Milwaukee Admirals.

The fairly large-looking 6’2″ 210 lbs. power forward was averaging 40 points per season in his first three years.

Appearing in only 26 games on a veteran heavy roster, he managed a goal and 5 assists with a -9 rating, when he decided to accept an offer from Iserlohn Roosters of DEL to head back across the pond to skate the remainder of 2014.

The move seemed to work as he got some of his mojo back, putting up 2 goals and 6 assists in 13 contests and another pair of tallies and helpers in the playoffs.

Impressed enough with his performance, the 27-year old re-signed to return for a full season.

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Wacey Hamilton(36) Binghamton Senators

Wacey Hamilton

Ottawa Senators‘ 3rd year undrafted center Wacey Hamilton(36) is putting up some career high AHL marks with farm team Binghamton Senators.

Although maybe not the biggest numbers at 13 assists and 15 points, they do show a fairly good increase, doubling what he had in two campaigns for helpers and achieving almost the same in the overall category.

The not exactly huge 5’11″ 185 lbs. forward achieved over point-per-game status in his final two runs with Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL (he was team captain in 2010/2011) but continues to look for that scoring touch as a pro, while playing a mostly checking line role.

He is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the current season upon completion of his 3-year entry level deal.

The parent club may take a bit of a while before qualifying the 23-year old to see if more can delevop or could  release him to seek playing time elsewhere.

Regardless, this is a player that needs to ignite more fire in his game to elevate it.

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