Maybe a bit of a less than surprise move, as the 28-year old left wing signed his first minor league deal to join the much-storied AHL team last season.
A proven leader on and off the ice, he plays a gutsy style that never shies away from delivering a crushing hit or fisticuffs if called upon to drop the gloves. He had the most penalty minutes last season, 211 since his rookie campaign in 2006/2007.
No doubt what will be foremost on his mind will be returning the club to a postseason berth, which they missed for the first time in 8 straight years of appearances.
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.
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.
He was traded in the second season of his two-year deal with Philadelphia Flyers, his third contract with the team, to New York Rangers and reassigned to their farm club in Connecticut, where he’s played 67 contests in 2013/2014.
The stocky-looking 5’11” 205 lbs. d-man has skated in 59 NHL games, putting up a modest 3 goals and 4 assists but hasn’t paid a visit to the show since late 2011.
He’s considered a top-two pairing blue liner in the minors but given a full campaign may play a fairly strong role as a bottom six, seventh guy in the lineup more than watching from the sidelines.
Justin Johnson(49) and Aaron Johnson(44) exchange some pushes, jabs and many harsh words but don’t drop the gloves taking it any further before the linesmen step in to split the pair. No penalties were assessed.
The joke from the first row of the stands was the obvious one: who’s got the bigger Johnson?
In his third year with minor league affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack he’s more than doubled his goals scored and is equal in points from his first two campaigns with the team. He’s also closely behind his 2-year assist total.
All good to see from an under-sized 5’9″ 178 lbs. forward who is in the final season of his entry level contract.
He started with a couple seasons of US junior hockey before moving on for another pair of years in the QMJHL with Quebec Remparts, where he proved in both developmental leagues that he could put up numbers.
The 23-year may be small but he’s a speedy skater and plays a tenacious, in-your-face style.
He’s set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the current campaign and is likely to be given a qualifying offer to stay in the Blueshirts‘ prospect system.
See related: 12/1-11
Not exactly a prolific goal scorer, he got his first on the 2013/2014 campaign recently, which has him at or surpassing modest career highs in all point categories with a current +6 rating on a team that’s near the Eastern Conference cellar.
He’s off to a fast start in the ECHL this year with Greenville Road Warriors posting a new goals scored mark at 10 and tied for overall points, done in one-third as many games from his rookie season with Cincinnati Cyclones.
In 4 years of college hockey at Miami University he was never really much of a point production guy but was fairly accountable on ice with a healthy +16 plus/minus and won a NCAA (CCHA) Championship in 2010 before turning pro.
The still young 24-year old was originally an Anaheim Ducks‘ 4th round pick in the 2007 draft (#94 overall).
New York Rangers‘ 4th round pick in the 2011 draft (#106 overall) rookie right wing Michael St. Croix(37) has been a point-per-game guy at every level of hockey heading into a pair of recalls from where he is scoring 10 goals and a team leading 25 assists in 33 ECHL games with affiliate Greenville Road Warriors up to the AHL.
He has yet to mark in 9 appearances with direct farm club Hartford Wolf Pack playing limited minutes ice time.
The seemingly sort of small-looking 5’11” 183 lbs. forward won a WHL Championship with Edmonton Oil Kings and averaged 1.14 points per game and concluded four seasons with a +78 rating. He is also the team’s all-time leading scorer in their less than ten-year existence.
He’s signed through 2016 on a 3-year entry level deal and he’s pretty much a lock to find himself playing full-time in Connecticut but the 20-year old definitely still has some work to do before that NHL recall happens.
New York Rangers‘ 6th round pick in the 2010 draft (#157 overall) fourth year, Swedish-born right wing Jesper Fast(27) had a career campaign in 2012/2013 on loan from the parent club back to HV71 of the SHL. He scored 18 goals and 17 assists in 46 games and added another tally and 4 helpers in the playoffs, while skating a combined +17 rating. It was his third year playing in the league.
The smart, speedy 6′ 185 lbs. forward started his rookie season in the NHL but was reassigned after 8 games with no points and a -5 plus/minus on a squad that was very slow out of the gate.
Reassigned to minor league affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack he’s contributing in a big way in all situations on another team that has been struggling to win.
In 24 AHL games he has 9 goals and 9 assists with a +5.
The recently turned 22-year old is signed to a three-year entry level deal through 2015 and will no doubt get another opportunity to show his stuff in the show.
He was released by the team after under-producing on the score sheet.
The 5’9″ 195 lbs. forward was originally a Colorado Avalanche 3rd round pick in the 2005 draft (#88 overall) and played three seasons with the team and in their system.
The 28-year old has skated in 332 minor league games with impressive numbers: 103 goals and 246 assists, making him more than a point-per-game player.
Where he goes next year is up for grabs but his contributions with his new team are already being noticed.