Category Archives: NHL



BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, July 27, 2015 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to contract terms with restricted free agent forward Derek Stepan.

Stepan, 25, registered 16 goals and 39 assists for 55 points, along with a plus-26 rating and 22 penalty minutes in 68 games with the Rangers this past season. Stepan was one of two NHL players who ranked tied for fifth or higher on his respective team in all of the following categories in 2014-15: assists, points, game-winning goals, plus/minus rating, shots on goal, power play goals, power play assists, power play points, shorthanded goals, shorthanded assists, and shorthanded points (along with Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks). In addition, he was one of three NHL players who tallied 55 or more points, posted a plus/minus rating of plus-25 or better, and recorded 25 or fewer penalty minutes in 2014-15.

Stepan established career-highs in assists per game (0.57), plus/minus rating, shorthanded goals (two), and shorthanded points (five), and tied a career-high in shorthanded assists (three) this past season. He also averaged 0.81 points per game in 2014-15, which is the most he has averaged in an 82-game season thus far in his career. Stepan tied for the NHL lead in shorthanded assists and tied for second in the NHL in shorthanded points. He also tied for ninth in the NHL – and ranked third among NHL centers – in plus/minus rating. From the time he made his season debut on Nov. 8 until the end of the regular season, Stepan led the Rangers in assists, ranked second in points, and tied for fourth in goals.

The 6-0, 196-pounder registered five goals and seven assists for 12 points, along with 10 penalty minutes in 19 games during the 2015 Playoffs. Stepan tied playoff career-highs in goals and power play goals (two) this past year. He tied for the team lead in power play goals, ranked third in points and shots on goal (48), and tied for third in goals, assists, game-winning goals (one), and power play points (four) in the 2015 Playoffs. Stepan tallied the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 7 of the Second Round vs. Washington on May 13.

Stepan has skated in 362 career NHL games over five seasons, all with the Rangers, registering 89 goals and 163 assists for 252 points, along with a plus-85 rating and 94 penalty minutes. He has reached the 50-point plateau in each of the last two seasons and in three of the last four seasons (including each of the last three seasons which were 82 games in length). Stepan became the first Rangers center to record 50 or more points in three consecutive seasons which were 82 games in length since Wayne Gretzky did so from 1996-97 to 1998-99. Since he joined the Rangers at the start of the 2010-11 season, Stepan leads the team in assists and points, is tied for the team lead in goals, and ranks second in games played and plus/minus rating. He also ranks 10th in the NHL – and ranks third among NHL centers – in plus/minus rating over the span.

In addition, Stepan is one of five Rangers in franchise history who have tallied at least 40 points in each of their first five NHL seasons. He is also one of three Rangers in franchise history, and the only forward, to post a plus/minus rating of plus-eight or better in each of his first five NHL seasons.

Stepan has skated in 80 career NHL playoff games, all with the Rangers, registering 15 goals and 26 assists for 41 points, along with 20 penalty minutes. Stepan is tied for second in franchise history in playoff points by a player 24 years old or younger. He ranks eighth on the Rangers’ all-time playoff games played list and he is one of three forwards who have skated in at least 80 career playoff contests with the franchise. Stepan is also tied for ninth on the Rangers’ all-time playoff assists list.

Throughout his tenure with the Rangers, Stepan has received numerous honors and awards. This past season, he was named the winner of the John Halligan Good Guy Award, which recognizes a player, selected by the New York chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, for his cooperation with the media. Stepan was named an alternate captain on Oct. 6, 2014, and he received the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award as the top Rangers rookie in Training Camp in 2010.

Internationally, the Hastings, Minnesota native has represented the United States in several tournaments. Most recently, Stepan skated with Team USA in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In addition, he captured a gold medal as the captain of Team USA at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship, as he led all skaters in the tournament in assists (10) and points (14).

Stepan was originally selected by the Rangers in the second round, 51st overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings


The evisceration and the emasculation of the AHL is complete.

Confirmation of all that was whispered about a few months ago for next year, not only about having one division, the newly created Pacific Division, but their playing only 68 games while the rest of the league will play 76, has all happened. Couple that with the new bizarre percentage-points-based playoff system that’s been spawned because of it.

You may need a degree in trigonometry to figure out how the AHL playoff races are going to be figured out next spring. Continue reading



Greenville signs Tyler Elbrecht for 2015-16 season

 BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Rd Warriors

Greenville, SC The Greenville Road Warriors, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced the club has agreed to terms with defenseman Tyler Elbrecht for the 2015-16 season.

“Tyler’s addition is a huge piece to strengthening our defensive corps,” Head Coach Brian Gratz said. “He has good experience at this level and is the kind of player we’ve been looking to add to our blue line. He is hard-nosed and physical, and has a lot of potential to continue to enhance his role with the team.”

A third-year pro, Elbrecht spent each of his first two seasons with Toledo and Idaho, providing a strong and physical presence on the back line. He led the Walleye with 117 penalty minutes last season, and added 12 points (2g, 10a) and a +17 rating in 66 regular-season games. Elbrecht also produced six penalty minutes in seven playoff contests, helping Toledo reach the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals. He was a teammate of Road Warriors’ Assistant Coach Troy Schwab in 2014-15 as well.

A native of Edwardsville, Illinois, Elbrecht debuted with Idaho during the 2013-14 campaign and recorded seven points (1g, 6a) and 110 penalty minutes in 45 contests. He was traded to Toledo on February 24, 2014 and chipped in two assists and 62 penalty minutes in 21 games with the Walleye.

Prior to turning pro, Elbrecht spent four seasons at Minnesota State University-Mankato from 2009-2013. In 142 contests, he notched 27 points (3g, 24a) and 103 penalty minutes, and was named team captain in his junior and senior seasons. The 6’4, 210-pound defenseman also played one season of junior hockey in the United States Hockey League (USHL) and won the 2008 Clark Cup Championship with the Omaha Lancers.

Follow: Keep up with the Road Warriors throughout the off-season and interact with other fans on the Official Road Warriors Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram pages.

Ticket plans for the Road Warriors’ sixth season in the Upstate are available now and start as low as $81! Call an Account Executive today at 864-674-PUCK or CLICK HERE to secure your seats! The Road Warriors open their home portion of the 2015-16 season on Friday, October 23rd with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop against the South Carolina Stingrays.


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Heading towards the one quiet month of the hockey year in August, there have been quite a few moves occurring this off-season affecting Connecticut hockey.

Wolf Pack Signings

The New York Rangers re-signed center Oscar Lindberg to a new two-year, one-way deal that pays him $600K in this upcoming season and $700K the following year.

Lindberg, one of the Hartford Wolf Pack‘s top players last season, totaled 28 goals and 28 assists (56 points) in 75 games. Lindberg was an RFA (Restricted Free Agent) who was courted by several KHL teams during this off-season. Lindberg led the Wolf Pack with six game-winning goals, was the second-highest scoring European in the AHL with 16 points in the 15 playoff games.

“Lindy” played his first NHL game late last season at MSG. Lindberg was originally acquired from Arizona who drafted him in the 2nd round in 2010 for forward Ethan Werek in May 2011. Now that Martin St. Louis has retired and the Rangers haven’t re-sign James Sheppard a UFA there are two roster spots for him and Ryan Bourque to fill.

Defenseman Dylan McIlrath, a first round pick in 2010just completed his third AHL season signed a one-year, one-way NHL deal at $600K for the 2015-16 season. Big Mac had a strong campaign for the Wolf Pack playing in 73 games and compiling 17 points six of which were pucks shot into the back of the net. McIlrath also had a team-leading 165PIM and was a plus-five. You cannot discount how important the role he played in the playoffs was for the Rangers top development team. McIlrath used his 6’5, 230lb frame regularly against opponents during their 15 game run. He also knocked the Manchester Monarch’s Mike Mersch out of the conference final series with a strong, clean hit.

If McIlrath does start the year in Hartford, and considering the heavy contract presence on defense in New York, unless a trade occurs he could possibly wear the “C” on his jersey.

Mat Bodie was re-signed on Thursday to a one-year, two-way deal with a $10K increase on his AHL salary to $80K. Emerson Etem, who was acquired at the NHL draft for one time CT Whale Carl Hagelin, was signed to a one-year, two-way deal. Etem’s AHL salary is listed at $70,875.

Converted center Marek Hrivik signed a one-year deal earlier in the week. He saw a miniscule increase of $3,250 to $68,250 for next year.

Recently acquired RFA goaltender Magnus Hellberg, the lone representative for the Milwaukee Admirals at the AHL All-Star in Utica, agreed to a two-year deal. his AHL compensation was set at $73,500 which is just a $3,500 increase over his Admirals salary last year.

The only players left unsigned from the Pack roster last season are, Joey Crabb, who some sources indicate the Hershey Bears are pursuing; goaltender Jason Missiaen, a Group 6 UFA who struggled mightily the last two years, and who is extremely unlikely to be re-signed and forward Shawn O’Donnell. Sources indicate that several teams are seeking after O’Donnell.

The Bodie signing means 25 non-roster players have been signed by the Rangers and 47 in New York. The two key numbers to always to remember in the cap era under the current CBA rules are 23 players that can be on an NHL team and a total of 50 organizational contracts are permitted.

Up top, the Rangers last big contracts to be worked on were all big RFA’s in Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast. Fast signed up for two years at $950K on a one-way deal while Miller accepted his qualifying offer of $874,125 for a one-year, two-way contract preserving his arbitration rights under the CBA.

The tentative Wolf Pack roster for next season looks like this:


  • Hellberg
  • Cederic Desjardins (last year of a two-year deal at $325K)
  • Mackenzie Skapski (second year of three-year entry deal at $65K. Skapski is recovering from off-season arthroscopic hip surgery and will likely miss all of training camp).



  • Possibly McIlrath
  • Bodie
  • Chris Summers (last year of a one-way NHL deal from Arizona $625K)
  • Tommy Hughes (last year of his three-year entry deal at $65K)
  • Samuel Noreau (last year of a three-year entry deal at $65K).


  • Brady Skjei ($70K)
  • Ryan Graves ($65K) each in first year of a three-year deal
  • Troy Donnay (second year of a three-year deal at $70K).


  • Petr Zamorsky (last year of a two-year deal at $70K)
  • Calle Anderson (second year of a three-year deal $65K).

Both played all last season in Europe.


  • Possibly Lindberg
  • Hrivik
  • Chad Nehring (signed but deal has not yet been announced)
  • Luke Adam (one year deal $150K)
  • Chris McCarthy (last year of a two-year deal $70K)
  • Michael St. Croix (last of a two year deal at $67,500).


  • Adam Tambellini (first year of a three-year deal at $70K)
  • Michael Kantor (last year of a three-year deal at $55K missed all of last season with concussion syndrome)
  • Josh Nicholls (last year of a three year deal at $70K).


  • Shawn O’Donnell (unsigned AHL free agent) and Joey Crabb (unsigned UFA).


  • Possibly Ryan Bourque (last year of a two-year deal at $135K)
  • Brian Gibbons ($350K for one year)
  • Matt Lindblad (one year at $70K)
  • Nick Tarnasky (last year of a two year deal at $150K).

*Contract info courtesy of


Former Wolf Pack Pascal Rheaume was named new assistant coach with the Iowa Wild (AHL) after being head coach in Sherbrooke (QJHL) the last two years.

Former Wolf Pack defenseman Drew Bannister gets his first head coaching gig with Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) after three years as an assistant with Owen Sound (OHL). He is also the son-in-law to former Wolf Pack assistant coach Mike Busniuk.

Former Wolf Pack head coach Ryan McGill stepped down as head coach from Kootenay (WHL) in April as did assistant coach ex-Pack Jay Henderson.

Dave Farrish, a former Rangers player from the ‘80’s and a former New Haven Nighthawk, signs with Colorado (NHL) to be an assistant coach.

Another ex-Nighthawk, Scott Gordon, takes over the coaching duties with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL) in the fall.

Former Quinnipiac Bobcat, Loren Barron, who played one game with Missouri (ECHL) and the rest of the year in Endinburgh, Scotland has retired to take an out of hockey opportunity.

In Endinburgh, ex-Sound Tiger, the 6’8 Riley Emmerson, was named playing Head coach of the EIHL team.

Ex-Sound Tiger from Year One Juraj Kolnik signs with Nottingham Panthers in England (EIHL).

Mike Souza, the ex-Sound Tiger, leaves as UCONN assistant coach job to become the associate head coach of fellow Hockey East member University of New Hampshire and is expected to become head coach when Dick Umile retires first reported by Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant..

UCONN Huskies head coach Mike Cavanaugh names Brendan Buckley, who he coached at Boston College, as his new assistant along with West Haven native Joe Peirara.

The Sound Tigers signed two players from last season in defenseman Kevin Czuczman and foward Mike Halmo to one-year, two-way deals with an AHL salary of $70K each. They also signed former #1 draft pick of Montreal Louis Leblanc to a one year $67,500K deal announced on Friday.

Paul Bissonnette becomes the first player signed for the new Ontario Reign (AHL).

Phillip Samuelson, the eldest son of ex-Hartford Whaler, New York Ranger and Wolf Pack assistant coach, Ulf Samuelson, has signed to a one-year, one-way $600K deal with the Arizona Coyotes.

Former Yale defenseman Gus Young stays with the Sharks and signs an AHL deal with their new farm team San Jose Barracuda.

Former Quinnipiac player, Bryce Van Brabant, signs a one-year, two-way deal with the Calgary Flames at $73,500 as so does former Yale Bulldog, Ken Agostino who’ll earn $70,875. Both will likely be in Stockton to start the AHL season.

Former CT Whale Kelsey Tessier returns to Rogle BK in the Swedish in the SHL where he played two years ago when they were in the Allsvenskan league.

Old-time Wolf Pack still playing is Colby Genoway who goes from HC Lausanne (Switzerland-LNA) to KHL Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia-KHL).

Twelve more AHL’ers signed for Europe (playing 20 games or more) led by ex-Pack Jason Williams going from Oklahoma City to Cologne (Germany-DEL), high scoring winger Bobby Butler from San Antonio to MODO (Sweden-SHL), Albany’s Tim Sestito goes from Albany to Dynamo Riga (Latvia-KHL), Danill Tarasov goes from Worcester to Spartak Moscow (Russia-KHL), Mark Mancari from San Antonio to Augsburger (Germany-DEL), Jean-Philippe Cote Syracuse to Iserlohn (Germany-DEL)  and David Wolf returns to his native Germany from Adirondack to play again for Hamburg Freezers (DEL).

Joacim Ericsson goes from Utica to Dynamo Riga to join Sestito, Drew Leblance Rockford to Augsburger (Germany-DEL), Terry Broadburst Chicago goes to Skelleftea AIK (Sweden-SHL), Oliver Lauridsen from Lehigh Valley to Frolunda HC (Sweden-SHL), Denny Urban Springfield goes to EHC Straubing (Germany-DEL), Corey Trivino Portland ended year Florida (ECHL) to HC Vladivostok (Russia-KHL) and Alex Aleardi who spent most of the year with Charlotte ending it with Florida (ECHL) heads over to Rogle BK joining Tessier.

That makes for 53 players so far and 24 of the 30 AHL teams have lost at least one player to play overseas.

Mike Marcou, who played briefly for the Wolf Pack, signs with KHL Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia-KHL).

Wallingford native and former Hartford Jr. Wolf Pack Mike Busillo signs with Adirondack (ECHL).

Kevin Quick, former Salisbury Prep player returns from Dundee (Scotland-EIHL) and signs with Indianapolis (ECHL).

Luke Stevens, son of the former Ranger Kevin Stevens, a Yale University committed athlete for 2016-17, has had his USHL rights traded to the Chicago Steel from Youngstown whose new head coach is Dan Muse, a former Yale assistant coach.

The new Milwaukee Admirals uniforms were unveiled on Wednesday. The angry pirate is in – no poofy shirts. See it HERE;

Former Ranger Martin Rucinsky retires from playing at age 43 after winning the Czech title this spring with HC Litvinov.

Former Yale assistant coach Kyle Wallack and former New Haven Senator Kevin Patrick both were elevated to associate head coach at the University Vermont Catamounts (HE).

NHL early Central Scouting Bureau list for prospects in 2015-16 feature the son of Wolf Pack Mathieu Sevigny, Pierre, born in Hartford who plays with Drummondville (QMJHL) and Pierre-Luc Dubois son of Nighthawk Eric Dubois is with Cape Breton (QMJHL) on the list.

Khristian Acosta of New Jersey (USPHL U-18) makes a commitment to Quinnipiac University (ECACHL) 2017-18.

Rangers 2015 draftee Robin Kovacs was selected by North Bay (OHL) in the CHL Import Draft.

Former Rangers, Hartford Whaler and Beast of New Haven Marek Malik starts his coaching career as an assistant coach with HC Frydek-Mitek in the Czech Republic Division-3 next season.

In Europe, a big change that will likely help AHL players looking for a new destination to play. The French Ice Hockey Federation announced it will be expanding its Magnus (Elite) League regular season schedule starting in 2016-17 to 50 games on par with Switzerland and Germany. Presently, the league has just a 26 game schedule. The number teams will be 12 or the current number of 14.

The Syracuse Crunch and Binghamton Senators will play an exhibition series against HC Lyon of the Magnus League at the start of training camp in September



BY: The NY Rangers

NEW YORK, July 17, 2015 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to contract terms with restricted free agent defenseman Mat Bodie.

Bodie, 25, skated in 75 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season, registering five goals and 27 assists for 32 points, along with a plus-11 rating and 42 penalty minutes. He led AHL rookie defensemen in assists and tied for first among AHL rookie defensemen in points in 2014-15. Bodie tied for first on the Wolf Pack in plus/minus rating, tied for second in games played, and ranked third in assists. In addition, he led Hartford defensemen in games played, assists, and plus/minus rating, ranked second in points, and tied for third in goals. Bodie registered his first career AHL assist/point as part of a two-assist effort while making his AHL debut on Oct. 12 at Syracuse. He tallied his first career AHL goal and the game-winning goal on Oct. 21 at Worcester. Bodie posted a season-high four-game assist/point streak from Feb. 14 vs. Albany to Feb. 20 at Springfield. Continue reading



Former Johnstown, Toledo forward enters his first season as coach

BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Road Warriors 

Greenville, SC The Greenville Road Warriors, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, are excited to announce that former Johnstown Chiefs and Toledo Walleye forward Troy Schwab will join the organization as assistant coach for the 2015-16 season.

“Troy brings a lot of experience at this level that will greatly help relate to our players,” Head Coach Brian Gratz said. “He’s very educated with a high level of hockey intelligence and a strong desire to teach and learn the game beyond his playing career. He is also a keen offensive mind and a great leader. Fans are going to love him”

Schwab, 30, will enter his first season in a coaching position after completing a six-year playing career this past May. As a professional, he spent time in the Central Hockey League (CHL), DEL2 German league and ECHL, with more than 350 regular-season games to his credit.

“Troy will be a tremendous addition to our coaching staff,” General Manager Chris Lewis said. “He’s a student of the game and his ability to relate to other players will enhance our recruiting and development processes. I have no doubt his leadership will positively impact the team’s performance on the ice.”

A native of Kindersley, Saskatchewan, Schwab tallied an impressive 60 points (19g, 41a) in 70 regular-season games with Toledo last season, helping the club to 50 wins and the 2015 Brabham Cup title. He added 1.02 points-per-game (22 points) in 21 playoff contests and helped the Walleye reach the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals against South Carolina.

A former 5’7, 180-pound forward, Schwab spent three seasons in the CHL from 2010-2014 with Wichita and Denver, recording 1.25 points-per-game (232 points) over 186 combined contests. He boasted career-bests in goals (25), assists (71), points (96) and penalty minutes (81) during the 2013-14 campaign with Denver.

“I’m extremely excited to start my coaching career in Greenville,” Schwab said. “I’ve known Brian (Gratz) for about five years now and working with him is going to be a great fit.”

“Coaching is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Schwab continued. “I’m a motivator and an offensive mind, so I’m definitely going to push that side of the game.”

Schwab began his pro career on October 17, 2009 when he debuted with the Johnstown Chiefs, one year prior to the franchise’s relocation to Greenville. He made 67 appearances during his inaugural season and earned a team-best 35 assists, and was third on the club with 53 points.

Prior to turning pro, Schwab played four seasons at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan from 2005-2009. He served as an alternate captain during his sophomore campaign and was named team captain during his junior and senior seasons.

Follow: Keep up with the Road Warriors throughout the off-season and interact with other fans on the Official Road Warriors Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram pages.

Ticket plans for the Road Warriors’ sixth season in the Upstate are available now and start as low as $81! Call an Account Executive today at 864-674-PUCK or CLICK HERE to secure your seats! The Road Warriors open their home portion of the 2015-16 season on Friday, October 23rd with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop against the South Carolina Stingrays.



BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, July 15, 2015 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed on terms with restricted free agent defenseman Dylan McIlrath.

McIlrath, 23, skated in 73 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season, registering six goals and 11 assists for 17 points, along with a plus-five rating and 165 penalty minutes. McIlrath established AHL career-highs in games played and shots on goal (78) and tied AHL career-highs in goals, assists, points, game-winning goals (two), and penalty minutes in 2014-15. McIlrath led Hartford in penalty minutes and tied for fourth on the team in games played. In addition, he ranked second among team defensemen in games played and goals. McIlrath skated in 15 playoff games with Hartford, registering two assists and posting a plus-two rating. He established AHL playoff career-highs in games played, assists, points, and plus/minus rating. McIlrath notched his first career AHL playoff assist/point on Apr. 22 vs. Providence.

The 6-5, 230-pounder has skated in 182 career AHL games over parts of five seasons, all with the Whale/Wolf Pack, registering 12 goals and 27 assists for 39 points, along with a plus-13 rating and 462 penalty minutes. McIlrath has posted a plus/minus rating of plus-two or better in each of the last three seasons, and he leads Whale/Wolf Pack defensemen in plus/minus rating (plus-14) over the span. He has recorded six goals, 11 assists, 17 points, and 165 penalty minutes in each of the last two seasons. McIlrath has notched two assists, a plus-one rating, and 32 penalty minutes in 20 career AHL playoff contests.

McIlrath also skated in one game with the Rangers in 2014-15. He tied for the team-high with three blocked shots and was credited with two hits on Nov. 3, 2014 vs. St. Louis. McIlrath has skated in three career NHL games, all with the Rangers, and has registered 16 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut on Dec. 12, 2013, vs. Columbus.

Prior to beginning his professional career, McIlrath played four seasons of junior hockey with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League (WHL). In 232 career games with Moose Jaw, McIlrath registered 16 goals and 58 assists for 74 points, along with a plus-five rating and 551 penalty minutes. In addition, he skated in 27 career WHL playoff games, recording seven assists and 48 penalty minutes.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was originally selected by the Rangers in the first round, 10th overall, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.