Tag Archives: National Hockey League

CANTLON’S CORNER: IS NHL COMING TO HARTFORD – FINAL ANSWER

XL Center

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT Since the release of the SCI Report in March regarding the proposal for a new, downtown XL Center at the same spot, not much has happened publicly, but behind the scenes is a different story as Cantlon’s Corner can exclusively report.

The public portion is about to kick into high gear as the CRDA seeks to get a unified proposal to take to the public and the legislature.

The process, since the spring unveiling of a two-option solution to the aging, desiccated 40-year-old building, has produced some good news and some bad news.

First, the bad news.

The $500 million option, plus acquisition and demolition costs, which were both undefined, has been taken off the table.  Given the current financial shape the state is in, that should surprise no one. But with that money off the table, with that goes the dream of returning the NHL to Hartford. That news will disappoint its committed coterie of diminishing fans.

It’s not that the CRDA didn’t dip its toes into the recent NHL expansion waters.

“We had discussions with a group and in the final analysis there was too short a time frame and a very cost prohibitive process, that quite frankly, Hartford didn’t have the ability and wasn’t able to enter at this time,” CRDA Executive Director Mike Freimuth said. Friemuth declined to identify the name of the investment group.

The winners in Las Vegas and Quebec City had numerous advantages over Hartford.

“Look, Vegas is a casino. They have a boatload of cash with which to operate and are in the process of building a new facility. Quebec City has the federal (actually provincial) government backing it and they have a brand new building all done (set to open in September). We are at the very beginning of the process and when you look at $10 million just to apply, another $500 million to get into the league and on top of that build a brand new building at $500 million plus with the all the issues we have to face, it was very steep price tag and time frame we couldn’t match,” Freimuth said.

The process did reveal two things to Freimuth, “Seattle is a city the NHL clearly covets and I’m surprised they did not submit a bid. I think when they get someone to commit on a building there I bet there will be an NHL team in Seattle someday.”

The talk of relocation has also been around, but the NHL under Gary Bettman has loathed to go down that road. Winnipeg was fortunate as it came into a perfect storm to get the then floundering, Atlanta Thrashers.

“We did learn there are three NHL franchises who are likely candidates for relocation, but there seems to be no real movement in that direction at all.”

Friday’s unanimous passage of a new amended two-year agreement between the City of Glendale and the Arizona Coyotes, by the very same city council that voted to terminate their lease a month ago, shows the soap opera like issues surrounding the team will continue in the Southwest desert region for as long as the NHL will tolerate it.

On the plus side, the $250 million dollar proposal, plus atrium acquisition costs and demolition costs still undefined, is very much alive and much work has been on going to solidify it.  It too has many mountain steps yet still to climb.

Governor Dannel Malloy is said to be supportive of the CRDA’s $250 million proposal and that is part of the reason the final report is, well, not so final. The firm SCI Architects of New York City, the ones who did the report, have been asked to submit a further detailed breakdown of the costs and construction time frames of a renovated XL Center in maintaining building operation.

“The Governor came to us and said is that number rock solid? Let’s get a firm handle on the numbers and go forward,” Freimuth said. By the fall, the breakdown analysis will be completed and given to the CRDA. The other key linchpin, and quite frankly to any new building, is the relationship with UCONN. That also must also be in place in the fall.

Sitting on UCONN’s desk is a 20-year operation agreement proposal covering all three teams that will operate in the building (men’s and women’s basketball and college hockey).

“It is vital to have this nailed down to move forward in this process. We have a proposal of sharing revenue from sponsorship, seating, and concessions. In exchange, we have to have a threshold number of games at the building we need to make this work. A 30 game per sport per year is there. I can’t go into any other details as you can understand, but this is critical that we need a return on the investment. The $500 million we had doubled the costs and was not doable and we think this deal fits both UCONN’s needs and ours,” said Freimuth.

Reminder, the two sides agreed on a five-year deal at the present XL Center, but UCONN never signed the contract and works on a game-to-game basis, a highly unusual move. The inclusion of UCONN hockey in the proposal makes clear the proposed on-campus hockey arena in Mansfield is a non-starter and a UCONN Hartford campus makes the XL Center their on-campus arena in their eyes and meets their Hockey East requirements.

Even if agreed to, and the process of selling the $250 million proposal to the legislature which would vote to bond whatever the final number is, is not a slam dunk or even an easy tap-in to be approved. Freimuth was blunt in the fact that resisting putting a proposal to the legislature this year and waiting a year was a wise move.

“Given what just happened there (in the legislature during in the budget process) we would have been sawdust. This is an uphill battle and is by no means settled. The jury is still out and a lot of questions and good ones, have been asked. We’re working on putting forth the best proposal we can for the XL Center.”

According to Freimuth, the proposal, when finalized, would go to the Finance committee and would become a budget item as a capital expenditure project.

“This whole process is a Rubik cube. You might get all the colors on one side and be all over the place on the other three sides and that’s the nature of dealing with one of the most complex and challenging endeavors to get involved with. People want a quick or easy answer with all these elements, it’s just not possible.”

The future interest rates for bonding also remain tenuous. If the federal Treasury raises interest rates, the long-term costs of the project would be elevated thus making an already difficult proposition even harder for the legislature with so many extenuating budget commitments.

The XL Center’s other major tenant, the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack, are entering its 19th season and the last year of their contract before the two, one-year options at their disposal kick in.

Freimuth was coy about their future.

“We have had talks about this with MSG, and granted they are heading into the final year of their deal. I hope they are around when we hopefully start construction of a new place.”

The CRDA also completed another piece of the puzzle in acquiring the Church Street garage from the city of Hartford with $16 million of state bonding money and the work is about to begin.

“Were taking active bids right now on the repair and renovations and we hope to make selections next month and start the work. We’re absolutely committed to integrating it to the XL Center. It’s not going to happen overnight, but gradually, as we do the repairs, we will start to do so.”

The CRDA also has concluded an operational contract on the atrium portion of XL Center with Northland Corporation, but the final status talks on ownership are down the road and have not yet begun.

Lastly, Freimuth expressed optimism that the Wolf Pack and minor-league, professional hockey will be operating at the XL Center even though they team aggregately added about 400 more fans in its year-end numbers, despite the budget cuts by the state, Freimuth has an optimistic feel for the 2015-16 calendar year.

“We finished up the year well. All the numbers are trending upwards for hockey. We had a couple of very good concerts, especially the Eagles concert did exceptionally well. Certainly, the budget cuts hurt. Right now we’re holding our own, but we will feel the pain. We’re not alone. Everybody in the (state) budget took a hit. We expected problems. I’ll be honest, we didn’t expect it would be daily in some instances, but I think we have turned a corner.”

Whether that corner will a brick wall or open pathway will be determined in the fall and winter seasons.

RANGERS: STEPAN SIGNS, GETS 6 YRS / $39M

rp_new-york-r_thumb.gifRANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH DEREK STEPAN

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.

CANTLON’S CORNER: ANOTHER WEEK OF HOCKEY NEWS

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

NEW AHL SCHEDULE AND PLAYOFF FORMAT

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

FUEHRING: ELBRECHT SIGNS WITH ROADIES

Elbrecht_0ROAD WARRIORS INK GRITTY DEFENSEMAN

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.

CANTLON’S CORNER: THIS WEEK IN HOCKEY NEWS

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:

GOALTENDERS:

  • 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).

DEFENSE:

Veterans:

  • 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).

ROOKIES:

  • 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).

EUROPEANS:

  • 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.

CENTERS:

  • 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).

RIGHT WINGS:

  • 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).

Possibly:

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

LEFT WINGS:

  • 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 www.generalfanager.com

MOVEMENTS

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

RANGERS: LINDBERG RESIGNS

Oscar LindbergRANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH OSCAR LINDBERG

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, July 14, 2015 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Oscar Lindberg.

Lindberg, 23, skated in 75 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season, registering 28 goals and 28 assists for 56 points, along with a plus-seven rating and 68 penalty minutes. He established AHL career-highs in goals, assists, points, power play goals (10), plus/minus rating, and shots on goal (214), and tied AHL career-highs in games played and game-winning goals (six). Lindberg tied for eighth in the AHL in goals, ranked ninth in shots on goal, and tied for ninth in power play goals in 2014-15. In addition, he ranked second among European-born players in the AHL in goals and points.

Lindberg led the Wolf Pack in game-winning goals and shots on goal, ranked second in goals, assists, points, and power play goals, tied for second in games played, and ranked fifth in plus/minus rating. He registered a point in 16 of his final 19 regular season games with Hartford, tallying 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) over the span.

The 6-1, 195-pounder tallied 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and posted a plus-one rating in 15 playoff games with Hartford in 2015. Lindberg tied for third in the AHL in assists and ranked ninth in the league in points during the playoffs. He tied for the team lead in assists, ranked second in points and shots on goal (40), tied for fourth in plus/minus rating, and tied for fifth in goals. Lindberg notched all 16 of his points in Hartford’s final 11 playoff games, and he recorded at least three points in three contests.

In addition, Lindberg skated in one game with the Rangers in 2014-15. He registered two shots on goal and was credited with three hits while making his NHL debut on Feb. 24 vs. Calgary.

Lindberg has skated in 150 career AHL games over two seasons, both with Hartford, registering 46 goals and 54 assists for 100 points, along with a plus-nine rating and 126 penalty minutes. He is the first European-born Rangers prospect who has recorded at least 100 points over a two-season span with Hartford since Artem Anisimov in 2007-08 and 2008-09. Including the playoffs, Lindberg has notched a point in 24 of his last 34 AHL contests and has tallied 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in those games.

Prior to beginning his professional career in North America, Lindberg played with Skelleftea in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). In his last season with Skelleftea in 2012-13, Lindberg tied for eighth in the league in points (42), tied for 11th in the league in goals (17), and ranked third among players who took at least 600 faceoffs in faceoff win percentage (56.9%; 495-for-870). In the playoffs, Lindberg tied for the league lead in points (12) and received the Stefan Liv Memorial Trophy as SHL Playoff MVP while helping Skelleftea capture the SHL Championship.

Internationally, the Skelleftea, Sweden native has represented his country in several tournaments. Most recently, Lindberg helped Sweden capture a gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Championship. In addition, he tallied four points (two goals, two assists) and posted a plus-three rating in six games while representing Sweden at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Lindberg was acquired from the Coyotes in exchange for Ethan Werek on May 8, 2011. He was originally selected by the Coyotes in the second round, 57th overall, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

CHAIMOVITCH: AHL RULE CHANGES FOR 2015-16

ahl-logo_thumbBY: Jason Chaimovitch, VP Communications, AHL

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors has concluded its 2015 Annual Meeting, held this week at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Chaired by AHL President and CEO David Andrews, the four days of meetings, which concluded Thursday, saw the approval by the Board of the following items to be implemented beginning in 2015-16:

Playing Schedule/Standings
• The 2015-16 regular season will consist of 1,120 games, played between Oct. 9 and Apr. 17. All teams will play 76 games each with the exception of the clubs which joined the AHL in January as part of the creation of a Pacific Division (Bakersfield, Ontario, San Diego, San Jose, Stockton); those five teams will play 68 games each.

• Teams will receive two points for a win and one point for an overtime or shootout loss. The top four teams in each division ranked by points percentage (points earned divided by points available) will qualify for the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs, with one exception in each conference: if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic or Central Division finishes with a better points percentage than the fourth-place team in the North or Pacific Division, it would cross over and compete in the other division’s bracket.

• The 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs will feature a divisional playoff format, leading to conference finals and ultimately the Calder Cup Finals.

• The division semifinals are best-of-five series; all subsequent rounds are best-of-seven.

Rule 85 (“Overtime”) 
• During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be five minutes (5:00) in length.

• Full playing strength will be 3-on-3 (plus goaltenders) for the entire period.

• Overtime will be preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.

• Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.

• If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.

Rule 79 (“Video Review”) 
• A team may use a “coach’s challenge” to initiate an official video review; only those situations which are subject to review by rule may be challenged.

• A team may only request a coach’s challenge if it has its timeout available, and the coach’s challenge must be effectively initiated prior to the resumption of play.

• If the coach’s challenge does not result in the original call on the ice being overturned, the team exercising such challenge will be charged with a timeout.

Rule 76.4 (“Face-offs”) 
• For all face-offs (excluding center ice), the defending player shall place his stick on the ice first; for face-offs at center ice, the visiting player shall place his stick on the ice first.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 14th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2014-15.