Archive for the ‘AHL’ Category

The Edmonton Oilers surprised some Saturday when they sent former first-round picks Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto to the AHL after the pair combined for just two goals and one assist to open the season.

Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli discussed the decision on Sunday.

“I think, broadly speaking, I’d like them to get more touches,” Chiarelli told Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun. “With Jesse, it’s about getting his confidence back. I thought he had a strong camp and it didn’t translate to the start of the season. You could see some of the frustration in his game, but having said that, there was some maturity in his game too, so we just have to build it back up a little bit. It’s easier to do that down there with more minutes and a little more latitude and margin for error.

“With Yamo, I thought he played pretty well as a complementary player. He was responsible, he supported things without the puck, he was good on the PK. We took him out of the game, he sat a little bit and it was confidence. For him, it’s about finishing, going down there and finishing his opportunities. He did have a lot of opportunities when he was up here and I didn’t want his confidence to struggle either.”

Puljujarvi, the 2016 fourth overall pick, has totaled 32 points in 49 career AHL games, compared to just 29 points in 104 NHL contests.

“He was disappointed,” Chiarelli said about Puljujarvi’s multiple trips between the big club and the Bakersfield Condors. “We’ve done it each year with him, he was disappointed.”

Yamamoto, the No. 22 pick in 2017, returned to the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs last year after a nine-game stint with the Oilers, so this will be his first taste of the AHL.

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New York Islanders farmhand Josh Ho-Sang doesn’t think he was given a fair shake at cracking the big club out of camp this season.

Ho-Sang, who’s been vocal about his lack of opportunity with the Islanders in the past, believes New York’s new-look regime under Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz had its team predetermined in training camp.

“I felt like they had their minds made up on what was going to happen and what the team was going to look like,” Ho-Sang told Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post. “It’s OK. They had the whole summer to plan that. I don’t know if you watched any of the games, but I didn’t play a lot. It’s OK. It is what it is.”

Ho-Sang was drafted 28th overall by the Isles in 2014. While he possesses an NHL-level skill set, his commitment on both sides of the puck and actions off the ice have shaped his reputation as a player.

Even in the AHL, he’s not sure he’s being deployed properly.

“They tell me they want me to be a top-six forward up there, but I’m not a top-six forward down here, so it’s confusing,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s like you’re sprinting with a rubber band on. You constantly have tension. You run until you’re exhausted and then the band is going to pull you back. If I was going to say anything, it would be: Just watch. I’m just pointing it out.”

In nine games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this season, Ho-Sang has recorded four assists. Over his NHL career, he’s amassed 22 points in 43 contests.

New York Islanders co-owner Charles Wang has died at the age of 74.

The former Computer Associates International founder died Sunday in Oyster Bay, N.Y., his attorney, John McEntee, told The Associated Press. No cause of death was announced.

Wang purchased the Islanders in 2000 and was the majority owner until the franchise was sold to Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky in 2016. He remained a minority owner and alternate governor until his death.

“His commitment to, and passion for, his beloved Islanders was matched by his dedication to, and support for, the Long Island community,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said about Wang in a statement. “As the NHL embarks on a journey to grow hockey in China, we do so with the appreciation and knowledge that it was Charles who was the vision and driving force at the forefront of developing the game in his native country.

“We also owe Charles a great debt of gratitude for all that he did in pioneering video streaming of our league so that hockey fans around the world could connect with the NHL.”

As owner of the Islanders, Wang was instrumental in keeping the franchise on Long Island. In 2009, he unveiled the Lighthouse Project, an initiative to redevelop the dated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and its surrounding area.

The Islanders ultimately moved to nearby Brooklyn in 2015 after the Lighthouse Project wasn’t granted public approval.

Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini is not exactly pleased with some of the recent decisions the team’s front office has made.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning signed forward Sam Gagner to a three-year, $9.45-million contract on July 1, 2017, on the heels of a career-high 50-point season. However, Gagner was cut by the Canucks at the end of training camp this year and is currently on loan with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

Gagner is owed $3.5 million in base salary this year, and $3.2 million next season, regardless of whether he’s playing in the NHL or the AHL. Deciding to leave him off the team’s 23-man roster led to an uncomfortable phone call between Benning and his boss.

“It was a hard conversation,” Benning told Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre. “I tried to explain to him that we had signed Sam but we felt younger players had outperformed him at camp. I was talking about (Nikolay) Goldobin, mostly. We had to make a hard decision on that, and it was hard to have to call him up and explain it. But at the end of the conversation he understood. That was the hardest call I’ve had to make to him.”

Aquilini was rather candid with his reaction to the surprising news.

“When they made that decision to put Sam in the minors, when they told me, I wasn’t happy about it,” Aquilini said. “I mean, it’s $3 million (per season). It’s crazy, but that’s what was necessary.”

Gagner, 29, tallied 31 points in 74 games with the Canucks last season.

Nearly a year after the Vadim Shipachyov situation played out, George McPhee says there was a silver lining to the whole fiasco.

The Vegas Golden Knights general manager told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrunthat as difficult as it was to lose a key free-agent signing, the situation sent a strong message to the team.

“That there’s no entitlement,” McPhee said. “We had a coach from another team who mentioned that he thought that that was one of the best moves we made initially. That we committed to that player, he came here, wasn’t committed to us, wasn’t ready to play, and ownership supported a hard decision to send a $9-million contract to the minors. But the message was clear to everyone that it doesn’t matter what your status is, if you’re to check the ego at the door and compete hard, and be a team guy, then there’s a great opportunity here. If not, we don’t have time for it.”

Shipachyov retired from the NHL and signed with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL last November after the Golden Knights suspended the forward for leaving their AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, following his demotion in late October.

The 31-year-old, who was 30 at the time, had signed a two-year, $9-million contract with the Golden Knights in May 2017.

Vegas went on to become the most successful expansion team in NHL history, going all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Longtime NHL winger Alex Burrows has called it a career, announcing his retirement after 13 seasons.

“I’m happy with my career and have some great memories,” Burrows told NHLPA.com. “I met some wonderful people over the years. I’ll miss my teammates the most. The amount of fun we had working on our craft, the time we spent together away from the rink, the time we went through adversity together – those are things that I’m going to miss.”

Burrows was placed on waivers for the purpose of a buyout by the Ottawa Senators earlier in the offseason after signing a two-year deal with the club in 2017.

Shortly after the announcement, the Montreal Canadiens revealed Burrows will join their AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket, as an assistant coach.

The 37-year-old wasn’t drafted, and he broke into the league with the Vancouver Canucks during the 2005-06 season after bouncing around in the ECHL and AHL. His best season came in 2009-10 when he recorded 35 goals and 32 assists.

Overall, Burrows appeared in 913 NHL contests, registering 409 points and 1,134 penalty minutes.

The Toronto Marlies are AHL champions, as the Maple Leafs’ farm club topped the Texas Stars 6-1 in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Final on Thursday to clinch the title.

The victory marks the first Calder Cup from a Leafs affiliate since 1982, when they shared the New Brunswick Hawks with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Marlies were led by forward Andreas Johnsson, who scored two goals while adding an assist in the contest. The 23-year-old also earned playoff MVP honors after registering 24 points in 16 games, all of which followed a six-game postseason stint with the Maple Leafs in April.

The championship concludes a dominant season for the Marlies in which they led the AHL with 54 wins and 112 points, losing just five games in the playoffs.