Archive for the ‘AHL’ Category

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.

Advertisements

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.

Russ Brandon, who served as the president of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, resigned from his position with both teams, Terry and Kim Pegula announced Tuesday. Brandon also resigned as Pegula Sports and Entertainment president.

Brandon’s exit reportedly follows an internal investigation into his workplace behavior and allegations of personal misconduct, two sources told Tim Graham of the Buffalo News.

Kim Pegula will immediately take over as president of the Bills, Sabres, and Pegula Sports and Entertainment.

“We have a tremendous amount of confidence in the strong leadership teams we have built within each of those entities over the last several years,” Terry and Kim Pegula wrote in a statement. “We are excited about the direction of our teams, especially after this past weekend’s NFL draft and NHL lottery results. Our focus remains on building championship teams on and off the field for our fans and community.”

Brandon told Graham he’d been thinking about moving on from the organization for “some time.”

“My goal when the Pegulas purchased the franchise was to reach 20 years with the Bills … which I achieved this past November,” Brandon said. “Given where we are from a timing standpoint, particularly with the conclusion of the NFL draft, now seems like the time to make that transition.”

Brandon joined the Bills in 1997 and was named president in 2013. He was appointed Sabres president in July 2015 after the Pegulas dismissed Ted Black.

The executive also served as president of the AHL’s Rochester Americans and the Buffalo Bandits lacrosse franchise.

Josh Ho-Sang doesn’t understand why he was demoted.

The 22-year-old, who has appeared in 43 games with the New York Islanders over the past two campaigns, is mystified as to why he has been left to mire in the minors.

“I love those guys, I want to make that clear,” Ho-Sang told Arthur Staple of The Athletic. “I know they’re working hard. But I got sent down for defense and what are they in goals against in the NHL? I only played (22) games up there this year. I don’t think it’s my fault. They really painted it like it was my fault at the beginning of the year and I didn’t like that.”

After beginning the season with the Islanders, Ho-Sang played just six games before he was assigned to the minors. He then returned in November, this time for a one-month stretch before his future was once against cast in doubt. Ho-Sang has not played an NHL game since Dec. 14.

As part of his assignment to the minors, Ho-Sang was instructed to further develop his game away from the puck.

“I do have things I need to work on down here, my game is far from perfect. It can constantly improve. But I do think a lot of the stuff was unwarranted, especially in terms of the rope that other people were given,” he continued. “I understand I have a history and that might be a factor. I don’t know. But it’s frustrating to me.

“Look, if you’re going to send me down because of defense, it’d be nice to see other people be held accountable. That’s all.”

As Ho-Sang alluded, it’s not the first time he has caused a stir in the organization. In 2015, he was cut on the first day of training camp after arriving late. Ho-Sang was dismissed, but not before he was made to run the stairs of Nassau Coliseum for three hours before he was delivered the bad news.

“Enough with the bull—-. It’s time to grow up,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said at the time.

It may have been the first sign that Snow’s patience with the talented but frustrating prospect was growing thin. After all, it was only a year earlier that Snow staunchly defended his selection of Ho-Sang, drafted with the 28th pick in 2014, when he said he “probably has the most talent of anyone in that entire draft” and that he’d have little trouble fitting into the Islanders organization because “they s— on me too.”

After keeping pace with the Tampa Bay Lightning for much of the season as the league’s most offensively dynamic club, the Islanders went off the rails in the second half, as their wealth of offensive talents could no longer make up for the team’s back-end deficiencies. Would a Ho-Sang recall have helped the team’s fortunes?

Ho-Sang, for one, thinks so.

“I feel like I’ve played games of substance and I’ve done well. More importantly, the team’s done well with me there,” he said. “If you’re going to tell me that I’m bad defensively, I do this, I do that, but you win more than you lose with me in the lineup.”

With the New York Islanders bitten by the injury bug, a promising young forward remains in the minors with something left to prove in the eyes of the organization.

That would be Joshua Ho-Sang, who sits in Bridgeport despite some holes in the NHL lineup, the biggest of which was created by an injury to Josh Bailey.

But Ho-Sang was recently a healthy scratch in the AHL, and Islanders’ head coach Doug Weight believes it would be sending the wrong message to immediately promote the highly-skilled forward to the team’s top line.

“It’s a crying shame (Ho-Sang’s) not playing with John Tavares when Bails goes down,” Weight said, per Arthur Staple of Newsday. “We had six guys out. It was a perfect opportunity. And Josh should be upset with himself.

“Whether our view of the world is wrong is something we can argue later. But the fact is, we need to be able to look at how some guys are laying it on the line (in Bridgeport) and he’s a healthy scratch. So, to go from that to the first lineup here, where is he learning from that? That’s a big, big part of this.”

Ho-Sang has appeared in 19 games for Bridgeport this season, scoring four goals and nine assists. In four games since being benched, he’s recorded one assist.