Tuesday, August 28, 2012

F Richard Mueller (Brandon, Saskatoon, Calgary, 1998-2003) signed a one-year contract with Lausitzer Fuchse Weisswasser (Germany, 2. Bundesliga). He had no points in seven games with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL) and seven goals and 11 assists in 41 games with Tingsryd (Sweden, Allsvenskan) last season. . . .
D Keith Seabrook (Calgary, 2007-09) signed a one-year contract with Val Pusteria (Italy, Serie A). He had three goals and 10 assists in 45 games with the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) and two goals and one assist in nine games with the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) last season. . . .
F Kris Hogg (Kamloops, Lethbridge, 2002-07) signed a one-year contract with the Fife Flyers (England, UK Elite). He had 13 goals and 11 assists in 50 games with the Missouri Mavericks (CHL) last season. There is more on the Hogg signing right here.
Teams throughout the WHL are on tenterhooks as they watch, like the rest of us, as the NHL and NHLPA continue to negotiate a CBA.
But it looks more and more as though that deal won’t be reached by the Sept. 15 deadline, at which time the NHL has said it will lockout its players.
But what happens to WHL teams and their drafted players if there is a lockout?
The Vancouver Giants, for example, have four drafted players — D David Musil, D Brett Kulak (Calgary), F Marek Tvrdon (Detroit) and F Jordan Martinook (Phoenix).
Of that bunch, only Martinook, who is 20, is able to play anywhere other than the NHL or the WHL.
Here’s Giants GM Scott Bonner, talking to Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun: “The scariest scenario for us could be if, let’s say, Jordan Martinook starts the season with us, then the NHL starts up Dec. 1 and some of Phoenix’s players in the American League go back up to the NHL. Then Phoenix has to fill their Springfield roster and we might lose Marty. That would be a tough blow. Here’s your first-line centre . . . see you later. So there is definitely some grey area there.”
Pap’s story is right here.
Or consider the case of the Kamloops Blazers. They have four 20-year-olds on their roster at the moment — D Austin Madaisky, F Jordan DePape, F Brendan Ranford and F Dylan Willick.
Of those four, only Madaisky is tied to an NHL team; in fact, he has signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
So what happens if there is a lockout and Madaisky ends up back with the Blazers? Obviously, they would keep him as he would be one of the WHL’s top defencemen. So let’s say they keep him and trade one of the three forwards.
And, as Bonner suggested in his example, let’s say the lockout ends on Dec. 1 and the Blue Jackets decide to assign Madaisky to their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons.
All of a sudden, Kamloops is out its top defenceman and a top-six forward who was traded away to make room for Madaisky.
Scenarios like this are certain to be played out across the WHL over the next few weeks.
It almost makes you wonder why the WHL doesn’t allow teams to carry five 20-year-olds throughout the season.
It really was no surprise Monday when Brent Sutter, who owns the Red Deer Rebels, announced that he was moving back into the general manager’s office. Hey, when Willie Nelson had his own golf course, par was whatever he wanted it to be. This is Sutter's team so he can be whatever he wants to be.
Seriously, you had to know that if he wasn’t coaching somewhere in the NHL, he would be back with the Rebels.
Jesse Wallin, who had been GM/head coach, will stay on as head coach, with Bryce Thoma as his assistant.
Sutter was the club’s GM/head coach from 1999-2007 before going on to the NHL and coaching stints with the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames. His contract wasn’t renewed by the Flames after last season.
Wallin, one of the game’s bright young coaches, is preparing for his fifth season as head coach.
Here, from a news release, is Sutter’s explanation:
“After an evaluation of our hockey operations department throughout the summer, it became evident to me that we needed a separate general manager and head coach. Jesse Wallin will continue to be our head coach. After going through this portion of the evaluation, there were two options: Bring in someone from outside the organization to be the general manager, or I do it myself. With the familiarity I have with the coaching staff, scouting staff, players, and all other personnel inside hockey operations, I made the decision that I was the right person to take over this position at this point in time.”       
F Keegan Iverson of the Portland Winterhawks plans on sticking with the WHL team this season at the age of 16. And he also plans on wearing No. 13 to honour his friend Jack Jablonski. Interestingly, according to the Winterhawks’ media guide, no player in franchise history has ever worn No. 13.
Paul Buker of The Oregonian has more right here.
The Swift Current Broncos have apparently signed F Tanner LeSann, 17, who played the last two seasons with the midget AAA Yorkton Harvest. Last season, he had 42 points and 100 penalty minutes in 40 games. . . . LeSann announced his signing via Twitter (@TLeSann12): “officially signed with the swift current broncos #greatfeeling”
The community-owned Lethbridge Hurricanes held their annual general meeting on Monday night, with more than 120 people in attendance.
The team announced a loss of $602,284 for 2011-12. The biggest chunk of that came from a lack of ticket sales — they had budgeted for $1.5 million, but, in fact, the number ended up being $984,000. . . . For 2012-13, the Hurricanes’ board is budgeting for a loss of $179,000. . . . For more on the meeting, check out Pat Siedlecki’s blog over there on the right.
I would like to thank Dylan Purcell of the Lethbridge Herald for his tweets from the Hurricanes’ annual meeting. Reading those was better than being there.
The OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads have hired veteran coach Jason Nobili, 38, as assistant GM and assistant coach. He’ll work with GM/head coach James Boyd. . . . Nobili has been coaching for 16 years.

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