The Anaheim Ducks continue to use frequent promotions and demotions to their advantage. With their AHL affiliate now right down the road, and not somewhere on the Eastern seaboard, it has become much easier and less costly to swap young players in and out and the Ducks are at it once again. Anaheim announced last night that defenseman Shea Theodore and forward Stefan Noesen are heading to the San Diego Gulls. Theodore has been back and forth a few different times so far in 2016-17, as he searches for consistency. In 19 NHL games last season, Theodore had three goals and five assists and was a +7. Through 23 games this year, he has just one goal and six assists while playing to a -7. With all of the blue line depth that the Ducks enjoy, they can afford to let Theodore find his game in the AHL (nine points in eleven games) and still call him up when necessary. Noesen, a 2011 first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators who was acquired alongside Jakob Silfverberg in the Bobby Ryan trade, has not panned out like Silfverberg has. Noesen has played in just eleven NHL games, nine of which have come this season, and has recorded just a single point. Quickly approaching 24-years-old, Noesen appears to be a bona fide bust.
Update (1:00pm CT): After demoting Theodore and Noesen last night, the Ducks have promoted the same pair this afternoon. Anaheim continues to be the poster-team for AHL transactions in 2016-17, squeezing ever little bit of salary cap savings they can out of numerous moves.
Elsewhere around the NHL:
- The Penguins announced that they have recalled defenseman Cameron Gaunce from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. They also re-assigned fellow blueliner David Warsofsky to the minors. This will be Gaunce’s first stint with Pittsburgh after joining the team in the offseason. He has two goals and six assists with the Baby Pens this season. As for Warsofsky, he got into two games with Pittsburgh since last being recalled. On the season, he has suited up in six games with the team, being held off the scoresheet. In 24 AHL games though, he has fared much better, tallying 28 points.
- The Oilers announced that they have re-assigned blueliner Jordan Oesterle to Bakersfield of the AHL. He did not get into a game with Edmonton after being recalled by the team on Sunday. In 18 minor league contests this year, he has three goals and eight assists.
- Having already claimed defenseman Brad Hunt and placed defenseman Petter Granberg on the injured reserve, a busy morning continued for the Nashville Predators as they re-assigned rookie forward Kevin Fiala to the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. The Swiss winger has six goals and three assists on the season and has shown flashes of brilliance, but could use some more seasoning in order to build a more complete game. When the Predators can find him some extra play time down in the AHL, it only stands to help his development.
- The Montreal Canadiens have sent impressive prospect Michael McCarron back down to the St. John’s Ice Caps of the AHL. The 2013 first-rounder was called up to help Montreal deal with a slew of injuries, but with the team getting healthier he has been returned to the minors. In 15 games with the Canadiens, McCarron registered a goal and three assists and didn’t look out of place at all. However, the 21-year-old will benefit more this season from top-six time with the Ice Caps than bottom-six play with the Canadiens. Look for McCarron to challenge for a full-time spot on the team next season. Or, if Montreal’s injury luck continues, it will be much sooner that he returns to the NHL.
- Tim Heed and Ryan Carpenter will have to change locker rooms again, as the San Jose Sharks announced that the pair have been demoted to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda (down the hall to the right). The 25-year-old defenseman Heed is fresh off of his NHL debut last week, having been recalled due to his excellent AHL numbers. Heed is second in the minors in defenseman scoring with 31 points in 28 games with the Barracuda. Carpenter played three games for the Sharks back in November, skating on the team’s energy line, but has not made it into a game in any of his subsequent call-ups in 2016-17.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they have recalled young defenseman Jake Dotchin from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. This is the first career call-up for Dotchin, who has become relevant within the organization as he enjoys a career year. In his third season with the Crunch, Dotchin is on pace to shatter his pro career-high of 20 points, set back in 2014-15, and is also a +10 after back-to-back minus seasons. The big, two-way defenseman only put up modest numbers in his OHL junior career as well and was a sixth-round selection back in 2012, so he has had to put in a lot of hard work to get to where he is and has earned a promotion. If Dotchin suits up for the Lightning tonight, he will be the 30th different player to line up for Tampa this season.
- Following last night’s legendary contest, the Washington Capitals have returned Chandler Stephenson to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. However, Stephenson didn’t play in the game against the Penguins, or any game for that matter, in this most recent call-up, nor did he play in his earlier promotion this season. After being held scoreless in nine games in Washington last season, it seems the Capitals are in no rush to get the play-making forward back into the NHL lineup.