The Dallas Stars are making an addition to their AHL coaching staff and doing so by promoting from within. The Texas Stars announced today that Neil Graham has been named as an assistant coach for the team, leaving his previous post as head coach of the organization’s ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads. During his tenure with Idaho, Graham led the Steelheads to a 166-91-31 record over four seasons, including three consecutive 40+ win seasons and playoff berths. The 34-year-old is climbing through the pro coaching ranks quickly after spending just one year as an assistant at Mercyhurst College before taking the same role with Idaho for three seasons before his promotion to head coach. A standout player at Mercyhurst in the late 2000’s, Graham played three seasons in the minors before turning to coaching. He has an opportunity with Texas, replacing the departed Bob Jones, to learn under the tutelage of Derek Laxdal and continue growing as a coach in what appears to be a promising career in the making.
- Veteran grinder Darren Archibald has been on and off NHL contracts throughout his pro career, often having to settle for AHL contracts with a chance to earn his way back to the top level. After playing in a dozen games last season split between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators, recording just two points, Archibald entered the UFA market again facing the tough task of landing another two-way deal. As a result, it’s not surprising that Archibald has settled for a one-year deal with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, the team announced. As far as AHL opportunities go, the Marlies tend to be one of the more talented, veteran-laden clubs with substantial media attention, giving Archibald as good a chance as anywhere in the league to prove he can still play in the NHL. In the meantime, the big winger will continue to be both a physical threat and net-front scoring force at the minor league level.
- The Springfield Thunderbirds have announced extensions for end-of-the-year additions Liam Pecararo and Dylan MacPherson. The duo each signed one-year AHL contracts with Springfield back on April 3rd, and have now renewed those same one-way minor league pacts. Pecararo, 23, wrapped up his NCAA career with 30 points in 37 games for Northeastern University last year and recorded a point in his AHL debut. The Massachusetts native stays close to home in Springfield and hopes to be a force up front. MacPherson, 21, has great size for a defenseman and showed over the past two years with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers that he is capable of consistent offense as well. A right-handed shot who can both move the puck and defend in his own end, MacPherson is a valuable commodity for the Thunderbirds.