As some players move from NHL camp to AHL camp or are released from tryouts, it can open up new opportunities for the coming season. Everyone would prefer to land with a big league team, but that simply doesn’t happen. Instead, they embrace their new role and the challenge of getting to the top level. There are still gaps to fill on many teams throughout the minor leagues and Europe. Keep up with all of those moves today right here:
- The AHL’s Belleville Senators, Ottawa’s affiliate, has inked a pair of veteran minor leaguers. The team announced that goaltender Jake Paterson and forward Francois Beauchemin have earned contracts. Paterson, a former Detroit Red Wings prospect, has played almost exclusively in the ECHL since turning pro three years ago and has struggled in his short AHL stints. Paterson will almost certainly return to the ECHL this year, with recently announced affiliate the Brampton Beast. However, it makes sense for Belleville to add some experienced depth, given that Mike McKenna could see NHL action this year should aging Ottawa starter Craig Anderson get hurt and AHL option Filip Gustavsson is in his first season in North America. Beauchemin, not be confused with newly retired defenseman Francois Beauchemin, had a tough first year at the pro level in 2017-18 but was reliable producer and two-way player for years in the QMJHL. They’ll give him another shot to show he can hack it in the AHL.
- Emile Poirier is back in the Calgary system, at least temporarily. NHL.com’s Patrick Williams reports that the Flames’ 2013 first-round pick has been invited to camp by their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat. Poirier was not qualified this off-season after another disappointing campaign in the minors. The talented forward struggled with consistency throughout his entry-level contract and a lack of production convinced the Flames to move on without him. It seems that the Heat are not as willing to let go though. While there are many intriguing veteran names already slotted for roles in Stockton, as well as other camp invites like Logan Shaw and Gilbert Brule, the familiarity that Poirier could bring to team that has seen much changeover could earn him a roster spot. Former University of Denver star goalie Tanner Jaillet and long-time NHL grinder Ryan White were also included on the camp roster for Stockton.
- Another interesting camp invite is journeyman defenseman Tim Erixon. The AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have added Erixon to their camp roster, bringing back a player who excelled on their blue line from 2015 to 2017 on a two-year, two-way contract with Pittsburgh. Erixon spent last year on AHL contracts with the Binghamton Devils and Springfield Thunderbirds and was again a productive player. Erixon, 27, is a former first-round pick with ample ability who simply struggled to compete at the NHL level and may never reach that level again, but has proven to be dependable on the AHL stage. It would be no surprise to see him stick with the junior Penguins.
- The Los Angeles Kings have recalled four recently-demoted players from the AHL’s Ontario Reign camp. The Kings announced that forwards Sheldon Rempal, a free agent addition out of Clarkson University, Drake Rymsha, a first-year pro, Matt Luff and Boko Imama, Reign veterans, have re-joined the team. It seems likely that one or more will suit up for the Kings tonight when L.A. squares off with the Anaheim Ducks.