College Hockey

Hockey Update: 03/20/2020

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It’s been a while, hockey’s still gone, but that isn’t stopping news from breaking around the sport. Here, I’ll do my best to cover news from around the hockey world. Here’s today’s Hockey Update.

Bruins Lone Holdout On COVID-19 Compensation

The Boston Bruins are the only NHL team that is yet to take action on paying their part-time employees. Whereas some Bruins players have contributed to a GoFundMe page for the cause, multi-billionaire and Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs has stood pat. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said this about the situation: “I just want them to act, I just want them to step up and do something.”

Look. When Eugene Melnyk makes the decision to spend money before you do, you have a HUGE problem. How could you let him beat you to literally anything? It’s an absolute PR disaster for the organization, who don’t appear to be taking action any time soon.

Sabres Owners Lay Off Hospitality Workers

Per the Athletic, the Pegulas have laid off the majority of their hospitality workers. This was due to the lack of business amid the COVID-19 pandemic. What stands out about the move is what awaits the workers, or lack thereof. The workers laid off will not be guaranteed their jobs back once the crisis is finished. They will not be given their paid time off and the notice to those workers say they’ll be “amongst the first considered”.  

Analysis: Yikes. The Pegulas have really been doing their best to tank their reputation, this is just sad on too many levels.

Flames Make Splash In NCAA FA

The Calgary Flames have made quite the splash in NCAA FA, signing Colton Poolman and Connor Mackey to ELCs.

Poolman was rumoured to be signing an ELC with the Flames as frontrunners a few days ago. Here’s what I said in Wednesday’s Update:

“Colton Poolman, brother of Tucker (Winnipeg), had a very solid NCAA career in ND. He’s known as a very good two-way defenseman. His offense shined brightest during his sophomore season, as he put up 29 points in 40 games from the blue line. His defensive prowess is great as well, he’s been up for awards such as the NCHC’s Defensive Defenseman of the Year. He was also up for NCHC’s Player of the Year the same season. The 24-year-old captain of UND appears to have garnered a significant amount of interest, with Schlossman reporting that the Calgary Flames are frontrunners for the defenseman.”

Poolman will likely start the season with the Stockton Heat in the AHL. It’s not a stretch to say he could make the NHL in his first season, like his brother, Tucker Poolman, did with the Jets.

Connor Mackey, son of former NHLer David Mackey, enjoyed a successful three seasons with Minnesota State University, Mankato. Mackey is known to be very good at moving the puck and has great defensive awareness. He’s another two-way defenseman for the Flames. He made the WCHA First All-Star Team this season, his Junior year. The 23-year-old has improved his offensive totals in each year he spent in the NCAA. He’ll likely start the season with the Stockton Heat of the AHL to start his one-year ELC.

Rangers Land Rueschhoff

The New York Rangers have signed Austin Rueschhoff out of Western Michigan University. Rueschhoff is a forward who can use his size effectively and chip in offense. His scoring dipped slightly this year, with his 26 points in 36 games being one goal short of his 27 points in 36 games in his sophomore year. There is one detail about Rueschhoff that stands out most. He stands at 6’7 and, like I said before, is able to use that to his advantage. The 22-year-old will likely begin his season with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL, where he’ll see if his offensive production can carry over to the pro level.

Preds Sign Harper

The Nashville Predators have signed their 2016 5th round pick, Patrick Harper. Harper enjoyed a very successful freshman season at Boston University. He scored 37 points in 38 games and got himself a spot on the USA WJC Team, where he helped them win gold. Harper had a hot start to his sophomore campaign, scoring 21 points in 20 games, while appearing on the USA WJC team again, this time scoring 4 points to help them to Bronze. He was then sidelined by a respiratory illness, one that took him out for the rest of the season. However, up till that point, he had led the team in scoring.

In his junior season, the effects of missing that much time showed. He had his worst statistical season, scoring 20 points in 38 games. His senior year proved to be a bounce back year, as he scored 37 points in 32 games as the Terriers alternate captain. The 22-year-old will likely begin his two-year ELC with the Milwaukee Admirals, as we see if his offensive talent carries on to the pros.

Blues Sign McGing

The St. Louis Blues have signed their 2018 5th round pick, Hugh McGing. After a strong showing in his freshman year got him drafted, McGing never scored below 30 points in the next three years. His senior year saw him wear the ‘C’ for Western Michigan University and he was named to the NCHC’s First All-Star Team. The centre has been lauded for his work ethic. He’ll likely begin his two-year ELC with whichever AHL team the Blues affiliate with for the 2020-21 season (the Knights bought the Blues 2019-20 affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage).

Coyotes Land Sucese

The Arizona Coyotes signed Nate Sucese out of Penn State University. Sucese has had a productive NCAA career. He’s put up point totals of 36, 29, 37, and 38 in four seasons with PSU. He wrapped up his NCAA career with 140 points in 147 games. The 5’9 winger leaves Penn State as their all-time NCAA leading scorer (the university was a part of the ACHA prior to 2010) in points and goals. The 23-year-old will try to translate that offense to the pros, as he’ll likely begin his ELC in Tucson with the Roadrunners.

Sean Dhooghe Transfers To ASU

Sean Dhooghe has transferred from the Wisconsin Badgers to Arizona State University. The 5’3 winger hasn’t let size stop him, as he became a key piece of Wisconsin’s offense. However, as the Badgers faltered, so did his numbers. I mentioned on Wednesday that Dhooghe had entered the NCAA Transfer Portal and he’s found his new destination. This means a few things. One? Wisconsin’s failure has cost them (article coming out about that soon). Dhooghe joins K’Andre Miller and Alex Turcotte as players to leave the program early. I’m not sure what this means for Dhooghe’s brother, Jason. Jason Dhooghe found himself in a limited role last season, only appearing in three games for the Badgers. It doesn’t look like he’s in the NCAA Transfer Portal, however, so we’ll see how that plays out.

Rogle BK Will Not Resign 5

Rogle BK of the SHL announced that 5 players would leave the club. 

Kodie Curran

Kodie Curran is probably one of the biggest losses for the club. In 5 seasons, he’s gone from splitting time in the AHL/ECHL, starring in Denmark and Norway, to making the jump to starring in the SHL. Curran led the club in scoring, from the blue line. He finished 2nd league-wide in points and won the SHL’s MVP award, among many other accolades. He’s reportedly on his way to Avangard Omsk of the KHL, according to Swedish media.

Ted Brithen

Ted Brithen is another tough loss for the club. The 29-year-old wrapped up the 3rd season of his 2nd stint with the club. He had played for the organization for his youth career and spent parts of 5 seasons with the big club before joining HV71, later becoming captain. Brithen missed some time this season, but put up 37 points in 33 games. He likely would’ve led the team in scoring, like he did the year prior. Swedish media has rumoured that he is expected to sign in the NLA, with Bern. He said “I have been given an opportunity that I cannot refuse. It fits me and my family perfectly to do this now.” (thank you Google Translate).

Roman Will

Roman Will marks ANOTHER tough loss for Rogle. In his first season in the SHL, Will started for the club. His .922 SV% was good for 4th in the league. Will played two seasons in the Colorado Avalanche organization, spending the first splitting the net in the ECHL and appearing in the AHL. In his second, he split the net with multiple goalies in the AHL. In 2016, he found himself backing up Calvin Pickard, as starter Semyon Varlamov was set to be in court for a civil lawsuit. It’s unclear what’s next for him, but Rogle will likely lean on 23-year-old goalie Christoffer Rifalk.

They also lost Daniel Bertov and Hampus Gustafsson. Bertov was in his second season with the club, but didn’t make a huge impact, with his offensive production dipping. Gustafsson hasn’t been able to translate his college numbers to the pro level, with 12 points in 83 games in the AHL, and this year, had only 2 points in 38 games.

Frölunda Lets Go Of 6

Frölunda HC will not resign six players.

Brandon Gormley was once a top prospect, being picked 13th overall by the Coyotes in 2010. Gormley spent time in the Coyotes and Avalanche organizations, splitting time in the NHL and AHL. He played a total of 58 NHL games and 240 AHL games. In two seasons with Frölunda HC, he’s done pretty well, and has two Champion Hockey League championships and an SHL championship to show for it.

Karl Strollery has spent time with the Devils, Sharks, and Avalanche organizations. He appeared in 23 games in the NHL and is a veteran of 300+ AHL games. The 32-year-old has spent the last three seasons in Europe, but his two-way potential hasn’t carried out in Frölunda.

Rhett Rakhshani is another NHL veteran that the club let go, but he may be the tougher loss. The former University of Denver star has steadily become a consistent scorer in the SHL, and has a monster playoffs in 2019 to help Frölunda to the SHL championship. 

They’ll also let go of Stars prospect Jacob Peterson, as well as Oliwer Fjellström and Arvid Söderblom, prospects who were loaned out for the entire season.

Oilers Prospect Moves SHL Teams

Edmonton Oilers prospect Filip Berglund will move to the Linköping HC of the SHL. This will mark his first time playing outside of the Skellefteå AIK organization.

Arsi Piispanen Retires

Former Columbus Blue Jackets draftee Arsi Piispanen has retired at 34.

hockey update
 (Chris Young/CP)

Berlin Lets Go Of Four

Eisbären Berlin of the DEL will not resign four players, including Justin Pogge.

Pogge has bounced around Europe years after being dubbed the Toronto Maple Leafs’ “Goalie of the Future”. He started the season off in Södertälje SK of Swedish 2nd tier hockey, and was later signed by Berlin. He split time with Sebastian Dahm and put up a .919 SV%.

Pogge’s partner, Sebastian Dahm, was also released by the team. He played 34 games with the team, meaning the club got rid of their two best goalies. They’ll be replaced by Mathias Niederberger.

Former Detroit Red Wings prospect Louis-Marc Aubry is another tough loss for the team. The 28-year-old led the club in scoring last season and has been a consistent offensive producer since coming over from the AHL.

They also lost DEL veteran Florian Kettemer, who’s played parts of 12 seasons in the league. The 33-year-old has almost 500 DEL games under his belt.

I think that’s it! Let me know if I missed anything!

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Spencer White is an Editor of Hockey at Overtime Heroics. He writes about hockey, covering the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Marlies, Newfoundland Growlers, and the Toronto Six. You can find him on Twitter at @FreeNylander, @MagicianMarner, and @LeafsMoves.