March 2, 2012

AHL Journal: Trade deadline has widespread impact

By Dan Hickling

Monday's NHL Trade Deadline Day (it gets capital letter status, now that it has become a de facto national holiday, at least in Canada) doings didn't just send a shudder through a slew of big league rosters. 

Mike Connolly had 30 points in 40 games for Worcester before being traded by the Sharks. (Photo by Dan Hickling)

The aftershocks also rumbled across the American Hockey League, whose rosters had to be set by the end of the day with a view to next week's Clear Day.

Here's a look at the impact felt in New England:

BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS (Islanders): The Tigers wound up getting D Marc Cantin and RW Yannick Riendeau from Providence as pieces in Boston's Brian Rolston/Mike Mottau (Avon, Mass.) trade with the Isles. Promising rookie C Casey Cizikas went up to the Isles, but will still be back for the Calder Cup playoffs.

CONNECTICUT WHALE (Rangers): No takers for Sean Avery? No surprise and no “Get out of Jail” card for him in the deck, either. Avery remains on the roster, although don't look for him to be on the Whale's Clear Day list. Otherwise, no moves were made.

MANCHESTER MONARCHS (Kings): Big-bodied wingers Jordan Nolan and Dwight King were sent back from L.A., but those were only paper moves to keep them eligible for Manchester. The biggest addition came a few days earlier after the Kings acquired Jeff Carter, and prompted dynamic forward Andrei Loktionov to be sent back to Manchester. Loktionov might well have been moved out all together had Kings GM Dean Lombardi (Ludlow, Mass.) pulled off another deal.

PORTLAND PIRATES (Coyotes): More notable was who was still on hand – disgruntled center Patrick O'Sullivan – than any bodies coming or going. Of the latter, there were none, as the Coyotes were inactive on the trade front Monday. To the former, O'Sullivan, who has had his run-ins with Portland coach Ray Edwards, was an almost certain subtraction (“We're working on something,” said Edwards on Sunday), but Phoenix apparently had no takers. There remains the possibility of an AHL deal prior to Clear Day.

PROVIDENCE BRUINS (Bruins): Began the day with recalls of C Max Sauve and D Andrew Bodnarchuk by Boston. For Sauve, who had a four-game point streak going, it was his first NHL promotion. He's still with them, at present, but has yet to make his big-league debut. A bigger subtraction was D Steven Kampfer, who went sent to Houston (via Minnesota) when the big club acquired veteran D Greg Zanon. The upshot is that the youthful Peebs’ back line is even thinner than before.

SPRINGFIELD FALCONS (Blue Jackets): Alexandre Giroux, Falcons winger and future AHL Hall of Famer, said it best on Sunday. “Guys are really on the edge,” he said, “to see if they make some trades. Hopefully, we'll stick here together.” He got his wish, as the Jackets failed to pull the trigger on a Rick Nash deal that likely would also have made a dent on the Springfield roster. Instead, the Birds were able to add winger Nathan Longpre, who was a throw-in by Vancouver in the Samuel Pahlsson deal. More important to the Falcons, D John Moore, RW Cam Atkinson (Greenwich, Conn.) and C Ryan Russell were all made eligible for the Falcons’ playoff push through paper transactions (each is still with Columbus).

WORCESTER SHARKS (Sharks): Other than Kampfer, the most significant player to leave the area was rookie Mike Connolly. The now ex-Shark is swimming in Lake Erie after having been included in San Jose's multi-player swap with Colorado.

Around the AHL

Springfield goalie Paul Dainton, who has all but taken over the Falcons' crease, was named the AHL's Player of the Week after backstopping the Birds to three straight wins. … With the extended call-up of Hershey Bears center (and new father) Keith Aucoin (Chelmsford, Mass.) by the Washington Caps, the AHL scoring lead has been grabbed by Aucoin's linemate, Chris Bourque (Boxford, Mass.).Bourque (77 points) has a seven-point lead over Aucoin, while a third Bear with New England ties, ex-New Hampshire winger Jacob Micflikier, is currently in sixth (56). … Former Brown University goalie Yann Danis (Oklahoma City) leads all AHL netminders with a 1.98 goals-against average.

Dan Hickling can be reached at