Good afternoon, everyone!
First up, we have some former Crunchie news:
- St. Louis has signed Andrew Murray to a one-year, two-way contract.
We also have some breaking Syracuse Crunch/Tampa news:
- The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Matt Taormina to a one-year, two-way contract today.
Taormina’s stats are kind of odd, but Tampa Bay’s release had this to say about him: Taormina, 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, has played in 47 career NHL games with the New Jersey Devils during the previous two seasons, recording four goals and 12 points with a plus-4 rating. Taormina has played in 199 career AHL games with the Binghamton Senators, Lowell Devils and Albany River Rats. He has registered 18 goals and 71 points, including a career-high 16 goals and 66 points in 2009-10. That season he led all Lowell defensemen, and was third on the team, with 10 goals and 50 points. Those totals were the most by a rookie in franchise history. Taormina also set a franchise record with 32 power-play points with eight goals and 24 assists.
Bolt Prospects (and if you aren’t following them–what the hell?! Get on that!) had this to say about him: It looks as though Taormina is the puck-moving replacement for Mike Kostka, who signed with the Leafs. He had 50 pts for Lowell 2 yrs ago.
A friend of ours from Albany, Tracey Lake (who blogs for Thoughts Inside the Box), had this to say about him: He was up and down between here and NJ a lot, didn’t play much up there. More a depth guy for the Devils than anything. Depending on what Tampa Bay’s needs are at D, you’ll probably see him in a Crunch uniform.
Should be interesting. Not sure yet if injury kept him out of the game or what last season, still trying to find out more information.
Under the cut we have some merch reviews, one old, one new, both T-shirts. The first is the Tarkki version of the player T’s the Crunch brought back last year. The second is the brand new, hot-off-the-presses Crunchman T!
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I hope all of our American readers had a safe, fun, and restful Independence Day!
With Tampa Bay signing Carle yesterday, Crunch fans were hoping to hear about those two more FA’s that were targeted for us. That news has now broken. Those two are probably Neilson and Nightingale. See their story below!
So far things have been fairly quiet, but we kind of knew to expect that: As Cassie explained to us, there really aren’t too many spots available. We might nab an AHL contract or two before the summer ends, and maybe one more “big” name, but that might be it for us. With the depth in the system, I’m not concerned. And remember, big names can sometimes be a curse. Last year, more than just Crunch fans went ape over ANA signing Andrew Gordon for “us”, but Gordon obviously wasn’t comfortable in the Ducks’ system and was a disappointing fizzleout for both teams. After playing the beginning of the season up and struggling to score, he was sent down only to see his struggles continue. Meanwhile, guys we had been worried about being grabbed prematurely, Palmeiri in the lead, were thankfully left to flourish and develop. Gordon was traded and life moved on.
All signs indicate Tampa might be done signing players for themselves. You can read about that with our buddies over at Raw Charge. Tampa has made it clear they expect one–and possibly even two–of “our” forwards to jump up and prove they’re ready for the NHL, so we can expect to be in a similar Gordon-like situation again. Whether it’ll be with a big name or not isn’t certain, but really it’s not a problem, it’s what we’re here for, and we’ll be fine.
Onto the news! I’m personally still waiting to see where former Crunch players Alexandre Picard and Trevor Frischmon will land, both of them deserve good things. Whatever happens, this will updated as information comes in, as usual.
We had a former Crunchie on the move last night:
- The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed forward Philippe Dupuis to a one-year, two-way contract.
The Crunch has signed two players to AHL deals:
- Right wing Eric Neilson is signed to a one-year contract. From the Crunch: Neilson, 27, played in 47 games with the Calder Cup Champion Norfolk Admirals, recording one goal and 74 penalty minutes. The Fredericton, NB, native has appeared in 186 AHL games with Peoria, Hamilton, San Antonio and Norfolk, totaling 12 points (6g, 6a) and 560 penalty minutes. Neilson was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth round, 143rd overall, of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Neilson is a three-time IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the year award winner, (Peoria 2008-09, Hamilton 2009-10 and San Antonio 2010-11).
- Defenseman Jared Nightingale is also signed to a one-year contract. From the Crunch: Nightingale, 29, most recently played for the Connecticut Whale collecting 10 points (1g, 9a) and 110 penalty minutes in 67 regular season games during the 2011-12 season. The blueliner has appeared in 264 AHL contests with Connecticut, Hartford, Chicago, Iowa and Springfield and totaled 38 points (11g, 28a) and 619 penalty minutes.
Our friends over at Bolt Prospects had this to say about our new D-man: Nice addition for the Crunch. Big, physical righty shot defenseman. Will help lead and protect prospects. If you aren’t following Bolt Prospects yet, I highly recommend it. Their Twitter is here and their website is here.
Just minutes after the signings were announced, Chairman How Tweeted the following: Crunch adds tons of toughness with Nightingale and Nielsen signings. “House of Pain” making its return!
House of Pain, eh? Haven’t heard that used in a while. Good news, kids! Good news.
Quick summary of Day 1 for our former players…congrats to them!:
- Former Crunch captain Konopka signed with the Wild.
- Stu Bickel is back with the Rangers.
- Riley Holzapfel will probably be with one our of enemies next year. He’s signed with Pittsburgh, and will probably see a fair amount of time in WBS. I was floored when the Ducks didn’t qualify him, so big congrats to him. Our friend from Chirps from Center Ice will be putting in his two cents about today later on.
- Dylan Reese was also signed by Pittsburgh. His deal is a two-way for one year, but he spent about half of last year up with the Islanders so whether we’ll see him in WBS or not is up in the air.
- Trevor Smith, who was with Norfolk/Tampa last year, completed the trio of former Crunch players to be signed by Pittsburgh.
- Michael Blunden was signed to a one-year deal with the Canadiens. The deal is a two-way.
- Aaron Rome signed a three year deal with Dallas.
Summary of Syracuse-related stuff:
- Tampa inked prospect Artem Sergeev to a standard 3-year entry-level deal. Bad news, Crunch fans: he isn’t old enough for us to see him yet. Boo.
- Good news: the Lightning re-signed minor-league defenseman Evan Oberg to a one-year, two-way contract. I’ve heard he racks up quite a bit of frequent flyer miles, but we should enjoy his game while we have him.
- It was tweeted that TBL might leave a spot or two open at forward in the hopes that some players will step up and claim them. This will obviously have an impact on who might be here this up coming season. However, we should be pretty steady at D.
The last time the Crunch switched affiliations, there were a lot of fans–including us here–asking about CBJ players who could potentially become new members of the Ducks’ organization should Anaheim have been so inclined. As you all remember, the only guy we saw make that leap was Jon Mirasty, and obviously that worked out rather poorly for all involved. The Mirasty Saga was a nasty chapter in our affiliation story with the Ducks, and what happened there is probably not anything we want repeated in any way with Tampa. Personally, I’ve decided that it’s better for us to start fresh, to have all new guys with no previous emotional attachment on our team. It allows fans to move on, develop relationships with new players, and keeps the emotional trauma to a minimum if something happens.
(Please note: Alexandre Picard is the exception to this rule)
But, I realize not everyone feels that way. With free agency right around the corner, I did some quick research tonight to see what I could see on this issue in relation to the Ducks. What are our chances of getting some Ducklings back next season?
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