Sunday, November 30, 2008

Choosing the highway, by Bryan Esner

On Friday, the Gwinnett Gladiators traded Bryan Esner to the Augusta Lynx for Travis Fuller. I attended Augusta's home game on Saturday, and sometime in the second period realized I hadn't seen Esner on the ice. I asked coach John Marks about him afterward. Knowing that Esner almost didn't report to Gwinnett when he was traded there from Phoenix, I suspected I already knew where he was.

Where's Esner?

He's not coming. He's going home. Because of the shaky ground we're on. Is the team gonna be there or not be there? 'I'm gonna go home, think about it. I'm not sure if I want to continue to play or not.' And we need a center, we need a guy who's got a little pizazz and get up and go. He was my leading point-getter last year in Pensacola. He competes like heck. Jeff's had him on the wing and he's not a winger. He's been unhappy there.

Had Esner asked for a trade out of Gwinett?

Yes he had. His agent called me and I said 'OK, I'll call Jeff (Pyle).' He didn't want to play on the wing. He's not built for the wing. He's a little guy who's built for open ice. I asked Jeff what he needed and he said he needed a left winger. I said 'who do you want?' Because we hadn't been scoring. He said Fuller, and I said fine. Travis may go there and do very well. But he only had two goals [for us].

What's Fuller like?

He's a good kid. He got a taste of the American League I think last year. He wears his heart on his sleeve, works pretty good. I think he's been squeezing the stick like a lot of other guys.
I suspect this is why we saw Brad Schell on Esner's wing last Friday night. That it wasn't to just change things up.

Esner has been suspended by Augusta, but they still hold his rights. The Tampa Bay Lightning told the St. Pete Times that Augusta has found the money it needs to keep going, but it's unconfirmed by the Lynx yet. Given that the Lightning/Lynx relationship is new, and lots of miscommunication can happen in that situation, it's best to wait for confirmation.

Lightning GM Brian Lawton said Sunday the Lynx did get the cash infusion needed, though that could not be confirmed.

Marks on the hockey side of Augusta's troubles

I didn't intend to get involved with this story. I intended just to get a complete update on Tampa Bay's prospects in case they were sent to another team in the ECHL if Augusta folded. But when I went into John Marks' office last night after the game, he also wanted to talk about the team's precarious situation, so I listened.

Oddly, he didn't address his team after the game, he invited me into his office straight from the ice. What is there to say to them right now though, really?

I've known Marksie a long time. Not well, but a long time, about seven years I guess. I remember him in the glory days in Greenville, when the Thrashers sent guys there.

I put the transcript of what he said up at Hockey's Future. It's not the type of story we normally do, but since they are a Tampa affiliate and the economy's effect on sports is a hot topic, I think it works.

Marks also had some interesting responses about the Esner/Fuller trade with Gwinnett. I'll put them in a separate post, probably later today.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Augusta on the brink of folding

I will be driving to Augusta tomorrow to report on Tampa prospects, since the Lynx are precariously close to folding and who knows where those prospects will go if they do. If Lehman Brothers can fold, the ECHL Augusta Lynx surely can too. From the Augusta Chronicle,

Next Lynx game could be their last

Augusta Lynx co-owners Dan Troutman and Jan Hodges Burch didn’t hide from their fan base on Friday afternoon when they held a news conference to discuss the future of Augusta’s minor league hockey team.

Tonight, the Lynx owners are hoping the team’s fans won’t hide from them when Augusta takes on Charlotte at 7 at James Brown Arena. Troutman said the team will fold if an investor or partner isn’t found “in a matter of days.” After tonight’s game, the Lynx aren’t schedule to play at home again until Dec. 16.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Crabb NHL debut photo essay

Joey Crabb made his NHL debut tonight against Nashville. Here it is in photos.

Crabb wasn't the most junior guy out there during the national anthem. Maybe this helped take the pressure off.

Putting Crabb in the starting lineup was a nice touch. Here he is on the opening faceoff.

He played on the fourth line with Eric Boulton and Jim Slater. Erik Christensen did not play.

Crabb on the bench (fourth one in) with Coaches John Anderson and Todd Nelson behind.

Ron Hainsey looks sideways at Crabb like 'that's crazy talk.'

Crabb turns his back to Hainsey and poses.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Strangest interview location

I've interviewed people in situations that were slightly odd before. Sitting on a dolly for one. I interviewed skills coach Kenny McCudden in a darkened room under a spotlight because it was the only quiet place we could find. But tonight I think takes the cake.

So I'm in Jeff Pyle's office and he's commenting on the game. Someone knocks on the outside door, and being the nearest to it, I open it to let them in. It was Coach John Marks from Augusta, coming to talk to Jeff. He made himself at home while the rest of us were talking -- washed his hands in Jeff's bathroom. I had intended to go down to the Augusta locker room to find Marks later anyway, so since he was there, I told him I'd like to talk to him after he was done with Jeff and that I'd wait out in the hall. He said "No, let's do it now. Let's go," and stepped back into the bathroom to get away from the conversations still going on around Jeff's desk. So we talked about Tampa prospects in Jeff's bathroom.

And there's nothing like a 6-2 loss and a really rough week to bring honesty to a coach's mouth. He said some rather scathing things about the two players. I was surprised, but he doesn't have anything to lose at this point.

One interesting thing that affected tonight's game is that Mike Brodeur was supposed to start in net for Augusta, but sometime between this morning's skate and warm-ups, his shoulder started bothering him too much to go. So Riku Helenius, who had stayed out longer this morning than one would want a starter to do, had to start instead. That probably affected his game. Marks was still critical, and of the bad-angle goals in particular.

For the Gladiators, Kevin Nastiuk was listed on the roster (as if returned from Providence), but EBUG Curtis Ryser was there instead. I asked Pyle about this, but was not satisfied with the answer. Hmm.

I also asked Pyle why he started seven defensemen tonight. He said the backline was a little banged up. And that he can move a D to F, but not the other way around.

Mike Brodeur.

Riku Helenius

Turkey bowling

Nibbles on Thanksgiving

Here are a few things I've come across in the past few days.

There are rumors that John Tavares of the Oshawa Generals, the No. 2 rated prospect for 2009, will be traded before the Jan. 10 deadline. This kind of thing happens a lot in junior hockey just like in the NHL -- if a top guy is on a lower-tier team, the team would rather sell him off and build for the future. In following the Tavares story, I read that top guys in the CHL often have no-trade clauses. That struck me as very demanding for a teenager, but the more I thought about it, it's probably a lot more disruptive for a teenager to move in the middle of the year. They'd have to change schools, etc. So I guess it makes sense. I'm interested to see where Tavares ends up.

If you haven't checked out Central Scouting's preliminary rankings for 2009 yet, here's a link.

Bruce Boudreau's Washington Capitals might be injured like crazy, but it did create an opportunity for his son Ben Boudreau. Ben had been playing for the IHL Flint Generals (first year pro), but yesterday was signed to the Caps' ECHL affiiate South Carolina Stingrays, who had lost players to Hershey Bears due to the Caps' injuries. Ben is 24. Does this sound a bit like the Jake Anderson events? It does to me. Ben was in camp with Hershey too.

We all get tired of reading cliche answers by athletes, but some guys should actually learn the cliches, because they are better answers than what they actually said. I edited a Q&A yesterday that was just unbelievable. It was of a Russian playing in the OHL. The interview was done in his native language, so there's no reason he couldn't express himself. But no, here's a taste:

HF: For your average Kings fan who has never seen you play, how would you describe your style?
AL: Sorry, but I don’t like to talk about my playing style.

If a player can't or won't talk about their playing style, the most basic, and perfectly reasonable question there is, then they should be kept away from the media. The guy comes off terribly.

Hopefully the guy I talk to tonight will be in a decent mood despite Augusta's troubles.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fun with titles

Whoever wrote this headline was really on their game. From the Augusta Chronicle:

Skid leaves Marks at a loss

A new low point in Augusta Lynx hockey hit James Brown Arena over the weekend when the team dropped three home games by a combined score of 16-2.

Saturday night's 12-0 loss to the Florida Everblades highlighted the forgettable weekend, and it might have marked the end for a few Lynx skaters.

Lynx head coach John Marks , who cut four players two weeks ago, said he may be forced to make another round of cuts if things don't improve.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Outdoor skating at Centennial Olympic Park

If you're looking for something fun to do with the family this weekend, head downtown to Centennial Park for outdoor ice skating. About 15 years ago I was in Toronto in the winter, downtown, and came across an outdoor rink there -- the Canadian equivalent of Rockefeller Center. I skated, and it was really memorable. The one here is covered by a tent, since here in the south the sun could do some melting damage during the day. Not quite the same, but as close as you'll get in Atlanta.

The Centennial rink is open through Jan. 4, 2009.

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary season, Atlanta’s only outdoor ice skating rink at Centennial Olympic Park is an annual holiday tradition. Visitors enjoy covered observation seating, theatrical lighting on the real ice and holiday music. Admission is $7 per person for a 90 minute session; skate rental is an additional $2.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gladiators extras

Three funny things from last night after the Gladiators game. First a quick note on the lines.

I noticed Brad Schell was playing wing and asked about it, thinking maybe he hurt his shoulder again or something.

"I just threw him and Foxy and Nesy together just to kind of change things up," Jeff Pyle said. "Put Grahamer on the left side with Sully and Brando. Just change the lines around to...I wasn't sure really why, just try something different. Sometimes when you give guys a different look it energizes them a little bit. It makes you think differently and it motivates you sometimes."

Regarding the Matt Siddall incident, which resulted in a game misconduct, I remarked to Pyle that I didn't remember ever seeing a skater get in an actual fight with a goalie.

"I have," Pyle said. "My first fight was with a goalie. But I didn't do anything -- I got hacked from behind so I swung my stick at him and I missed him, and the next thing I know, the gloves come off."

This happened in the USHL, around age 17. Attempting to bring things back to the present, I suggested that he learned from the experience.

"Yes you do," he said. "I learned that he has to take his mask off before I start swinging. He had a cage and he put it up like this when he was coming at me, so I threw a punch and hit him right in the nose, and his mask came back down. I wasn't going to quit punching, so I kept punching and cut the shit out of my hand."

(This story shouldn't take away from how irritated he was at Siddall for his actions though. Siddall popped his head into the office because he had been told to, and the interaction said plenty.)

I headed into the locker room and seeing Hoops, asked him to go get Scheller for me. He disappeared and a couple minutes later, a doe-like face appeared. I looked at the kid, and quickly put together what had happened. Hoops had suckered Jeff Dunne, who just played his first game of the season, into thinking he had an interview. I smiled at him and said, "I asked for Scheller," upon which he went immediately after Hoops. Funny, but I still didn't have Schell.

Eventually I found Scheller on the exercise bike, where Brando was giving him a hard time about watching TV. I asked Schell some questions that I intended for my game story, but since he knows I normally don't write game stories, he didn't take them in the context of the game and gave more general answers. It was my fault for not specifying, but I did enjoy one of his answers. I asked how the team felt with goaltender Josh Johnson back there.

"Good," he said emphatically. "He's a competitor. He works hard, he's the one who put us out last year in the playoffs with South Carolina. He's a great guy to have in the room, he's got some experience, and he battles in practice just like he battles in a game. You see that coming from a goaltender and it makes you work hard in front of him. He'll be good for us. He's in my carpool too."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wolves pick up d-men Sanford and Marsh

From today's ECHL transactions:

Delete Tyson Marsh, D loaned to Chicago (AHL)

Delete James Sanford, D loaned to Chicago (AHL)

There was a really interesting transaction today too. Looks like Anaheim is saving money on the cap by stashing Bobby Ryan and Brett Festerling in nearby Bakersfield for a couple days. Because they are too good to be playing there for real.

Add Brett Festerling, D assigned by Anaheim (NHL)
Add Bobby Ryan, F assigned by Anaheim (NHL)

And finally, if you wondered if Jake Anderson (John's son) caught on anywhere, I see that he's on a tryout for the IHL (formerly UHL) Bloomington Thunder. One of his teammates is Scott Fankhouser. Small world.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Desbiens update and a few photos

The Winnipeg Sun has a feature on Desbiens, with accompanying video. Desbiens now has eight points in 15 games from the fourth line.

A strong start notwithstanding, Guillaume Desbiens has no illusions about his role with the Manitoba Moose.

Through 13 games of the American Hockey League season, Desbiens easily qualifies as the biggest surprise on a roster that boasts plenty of top-end talent.

And a few photos from the Gladiators SOL against South Carolina. I was hoping to talk to Josh Godfrey, but he got called up to Hershey yesterday.

Myles Stoesz, now with facial hair.

Matt Siddall.

Josh Johnson.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If you need a good laugh

I heard this essay on NPR yesterday. It's called "Failure of Feral Cats Roundup has Explanation," but it's not really about feral cats. It's just funny. The only way it could be improved would be to read it in a film noir voice, but let's not quibble. Just listen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Heatley to release a book this month

I wish someone else had found this so I wouldn't have to post it, but nevertheless, here it is.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 12, 2008) - Hockey Canada, Fenn Publishing, and McAlpine Sports Management announced today that the book Dominant Dany Heatley, authored by National Hockey League (NHL) player Dany Heatley with Lorna Schultz Nicholson, will be released Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Written in the first person, Dominant Dany Heatley takes readers through a personal and heartfelt story about the Ottawa Senators left winger's family, friends, commitment to his country and decisions that have made him one of the leading talents in hockey today.

As a young adult book, it's 80 pages.

There's an article based on the release in the Ottawa Citizen. As they point out,

How much he'll talk about the accident in his book isn't clear from the publisher's advance, but it does say, "His words are important, candid and inspirational."

I'm betting it will be glossed over. Someone let me know since I won't be purchasing it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Contact to the head (head shots) already prohibited in NCAA hockey

There's been a lot of talk about head shots in hockey lately and I haven't seen anyone bring up the fact that the NCAA already has a rule against shots to the head. Maybe it's because most people writing about it aren't very familiar with college hockey.

From section 8 of the NCAA rulebook (page 62):

Contact to the Head
SECTION 8. A player shall not make contact with an opposing player’s
head or neck area in any manner.
PENALTY—Minor or major or disqualification at the discretion of the
referee. Contact to the head shall be assessed in front of the
infraction (i.e., contact to the head – elbow).
Note: The rules committee instructs officials to use a zero tolerance policy in
this area.

Does the rule actually eliminate head shots? No. At the OSU vs. MSU games this weekend, seven out of the 20 penalties involved contact to the head. But the penalty serves to discourage it.

The verbiage and enforcement of this rule in the NCAA could serve as a model for the NHL.

NY Rangers using device from McCudden

From NY Sports Day. McCudden is a skating and skills coach who works with the Thrashers and their system.

NEW YORK – It’s called the rebound board and it’s nothing more than two 2x4s put together at a 90 degree angle.

Yet, Chris Drury swears by this low tech device and the Blueshirts have used it in practice almost every day since the Ranger captain brought it with him from Buffalo after he signed with New York before last season.

“I got it from a guy in Chicago,” Drury said, who started using it when he played in the World Championships. “I got it from a coach, Kenny McCudden. It was the first time I saw it and stole it from him. It’s great with passes and you can practice by yourself if you want.”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Albert Q&A done and more

FYI, my Q&A with Albert is up at HF. The conversation was a little bit scattered, so I thought it would read best as a Q&A.

Soon I'll have what we're calling a "system audit," that goes over each position in the prospect pool. I waited to do it until after seeing Leveille and Albert in game action. At the same time, I'm chairing the Organizational Rankings Committee, which is probably the most important thing I do all year. If there are mistakes in it, it's my fault, so I'm going to make very sure that there aren't. That takes top priority. Oh and I have jury duty next week, which could cut into things. Yay.

Michael Farber recently came out with his 2008 Stealth List -- "five people in hockey whom you barely know but who truly make a difference." I pointed to it last year, and it's good again this time.
1. Patrick Sharp
2. Tim Burke
3. Barry Trotz
4. Alexander Burrows
5. Roland Melanson

Burrows, and guys like him, are why I go to ECHL games. Burrows played in the league and didn't stick out, yet he's now got himself an NHL career. At any given ECHL game, there's probably one guy who will go on to play in the NHL. It's just up to you to figure out which one.

In non-hockey news, the best thing I heard all day is that DHL is shutting down in the US. This financial crisis has a silver lining in putting a horrible company out of business. The driver who used to deliver to my office continually parked in handicapped spots and was a sociopath. Good riddance.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

MSU vs. OSU, part 2

Just briefly on the second game of the MSU/OSU series because I have to catch a plane.

John Albert (middle) during pre-game intros. I like this one. OSU has great ice, by the way.

Albert ready to jump off the bench. Again he made great passes, to wingers who didn't finish. I couldn't help but think his production would skyrocket if he had a better finisher on his line. Or was just on a better team generally. He wins faceoffs right to guys who then turnover the puck. He'll need more grit and hustle at higher levels.

While Albert often has the puck, Leveille almost never has it, which is a bit concerning as a center. He's up and down the ice, but not always involved in the play. On one goal against, one D was behind the net, one was in the corner, and he should have picked up the guy at the side of the net. He was nearby, but didn't defend him. It showed how he needs to work on defensive awareness. The one flash of skill in this game was going up the right wing, dipsy doodling around the D for a shot that went wide through the crease. I wanted to see him drop the shoulder and cut in like Marian Hossa, but he didn't. He probably doesn't have the man-strength of Hossa to do that.

The best player on the ice for either team was Jeff Petry, a second-round pick in 2006 of Edmonton. I found myself watching him just to see what he would do. Yes he made some mistakes, but clearly he'll play in the NHL. On the other hand I was not very impressed with Zac Dalpe, Carolina's second-rounder from this year. He just didn't do much. Tim Crowder, a Pittsburgh pick, is big and lumbers a bit but has some potential.

Mullet stays as OSU sweeps

Ohio State's John Albert was going to shave his head, but as an intermediate step, went with a mullet. The team won both of its games against the Michigan State Spartans, so, well, the mullet stays. He was a good sport and let me take a picture of it.

I talked to him as he had his leg in a mechanical cold water treatment. OSU's training room is amazing. I think they share it with the basketball team, as they do the very nice arena.

Friday, November 7, 2008

OSU vs. MSU, part 1

Looking for Jeff Lerg. (That's a short goalie joke).

Here's Thrashers first rounder Daultan Leveille on a face-off. He look fine. Once he gets a lot stronger on the puck and reads the play perfectly, he'll be a lot more effective. His skating is so effortless. It doesn't seem like he's trying that hard, and suddenly he's at his destination. MSU was shutout tonight. Leveille had two shots and was -2.

I don't have a shot of John Albert yet, but he played really well. He was money on faceoffs, first of all, won several cleanly back to his D. He quarterbacked the power play. Very patient with the puck. Made some great passes, though once or twice I thought he should just shoot and get the rebound. Good read of the play though.

I assume they put the band behind the opposing goalie on purpose to distract him.

The OSU band played the national anthem just the way I like it -- up-tempo and strong on the cymbal. I think that song should always have a cymbal part, and I add my own when there isn't one. Really.

You'll note the stands aren't very full. A security person I talked to said that when Michigan and Michigan State come to town, it's more full than usual -- 3000 instead of the usual 250. That's not a typo. One particular attendant to note, a Blue Jackets scout.

The band came onto the ice at intermission.

The drum major actually twirled the baton. I've never seen that. He was a real ham.

Band meets Zamboni. A near miss.

OSU's goaltender Dustin Carlson. He struck me as more than a little nutty. Even for a goalie. Look at those crazy eyes.

Greetings from rainy Columbus

I'm in town to see Michigan State take on Ohio State, which means Thrashers prospects Daultan Leveille and John Albert against each other. I'm looking forward to the college atmosphere. I already saw a tuba player waiting to cross the street next to the arena. Awesome.

I guess I better get going. I have about a mile walk from my hotel to the arena, which seemed like a fine plan on paper, but less so in this weather.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tavares' former protector touts him

It's November, but the standings indicate that Atlantans may want to pay attention to the top picks in the draft for 2009. Currently ranked No. 2 on most lists is John Tavares of the Oshawa Generals. I talked to his muscle from last year, James DeLory. The four questions about Tavares are at the end of the article.

HF: You played with (2009-eligible) John Tavares there in Oshawa. What should fans of the team who drafts him know about him?
JD: He sees the ice great, great hands. Obviously by his points you can tell he has a great scoring touch. He works pretty hard so if you get him, he’ll be good for you.

HF: Did you have to fight some of his battles?

JD: Yeah, well, the thing is with JT, he doesn’t really go out looking for it, but obviously being the caliber of player he is, guys are going to be trying to get in his face. It’d be my job to step in there once in a while. Yeah, you could say I had a few because of him (laughing).


Oh and my guess is that the Panthers will send DeLory to Dayton, where they reassigned goaltender David Shantz. If their affiliate doesn't want to play their players, they'll find someone else who will.
Edit: Nope, they sent him back to junior. "The Thrashers never send players back to junior," but other teams sometimes do.

Monday, November 3, 2008

How to get all your work done by the start of the second period

Tonight I went to the Gladiators/Everblades game to talk to James DeLory, their rookie enforcer who is under contract with the Panthers. He didn't come out for warm-ups though, which caused me to utter something we'll abbreviate as "#%*!@^$."

Since he wasn't in the line-up, I didn't get to see him play, or get a photo in uniform for his profile, but I managed to get a good interview and -- bonus -- cut out early.

Steps involved:
1. Go up to press box for reconnaissance. You can see the entire bowl from there, so I figured I could spot my subject in my binoculars.
2. Ask Everblades broadcaster if DeLory was going to join him on air. No, good. Get current description of player from broadcaster. He has a mohawk-type deal going on -- good info.
3. Spot copse of suits in Florida end as game begins. Head to the section.
4. Approach faux hawk guy and ask if he's DeLory. Bingo. Would he be able to talk now or at intermission? He has to keep stats during game, so he says to meet downstairs during intermission. Take photo of him working. Wait for him to stop smiling first.

5. Do interview (real nice guy), then pick up belonging in press box and get on elevator down as puck drops on second period. Done.

By the way, some of what he said will be of interest to Thrasher fans. I hope to have the article together tomorrow. I'll provide the link when it's done.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Burke may not approve of Bogosian staying

Anaheim GM Brian Burke has something to say about everything. The topic of 18-year-old defensemen playing in the NHL is no exception.

“I worry about some of these kids," he said. "The number of drafts from '08 that are playing in the league I’m not sure how many of them are ready. I think Drew Doughty (LA) is clearly ready and he’s playing extremely well, Luke Schenn (TOR) appears to be fitting in but some of the other guys -- [Steve] Stamkos you knew was gonna be there -- but some of these other kids appear to be finding their way still so I think you’ve got to be careful rushing especially defensemen. If you rush them, sometimes you can ruin them so I’m not sure it’s wise to have as many guys in the NHL right out of their draft year as you do this year.”

Rules: AHL roster limits

My posts on rules relating to prospects have consistently been the most popular on the blog. In fact, I should give a shout out to southern Californians visiting via the LA Kings official site, which recently cited my post explaining why junior-aged players have to return to junior if they're not in the NHL. Welcome, California.

I've referred to AHL roster limits in passing before, but never gathered it all into one post, so let's do that now, as people are still looking for the information.

There is neither a salary cap nor roster limit in the AHL. There is a limit to the playing roster, meaning how many players take the ice in a given night, but teams can keep as many on the payroll as they like. Relatedly, there is also no IR (injured reserve) in the AHL. The need for an IR comes out of roster limits, so given no roster limit, there's no need for a special shelf for injured players. (And because of this, AHL teams give virtually no information about injuries. They don't need to explain why someone is sitting, so naturally they usually don't.)

Why is there no salary cap in the AHL? Salary caps are usually done for parity reasons, but there's no real need for one in this case, given that most of the players are on NHL deals that limit the amount they can make in the minors. The rule about how many veterans a team can play in a game helps keep parity as well. The AHL refers to this as its "development rule":

Of the 18 skaters (not counting two goaltenders) that teams may dress for a regular-season game, at least 13 must be qualified as "development players." Of those 13, 12 must have played in 260 or fewer professional games (including AHL, NHL, IHL and European elite leagues), and one must have played in 320 or fewer professional games.

All calculations for development status are based on regular-season totals as of the start of the season.

Eighteen skaters a side for 2008-09 is a change from 17 skaters in previous seasons, and brings it in line with the NHL.

There are usually a few players in the AHL that make over $1 million, but most make around $50,000 or so.