Worcester IceCats General Manager of Hockey Operations Larry Pleau today announced three player signings for the American Hockey League club.
Right wing Eric Boguniecki and defenseman Matt Walker were signed to AHL contracts, while center Brian Bonin was signed to a professional tryout contract. In addition, left wing Mark Jerant was recalled from his loan to Peoria of the ECHL, while David Kaczowka, who recently signed an AHL deal with the IceCats, was loaned to Peoria.
Boguniecki, 29, returns to the city where he reigned as the 2001-02 AHL MVP. He captured the Les Cunningham Award, and was only the second American-born players to do so (Eddie Olson), with a remarkable 38-goal, 46-assist run. The Connecticut native hit the 84-point plateau, the second highest in the league and the highest in franchise history that season, in only 63 games. That season also marked his second nomination to the AHL All-Star Classic.
Boguniecki has skated in 120 regular season National Hockey League games, including 116 with St. Louis. Last season with the Blues, he participated in 27 games, collecting six goals and 10 points. He was also assigned to Worcester for three games of conditioning action last season, harvesting one assist. His finest NHL season statistically came with the Blues in 2002-2003, scoring 22 goals and 49 points in 80 games.
Walker is welcomed back to the club where he began his professional career in 2000, two years after being drafted by the Blues with their third choice, 83rd overall in the NHL Entry Draft. During his rookie year with the ‘Cats, the Beaverlodge, Alta., product scored four goals, eight assists and added 131 penalty minutes in 61 games. In 49 games the following season, he scored twice and totaled 13 points and a career high 164 PIM’s. In 2002-2003, he cracked the Blues lineup, skating in 16 games. Last season, along with conditioning in Worcester for four games, the 24-year old skated in 14 games with the big club. His St. Louis totals reflect 30 games, two assists and 63 PIM’s.
Bonin, a 1992 draft choice of the Pittsburgh Penguins, played four seasons at the University of Minnesota and captured the 1996 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s most outstanding player. He becomes the third Hobey Baker recipient on the IceCats current roster (Mike Mottau, 2000; Peter Sejna, 2003). The majority of his AHL service saw him in Syracuse for two seasons, scoring 50 goals and 116 points in 134 regular season games.