Deadline deals shake up AHL rosters

Photo: Ross Bonander

Patrick Williams, Features Writer

One deadline down, one more to go.

Last Friday’s NHL trade deadline meant late-season makeovers for many clubs across the AHL. Both prospects and veterans found themselves on the move last week, and there were 23 NHL deals last Friday alone along with a parade of players placed on waivers or sent down to the AHL (and in some cases then immediately recalled). A player must have been on an AHL roster by the deadline in order to be sent down to the AHL at any point through the rest of the season.

Next comes the AHL’s own trade/loan deadline. Players now on AHL rosters are eligible to be traded or loaned within the league until this Friday at 3 p.m. ET.

Another wave of moves will come later this month and into April as players enter the AHL from both the NCAA collegiate ranks and the Canadian Hockey League. When a player’s college or junior team’s season has finished, that player is then eligible to join an AHL club.

The Sunday Notebook broke down some of the deadline moves that reached across the AHL. Here is a breakdown of the rest of the action across the league.

Charlotte’s goaltending picture got a new look Friday when the parent Florida Panthers acquired Magnus Hellberg from the Pittsburgh Penguins for goalie Ludovic Waeber. Hellberg has gone 9-8-2 in 19 AHL games, posting a 2.92 GAA and .905 save percentage. Florida also signed Evan Cormier to an NHL two-way contract for a goaltending quartet in Charlotte that also includes Spencer Knight and Mack Guzda.

The Checkers also swung an AHL deal, bringing in defenseman Mitch Vande Sompel from the Chicago Wolves for forward Jake Wise. Vande Sompel will help a blue line that has been without Lucas Carlsson since Feb. 28 and lost Calle Sjalin in a Panthers trade with Buffalo.

Three players from the Carolina Hurricanes, the Wolves’ former NHL parent club, cleared waivers last Friday and were assigned to the Wolves. Veteran Antti Raanta joins a goaltending rotation that already includes Keith Kinkaid, Julian Junca and Adam Scheel. Raanta, who had a brief stint with the Wolves back in December, has played 275 NHL games, including 24 this season with the Hurricanes.

Defenseman Tony DeAngelo and forward Brendan Lemieux also were assigned to the Wolves as Carolina did some salary cap gymnastics leading up to the deadline. Both were immediately recalled by Carolina, but are now technically available to join Chicago this season.

Wise, the 24-year-old undrafted forward obtained from the Checkers, has 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in 40 games this season and can provide offensive help to a team that is 29th in the league at 2.69 goals per game.

Detroit Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman made his displeasure quite clear after Grand Rapids failed to qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs last April.

What followed was Yzerman and Griffins general manager Shawn Horcoff undertaking an extensive offseason makeover in West Michigan that included the hiring of head coach Dan Watson. At Friday’s trade deadline, Yzerman acquired veteran defenseman Radim Simek from San Jose, where he had recently been named captain of the AHL Barracuda.

Simek had 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 40 games with San Jose, and has also played 209 NHL games during his time with the Sharks. He should fit in smoothly on the Grand Rapids blue line that includes a host of bright prospects such as Simon Edvinsson, Albert Johansson, Antti Tuomisto, Eemil Viro and William Wallinder.

The New York Rangers got the Wolf Pack some offensive help, acquiring veteran forward Nic Petan from the Minnesota Wild for forward Turner Elson. Petan has 41 points (12 goals, 29 assists) through 45 games this season.

Along with Elson’s grit and veteran know-how, the Wild also added forward Luke Toporowski as they try to chase down a Central Division playoff berth. Acquired by Minnesota from the Boston Bruins as part of the Patrick Maroon trade, Toporowski had an impressive rookie performance last season with 15 goals in 47 games. The 22-year-old made his Iowa debut with a goal and two assists in a pair of games this past weekend.

The Montreal Canadiens acquired Jacob Perreault from Anaheim for Jan Myšák in a swap of young forwards. The 21-year-old Perreault is already in his fourth pro season after going 20th overall to the Ducks in the 2020 NHL Draft. He had a 37-point season with San Diego in 2021-22 and will get a fresh start with the Rocket. He made his Laval debut in this past Saturday’s win against Cleveland at Place Bell.

The Admirals continue to prime themselves for the Calder Cup Playoffs as well. They got help when the parent Nashville Predators acquired forward Wade Allison from Philadelphia. Allison had been with Lehigh Valley, where he had 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in 46 games.

Buffalo alleviated a goaltending glut in Rochester at the deadline, sending Bay Area native Devin Cooley to San Jose. Devon Levi’s assignment to the Amerks on Jan. 27 meant that the top prospect needs extensive playing time, and the Amerks also have two-time Calder Cup champion Dustin Tokarski. Cooley, an offseason signing by Buffalo, played 14 games with the Amerks and currently remains with the Sharks.

Forward Luke Philp is back with the IceHogs following his recovery from offseason Achilles surgery. Last season he led Rockford with 29 goals and 53 points, both career highs, and was also named the team’s most valuable player. He also played his first three NHL games to round out a career season, his first in the Chicago Blackhawks organization.

Selected in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft by Montreal, 21-year-old Jan Myšák had 13 goals and 20 points in 48 games with the Rocket. Anaheim also acquired forward Ben Meyers from Colorado and made him eligible to join the Gulls.

The Crunch lost highly regarded defenseman Jack Thompson as parent Tampa Bay sent him to San Jose for forward Anthony Duclair. The AHL All-Star, who turns 22 on March 19, has quickly become a top-end defenseman at the AHL level, and also made his NHL debut with the Lightning in January. He joined the Barracuda for visit to Texas this past weekend.

Syracuse got an offensive boost with the return of Alex Barré-Boulet last month. The franchise’s all-time leading scorer has two goals and six assists in seven games since rejoining the Crunch.

Forward Dmitri Ovchinnikov is changing NHL organizations but not jerseys. The Toronto Maple Leafs sent the 21-year-old forward to Minnesota for forward Connor Dewar, but the Wild will keep him assigned to the Marlies.

Forward Dylan Guenther and defenseman Michael Kesselring were both made eligible to join the Roadrunners by the Arizona Coyotes. Guenther was named to the AHL All-Star Classic but missed the event due to his recall to Arizona, where he has nine goals and nine assists in 28 NHL games this season. Kesselring has played 48 games with the Coyotes in his first full NHL campaign.

The Penguins picked up a big offensive piece in forward Vasily Ponomarev, acquired by Pittsburgh as part of the Jake Guentzel deal with Carolina. Ponomarev, who turns 22 on Wednesday, was a 2020 second-round selection by the Hurricanes and has 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 41 AHL games this season between Tucson and Chicago.

Wilkes-Barre will also be holding on to defenseman Ty Smith, another piece of the trade with the Hurricanes. Smith has 34 points (nine goals, 25 assists) in 53 games this season, and has been loaned to the AHL Penguins by Carolina.