With former coach John Paddock taking over Assistant General Manager duties, the Adirondack Phantoms have hired former Calgary Flames and Toronto Marlies’ coach Greg Gilbert as the head coach for the 2009-10 AHL season.
“We are pleased to add Greg to our organization as head coach of the Phantoms,” said General Manager Paul Holmgren. “He has a wealth of coaching experience at many levels and has shown a unique ability to work well with younger players.”
In three seasons with the Marlies, Gilbert racked up a respectable 123-89 record. However, he didn’t fare as well in his three years in Calgary, finishing his tenure, 14 games under .500.
Gilbert was also a player, appearing in close to 850 NHL games, most with the New York Islanders. Gilbert holds the NHL record as the only man to win a Stanley Cup with both the Islanders and New York Rangers.
Just one year after drafting 2008 QMJHL Defenseman of the Year Marc-Andre Bourdon, 67th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the two-way blue liner is going pro. On Friday, the Flyers inked Bourdon to an entry-level deal, in which terms were not disclosed.
“Marc-Andre turns pro after an outstanding 2008-09 season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he was honored for his play during the regular season and in the playoffs,” said Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren. “We believe Marc-Andre has tremendous potential to develop into a solid defenseman at the next level.”
After weeks of speculation, the Flyers have made it official with former San Jose forward Lukas Kaspar. The former first-round selection in2004 was let go by the Sharks after underachieving and spending the majority of his pro career in the AHL. Kaspar played just 16 games with the Sharks, scoring four points in the process.
The 23-year old has the size to be a force at 6’2, 225 lbs., but doesn’t play like a power forward. Despite having a sniper’s shot and decent hands, Kaspar is inconsistent and plays a shy game. He has signed a two-way contract and could see some time with the Flyers, if his performance in training camp and his time with the Phantoms are productive.
With the signing of Kaspar, the Flyers continue to load up the AHL-NHL tweeners. With Krys Kolanos, Mika Pyorala, Jason Ward and now Lukas Kaspar in the mix, the Flyers have incredible forward depth in the system. Not to mention if one of these players finally hits their potential, they could quickly become an everyday NHLer.
Despite clear interest by the Flyers’ organization, prospects Mario Kempe and Denis Bodrov will not attend any sort of training camp this season.
The Flyers kept the depth forward signings rolling on Saturday, by inking right winger Jason Ward to a one-year, $500,000 deal. The contract is two way.
Ward, the 11th overall pick in the 1997 NHL entry draft, has played 336 NHL games with four teams in his career and has 36 goals and 45 assists in that time. Ward is a capable depth forward, with a suitable a two-way game and an ability to use his 6’2, 210 lbs. frame to his advantage. The 30-year old journeyman has also been touted as an excellent teammate and hard worker.
Ward will likely be the 13th forward on the team, traveling with the big club and playing as an injury call up. Outside of some younger players, the Flyers don’t have much as far as NHL capable forward depth goes. Last week, Philly signed defensive forward Mika Pyorala and AHL standout Krys Kolanos to similar deals.
According to Bill Meltzer of hockeybuzz.com, the Flyers have signed Krys Kolanos and Mika Pyorala each to one-year contracts for $500,000. Although the Flyers have not officially announced the signings, they are complete. Both players were inked days ago as possible depth forwards, with Pyorala having a better chance of cracking the everyday lineup for the Flyers.
Pyorala comes as one of the top-billed Finnish players not in the NHL. At 28-years old, he comes as an established two-way forward in the mold of former Flyer Sami Kapanen. Kolanos is an established AHL scorer, but lacks the consistency to get serious time in an NHL lineup. However, Kolanos could prove to be a decent short-term call up.
Over the past week, there has been a constant rumor floating around that Lukas Kasper, former Shark and 22nd overall in the 2004 NHL entry draft, has a tentative deal with the Flyers or more accurately, the Adirondack Phantoms. A deal has not yet been announced by the team, however, talking to Director of Player Personnel Don Luce on Monday at the Flyers’ practice facility in Voorhees, N.J., it’s clear the Flyers are aware of the situation.
“He is unrestricted, but we don’t know yet,” said the tight-lipped Luce, about Lukas. “We are always interested in players that can come in and help.”
When asked if the rumors were true concerning Kaspar to the Phantoms, Luce laughed and said “You will have to wait for the release.” quickly following his statement with, “If there is one.”
The body language that Luce presented made it clear that he was aware of the situation, but he still refused to make a comment. And although there has been no resolution to the rumors, it is evident that Philadelphia is involved in the pursuit of the 22-year old Czech. But if they will land him still remains to be seen.
According to an overseas source and now this NHL free agency site, the Flyers may have come to terms with 6’2, 225 lbs., Czech forward Lukas Kaspar. Kaspar was drafted 22nd overall in the 2004 NHL entry draft by the San Jose Sharks.
Due to some inconsistency and forward depth on San Jose at the time, the power forward played just 16 games with the Sharks, scoring four points during that span. Primarily an AHLer with the Worchester Sharks, Kaspar verbally agreed to a deal with Dynamo of the KHL after the 2008-09 season in which he tallied 17 goals and 27 assists in 65 games. However, sources say that Kaspar couldn’t deny the offer the Flyers made. Terms were not disclosed and official word could be pending a physical.
As per a rough translation…
“(Kaspar) had already decided to continue a career in Europe and in particular the KHL. But then came to Philadelphia “Flyers’ offer, which Kaspar was unable to refuse.”
Kaspar is known for his ability to use his large frame, as well as possess a decent shot and some passing ability. He isn’t likely in the Flyers’ plans for this year, as he could be another low-risk, high-reward type acquisition that General Manager Paul Holmgren likes to make. However, if Holmgren dares give him a one-way contract, which would keep him from being sent to the AHL without permission, he could be placed on the wing of a scoring line and could potentially be a 15-20 goal guy considering his skill set.
But if the contract is two-way, the Flyers, who do not have a lot of forward size in the system, could use Kaspar as a player who could can step into the lineup in case of emergency.
I’m working to confirm this rumor and will have more hopefully soon.
It slipped under the radar for most, but the Flyers have signed 6’6, 220 lbs., AHL defenseman Joey Mormina. Mormina was originally drafted out of Colgate University by the Flyers in the sixth round of the 2002 NHL entry draft. His rights were not retained at the time and he hopped around the AHL, going from the Manchester Monarchs to the Albany River Rats and eventually the WBS Penguins. Mormina played one game in the NHL for the Carolina Hurricanes.
27-year old Mormina is a shut-down defender with a mean streak and physical presence. He registered over 200 penalty minutes from 2006-07 to 2007-08. When he was signed by Pittsburgh last season, he was touted as a poor-man’s Hal Gill. He scored 48 points in his four season in the minors.
This move is simply depth for the Flyers, who still have Danny Syvret, Michael Ratchuk and Kevin Marshall still high on the defensive depth chart.
The Flyers made two administrative moves on Thursday, hiring Jeff Reese as the official goaltending instructor and naming Phantoms’ coach John Paddock the assistant General Manager.
Reese, who was formally with the Tampa Bay organization,was rumored to be offered the job after long-time goalie coach Reggie Lemelin was let go by the team in late June.
“Jeff brings a strong presence,” said Holmgren. “I have known Jeff for many years from our days together in Hartford. I think he is an ideal fit for our team moving forward. He has some fresh ideas and we are excited to have Jeff on board.”
Paddock will stay in charge of the Phantoms’ coaches, but will now help current General Manager Paul Holmgren with duties involving the AHL and entry-level prospects, likely leaving assistant coach Kjell Samuelsson in charge as head coach.
“In addition to helping with the day to day operation of our team, John will oversee the Phantoms in Glens Falls, interacting with the coaching staff there and following the development of our young players,” said Holmgren in the official press release.
Due to the Phantoms moving to Glen Falls, NY, Holmgren needs someone to keep executive tabs on the team, which is likely why John was hired.
“I’m excited to have John, he is a very good hockey man,” said Holmgren. “He has been a General Manager and a head coach in the NHL, and has done a lot of things in the League. His experience and expertise is going to bring a lot to the table for the Flyers.”