Monday's Catch Up & Links 6/15

Monday, June 15, 2015
Carter Rowney is the latest Penguins' forward to be re-signed to an AHL contract for the 2015-16 season.
The AHL's off-season is officially underway for all 30 teams as the Manchester Monarchs completed a Calder Cup clinching 2-1 win in Game Five Saturday night to hoist the team's 1st ever AHL championship in its 14th and final season as an AHL franchise.

The Los Angeles Kings will have their AHL team in Ontario, California starting next season in 2015-16 to play in a Pacific Division in the Western Conference along with four other new AHL teams in The Golden State and the two Texas teams - San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars. Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) reports off of a conversation with AHL president David Andrews that all five California teams will play 68 games next season, while the rest of the league will play 76 games.

After the jump, more AHL signings in the Penguins organization and weekly links for things you might've missed.

AHL Penguins Continue To Bolster Roster For 2015-16

Meanwhile on the east coast, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins continue to get their in-house free agents re-signed to new AHL contracts in advance of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and NHL RFA period.

First it was team captain Tom Kostopoulos, re-signed to a one-year deal (likely his final season of pro hockey). Then the AHL Pens bolstered their forward depth further by signing Ty Loney and Adam Krause to AHL contracts for the 2015-16 season. Barry Goers re-signed an AHL deal with the Pens on Wednesday, and today the Pens inked forward Carter Rowney to a one-year deal.

In his second full season of pro hockey - his first full AHL season - following four years at the University of North Dakota, Rowney found a role as a two-way center and enjoyed a breakout season. He tallied 31 points (10G-21A) in 63 regular season games, but his value was more than that of a secondary scorer. Rowney was used by former WBS Penguins head coach as a penalty killing and key face-off guy for his team, which saw Rowney matched up against the opponents' top offensive players in the postseason.

I mentioned this on Twitter, but Rowney would have been #2 on my priority list of the in-house free agent options on AHL contracts. Obviously the top priority on that list should be Conor Sheary, who burst onto the AHL scene with the WBS Penguins during the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs with 11 points (6G-5A) in 15 games. Sheary followed up that performance last spring with a 20-goal, 45-point rookie season in 58 games and led the AHL Penguins playoff scoring with 12 points (5G-7A) in 8 postseason contests this spring. The real question is whether or not Sheary pushes his way towards an NHL contract rather than another AHL deal with the organization over the summer.

I'll have something up on the website later this week mapping out the Penguins' off-season blueprint with a bunch of topics, so stay tuned for that. I'll also be posting the same kind of post for the Flyers/Phantoms off-season blue print.

Weekly Links

BREAKING: The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Niclas Andersen to a one-year entry level contract. The 27-year-old defenseman was a 4th round draft pick of Los Angeles in 2006, but remained playing pro hockey in the SHL and KHL. Last season as team captain of Brynas IF Gavle, Andersen tallied 22 points (5G-17A) in 54 regular season games.

With Andersen added to the mix, here's the defensemen in the organization signed for the 2015-16 season to date:
Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi, Ben Lovejoy, Olli Maatta, Niclas Andersen, Derrick Pouliot, Scott Harrington, Harrison Ruopp, Ian Cole (RFA) and Brian Dumoulin (RFA).
Back on June 10th, newly re-assigned beat writer Jonathan Bombulie wrote his first post on TribLive's Chipped Ice blog. Bombulie will be covering the NHL Penguins this season for Pittsburgh's Tribune Review, but his first post was about the future of Bobby Farnham. A good read.

If you missed it, my end of the year prospect reports on Penguins prospects who competed in the AHL in 2014-15.
Part One - Goalies/Defensemen
Part Two - Forwards
I have also compiled prospect reports for the Philadelphia Flyers prospects who competed in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 2014-15.
Part One - Goalies/Defensemen
Part Two - Forwards
In last week's edition of The Home News, I caught up with Andrew Gordon in an exclusive 1-on-1 interview to talk about his decision to head overseas - signing a one-year contract in Sweden with Linkopings HC in the SHL.


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