Monday's Catch Up & Links 6/8

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ty Loney appeared in five AHL games with Norfolk while on an ATO in April.
Both the Stanley Cup and Calder Cup Finals are in full swing, including a pivotal Game Three tonight between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL finals with the series tied 1-1 after two games in sunny Florida.

In the AHL, the Monarchs are two wins away from a Calder Cup Championship in their final season as an AHL franchise in southern New Hampshire. The Los Angeles Kings will be moving their top minor league affiliate to Ontario, California for the 2015-16 season. The Utica Comets are a formidable opponent, but trail 2-0 in the best-of-seven series after a pair of Manchester overtime victories on the Monarchs' home ice over the weekend.

The AHL Penguins have signed two forwards to AHL contracts for next season, one of which is the son of a former Pittsburgh Penguins winger in the late 1980's. More on that, a possible leading candidate for the AHL Pens head coaching vacancy and much more in Monday's weekly catch up post. 

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Signs Two Forwards to AHL Contracts

The AHL Penguins re-signed team captain Tom Kostopoulos to an AHL contract last week and have added two more forwards to standard AHL contracts today in Ty Loney and Adam Krause.

Loney, 23, an undrafted 6-3 205 pound forward from Valencia, Pa., joined the Norfolk Admirals on an amateur tryout contract (ATO) after four years at the University of Denver - tallying a goal and two assists in his AHL debut and adding a goal against Lehigh Valley for four points (2G-2A) in five AHL games in April to get a taste of pro hockey.

I've seen Loney play three of those five games, having covered the Phantoms last season, and he skates well for a bigger guy and is a great addition to the AHL Penguins bottom-six forward core as a complimentary player.

The AHL Pens have plenty of small, speedy forwards in guys like Conor Sheary, Josh Archibald and Jean-Sebastien Dea. Adding size is what they've done with the addition of Loney and Krause.

Krause, 23, is another big body up front listed at 6-3, 210 pounds. In early April, after finishing his senior season at the University of Minnesota-Deluth, he was added the Penguins ECHL affiliate in Wheeling. Upon joining the Penguins ECHL affiliate Wheeling Nailers, he made an immediate impact - tallying four points (2G-2A) in six regular season games while also adding four points (1G-3A) in seven postseason contests.

Wheeling Nailers beat writer Shawn Rine of The Intelligencer had this to say on Krause:
Fast kid, not overly huge. Will get into the dirty areas to score goals.
Weekly Links

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will seek a new head coach, now that John Hynes has become the next head coach of the New Jersey Devils. Pittsburgh received a 2016-third round selection from Buffalo as compensation for the Sabres hiring Dan Bylsma as their head coach, and New Jersey compensated Pittsburgh with one of their three 2016-third round picks as compensation for hiring Hynes. Some notes on Hynes and what Devils fans can expect.

As for Hynes' replacement as head coach of the AHL Penguins, it appears former Oklahoma City Barons head coach Todd Nelson is among the leading candidates to replace John Hynes in Wilkes-Barre. Nelson took OKC to the Western Conference Semifinals this season, where they came up short 1-0 in Game Seven to the Utica Comets.

Eric Rodgers, who covered the OKC Barons for Tend the Farm & Sin Bin Oilers, had this to say about the former OKC head coach:
Amazing coach, very personable. Took some of the bleakest looking lineups and turned them into a real contender.
Rodgers also passed along this article from the Edmonton Journal for more insights on the possible next head coach of the #WBSPens.

If you missed it last week, 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 started 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 (link will be added when posted)
Last week's edition of The Home News featured my story on Brett Hextall's insights on new Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol, who coached Hextall for three years while he attended the University of North Dakota. The prevailing thought on Hakstol is that he's abrasive and demanding, but the former players of Hakstol view him a little differently.

Stay tuned Thursday for my story in this week's edition of The Home News on Andrew Gordon's decision to leave the Flyers organization and seek new opportunity in Sweden.

If you missed my latest for Hockey's Future, it's on Manchester Monarchs rookie forward Michael Mersch and his recent surge down the stretch and in the postseason for the Calder Cup contender from the Eastern Conference. Stay tuned for a feature on Vancouver prospect Jake Virtanen, who is competing for a Calder Cup Championship with the Canucks' AHL affiliate Utica Comets.


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