Tuesday's Talk 9/13

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Where will Travis Konecny be playing hockey in 2016-17? Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
A new weekly feature this upcoming season to generate discussion during the week.

Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twtitter/Facebook

Editor's Note: Each week, the plan is to have this weekly feature available for more discussion during the week. While Phantoms/Flyers related questions will be a center of focus, any AHL-related questions are welcome and will be answered here each week.

To submit your questions for next week's edition of Tuesday's Talk, you can simply leave your question in the comments section of this or any article on the website. You can also ask your questions via FaceBook or Twitter (links are in the byline of this article). 

Please note that future editions of this weekly piece will likely be online earlier in the afternoon on Tuesdays.

The World Cup of Hockey, prospect tournaments and rookie camps on the horizon means hockey season is right around the corner. As all 30 NHL organizations prepare for the 2016-17 season, training camp battles and NHL preseason games take center stage before all 30 clubs reduce their roster to fit under the 23-man limit for the opening games.

Meanwhile in the American Hockey League (AHL), AHL training camps will open with uncertainty -which of their best players will join the team after they're re-assigned from the NHL?

Be sure you're also following Highland Park Hockey on Twitter (@H_P_Hockey) and subscribe to the newly created YouTube channel for even more extra content this season!

You can keep Highland Park Hockey on the road providing live AHL coverage by making a donation to our GoFundMe page today. Feel free to share the page!

Teams across the AHL aren't waiting until the final week of the September to fill their rosters for opening games in October, signing several talented players to AHL deals for the upcoming season to build depth ahead of time.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms wasted no time in building their roster over their summer despite some immediate top-level AHL free agent signings by their parent club Philadelphia on July 1st. In total, the Phantoms signed seven players to AHL contracts for the 2016-17 season - goaltenders Mark Dekanich and Martin Ouellette, defenseman Max Lamarche and forwards Corban Knight, Derek Mathers, Kevin Sundher, Steven Swavely and Mark Zengerle.

These additions make this year's Phantoms roster the most talented they've had in their tenure at the PPL Center in downtown Allentown, Pa. The Phantoms host two preseason games October 7th and 8th before kicking off their third year in the Lehigh Valley on October 15th at home against the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Tuesday's Topic

Each week, the plan is to discuss a topic or misconception among the hockey community to clear things up and keep everyone on the same page this AHL season. With teams nearing training camp and subsequent players hitting waivers, what better time to explain one-way and two-way contracts and why the type of contract signed doesn't have an affect on whether or not the player needs to clear waivers to be assigned to the AHL.

Waiver Exemption Guidelines

A big cause of misconception is which players have to clear waivers to be assigned from the NHL to the AHL. With the help of CapFriendly.com, hopefully this will be more clear this fall when players are cut from NHL training camp and reassigned to the minors.

Essentially, a younger player on his entry-level contract will be waiver exempt until his NHL games played reach a certain height dependant upon their age when they signed their first NHL contract.

Using the chart from CapFriendly, here are the players expected to be with the Phantoms this season that will need to clear waivers to be re-assigned from Philadelphia:
Defensemen Mark Alt, T.J. Brennan and Will O'Neill and forwards Greg Carey, Chris Conner, Colin McDonald, Andy Miele and Petr Straka. 
One-Way Contract

A one-way contract simply means that the player makes that money regardless of whether he plays in the NHL or AHL. While this type of contract is usually signed by a player expected to be playing in the NHL full-time, younger players who have not lost their waiver exemption could be on a one-way NHL contract and be free to go up and down between the NHL and AHL during the season.
Example: Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning is signed to a one-way contract where his cap hit is $975,000 per year regardless of what level he plays at.
Two-Way Contract

A two-way contract means that a player's pay rate is different depending on what league he is playing in, meaning he will likely make more money while playing at the NHL level and considerably less while on an AHL roster.
Example: Forward Nick Cousins is playing out a one-year, two-way contract in 2016-17 where his pay rate is $840,000/year at the NHL level but only at a $70,000/year rate while in the AHL.
Your Questions Answered!

Q: Are any prospects on the same level as Provorov/Konecny in terms of skill or NHL readiness? - @Philly_Sauce on Twitter
A: Provorov and Konecny are definitely the top prospects on defense and forward, respectively, in the organization right now. I think Travis Sanheim is right below that and has the potential to be a special player depending on how he transitions in his rookie season of pro hockey in the AHL this upcoming year.
In terms of readiness, I think Taylor Leier is just about NHL-ready if he isn't already in the minds of the Flyers management team. Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon had high praise for him throughout last season, once stating Leier was the team's best all around forward.
Q: Do you believe that Travis Konecny will make the team or will he be with Sarnia this year? - @Jeff_Quake on Twitter
A: Travis Konecny is certainly doing all he can to show that he's ready for NHL work. What it really comes down to is the sheer amount of forwards in competition for the Flyers roster, and GM Ron Hextall's preaching of patience with the prospects. 
Personally, I think the Flyers opt to return Konecny to Sarnia to give them an extra season to make room on the roster for him. Remember, Konecny is ineligible to play in the AHL this year unless it comes after his OHL team's season ends. It's Philadelphia or Sarnia for Konecny in 2016-17.
Q: With all the upcoming talent on defense the next couple of years, is this a "do or die" season for Hagg? - @RonnieCernowain on Twitter
A: It might not be do-or-die for Hagg, but he'll certainly enter the season with a chip on his shoulder and a lot left to prove on the ice if he wants to be an NHL defenseman. For a detailed look of Hagg's season last year, I wrote about it in an in-depth feature earlier this summer.
Q: Prospects are kept for grooming for your team - others as trade bait. Which do you feel for Hagg, Myers? - @FFScope on Twitter
A: I feel like Phillipe Myers is a guy you definitely keep at this point considering he's still at the junior level and it's unknown what his capabilities are at the pro level yet. 
Robert Hagg really needed to re-work his game, and Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon seemed to have been able to clean up some deficiencies in Hagg's game evidenced by the final month of the Phantoms season in 2015-16. Still, I don't see much sense using Hagg as trade bait considering his value isn't at it's highest point. Let Hagg remain developing in the AHL with the Phantoms this season and see if his game starts to really take off before deciding what the future holds.
Q: What is to be expected from [Petr] Straka this year, and what would he have to do to earn a call up? - @RonnieCernowain on Twitter
A: It's certainly an interesting spot for Straka to be in to start the season. With all of the guys the organization has brought in, Straka is going to need to prove from day one that he can be a key contributor for the Phantoms like he was in the first half of last season before his knee injury. 
As far as a call up to the Flyers, he'll need to come into camp prepared to change the minds of the Flyers brass that he can be that first or second man up when injuries to the Flyers arise.


perttu junnonaho said...

I hope that Tyler Couldbourne will get a chance to play in the flyers fourd-line role in left wing position, because we need players who will be able to get under opponents skin and he has also harnessing he"s physical play and don"t take any stupid penalties!

Kevin Fortier said...

Great info...thanks Tony !!!

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