Time for a midweek link roundup of what’s going on in hockey …
- The Fuel announced the signing of two more players in the past week in defenseman Zach Sternberg and forward Cory Thorson. The signing of the two rookies brings the roster to seven players — five forwards and two defensemen — with training camp a little over two months away.
- In the ECHL, the Fuel’s division rival Fort Wayne Komets announced an affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche. It’s a new ECHL affiliation for the Avs, who had previously had an affiliation with the CHL’s Denver Cutthroats. It’s also a new affiliation for Fort Wayne, which operated as an independent last season, and has usually preferred to operate as an independent going back to its days in the old IHL. Twenty of the 21 ECHL teams now have NHL affiliations — the Colorado Eagles are the lone independent — with 26 NHL teams. There are several teams with dual affiliations. All NHL teams except Boston, New Jersey, Ottawa and San Jose now have secondary affiliations with ECHL teams. All of those teams except San Jose had ECHL affiliations last season. Updated affiliation list.
- In the system: The Rockford IceHogs have made some moves, signing Kiriil Gotovets to an AHL deal. He had played with the IceHogs last year under contract with the Blackhawks.
- The Blackhawks held their annual prospect camp last week, and a number of the players came from U.S. college ranks, many with a USHL background. ESPN Chicago looks at the development/signing timeline for college prospects. The blogosphere looks at the top performers (Bleacher Report and ESPN Chicago). Blackhawk Up has a look at every prospect who came and ranks the top 5 D in the system. ESPN.com features Stephen Johns. The Rockford Register-Star looks at the first-rounders in camp. The Tribune’s Chris Kuc takes a peek at the “wave of the future.” It’s likely some of these names we’ll be seeing on an Indy Fuel roster in the near or long term, and development camp is a great time to meet them.
- The Ice announced their All-Decade team on Sunday. A pretty strong list of players, it is, including NHL standouts John Carlson and Torey Krug and a number of up-and-comers. It got THN’s Adam Kennedy thinking about other teams’ all-time lists.
- As noted above, there were several ex-USHL players at the Blackhawks’ prospect camp. One was former Ice player Nick Mattson, a Hawks draft pick who is entering his senior year at North Dakota (and caught the eye of ESPN Chicago – check the link above). The league website caught up with several of the league’s alumni at prospect camp last week. Among them was former Ice player Ryan Obuchowski.
- Josh Jacobs is featured at the 1:45 mark of this recap from the Devils’ prospect camp:
- And, Blake Coleman scores a beautiful spin-o-rama goal at Devils camp
Indianapolis-related hockey items
- Noblesville’s Zach Trotman has re-signed with the Boston Bruins. The defenseman has a two-year deal — the first year is a two-way deal that will likely find him with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence, especially with the Bruins’ significant blueline depth. The second year is a one-way NHL contract. Trotman made his NHL debut with the Bruins last season, playing most of the year in Providence, where he is coached by former Ice player and coach Bruce Cassidy.
- Former IHL Ice assistant coach Troy Ward has been named the head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants. Ward was an assistant to Bob Ferguson with the Ice in the late 1990s.
- The Detroit Red Wings have put out renderings of their proposed new arena. On the inside, it has a similar look to a lot of the modern rinks — three tiers, suites in-between, about 20,000 seats. On the outside, it is part of a significant multi-block entertainment/revitalization district. The Wings, who play in the second-oldest rink in the NHL (Joe Louis Arena opened in 1979, replacing the venerable Olympia), are slated to move a few blocks north in 2017.
- The NBC/NBCSN NHL television schedule was released earlier Tuesday. Yahoo’s Harrison Mooney looks at the winners & losers on the schedule (biggest winner: the Blackhawks, who will have 20 games on an NBC property. The Penguins have 19, the Bruins have 17 and the Flyers 16). Among the highlights: the Winter Classic Jan. 1 between the Blackhawks and Capitals from Washington, and Hockey Day in America on Feb. 22. NBC will have a Washington-Philadelphia and Boston-Chicago doubleheader in the daytime.
- The Bruins and Blackhawks are both up against (or over) the salary cap and have some areas of depth. Is anyone getting moved, and who? THN looks at both teams.
- Could the Florida Panthers be leaving the Sunshine State? The local mayor seems to be giving them an out to do so.
- It’s rule change season. The NCAA has a few changes, most minor (e.g., the defensive player puts his stick down first in the defensive zone, rather than the attacking player; faceoffs move one zone back on a hand pass or high-stick violation). Probably the most notable is the addition of a major penalty for interference, allowing officials more leeway on significant contact away from the play. A “look-up line” (think warning track) is allowed. The USHL is also planning to use the line this year — essentially a 2-foot orange or yellow line around the perimeter of the rink to let players know the boards are close.