Heat Sign Three to AHL Deals

Stockton, Calif. – The Stockton Heat, proudly owned by the NHL’s Calgary Flames, sign forward Mitchell Heard, defenseman Dustin Stevenson and goaltender Kent Simpson to AHL contracts.

Heard, 23, was originally selected in the second round, 41st overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.  The forward from Bowmanville, Ontario is entering his fourth season as a pro after playing for the Lake Erie Monsters for the last three seasons and a brief stint with the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets last year.

In 2014-15, Heard matched his career AHL high in points with 12 in 12-fewer games while also adding 16 points in 12 regular season contests with Fort Wayne before adding 9 points in the Komets’ playoff run.

MITCHELL HEARD (C)
BORN: Bowmanville, ON        DATE: March 12, 1992
HEIGHT: 6’0”                           WEIGHT: 181 lbs.
SHOOTS: Left
HOW ACQUIRED:  Signed an AHL deal with the Stockton Heat on July 15, 2015

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2009-10 Plymouth OHL 16 2 1 3 4 0
2010-11 Plymouth OHL 66 19 29 48 67 4 11 1 2 3 10
2011-12 Plymouth OHL 57 29 28 57 111 6 13 4 7 11 26
2012-13 Plymouth OHL 32 17 19 36 34 14 14 8 5 13 37
Lake Erie AHL 23 1 3 4 72 -5
2013-14 Lake Erie AHL 63 4 8 12 167 1
2014-15 Lake Erie AHL 51 6 6 12 137 -16
Fort Wayne ECHL 12 10 6 16 15 7 10 3 6 9 22
TOTALS AHL 137 11 17 28 376 -20
  ECHL 12 10 6 16 15 7 10 3 6 9 22
  OHL 171 67 77 144 216 24 38 13 14 27 73

Stevenson, 25, turned pro in 2010-11 playing three years exclusively in the ECHL with the South Carolina Stingrays and Reading Royals before signing a two-way, AHL/ECHL deal with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in 2013-14.  The 6’5”, 220lb. defenseman was part of the Reading Royals team that edged out the Stockton Thunder for the Kelly Cup in 2012-13.

The Gull Lake, Saskatchewan native spent his first full season in the AHL last year with the Adirondack Flames, scoring 3 goals and adding 8 assists in 45 games, including his first AHL goal which came on October 17 in a game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

DUSTIN STEVENSON (D)
BORN: Gull Lake, SK               DATE: August 12, 1989
HEIGHT: 6’5”                           WEIGHT: 220 lbs.
SHOOTS: Left
HOW ACQUIRED:  Signed an AHL deal with the Stockton Heat on July 15, 2015

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2010-11 South Carolina ECHL 63 3 9 12 44 -16
2011-12 South Carolina ECHL 72 0 7 7 113 4 9 1 2 3 6
2012-13 Reading Royals ECHL 65 0 10 10 103 14 22 1 8 9 14
2013-14 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton AHL 7 0 0 0 7 -1
Wheeling Nailers ECHL 57 5 21 26 115 23 10 1 3 4 12
2014-15 Adirondack Flames AHL 45 3 8 11 94 5
  TOTALS AHL 52 3 8 11 101 4
    ECHL 257 8 47 55 375 25 41 3 13 16 32

Simpson, 23, should be a familiar name to Stockton fans after being traded from the Chicago organization to the New York Islanders organization and spending most of his 2014-15 season as a member of the Stockton Thunder.

Originally drafted in the second round, 58th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks, Simpson has played most of his professional games in the AHL and ECHL but made his NHL debut on December 14, 2013 for Chicago.

KENT SIMPSON (G)
BORN: Edmonton, AB             DATE: March 26, 1992
HEIGHT: 6’3”                           WEIGHT: 185 lbs.
CATCHES: Left
HOW ACQUIRED:  Signed an AHL deal with the Stockton Heat on July 15, 2015

Season Team Lge GP Min GA EN SO GAA W L T Svs Pct
2007-08 Everett WHL 1 29 1 0 0 2.07 0 0 0 19 .950
2008-09 Everett WHL 27 1451 93 4 1 3.85 8 11 4 768 .892
2009-10 Everett WHL 34 1938 73 3 1 2.26 22 9 1 906 .925
2010-11 Everett WHL 53 3132 145 6 2 2.78 21 20 9 1579 .916
2011-12 Everett WHL 60 3481 193 5 2 3.33 20 31 7 1935 .909
Rockford AHL 1 63 3 0 0 2.85 0 0 1 38 .927
2012-13 Toledo ECHL 41 2387 94 5 2 2.36 20 14 5 977 .912
2013-14 Rockford AHL 31 1615 98 5 0 3.64 11 14 1 801 .891
Chicago NHL 1 20 2 0 0 6.00 0 0 0 5 .714
2014-15 Colorado ECHL 3 178 11 1 0 3.71 1 2 0 103 .904
Stockton ECHL 26 1468 82 5 0 3.35 7 17 1 731 .899
Bridgeport AHL 4 207 9 2 0 2.61 1 3 0 81 .900
TOTALS NHL 1 20 2 0 0 6.00 0 0 0 5 .714
  AHL 36 1885 110 7 0 3.50 12 17 2 920 .893
  ECHL 70 4033 187 11 2 2.78 28 33 6 1811 .906
  WHL 175 10031 505 18 6 3.02 71 71 21 5207 .912

Just $380 is all it takes to ensure you don’t miss a minute of the action with Full Season Tickets.  Can’t make the full season commitment? There are multiple mini-plan packages available to fit into any schedule and they start at just $60 for six Heat home games.

Learn more by calling 209.373.1500 and speak with one of our Account Executives or visit StocktonHeat.com for more information.

Board of Governors approves changes for 15-16

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors has concluded its 2015 Annual Meeting, held this week at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Chaired by AHL President and CEO David Andrews, the four days of meetings, which concluded Thursday, saw the approval by the Board of the following items to be implemented beginning in 2015-16:

Playing Schedule/Standings
• The 2015-16 regular season will consist of 1,120 games, played between Oct. 9 and Apr. 17. All teams will play 76 games each with the exception of the clubs which joined the AHL in January as part of the creation of a Pacific Division (Bakersfield, Ontario, San Diego, San Jose, Stockton); those five teams will play 68 games each.

• Teams will receive two points for a win and one point for an overtime or shootout loss. The top four teams in each division ranked by points percentage (points earned divided by points available) will qualify for the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs, with one exception in each conference: if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic or Central Division finishes with a better points percentage than the fourth-place team in the North or Pacific Division, it would cross over and compete in the other division’s bracket.

• The 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs will feature a divisional playoff format, leading to conference finals and ultimately the Calder Cup Finals.

• The division semifinals are best-of-five series; all subsequent rounds are best-of-seven.

Rule 85 (“Overtime”) 
• During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be five minutes (5:00) in length.

• Full playing strength will be 3-on-3 (plus goaltenders) for the entire period.

• Overtime will be preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.

• Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.

• If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.

Rule 79 (“Video Review”) 
• A team may use a “coach’s challenge” to initiate an official video review; only those situations which are subject to review by rule may be challenged.

• A team may only request a coach’s challenge if it has its timeout available, and the coach’s challenge must be effectively initiated prior to the resumption of play.

• If the coach’s challenge does not result in the original call on the ice being overturned, the team exercising such challenge will be charged with a timeout.

Rule 76.4 (“Face-offs”) 
• For all face-offs (excluding center ice), the defending player shall place his stick on the ice first; for face-offs at center ice, the visiting player shall place his stick on the ice first.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 14th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2014-15. 633

Aging Out Could Mean Big Time Prospects in Stockton

by Dustin Cowell

As the AHL affiliate to the NHL’s Calgary Flames, Stockton Heat fans are sure to see countless high-end prospects hit the ice at Stockton Arena. With the offseason upon us, we thought it would be a good idea to begin profiling some of the players that may hit the ice for the Heat in 2015-16.

That said, one of the more common avenues for those prospects to reach not just the AHL, but the NHL as well is through the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).

The CHL is made up of the three major junior leagues in Canada: the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Most of the teams that make up the three leagues are in Canada; however, both the WHL and the OHL have teams located in Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Once a player has played four seasons and/or reaches the age of 20-years-old, he is eligible to play in the AHL. The Calgary Flames have four such prospects that may very well see action in Stockton come October.

Morgan Klimchuk was a 28th Overall Pick in 2013 by the Calgary Flames

Morgan Klimchuk was a 28th Overall Pick in 2013 by the Calgary Flames

The first player that comes to mind is one of Calgary’s first-round picks in 2013, Morgan Klimchuk.

Klimchuk was selected 28th overall by the Flames, making him the third player selected by Calgary in the first round that year behind Sean Monahan (6th overall) and Emile Poirier (22nd overall).

A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Klimchuk played the majority of his WHL career with his hometown Regina Pats, where he racked up 217 points (98 goals, 119 assists) in 228 games before being traded to the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2014-15.

With Brandon, the 5’11”, 185 lb. winger netted 20 goals and earned 30 helpers for 50 total points in just 33 games, finishing his regular season with a combined, career-best of 34 goals and 80 points.

Klimchuk is certainly known as an offensive threat and can score from anywhere on the ice, but he is also highly touted for his natural leadership ability. He was chosen as an assistant captain for his team in Regina in back-to-back seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Speaking of career highs, fellow WHL forward and Flames prospect Austin Carroll shattered his previous highs in virtually every major category during his 2014-15 campaign with the Victoria Royals.

Austin Carroll (left) led the Victoria Royals in goals, penalty minutes and plus/minus in 2014-15

Austin Carroll (left) led the Victoria Royals in goals, penalty minutes and plus/minus in 2014-15

Carroll led Victoria in goals (38), points (77), penalty minutes (124), and plus-minus (23), all of which were personal career highs.

Calgary selected Carroll in the seventh-round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and the winger is quickly turning heads as potentially one of the largest, literally and figuratively, steals in that draft.

The 6’3”, 215 lb. power forward plays a gritty style and isn’t afraid of getting into the dirty areas, but he has good hands in those areas and can put the puck in the net. He is that always elusive, ever-desired combination of size, snarl and scoring touch.

The two-time 30-goal scorer lit the lamp 95 times in his 268 games in the WHL, while also collecting 470 penalty minutes during the same time-frame, and with his WHL career coming to an end, he’ll look to make an immediate impact in his first professional season.

Another Calgary prospect looking to make an immediate impact right out of juniors is Carroll’s former teammate Keegan Kanzig.

Kanzig is a mammoth defenseman, measuring 6’7” and weighing in at 245 lbs.  The former third-round pick in 2013 played the majority of his junior career in the WHL with the Victoria Royals before being traded to the Calgary Hitmen mid-season in 2014-15.

Kanzig is a big, 6'7" defenseman taken by the Flames in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Kanzig (left) is a big, 6’7″ defenseman taken by the Flames in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

He saw action in 266 games throughout his junior career and earned 490 penalty minutes to establish himself as a true heavyweight.

While Kanzig is known for his size and strength, he managed to put up a career high in points (22) in 2014-15, nearly triple his former career high. He also collected an impressive plus-38 rating, which tied him for fourth-overall in the category among WHL defenseman.

Kanzig projects as a top-4 defenseman that will provide an intimidating presence and a potential lock-down defender as he enters the pro ranks.

Last, but certainly not least, is Flames prospect Hunter Smith.

Smith is a big forward who plays well across all two hundred feet of the ice. His 6’6”, 210 lb. frame allows him to physically force his way into positions and prevents smaller opposition from moving him in tight spaces.

His offense is much improved from his first two years in juniors with the Windsor Spitfires and the Oshawa Generals, as he only managed a goal and an assist in his first 45 games in the OHL, as opposed to his 89 points (39 goals, 50 assists) in his last 121 games.

Smith is also considered a solid leader, as he earned the assistant captaincy on a veteran-laden Oshawa team this past season that won perhaps the most difficult trophy in sports to win, the Memorial Cup.

Former Second Rounder, Hunter Smith captured the Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals in 2014-15.

Former Second Rounder, Hunter Smith captured the Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals in 2014-15.

Smith’s Oshawa Generals team beat out the victors of each of the other two major junior leagues in the CHL (Kelowna Rockets of the WHL and Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL) as well as the host team (Quebec Remparts) to win their fifth Memorial Cup in franchise history.

At the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the Flames selected Smith in the second round and the Windsor, Ontario native rewarded that selection with career highs in goals (23), assists (26), points (49), penalty minutes (122), and plus-minus (21) during his 2014-15 campaign. He also contributed 1 goal and 6 PIMs in 4 games during Oshawa’s run to the Memorial Cup.

Smith looks like the type of player that can provide a physical aspect and intimidate opposing players, while burying some goals along the way.

These four players are just a taste of what fans will see should they suit up in the Heat’s Home Opener on October 10.

Heat Reveal Guaranteed Home Dates

Stockton, Calif. – The Stockton Heat, proudly owned by the NHL’s Calgary Flames, announce five additional guaranteed home dates to occur at Stockton Arena including November 7, January 2, January 23, February 20 and March 12, all Saturday game dates.

Hot Pink Ribbon & Wordmark (Vertical)November 7 will be a part of the Heat’s new breast cancer awareness event, Hot Pink 1, with the first 500 women 18-years-old and over receiving a pink Heat cap while the ice will be painted pink and the team sporting pink jerseys.

On January 2, the promotion that kicked off right here in Stockton before sweeping the nation returns as fans will have the opportunity to paint the ice at the conclusion of the game.

The next big event will occur on January 23 when fans are asked to bring bears to the game for the Heat’s first ever Teddy Bear Toss.  Once the Heat score their first goal of the game, fans toss the stuffed animals onto the ice which will be collected, donated, and then distributed to local children.

Finally, the February 20 date sees the first 500 fans 13-years-old and over receiving a Heat equipment bag while the March 12 date sees the first 1,000 fans 13-years-old and over take home a Heat jersey.  All promotions and giveaway items are subject to change.

This announcement comes on the heels of last week’s announced home opening date on Saturday, October 10.  In addition to a new era of hockey beginning, the first 2,000 fans in the Arena will receive a Heat magnetic schedule.

Just $380 is all it takes to ensure you don’t miss a minute of the action with Full Season Tickets.  Can’t make the full season commitment? There are multiple mini-plan packages available to fit into any schedule and they start at just $60 for six Heat home games.

Learn more by calling 209.373.1500 and speak with one of our Account Executives or visit StocktonHeat.com for more information.

Flames Sign Derek Grant to a One-Year, Two-Way Contract

Stockton, Calif. – The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed forward Derek Grant to a one-year, two-way contract.

Grant, a native of Abbotsford, BC, was originally drafted in the fourth round (119th overall) in the 2008 NHL Draft by Ottawa. In 2014-15, Grant played 73 games for the Binghamton Senators of the AHL where he notched 21 goals and added 17 assists for 38 points. The 25-year-old has played 25 career NHL games for Ottawa and has two assists and four penalty minutes.

DEREK GRANT – CENTRE

BORN: Abbotsford, BC          DATE: April 20, 1990
HEIGHT: 6’3”                         WEIGHT: 206 lbs.
SHOOTS: Left
DRAFTED: OTT – 4th round, 119th overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft
ACQUIRED: Signed as a free agent on July 1, 2015.

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2007-08 Langley Chiefs BCHL 57 24 39 63 44 12 5 5 10 15
2008-09 Langley Chiefs BCHL 35 25 35 60 22 4 1 2 3 2
2009-10 Michigan State CCHA 38 12 18 30 10
2010-11 Michigan State CCHA 38 8 25 33 44
2010-11 Binghamton Senators AHL 14 1 5 6 0 1 7 1 1 2 2
2011-12 Binghamton Senators AHL 60 8 15 23 26 -7
2012-13 Binghamton Senators AHL 63 19 9 28 37 11 3 0 0 0 6
2012-13 Ottawa Senators NHL 5 0 0 0 0 -1
2013-14 Binghamton Senators AHL 46 12 10 22 30 9 4 0 1 1 2
2013-14 Ottawa Senators NHL 20 0 2 2 4 -3
2014-15 Binghamton Senators AHL 73 21 17 38 45 -9
TOTALS NHL 25 0 2 2 4 -4
AHL 256 61 56 117 138 5 14 1 2 3 10
    CCHA 76 20 43 63 54
    BCHL 92 49 74 123 66 16 6 7 13 17

Just $380 is all it takes to ensure you don’t miss a minute of the action with Full Season Tickets.  Can’t make the full season commitment? There are multiple mini-plan packages available to fit into any schedule and they start at just $60 for six Heat home games.

Learn more by calling 209.373.1500 and speak with one of our Account Executives or visit StocktonHeat.com for more information.

Flames Name Pittis Heat Assistant

Stockton, Calif. – The Calgary Flames announced today that they have named Flames Skills Coach Domenic Pittis as an Assistant Coach with the Stockton Heat.

Pittis had previously served as the Flames Skills and Development Coach since the 2013-14 season.  The longtime NHL forward will begin his first season as an Assistant Coach with the Stockton Heat during the team’s inaugural season.

The Calgary, Alberta native played 86 games in the NHL  with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators and is also a 309 game American Hockey League alum.  He ended his career playing in Switzerland winning two league championships and a Spengler Cup representing Team Canada.

Pittis joins Head Coach Ryan Huska’s coaching staff which includes fellow NHL alum and Heat Assistant Coach Todd Gill, Goaltending Coach Scott Gouthro, and Travel Manager and Video Analyst Adam Berger.

The Heat open the home portion of the schedule on Saturday, October 10.  Don’t miss the home opener, or a minute of the AHL action and get your season tickets or mini-plans now by calling 209-373-1500.

 

 

Calgary Extends Qualifying Offers to Twelve Players

Calgary, AB – The Calgary Flames announced today that the following twelve players have received qualifying offers from the club:

Lance Bouma
Dougie Hamilton
Drew Shore
David Wolf
Josh Jooris
Micheal Ferland
Bryce Van Brabant
Ken Agostino
Paul Byron
Max Reinhart
Bill Arnold
Turner Elson

The following players did not receive qualifying offers:

Sena Acolatse
Ben Hanowski
John Ramage

Heat Home Opener October 10

Stockton, Calif. – The Stockton Heat, proudly owned by the NHL’s Calgary Flames, are set to open the home portion of the inaugural American Hockey League schedule on October 10 at Stockton Arena.

October 10 will mark the very first AHL game played at Stockton Arena after playing the past 10 seasons in the ECHL. The remainder of the schedule will be announced by the American Hockey League at a later date this summer.

A special ticket package is available now giving fans a ticket for the Home Opener along with tickets for five other regular season home games.

Packages range from $60 per seat to $105 per seat based on seating location and can be purchased over the phone by calling 209.373.1500.  Full season tickets and mini-plans are also available; learn more by speaking with one of our Account Executives on other available plans that fit into any schedule.

Contracts and Terms to know in the AHL

With the change from ECHL to the AHL there are a lot of new rules and special cases that come into play when it comes to who gets to play for the Stockton Heat.

Take two players who some fans have seen signed this offseason, defenseman Jakub Nakladal who inked his contract on May 20, 2015 and forward Louick Marcotte who signed his contract on June 8, 2015.  Now you’re asking yourself why Marcotte was the first player signed to the Stockton Heat when clearly Nakladal’s contract came weeks prior to.

Well I’ll explain that at the end of this blog but first let’s get you some key contract terms and what YOU can expect to see as a new owner of an AHL team in your backyard.


Terms and Rules to know:

Amateur Tryout (ATO): Typically reserved for the end of the season, these tryouts allow amateur players to experience the AHL without losing their amateur status.  Typically, players who sign these tryout agreements are straight from Junior Hockey programs or collegiate athletes who are looking to turn pro the following season.

AHL Roster Size: AHL rosters have no limits on a number of players; however teams can only suit up 18 skaters and two goalies per game.  Of those 18 skaters, no more than six classified as veteran or veteran exempt may suit up (see veteran and veteran exempt).  There is no injured reserve in the AHL.

CHL-NHL Agreement: There is an agreement in place between the Canadian Hockey League (Governing body of the Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) specifying when a player is eligible to play on an AHL roster.  Players drafted and playing for CHL teams are ineligible to play in the AHL or ECHL until they are 20 years old (by December 31st of that year) or have completed four years in major juniors.  It gets even more complicated if a player is European.  If a Euro player was drafted in the CHL draft before they’re drafted by an NHL club, the rule above applies to them.  However if they’re drafted as a member of a European squad and choose to play for a CHL squad after they are drafted by an NHL team, they can report to the NHL team’s AHL or ECHL teams before the age limit kicks in.  Let’s get a simple and most common example in.  Drafted in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in the second round, 54th overall by the Calgary Flames is Hunter Smith, who just won a Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals.  Born on September 11, 1995, Smith will be turning 20 prior to the December 31st cutoff making him eligible to play in either the AHL or stick with his junior team in the OHL.  Typically it’s up to the parent club (in this case Calgary) along with the player and player’s agent to determine which route is best for the development of the player.  They could opt to send Smith back to juniors; however the CHL has a rule stating that teams only are allowed three overage players (20-year-olds).

Emergency Recall Basis: Players who are waiver eligible can be called up from a minor league team to the NHL to play up to 10 NHL games while on emergency recall.  Players that qualify do not have to be waived to be sent back to the minor leagues.

Entry Level Contract: these contracts are two-way contracts signed in the NHL.  Players who sign these deals must be younger than 25 years-old on September 15 and must be signing their first NHL contract.  These players who sign these deals are eligible to be sent back and forth between the NHL and AHL without having to clear waivers.

European Elite Leagues: The following leagues qualify as leagues that contribute to ones veteran or veteran exempt status.  National League A (Switzerland), Czech Extraliga (Czech Republic), Slovak Extraliga (Slovakia), Kontinental Hockey League (Russia), Swedish Hockey League/Swedish Elite League (Sweden), SM-liiga (Finland) and Deutsche Eishockey Liga (Germany). (See Veteran and Veteran Exempt).

NHL Roster Size: NHL Rosters are limited to 23 active players, however, NHL teams can hold 50 player contracts per season which covers many of the players who play for the team’s AHL affiliate.  Players who are signed to AHL contracts or two-way AHL-ECHL contracts cannot be called up unless they sign a standard player contract in the NHL.

One-Way: a one-way contract means a player is signed to an NHL team and collects an NHL salary even if the player is sent down to the AHL.  This player must also clear the waiver wire (See Waivers)

Professional Tryout (PTO): Players in lower leagues can be loaned to a higher league team and sign PTO contracts.  Teams may sign players to multiple 25-game PTO Agreements at any time during the season.  Once a player completes their 25th game for a team, the player shall have the right to sign a regular AHL contract or a PTO with any other AHL team.  For example, in 2013-14 Stockton Thunder forward Andrew Clark signed a PTO with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  He played 35 games for the team, amassing 7 goals and 12 assists for 19 points.  After he played in his 25th game, he was then eligible to sign an AHL contract or a PTO offer with any other team, meaning if Bridgeport wanted to protect his rights and be sure they keep him, they could have signed him to an AHL contract.  When Clark completed Game #25 and still was not offered a contract, he could’ve signed an AHL contract with, say, the Hershey Bears, or sign a PTO with, say, the Providence Bruins.

Restricted Free Agents (RFA): Players that are designated as Restricted Free Agents see their exclusive rights belong to one team.  These players are able to negotiate with other NHL teams however if said player agrees to a contract, he signs what is called an offer sheet.  The player’s current team is notified and has seven days to determine if they wish to match with an identical contract to the new team’s offer sheet including length, salary and bonuses.  If a team declines to match, they may be eligible for compensation from the new team via draft picks.  To submit an offer sheet, a team must have the proper draft picks outlined and those picks must not belong to other NHL clubs (picks given to current team are based on salary).  Clubs owing one draft selection must make that pick available to the now former team in the next draft.  Clubs owing two draft selections in different rounds must also make their picks available in the next draft.  Clubs owing three draft selections in different rounds must make their picks available in the next draft.  Clubs owing two draft selections in the same round must have them available in the next three drafts.  Clubs owing three draft selections in the same round must have them available in the next four drafts and so on.  When a club owes two or more draft selections in the same round, the players prior club gets to choose which years in which such selections will be taken.

Rookies: Players who enter the season with fewer than 25 games of professional experience in North America (NHL or AHL) or fewer than 100 games of experience in a European Elite League qualify as an AHL rookie. For example, despite playing in 441 games for the Stockton Thunder, should Garet Hunt be offered a deal with the Stockton Heat, he’d be classified still as a rookie due to only playing 10 games in the AHL, however according to the Pro Hockey Players Association (PHPA), there are stipulations that prevent Hunt being eligible to win the “Rookie of the Year” award.

Two-Way: a two-way contract is a player who’s signed and eligible to play in a higher league and lower league.  These contracts can be two-way NHL-AHL contracts or two-way AHL-ECHL contracts.  The parent club (the higher league team) can opt to send a player to the lower league team.  Salaries for these players are different in each league.  For example, Louick Marcotte signed a two-way AHL-ECHL contract.  When he plays in the AHL for the Heat, he’ll earn a higher salary then if he plays for the Adirondack Thunder in the ECHL.  However he is eligible to play for both teams without having to clear any kind of waiver.

Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA): Players that are designated as Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA’s) have either never signed a standard player contract or a player who’s standard player contract has expired or has been bought out by a team.  These players are not subject to any exclusive negotiating rights and are free to sign with any team.

Veteran: AHL game rosters can only suit up to six combined veterans or veteran exempt players in each game played.  A veteran is someone who has played 321 or more professional games in the AHL, NHL, or elite European Leagues.  The number of games is calculated before the new season begins and that status cannot change until the next season.  Goalies are exempt from this rule. There is no rule for how many combined veterans or veteran exempt players a team can carry.

Veteran Exempt: AHL game rosters can only suit up to six combined veterans or veteran exempt players.  A Veteran Exempt player has played in 261-320 games in the AHL, NHL or elite European Leagues (See European Elite Leagues).  The number of games is calculated before the new season begins and that status cannot change until the next season.  Goalies are exempt from this rule. There is no rule for how many combined veterans or veteran exempt players a team can carry.

Waivers: A labor procedure in which an NHL team makes a player’s contract and rights available to all other NHL teams before being assigned to a minor league affiliate.  This process starts at noon Eastern Standard time and ends 24 hours later.  If only one team claims the player, his contract will be transferred to the claiming team.  If more than one team makes a claim, the player will be transferred to the team having the lowest percentage of possible points in the league standings at the time of the request.  If a player clears waivers (meaning no team claims him) he can be sent down to the minors.  He can be called back to the parent club at any time and only has to go through waivers again if he’s played 10 games since being called up or been on the parent club’s roster for 30 days or more.  Not all players must be placed on waivers as there are exemptions in place for players based on when they signed their first NHL contracts (see the table below).  It also doesn’t include players who are called up on Emergency Basis (see Emergency Recall Basis).

Age Goalie Years Goalie Games Skater Years Skater Games
18 6 80 5 160
19 5 80 4 160
20 4 80 3 160
21 4 60 3 80
22 4 60 3 70
23 3 60 3 60
24 2 60 2 60
25+ 1 1 1 1

 


So why was Marcotte the first Heat Player?

So now back to our question at hand.  Why was Marcotte the Heat’s first signed player despite Nakladal signing weeks prior?

Simple, Nakladal is signed to a two-way entry level contract with the Calgary Flames. At age 27, he’s older than most players who sign their first NHL contract but knowing what we know from the above terms we can look into the future a bit.

For Nakladal, he signed his first contract after years of playing professionally in Europe.  He cJakub Nakladalan play for both the Stockton Heat and the Calgary Flames next season and is not subject to waivers based on the fact he signed his first contract at age 27 and there is no games limit.  However after his year contract is up, Nakladal will be an Unrestricted Free Agent and is free to sign with any NHL club unless the Flames were to offer him a contract extension.

Marcotte on the other hand isn’t signed to one of themarcotte 50 contracts that the Calgary Flames can offer, but rather is signed to the Stockton Heat.  He is eligible to play for the Heat and Thunder only.  Should the Flames want to play Marcotte next season, he’d have to sign an entry level contract with the team.

That is why the Heat only have one player on the roster for next season.  Certainly a good chance we see Nakladal in Stockton at some point but he’s not a Heat player, but a Flames player, much like most of our roster will be comprised of next season.

Some of this is really confusing (even for me) and some things still remain difficult to explain (the NHL waiver rules are pretty vast) so there is certainly going to be some growing that all of us as hockey fans in Stockton will have to do over the next few  years.

Having top end talent is exciting but the differences between the AHL and ECHL go beyond just what occurs on the ice.


Get to know the (Canadian) Hockey Media!

For many of you, this might be your first introduction to how Canadian hockey media operates.  Just as our attention in the USA focuses primarily on football with NFL players among the most recognizable and popular figures in the country.  They can’t do anything without being noticed.  Now think of how you learn about trades and free Sunday NFL Countdown - September 16, 2012agent signings.  If you said it was from the team, you know you’re lying because Adam Schefter and the NFL media have tweeted it hours, or even days, prior to the move.

Well this is how things work in Canada and many of you saw articles announcing Marcotte’s signing.  Even his junior team in Gatineau announced a congratulatory message.  Oh, and Marcotte himself…he did too.

However there are rules in place that prohibit teams from announcing until ever “I” is dotted and ever “t” is crossed.  While the player may have signed the contract, there is still an approval process with the team and the AHL that must occur before any player announcement is made.

This part is actually no different than what we’re used to in the ECHL as the league must approve every contract and trade prior to me, as the Media Relations guy, making it public knowledge.

However now we are a part of the Calgary Flames umbrella, one of the most popular teams in the league due to their location north of us in Canada.  Media will look for any story to report and you may see more news broken away from the team.

This isn’t because we don’t want to break our own news, or because we don’t want to let our fans know what’s going on.  In fact, nothing makes me happier than announcing a player move and breaking news to our fans, as well as that player’s fans, that someone will be wearing our colors and represent our team on and off the ice.

However sometimes it just doesn’t work that way, and in the day we live in, it’s hard to keep things off of Twitter, Facebook mtl media scrumand certainly away from the media.  If you ever forget about how hockey is treated in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto (boy oh boy Toronto), Ottawa and of course Montreal (did I say boy oh boy Toronto…I meant boy oh boy Montreal) just remember these analogies:

 

Hockey is to Canada what Tim Tebow is to the USA.

Hockey is to Canada what football is to the USA.

Hockey is to Canada what futbol is to the world.

Hockey is to Canada what Kanye West and Kim Kardashian is to the USA.