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AHL Update

Martinook set to go after second recall by Coyotes

Friday, 02.13.2015 / 11:06 AM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Jordan Martinook usually leaves his practices with the Portland Pirates in a car, homeward bound.

On Wednesday, all was about to go according to plan until coach Ray Edwards shook it up. Martinook was going to go home, sure, but only to pack. He was headed to the airport, booked on the next flight out to Glendale, Ariz.

In his third year with the American Hockey League affiliate for the Arizona Coyotes, the 22-year-old native of Brandon, Manitoba had already made his NHL debut on Dec. 6, playing in two games at Gila River Arena before boarding a plane back to Portland.

"It’s pretty surreal. You dream of that moment your entire life. It took me a couple years to get that call," Martinook, a center, said of his first experience. "It’s something you can’t even really describe in words how much it means to you."

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Maple Leafs prospect Brown leads Marlies in scoring

Friday, 02.06.2015 / 12:42 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

In another life, Connor Brown might have had a successful career in the financial world. Maybe on the front lines of Wall Street, or tucked away somewhere in a private firm. Math was kind of his thing in high school.

But hockey, like it does for many, had other ideas. Taken in the sixth round (No. 156) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Etobicoke, Ontario, native got a chance to realize a dream every little kid playing hockey has: throwing on your hometown sweater.

"My whole family are pretty big Leafs fans so getting drafted here was just an added bonus to a special feeling on draft day," Brown said. "A couple buddies of mine that were there texted me first, and then I eventually saw my name on the ticker. We just watched it on TV."

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Utica's Markstrom hopes for real chance with Canucks

Monday, 01.26.2015 / 8:22 PM / AHL Update

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

UTICA, N.Y. -- The past 12 months for Utica Comets goalie Jacob Markstrom have been, to put it politely, tumultuous.

Markstrom was once a top prospect for the Florida Panthers and started 38 games for them over parts of three-and-a-half seasons. But on March 4, 2014, he was sent to the Vancouver Canucks as part of the trade that brought Roberto Luongo back to Florida.

"It came up as a shock," Markstrom said. "I didn't know I was going to be traded, but I got traded and I didn't know what to expect. It was kind of weird, you know, leaving all your friends, leaving what you know to go to your new place, but Vancouver and the whole organization, all the guys were unbelievable."


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AHL's experiments with overtime get mixed reviews

Sunday, 01.25.2015 / 11:59 PM / AHL Update

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

UTICA, N.Y. -- The American Hockey League has been trying to find a way to have more games end in overtime rather than in the shootout. The reviews have been mixed from players.

Before the start of the 2014-15 season, the AHL changed how overtime periods would be handled by switching from a five-minute overtime played 4-on-4 to a seven-minute period with four of them played 4-on-4 and three minutes played 3-on-3.

Through Saturday, 74.8 percent of games that went to overtime were settled in the extra period. When compared to last season, it’s an increase of 39.5 percent when 64.7 percent of games that went to overtime ended in the shootout. For AHL players who have spent time in the NHL, that difference has been noticeable.

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Top NHL prospects fill out AHL All-Star roster

Friday, 01.23.2015 / 11:32 AM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

The brightest stars in the American Hockey League will be at Utica Memorial Auditorium for the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino.

Some of the best young players in professional hockey, representing all 30 National Hockey League organizations, will play in an East vs. West format. The 46 players heading to Utica include 18 first- and second-round NHL draft picks; 36 of this year's All-Stars already have NHL experience, including 14 who have skated in an NHL game in 2014-15.

Among them are:

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Jets prospect Hellebuyck carrying load for St. John's

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 12:36 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Winnipeg Jets goaltending prospect Connor Hellebuyck has logged a lot of miles on his road to professional hockey.

A native of the Detroit suburb of Commerce, Mich., Hellebuyck played a year of junior hockey in Odessa, Texas, then set up camp on the goal line at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

"I always wanted to go to college," Hellebuyck said. "[UMass Lowell] were the first people to come down to Odessa and see me. After I talked to their goalie coach, Cam Ellsworth, he kind of sold the school really well to me. I thought it was a perfect fit. If there was anywhere I would choose, I would choose there."

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Flames prospect Poirier having all-star season in AHL

Friday, 01.09.2015 / 12:16 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

As far as forward Emile Poirier was concerned, the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center in New Jersey was just a day where he may or may not have had a chance to become a draft pick of a NHL team.

Though he'd had a successful major junior career, and NHL Central Scouting had him consistently rising in their top-40 projections that year, Poirier simply didn't expect it.

"I was just thinking I was going there with all my family and my friends and it was just going to be a good weekend to enjoy," he said. "And then I end up going that high and so I was really happy; it ended up a good weekend."

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Islanders' Pulock asserting himself offensively in AHL

Friday, 01.02.2015 / 12:16 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Three months past his 20th birthday, Ryan Pulock is the youngest member of an already youthful Bridgeport Sound Tigers defensive corps.

Selected No. 15 by the New York Islanders at the 2013 NHL Draft, the Manitoba native came with a warning label: Highly offensive.

"You could see the potential [and] the upside," Sound Tigers coach Brent Thompson said of Pulock prior to his arrival in Bridgeport. "And you definitely can see his shot and the weapon that it is."

Over four seasons with Brandon in the Western Hockey League, Pulock scored 210 points in 261 regular-season games and 15 points in 24 playoff games. He finished among the Wheat Kings' top 10 scorers all four years, concluding his final season in Brandon 19 points ahead of the Wheat Kings' next-best defenseman.

Now in his rookie season in the American Hockey League, Pulock is adjusting to the new demands of professional hockey.

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Panthers prospect Grimaldi fine-tuning game in AHL

Friday, 12.26.2014 / 12:07 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Before Rocco Grimaldi arrived under his tutelage, San Antonio Rampage coach Tom Rowe already knew a fair amount about what exactly the 5-foot-6 wing could do on the ice.

"I watched him on video quite a bit, and I'd watch him on TV, which sometimes isn't the best way to do it, but it gives you a good idea," Rowe said. "I loved the fact that he's quick, and he moved the puck well and could beat guys one-on-one. Those were the things that stood out to me."

Finding Grimaldi wasn't hard. A product of the U.S. National Team Development Program and the University of North Dakota, the California-born 21-year-old had already won three gold medals in international play before the Florida Panthers selected him No. 33 at the 2011 NHL Draft. He added a fourth gold medal with the United States at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships, scoring twice in a 3-1 win against Sweden in the final game.

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Penguins prospect Pouliot on path to NHL

Friday, 12.19.2014 / 12:20 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

For a 20-year-old, Derrick Pouliot has a pretty impressive resume.

The Saskatchewan native starred in the Western Hockey League with the powerhouse Portland Winterhawks after they drafted him first overall in the 2009 bantam draft. He put up 205 points over 247 games and was recognized as the top defenseman in the entire Canadian Hockey League last season.

He's won gold with Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and made four trips to the WHL finals, winning the league title in 2013. He played in the 2012 CHL Top Prospects Game, and was selected to both the 2013 Memorial Cup All-Star Team and the 2014 WHL First All-Star Team.

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Quote of the Day

That was something I've been dreaming of, something I've told myself before the third period I was going to do ... It was an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe. I didn't believe it went in at first but when I saw all the reaction and all the fans going crazy and my teammates going crazy, it's just an unbelievable feeling. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know whether to jump or just skate and do a Theo Fleury. I don't think I'm the same caliber player he is so I couldn't do it.

— Flames forward Mikael Backlund on scoring the overtime winner against the Ducks in Gm. 3