Bryan Helmer Named VP of Hockey Operations

Hershey logo

As speculated earlier in the week, the Hershey Bears confirmed the hiring of Bryan Helmer to Vice President of Hockey Operations.

Helmer enjoyed a 20 year professional career after going undrafted out of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. The journeyman defenseman became the AHL’s all-time leading scorer among defensemen in 2011, passing John Slaney. He has 562 points in 1,093 AHL career games, while also garnering 26 NHL points in 146 games.

Helmer, a one-time captain of the Hershey Bears, replaces Doug Yingst. “You left me some big shoes to fill,” Helmer said at the conference.

Despite only playing two seasons with the Bears, Helmer is remembered as the first hoister of the Calder Cup in both of those seasons — 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Upon retiring as a player in 2013, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native moved to the front office of the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterboruogh Petes. Since 2014-15, he has served as an assistant on Hershey’s staff.

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Marcus Johansson Signs Deal

via ESPN

Marcus Johansson has signed a three year $13.75 million dollar deal at $4.583 million per year. This leaves $3.45 million in cap space to sign anyone else. Most of which is expected to go to restricted free agent Dmitry Orlov.

Johansson had 46 points last year in 76 games played. Johansson is a key element on the Capitals power play as he usually coordinates the zone entries, one of the harder parts of the power play.

Johansson has also won a silver middle with Sweden in the Olympics.

Reports are that he also has a five team no trade clause, in the last two years of the deal. 

Here is the full press release

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed forward Marcus Johansson to a three-year, $13.75 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. Johansson will earn $4.25 million in 2016-17 and $4.75 million in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Johansson, 25, registered 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists) in 74 games with the Capitals last season. The 6’1”, 209-pound forward set career highs in plus/minus (+12) and game-winning goals (7) in 2015-16 and tied his career high in power-play goals (6). He ranked tied for 11th in the NHL and second on the team in game-winning goals. In addition, Johansson ranked third among Capitals skaters in power-play goals, fifth in assists and sixth in points. He earned his second career three-assist game on April 5 against the NY Islanders and recorded his sixth career multi-goal game on April 7 against Pittsburgh, becoming the first Capitals player to post a three-assist game and a multi-goal game consecutively since Nicklas Backstrom in 2009-10. Johansson has earned 232 points (78 goals, 154 assists) in 419 career NHL games with the Capitals. He was drafted by Washington in the first round, 24th overall, in the 2009 NHL Draft and ranks fifth among players drafted in 2009 in points (232) and assists (154).

The Landskrona, Sweden, native has represented Sweden in the Olympics once (2014) and the World Junior Championship twice (2009, 2010), winning a medal at each tournament. Johansson won a silver medal with Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, won a bronze medal and served as captain for Sweden at the 2010 World Junior Championship and captured a silver medal with Sweden at the 2009 World Junior Championship.

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How Far Apart Are They Really?

Money

With two days separating the Washington Capitals and Marcus Johansson from arbitration for the second straight years, the amounts each team is willing to give have come out.

Last season, Johansson asked for $4.75 million and was awarded $3.75 million.

The numbers both the team and the player are lower and higher, respectively, than what is realistically expected. One possible comparison is Detroit`s Gustav Nyquist who signed a four year deal this off-season worth $4.75 million per year. Nyquist is one year older than Marcus.

With Johansson being a restricted free agent, it is important to note that the Caps can walk away from what the arbitrator awards and still be compensated if Johansson signs with another team.

 

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What the New AHL Rules Mean

Tyler Lewington fools around during warm ups

Tyler Lewington fools around during warm ups

Following the conclusion of the AHL Board of Governors meeting at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, the league announced new rules, scheduling, and division alignment.

The four divisions for AHL hockey will look like this next season (NHL Affiliates in parentheses).

ATLANTIC DIVISION
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders)
Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers)
Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers)
Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins)
Springfield Thunderbirds (Florida Panthers)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins)

NORTH DIVISION
Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils)
Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators)
Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres)
St. John’s IceCaps (Montreal Canadiens)
Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Ligthning)
Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Utica Comets (Vancouver Canucks)

CENTRAL DIVISION
Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes)
Chicago Wolves (St. Louis Blues)
Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings)
Iowa Wild (Minnesota Wild)
Lake Erie Monsters (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Manitoba Moose (Winnipeg Jets)
Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators)
Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks)

PACIFIC DIVISION
Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton Oilers)
Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings)
San Antonio Rampage (Colorado Avalanche)
San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks)
San Jose Barracuda (San Jose Sharks)
Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames)
Texas Stars (Dallas Stars)
Tucson Roadrunners (Arizona Coyotes)

The regular season will consist of 76 games for every team, with the exception of Bakersfield, Ontario, San Diego, San Jose, Stockton, and Tucson. Those listed teams will play 68 regular season games.

The best guess on why the California and Arizona teams get to play fewer games is travel. Not sure how happy San Antonio and Texas — who are playing the normal 76 — are about this arrangement, as they are in the same division as the California teams.

Home teams, up until the Christmas break, will wear light colored jerseys like they did this past season. However, after the Christmas break, dark jerseys will be worn at home.

Three major rule changes will go in effect next year; I’ll save the most likely to enrage one for last.

Rule 82, “Icing,” has been changes to read as such: “In addition to not being permitted to make player substitutions, the offending team on an icing violation also may not use its team time-out.” This is likely to increase scoring, but means player injuries are more likely in the plays immediately following icings.

Rule 1.10, “Ice Cleaning,” has been modified as such: “The ice cleaning procedures used during promotional timeouts will also be used prior to overtime during the regular season, replacing the ‘dry scrape.'” Translation: instead of the zamboni cleaning the ice after regulation, the AHL will do what the NHL does and send out the shoveling crew.

And now for Rule 46, “Fighting,” and Rule 23 “Game Misconducts,” violations.

  • Starting a fight before, at, or immediately after a faceoff will result in an automatic game misconduct for both combatants.
  • During the regular season, after a players 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th fight, he will be suspended automatically for one game. The new rule does not specify what happens if fights 10 and 11, let’s say, occur in the same game.
  • From the 14th fight onward, the player will be suspended automatically for two games.
  • However, should the opposing player be assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major will not count toward the player’s total for the previous rule. For the instigator, the fight will count.

According to hockeyfights.com, the AHL had 703 fights during the regular season. 22 players had 10 or more fights, eight of them dropped gloves 14 times or more. This is one way to address the “fighting in hockey” question inundating talk shows and discussion threads; whether it is a plausible solution remains a mystery.

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Ryan Warsofsky’s First Order of Business: Player Replacement

Ryan Warsofsky hugging a Stingrays staffer after Game 7 against the Adirondack Thunder (Max Wolpoff)

Ryan Warsofsky hugging a Stingrays staffer after Game 7 against the Adirondack Thunder (Max Wolpoff)

For weeks, the South Carolina Stingrays were without a head coach or a President of Hockey Operations when Spencer Carbery announced he would join the Saginaw Spirit as head coach. Today, they remedied that by promoting assistant coach Ryan Warsofsky to head coach.

Promoting Warsofsky to head coach does not solve the most pressing issue facing the Lowcountry: replacing players lost to Europe. Six of the Stingrays from last season — Stephan Vigier, Brett Cameron, Spencer Humphries, Brendan Ellis, Nick Jones, and Jared Staal — have signed deals with various European clubs.

Vigier was South Carolina’s second-leading scorer with 50 points (24 goals, 26 assists). Cameron was not too far behind with 48 points (21 goals, 28 assists). Both will join Norwegian club Lillehammer.

Jones will also go to the land of fjords, playing for Stjeren Hockey, based in Fredrikstad, Norway. The defenseman will join a team that was almost relegated in 2013-14, but stayed up in the top league thanks to their first place finish in qualifying. Stjeren has lost in the Quarterfinals each of their last five playoff appearances.

Humphries joined the Rays late in the season; he started the year with the Evansville IceMen and played 54 games with them. He was occasionally scratched during South Carolina’s run in the playoffs. Reigning Norwegian GET-ligaen champion, the Stavanger Oilers, signed Humphries to a contract.

Ellis only played 49 games this season after sitting out the 2014-15 season due to injury, earning six goals and 19 assists. The Merrimack College graduate will join HC Gherdeina valgarden.it of the Alps Hockey League in Italy.

Staal, the youngest of the four Staal brothers and the only one not in the NHL regularly, signed a deal with the Edinbrugh Capitals of the Elite Ice Hockey League. These Capitals finished 10th of the 10 team league with a 10-37-0-5 (W-L-T-OTL) record.

The Rays extended qualifying offers to eight skaters, Cameron and Vigier among them, all of whom have not signed. Derek DeBlois, Joe Devin, Marcus Perrier, Wade Epp, Colton Saucerman, and Steve Wienstein all still have their qualifying offers active.

With the addition of a head coach, free agency signings can officially begin.

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Ryan Warsofsky Named Head Coach Of The Stingrays

Via the Stingrays

In a press conference, the South Carolina Stingrays announced they have promoted assistant coach Ryan Warsofsky to head coach following Spencer Carbery`s decision to coach the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL.

Warsofsky is the seventh coach in the club history. the 28 year old native of North Marshfield, Massachusetts is the first American born coach in Stingrays history. Warsofsky becomes the fifth youngest coach in ECHL history and is the youngest active coach.

Warsofsky spent the last three years as assistant coach and assistant director of hockey operations and in charge of the defense and special teams. This past year, he helped lead the Stingrays to the fewest goals allowed,162, in franchise history. The special teams were top five in the league. The penalty kill ranked first, for the second straight year, at 87.5% and a fourth ranked power play clicking at 19.6%.

“I am extremely excited about this new opportunity in my coaching career,” said Warsofsky. Warsofsky also said this is a “tremendous opportunity” for him and he looks to put together a “team that plays fast and hard, and is a group that our fans can be proud of every single night.”

Former Director of Communications and Broadcasting Joey Zakrzewski told me in an email that Ryan is “great to work with” and that “he will work closely with the players and staff and continue the traditions of an outstanding organization.”

Stingrays President Rob Concannon said it is “The start of a new era for the Stingrays”. This new era will begin on October 22 against the rival Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

 

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Stingrays Will Announce New Head Coach

Cool Ray NEW

Yeah, I’d say a size 23 hat would fit him

The South Carolina Stingrays will be announcing their new head coach on Wednesday, July 6 at 1:30 in a press conference open to all fans and the public. For those unable to attend, the Stingrays will also be live-streaming the press conference on Facebook.

The press conference will take place in the Montague Terrace of the North Charleston Coliseum. Fans are encouraged to attend and asked to enter through the the Season Ticket Holder/Handicap entrance on the Mantague side of the building.

The search for a new head coach began after Spencer Carbery accepted the job to be the head coach of the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL.

The new coach will be the seventh head coach in club history. The coach will have no easy role in filling the shoes of Carbery.  Carbery had the most head coaching wins in Stingrays history with a record of 207-115-38. Carbery won the John Brophy Award as the ECHL’s Coach of the Year in 2014, and was the runner-up for the award in 2015 and 2016.

One potential candidate is assistant coach Ryan Warsofsky.  “We believe Assistant Coach Ryan Warsofsky has done a great job over the last three seasons and is a leading candidate for the head coach position.” said Stingrays President Rob Concannon in a June 21 press conference.

Whoever the new coach is, they will look to continue to improve the Stingrays` point totals. The new coach will also be looking to guide the Stingrays to a third consecutive  Eastern Conference Finals appearance and look to capture the fourth Kelly Cup in team history.

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