The Toronto Marlies have added a little muscle to their roster for the upcoming season.
The affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs has signed tough guy Justin Johnson to an AHL deal, the club announced.
A career minor leaguer, Johnson has appeared in two career NHL games with the New York Islanders during the 2013-14 season.
For those unfamiliar with Johnson’s work, the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder dropped the gloves with 6-foot-8, 259-pound John Scott in just his second NHL game.
Johnson has had a string of 100-plus penalty minute seasons in the minors.
The Anchorage, Alaska native appeared in 45 games with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces last season scoring three goals and two assists to go along with 147 penalty minutes.
The American Hockey League is following the footsteps of the NHL with rule changes for next season.
The AHL Board of Governors has approved the league’s decision to go to a five minute 3-on-3 format for overtime scrapping the 4-on-4 portion. Overtime will be preceded by a dry scrape. If the game remains tied after overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.
The league is also adopting the NHL’s coach’s challenge for video review. The coach will only be allowed to challenge a play if they have a timeout available and will lose the timeout, if the call on the ice is not over turned. The AHL currently uses a single overhead camera to determine whether the puck crossed the goal line, whether the net was dislodged or whether time has expired. According to an AHL spokesman, the coach’s challenge will not extend beyond that.
The AHL will also have changes to its face-off alignment for next season. For all face-offs (excluding center ice) the defending player will be required to put their stick down first. At center ice, the visiting player will place his stick on the ice first.
The league announced the five California-based clubs (Bakersfield, Ontario, San Diego, San Jose and Stockton) will play 68 games each next season while the rest of the league will play 76 games each.
As a result of the difference in games played, playoff spots will be determined by points percentage.
Here’s more from the release:
Teams will receive two points for a win and one point for an overtime or shootout loss. The top four teams ineach 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.
The Chicago Blackhawks have come to terms with forward Dennis Rasmussen on a one-year contract.
Rasmussen spent the 2014-15 season with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs scoring 13 goals and 27 points in 73 games.
The Blackhawks signed Rasmussen to a one-year, entry-level contract worth $925,000 last June after his third season with Vaxjo HC of the Swedish Hockey League.
Ciampini, Visentin sign one-year deals with Rockford
Forward Daniel Ciampini and goaltender Mark Visentin have signed one-year American Hockey League deals with Rockford, the club announced.
Ciampini completed his fourth season at Union College leading the Dutchmen with 26 goals and 50 points in 39 games during the 2014-15 season. The 24-year-old signed an amateur tryout contract with the Worcester Sharks in March and scored three goals and six points in 15 AHL games.
Visentin was a first-round pick (27th overall) by the Arizona Coyotes at the 2010 NHL Draft. He missed the entire 2014-15 season due to injury. Visentin turned pro with the Portland Pirates during the 2012-13 season. In 45 games with Portland during the 2013-14 season, Visentin posted a 14-19-6 record to go along with a 3.25 G.A.A. and a .902 save percentage.
The 6-foot-2, 201-pound Waterdown, Ontario native made his NHL debut with the Coyotes in a 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on April 12, 2014.
Paul Bissonnette has assured himself this summer won’t be like last year.
The 30-year-old has signed a one-year contract with the Ontario Reign – the new AHL affiliate of the L.A. Kings.
“I’m happy about it. It’s good to be returning back to some familiar faces,” Bissonnette told PHT on Wednesday. “I’m very happy and excited to be headed to California.”
At this time last year the Welland, Ontario native was without a contract and considering an offer to play with the Cardiff Devils of the British Elite Ice Hockey League.
He admitted last month that the stress of not having a contract to play in North America at the start of the hockey season caused him to deal “with a bit of depression”.
Bissonnette eventually signed a professional tryout agreement with the AHL’s Portland Pirates.
After being released by the Pirates in December, Bissonnette signed a deal with the Manchester Monarchs – the L.A. Kings affiliate. The veteran of 202 NHL games scored one goal and six assists to go along with 167 penalty minutes in 48 games with the Monarchs.
He also appeared in 11 playoff games as Manchester captured the Calder Cup.
“It was pretty special, especially after a tough start to the year,” Bissonnette said. “It was a good way to finish out and kind of look at it in a positive light.”
Photo courtesy of Paul Bissonnette.
After struggling in his first professional season in North America, goaltender Oscar Dansk is heading to Sweden for the 2015-16 season.
Dansk, originally a second-round pick (31st overall) by the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2012 NHL Draft, spent the 2014-15 season between the AHL’s Springfield Falcons and ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.
“I got away from my game a little bit because I felt like I wasn’t playing really well, so (I) tried to find a solution,” Dansk told The Columbus Dispatch. “I maybe should have just built on my game and made it stronger. I got away from my game, which probably hurt me in the long run.”
In 21 AHL games Dansk went 7-7-5 with a 3.57 G.A.A. and a .880 save percentage. The 21-year-old was 1-8-0 while posting a 3.73 G.A.A. and a .889 save percentage in 11 games with Kalamazoo.
“He didn’t have a great season in Springfield, so there was some concern,” said Blue Jackets’ goaltending coach Ian Clark. “Sometimes he slips mentally and starts to overcompensate, but when he’s strong in his game and he’s trusting in his game, he’s a very good goaltender. We’ve got to get rid of those fluctuations where his mind flips. His core assets are real strong.”
Dansk will play next season on loan to Rogle BK, a first-division Swedish League team.
“I’m just going to work every day,” he said. “I have a schedule with fewer games over in Sweden, so I’ll have more time in practices to really nail down a few things and just take my time and not rush into things.”