Justin Pogge is hoping to return to North America for the 2015-16 season.
The 29-year-old spent this season with Farjestads in the Swedish Hockey League posting a 13-13-0 record to go a long with a 2.01 G.A.A. and a .926 save percentage.
“I would love a deal that would give me the best chance at getting back into the NHL,” Pogge told PHT. “A one-way deal would ideal.”
Pogge has one year remaining on his deal in the SHL, but the contract carries an NHL-out clause meaning he can sign in North America prior to June 15.
Originally a third-round selection (90th overall) by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2004, Pogge last played in North America with the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League during the 2011-12 season.
Pogge made seven appearances with the Leafs during the 2008-09 season posting a 1-4-1 record.
It appears there are more changes coming for the 2015-16 American Hockey League season.
The Florida Panthers, who are currently affiliated with the San Antonio Rampage, are expected to partner with the Portland Pirates next season. The Pirates are currently affiliated with the Arizona Coyotes.
According to Texas Stars beat reporter Sean Shapiro, San Antonio could be the new affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes beginning next season. The Rampage and Coyotes were affiliated from 2005 to 2011.
Fox Sports reported last month that the Coyotes would ultimately like to have their affiliate in Arizona, but that would require the team to purchase a franchise and relocate it.
The Portland Press Herald reports the Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears are currently in negotiations and are expected to announce a new affiliation agreement as early as this week.
The Coyotes and Panthers’ affiliation swap is just the latest in what has been a busy few months for the American Hockey League.
Last week the Montreal Canadiens announced they would relocate from Hamilton to St. John’s next season with the Winnipeg Jets moving its AHL affiliate to Winnipeg.
In January the AHL announced a new Pacific Division for the 2015-16 season, which will feature five teams playing in California.
The Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, L.A. Kings and San Jose Sharks will all have their top development club playing in the new division.
All right, you’re hurting for real hockey action during the lockout and fortunately for you the AHL season began this weekend. Philly’s young prospect Brayden Schenn wants to remind you that he’s capable of doing really nifty things when he has the puck.
Check out Schenn scoring a sweet shorthanded goal for the Adirondack Phantoms against the Portland Pirates, Phoenix’s farm team. His slick puck moving helps him fake out David Rundblad horribly before he stuffs it backhanded past Chad Johnson.
The Phantoms went on to beat the Pirates 6-3 with Schenn scoring twice and adding an assist.
It’s a name from the 1980s and 1990s for many NHL fans but Kevin Dineen is about to become the next Florida Panthers head coach. George Richards from On Frozen Pond gets confirmation that tomorrow afternoon’s press conference in Florida is going to be for the introduction of Dineen as the team’s 11th head coach. Considering the Panthers have been around for 18 years, that number lacks some gravitas but for Dineen it’s an opportunity long in coming.
Dineen has been working as the head coach of the AHL Portland Pirates and has done well managing the team since 2005. Often a candidate in the past Dineen’s name has been dropped into conversation over the last couple of years but finally he’ll get his shot to manage an NHL team and one that’s rather curiously put together thanks to GM Dale Tallon. In his first season as Pirates coach he won the AHL coach of the year award. Coaching a team that had Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Shane O’Brien, and Dustin Penner helped make that a little easier as the Pirates were the Ducks minor league team then. Since 2008-2009 the Pirates have been the Buffalo Sabres affiliate.
With scorers like Stephen Weiss and David Booth with a host of prospects in the pipeline waiting for their day to become NHLers Dineed will have his work cut out for him. Weiss was the team’s leading scorer last season with 49 points.
Of course, Dineen will have to make something out of this roster and with the possibility that they may be losing their best players, goalie Tomas Vokoun, to free agency this summer he’s got a mountain of a challenge laying ahead for him. Hockey’s Future ranked out the Panthers system as fourth best in the NHL back in November. They’re an organization loaded with goaltending and defensive depth with guys like Jacob Markstrom looking like the future in goal and their first round pick from a year ago, Erik Gudbranson, holding the keys to their blue line future.
Dineen has to hope that Tallon dips into the free agent spending this year (wisely, there are a lot of land mines out there to be had) to help him out in the short term or that he’s got some coaching magic that can make something out of a lot of nothing.
It’s hard to argue with how great Terry Pegula has been for the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Sabres. Pegula buying the team and bringing back all the old school nostalgia from the eras of Sabres hockey that fans of all ages can identify with coupled with his emotional outpouring over Gilbert Perreault and just his love for the team are incredible to see in this day and age.
Pegula’s appreciation for the Sabres past doesn’t just apply to the NHL workings of things but if reports are right it also applies to where the future Sabres come from as well.
A report from Buffalo’s WIVB-TV 4 says that Pegula is working on a deal to purchase the AHL’s Rochester Americans.
The Buffalo Sabres have signed a nonbinding letter of intent to purchase the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League in Terry Pegula’s latest bid to expand his hockey empire.
From the 1979-1980 season until the 2007-2008 season the Americans were the primary affiliate of the Sabres. In 2008, however, things broke down between the Sabres and Americans management and the Florida Panthers took over as the affiliate for the Americans. With the regional ties to the Sabres gone, the quality of play and attendance both dropped off dramatically.
The drop off in everything even inspired the Americans to make a video talking about the good old days and how they’d like to see things go back to that. It might as well have been a love letter to Terry Pegula begging him to buy the team.
With Pegula’s interest in buying the Americans it would almost certainly mean they would go back to being the Sabres affiliate. This was all made possible because the Panthers severed ties with Rochester after this season. The Sabres are currently affiliated with the Portland Pirates in Maine.
It makes sense to go back to a formula that worked so well in the past and helped grow a fan base that stretches across western and central New York and with what Terry Pegula is doing to reunite the past with the present, it will only go to benefit fans in that area who wish to get fully absorbed into the Sabres organization. It hasn’t been so long since the two were united, but it’s safe to say that the Sabres resonated with fans in Rochester a lot better than they did with the Panthers.