The Adirondack Phantoms are on their way back north to Glens Falls for the start of the 2012-13 AHL season, but before they pack up for good, they'll be leaving a few guys behind.
The Flyers announced Monday afternoon that forwards Jason Akeson, Marcel Noebels, Luke Pither and Ian Slater have been assigned to the Trenton Titans of the ECHL. Defensemen Tyler Hostetter and Blake Kessel and goaltender Niko Hovinen will also stay behind and play in Trenton.
The moves leave the Phantoms roster at 25 players. As follows:
Forwards: Rob Bordson, Tyler Brown, Sean Couturier, Shane Harper, Ben Holmstrom, Andrew Johnston, Matt Ford, Matt Mangene, Tye McGinn, Zac Rinaldo, Garrett Roe, Brayden Schenn, Mike Testwuide, Eric Wellwood, Harry Zolnierczyk.
The most surprising move of the day is likely Heeter's leap over Hovinen on the depth chart in goal. Heeter was signed out of college last spring and has North American experience, while Hovinen's participation in camp this year was his first dip into the game on this side of the Atlantic, but it still seemed like Hovinen had the upper hand entering camp.
Akeson played his first pro season a year ago, seeing action in 76 games. He scored 14 goals and registered 48 assists in those games, not awful numbers for a first year pro at age 21. With Couturier, Schenn, Zolnierczyk, Wellwood and Rinaldo all set to get regular ice time during the lockout, however, somebody was going to end up on the short end of things. It's just surprising that it's ... you know, the team's second-leading point scorer from last year.
Getting a chance at forward will be rookies Johnston and Mangene. Both were signed as free agents last spring, Johnston from the SJHL's Humboldt Broncos and Mangene out of the University of Maine. Tyler Brown faces a big sophomore season, and his inclusion on the Phantoms roster vaults him ahead of Akeson on the depth chart.
Noebels, in his first pro season, is likely a casualty of the lockout bumping him out of an AHL spot.
The Phantoms defense will see a near-complete overhaul. Kessel, another sophomore player who had been facing a big year in the AHL, now finds himself in Trenton after 56 games in Adirondack a year ago.
Dimmen is a third-year AHLer and a new member of the organization this year and Fitzgerald has played in parts of seven AHL seasons since turning pro in 2005. Bourdon, Syvret and Gustafsson obviously have NHL experience, but Syvret was in Peoria last season, Bourdon played most of the year in Philadelphia and Gus played about equal time in the AHL and NHL.
Eddy, Manning and Lauridsen all played significant time with the Phantoms last year.
It will be interesting to see how the team changes, especially once (if) the NHL lockout ends, but for now, there's been quite a shakeup across the Flyers' organizational depth chart. The Phantoms begin the 2012-13 season Saturday against Portland. Trenton kicks off their ECHL season on Friday at home against Greenville.