Lascek, Smolenak Switch Places

According to today's Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, the ECHL’s Johnstown Chiefs and AHL’s Springfield Falcons rotated players, sending Stanislav Lascek to Johnstown and Radek Smolenak to Springfield.

Smolenak played in 30 games for the Chiefs. He had a team-high 12 goals and ranked fourth with 22 points. In two earlier games with Springfield, the 6-foot-3 native of Prague, Czech Republic, didn’t score a point.

Lascek appeared in 26 games with the Falcons, netting two goals and four points. The native of Martin, Slovakia, began the season in Johnstown and was the team’s leading scorer when he was recalled in November. He had five goals and 15 points in 10 ECHL games.

Note: The newspaper also reports Falcons property Maxime Boisclair participated in the ECHL All-Star Game in Boise, Idaho, on Wednesday and had two assists in the American Conference’s 6-3 win over the National Conference at Qwest Arena.

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Contract for Boisclair?

Was wondering when Smolenak would get his shot. Good for him. Lascek needs some time back on a scoring line.

Speaking of Boisclair... been thinking if there's room for him to get a TBL contract this summer...

Re-qualified (Stays)
1. Mike Egener
2. Norm Milley
3. Mitch Fritz
4. Morgan Cey (unless Helenius or Koscheckhin can be courted to NA or Coleman traded)
5. Eric Healey

Doug O'Brien is on the bubble.

Not Re-Qualified (Out)
1. Adam Henrich
2. Andre Deveaux (probably gets an AHL/ECHL contract)
3. Brady Greco
4. John Toffey

That's four contract slots available for sure... maybe five if O'Brien isn't re-qualified. Lawrence, Mihalik, and one of either Crowley or Lundin are shoe-ins. Boisclair looks like a strong contender too.

Here's my gut shot straight draw...

Signed (In)
1. Chris Lawrence
2. Vladimir Mihalik
3. Dane Crowley
4. Mike Lundin
5. Maxime Boisclair

Optional scenarios
1. O'Brien re-qualified means only one of Crowley and Lundin is signed.
2. If O'Brien is out, but only one of Crowley/Lundin is signed, then that opens the door for a Euro skater to be signed -- perhaps one of the Kazionov brothers.
3. Instead of keeping both Milley and Healey on NHL two-way contracts, sign one to an AHL deal. This would open another contract slot for perhaps both Kazionov brothers coming to NA, or one of the Kazionovs and both Lundin/Crowley. Seems a bit of a longshot though.
4. Morgan Cey doesn't get re-signed if there's any possibility of bringing over Koscheckhin or Helenius.

Kazionovs

I was told they want to bring both Kazionovs over. That may have changed, but you could/should see both Kazionovs, Mihalik (sure thing), Lawrence, Crowley, Lundin and maybe Koschechkin signed into the organization. Don't forget Atherton, too. Boisclair's skating is still an issue and they may not be ready to commit to him.

IMO, right now, on the outs is Henrich, Deveaux (maybe, he's still a decent checker), Greco, Toffey, Cey.

Cey doesn't really deserve this, but there's just too many guys around. HOWEVER, if they are trying to stock the farm and Ramo is in Tampa next year, Cey could be re-signed to a short-term deal and be the No.1 in JTown.

I think they're seriously

I think they're seriously considering re-signing Andreas Holmqvist too.

Once again...

Totally forgot about him.

I'm sure there will be a minor league UFA or three added, also.

And the Reason Is...

And the reason I think they're considering bringing Andreas back is twofold (but related):

1.) The absence of offensive defensemen prospects in the organization. Other than Quick, who is years away, there isn't much. OB hasn't panned out thus far and Lundin is not anything you'd stake your house on.

2.) The absence of right handed defensemen organization wide. It's been said a time or two, but this organization doesn't have anybody other than Boyle they can trust as a righty to run the point on the power play and it has hurt them this season.

When push comes to shove...

If Milley and Heally don't see NHL time this year they are likely NHL contract expendable although they might be offered nice $ to stay in Springy on an AHL only contract. R2 is likely back, Jones if he works hard through the offseason will be knocking down the door and the several other prospects at the forward spot (Kvapil, Keller, and a couple of others) should be ready for spot duty at least sometime during the next season.

Boisclair likely will be brought back to prospects camp to see if he's improved his skating to a near NHL level before his signing is considered. He's an ideal top player in the ECHL and should be a solid AHL guy, what I saw of him at camp indicates he's a reach for any more than a cup of coffee in the NHL, barring expansion.

If there's room I believe only one of the three will get a contract.

If Healey and Milley don't

If Healey and Milley don't get NHL contracts, they won't come back. It's as simple as that. They're both top notch AHL players, especially Healey and some NHL team will give them a contract to come lead their farm team. What those guys want is the opportunity, however remote we might think it is, to earn a recall to the next level and if we don't give it to them, they will walk.

Tough choices

I realize the need to keep some veteran guys to keep the farm teams competitive and to help the youngsters by providing models for what being a professional is about. The organization may have to be more discriminating with their prospect's true potential instead of trying to hang on to anyone who has some chance. How about Fritz? With Roy back to provide toughness is he any more than a long shot? He hasn't shown any upside to be more than a 4th liner and probably doesn't provide near what Roy does in terms of the forecheck and cycling the puck. Do we turn this guy out for an AHL vet or a chance scoring prospect.

And like Timothy pointed out, Cey is in a sticky situation. He provides a decent minor league alternative should we decide to deal a goalie or 2 which is where the depth of our tradeable prospects lie. He can certainly keep Johnstown and perhaps even Springfield alive for a time. I think Jay will try to convince him that he has to go another year on a minor league contract before he gets offered an organizational roster spot.

I know how'd I lean on some of these questions, but mines not an opinion that counts.

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