Johnstown Chiefs

Content regarding the Johnstown Chiefs organization.

Lightning Make First Cuts

The Lightning [url=]have made their first 18 cuts from training camp today in anticipation of their upcoming exhibition road trip.[/url] [b]Forwards:[/b] [i]Assigned to Falcons Camp[/i] C Dan Cavanaugh (Falcons Invitee) LW Brandon Elliott LW/C [url=adam-henrich]Adam Henrich[/url] LW/RW [url=zbynek-hrdel]Zbynek Hrdel[/url] LW [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url] LW/RW [url=stanislav-lascek]Stanislav Lascek[/url] RW [url=darren-reid]Darren Reid[/url] LW [url=radek-smolenak]Radek Smolenak[/url] [i]Returned to Junior Teams[/i] RW Marek Bartanus, Owen Sound (OHL) RW/C [url=chris-lawrence]Chris Lawrence[/url], Mississauga (OHL) [b]Defensemen:[/b] [i]Assigned to Falcons Camp:[/i] D John Adams (Falcons Invitee) D Doug Andress (Chiefs Invitee) D [url=jay-rosehill]Jay Rosehill[/url] D [url=pj-atherton]P.J. Atherton[/url] (Falcons Invitee) [i]Returned to Junior Teams:[/i] D [url=dane-crowley]Dane Crowley[/url], Swift Current (WHL) [i]Released From Tryout[/i] D Clayton Barthel [b]Goaltenders[/b] [i]Assigned to Falcons Camp:[/i] G [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url] G [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url] Due to injury, Reid becomes the first potential fourth line candidate to bow out of the competition for a job in Tampa. Among the key prospects still left in camp who will likely play in at least one exhibition game: C [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url], RW [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url], LW [url=norm-milley]Norm Milley[/url], C/RW [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnaksy[/url], D [url=mike-egener]Mike Egener[/url], D [url=vladimir-mihalik]Vladimir Mihalik[/url], D [url=matt-smaby]Matt Smaby[/url], G [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url]. Tarnasky and Milley, in particular, remain in competition for the team's open fourth line forward slot. [url=andy-rogers]Andy Rogers[/url] remains in Tampa nursing a hip flexor.

Erlendsson Speculates on First Cuts

First cuts [url=]are expected to come down Tuesday before the team leaves for its first exhibition games and according to Erik Erlendsson of the Trib's blog[/url] the team should make around 20 reassignments at that time. Erlendsson speculates the first 21 cuts will be: Marek Bartanus, [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url], [url=dane-crowley]Dane Crowley[/url], Geoff Waugh (tryout), Brandon Elliott, [url=chris-lawrence]Chris Lawrence[/url], [url=zbynek-hrdel]Zbynek Hrdel[/url], [url=radek-smolenak]Radek Smolenak[/url], Clayton Barthel (tryout), [url=jay-rosehill]Jay Rosehill[/url], [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url], Doug Andress (Chiefs invitee), Dan Cavanaugh (Falcons invitee), John Adams (Falcons invitee), [url=adam-henrich]Adam Henrich[/url], [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url], Zdenek Blatny (Falcons invitee), [url=pj-atherton]P.J. Atherton[/url] (Falcons invitee), Sylvain Dufrense (Falcons invitee), [url=karri-ramo]Kari Ramo[/url], [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url] Erlendsson expects [url=andy-rogers]Andy Rogers[/url], [url=stanislav-lascek]Stanislav Lascek[/url] and [url=darren-reid]Darren Reid[/url] to stay in camp as a consequence of their injuries. That would mean the following prospects/overage prospects would get an exhibition game: [url=mitch-fritz]Mitch Fritz[/url], [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url], [url=norm-milley]Norm Milley[/url], [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url], Eric Perrin, Eric Healey, [url=vladimir-mihalik]Vladimir Mihalik[/url], [url=mike-egener]Mike Egener[/url], [url=matt-smaby]Matt Smaby[/url] and [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url]. According to Erlendsson, Kvapil, Jones, Blatny, Elliot, Ramo and Coleman are the team's bubble players for the first round of exhibition games.

Scrimmages Day Three

Box scores for the third day of scrimmages [url=]are now up on[/url] Team Black pummelled Team Red 6-1 behind the strength of a Dimitry Afanasenkov hat trick. Martin St. Louis had 2 goals and an assist and Brad Richards had 3 assists. Mitch Fritz also chipped in a goal for Team Black while Doug Janik had a helper. Eric Perrin had Team Red's lone goal, his first point of the scrimmages, off assists from [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url] and Chiefs invitee Doug Andress. Johan Holmqvist stopped 21 of 22 for the win while Marc Denis allowed 6 goals on 19 shots for the loss. In the day's other matchup, Team Blue remained undefeated in a 4-3 shootout victory. Team Blue was paced by Nikita Alexeev's 2 goals and 1 assist while [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] had 1 goal and 2 assists. Team Blue's shootout winner was scored by Zdenek Blatny and Andreas Karlsson also had a helper in the game. For Team White, Eric Healey broke out with 2 goals and an assist with [url=radek-smolenak]Radek Smolenak[/url] scoring the team's other goal. Vaclav Prospal had 2 assists with individual helpers going to Vincent Lecavalier, Brandon Elliot, and tryout invitee Clayton Barthel. [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url] stopped 27 of 30 in the shootout loss. [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url] stopped 8 of 9 in 20 minutes of play before giving way to [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] who stopped 9 of 11 before winning in penalty shots. Boutin still leads all camp goaltenders in save percentage by a wide margin. Alexeev leads the tournament in scoring with 8 points and is tied with Martin St. Louis for the tournament lead in goals with 4. Brad Richards and Ryan Craig are tied for tops in assists at 5 a piece.

Day Two Scrimmages

[url=]Day two scrimmage box scores are now up on[/url] It was the world turned upside down as Team Red and the club's presumed fourth line defeated the Lecavalier line and Team White 5-3 today. It should be noted, however, Ruslan Fedotenko has been held out of scrimmages after his recent hip surgery for Team White. The game showcased the team's young prospects prominently as [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url] led all scorers with 1 goal and 2 assists for Team Red. In the Team Red battle for fourth line jobs, [url=norm-milley]Norm Milley[/url] had 1 goal and 1 assist and [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url] notched a goal of his own. Milley's 2 points tie him with Nikita Alexeev at 5 for the tournament lead. Springfield Falcons invitee Dan Cavanaugh had 2 assists and Johnstown Chiefs invitee Doug Andress had 1 goal. Team White was led by 2 goals from the Elliot/Lawrence/Hrdel line with 1 goal and 1 assist each from [url=chris-lawrence]Chris Lawrence[/url] and [url=zbynek-hrdel]Zbynek Hrdel[/url] and 2 assists from Brandon Elliot. Lawrence now leads Team White in scoring through two games. Marc Denis stopped 16 of 19 for Team Red for the win. On the other end of the rink, [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] stopped 12 of 13 before giving way to reassigned goaltender [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url] who allowed 3 goals on 20 shots faced for the loss. Does Coleman's move to Team White mean the club wants more minutes and a closer look for [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url]? Or is the Ramo/Coleman tandem a preview of who will begin the year in Springfield? Or, is it merely a planned rotation to get each young goaltender a full start with Coleman's slated for tomorrow? We shall see. Speaking of Boutin, he stopped 26 of 28 shots including a penalty shot as Team Blue, the club's presumed third line, beat the Richards line and Team Black 3-2. Boutin now leads the camp with a .946 save percentage in 70 minutes played. For Team Blue, goals were scored by [url=adam-henrich]Adam Henrich[/url], Dan Boyle and [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url]. [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url] added 2 assists and Springfield invitee Zdenek Blatny added a helper. Both of Team Black's goals were scored by [url=mitch-fritz]Mitch Fritz[/url] who, oddly, now leads Team Black in scoring. Team Blue can wrap up the scrimmage tournament title with a win tomorrow. [b]Update:[/b] As noted in the comments, It was Boutin and Ramo who swapped teams with Coleman staying put. Hat tip to yakacack. [b]Update2:[/b] There were some scoring changes made after the Lightning repaired some of the links on their website today. Zdenek Blatny was credited with 1 goal and 1 assist for Team Blue and [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url] also had an assist for Team Black. Ryan Craig did not have a goal in the game.

Day One Scrimmages

[url=]Day one scrimmage box scores are out on[/url] Team Black beat Team White 3-1 as the Richards line squared off against the Lecavalier line. In what has become an annual tradition, the Richards line dominated the first day of camp with Martin St. Louis netting a pair of goals with Dimitry Afanasenkov getting helpers on both markers. Prospect [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url] scored the other Team Black goal off assists from Marek Bartanus and Mitch Fritz. [url=chris-lawrence]Chris Lawrence[/url] scored the lone Team White goal on a helper by Eric Healey. Free agent signee Johan Holmqvist stopped 13 of 14 for the win. [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url] allowed 2 goals on 13 shots in the first half of the contest for the loss, giving way to [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url] who allowed 1 goal on 9 shots. In the matchup between the team's presumed 3rd and 4th lines, Team Blue prevailed 5-4 over Team Red. The Craig/Karlsson/Alexeev line came out firing accounting for 4 goals on the day led by Nikita Alexeev's 5 point effort on 2 goals and 3 assists. [url=adam-henrich]Adam Henrich[/url] also chipped in a goal for Team Blue. Team Red was led by [url=norm-milley]Norm Milley's[/url] 1 goal and 2 assist day with Tim Taylor notching 2 goals and [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url] scoring the team's other marker. [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] stopped 22 of 26 shots for the win. Marc Denis allowed 5 goals on 25 shots in the loss. [b]Note:[/b] If you went to today's scrimmages, consider this an open thread to post your thoughts, or consider making a blog post of your own.

Andress Invited to Lightning Camp

According to Ontario's [i]Brockville Recorder and Times[/i], Doug Andress, fresh off signing a contract with the Johnstown Chiefs, has been invited by the Lightning to participate in their NHL training camp in two weeks. Andress has previously attended rookie camps for the Sharks and Blackhawks in 2004, but this will be his first shot at a full NHL camp. According to the article, Andress is realistic about his chances to make the Lightning or Falcons, but the offensive defenseman is at least hoping to play in an exhibition game.

Roster(s) Taking Shape Pt. 2

With a number of recent signings by the Springfield Falcons and Johnstown Chiefs, I figured now would be an excellent time to take another stab at the team rosters at all three levels of the organization. [b]Updated: 9/27 to include signing of John Adams[/b]

Chiefs Announce Resignation of GM Toby O'Brien

Today, the Johnstown Chiefs announced the resignation of GM Toby O’Brien. O'Brien has served as executive vice president and general manager of the Chiefs since 1996. “Toby has been a great asset both to the Johnstown Chiefs and to the Tampa Bay Lightning organization,” said Chiefs vice president of Hockey Operations Ryan Belec in a team release. “I consider Toby not only to be a colleague, but a good friend of mine, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Chiefs Sign Andress

The Johnstown Chiefs have signed defenseman Doug Andress. A former Ohio State Buckeye, Andress appeared in 64 regular season games with the Chiefs in 2005-06, scoring 37 points (6g, 31a) and earning one assist in five Kelly Cup Playoff games. The Iroquois Falls, Ont.-native also appeared in one game with the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights of the American Hockey League, and in three games with the Springfield Falcons, the Chiefs' AHL affiliate, Andress registered his first career AHL goal. "Doug is an experienced player," said Chiefs head coach Frank Anzalone in a press release. "He's strong on the power play and he enjoys playing in Johnstown. He's going into his third pro season, and with the interest in him show by Tampa Bay and Springfield, we're expecting him to perform at a high level this season." [b]8/22 Note:[/b] Today's Johnstown [i]Tribune-Democrat[/i] story of the Andress signing suggests 10-12 parent club prospects could be with the Chiefs this year. The Lightning's Ryan Belec, the new Chiefs vice president of hockey operations and assistant to Tampa Bay Lightning GM Jay Feaster, says several of the young players participating in the Traverse City tournament could end up in Johnstown.

Lightning Crafting a Development Machine Top to Bottom

It's a story we didn't really cover a week ago, but the Lightning [url=]have named Ryan Belec their new VP of Hockey Operations for the Johnstown Chiefs[/url], a sort of hockey liason similar to the role Claude Loiselle has been assigned with the Springfield Falcons. Not so coincidentally, the move was made around the time of the Lightning's prospect camp, an affair which cost the team $100,000 as they assembled not only many of their own top draft choices for conditioning and evaluation but 20 tryouts vying for potential contracts organization wide. It's not until you look at the numbers game playing out in the organization that you fully understand where this is headed. The Lightning are turning their entire minor league organization top to bottom into a developmental machine for young prospects. Last season the Johnstown Chiefs did what they've always done under the command of GM Toby O'Brien. They scrambled to recruit journeymen ECHL players to add to a group of regular Johnstown based players in the hopes they'd gel with a sprinkling of players that might trickle down from the AHL. Not so this season. Already, with the number of contracts already held by Lightning players/prospects as well as contracts held by the Springfield Falcons it appears at least a dozen prospects are already pencilled in for jobs in Johnstown. That makes no mention of potential signees out of the group of players the Lightning invited to their Traverse City team as well as to Springfield Falcons training camp. It would be no surprise if as many as 3 or 4 other prospects were signed by the Falcons or Chiefs and placed in Johnstown. That means this year's edition of the Johnstown Chiefs will be dominated by youth with only a smattering of veteran players around them. The skill level of the team should increase although there will be a corresponding loss in experience. The goal, however, is clear. The team appears to be serious in their move to identify and develop as many potential NHL talents as possible with a view towards finding players they can plug in to the big club at a moment's notice. And, given the nature of the salary cap in today's NHL, it seems a wise move. Young talent plays at a cheaper price and having young talent is the only sustainable way to keep a high priced core with players like Lecavalier and Richards taking such a large percentage of the budget over the long term. The biggest hurdle the Lightning will have to jump to make this new model of development successful is to get their players to disregard the stigma that has long been held about the ECHL being an inferior league. Already the team's goaltenders have seen the benefits of playing at the ECHL level but will these benefits become apparent in their ECHL level skaters as well? The Lightning are apparently banking on it with high profile prospects like [url=radek-smolenak]Radek Smolenak[/url] looking more and more like they will be in a Chiefs uniform to start the year. If they can convince these prospects of the benefit of playing on a scoring line at the equivalent of the AA level rather than sparing checking line ice time at the equivalent of AAA the Lightning may very well succeed in crafting what could be a model developmental system for the rest of the NHL to emulate.
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