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09-16-2004, 02:30 AM
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Wolf Pack, AHL Making Changes

Wolf Pack, AHL Making Changes
September 16, 2004
By BRUCE BERLET, Courant Staff Writer

With the NHL lockout in effect, AHL teams began maneuvering for talent.

AHL teams are free to sign anyone. But only independently owned AHL teams not fully stocked by their NHL partner, such as Chicago, Grand Rapids, Manitoba and Hershey, are likely to sign another NHL team's player.

The Wolf Pack roster increased when forwards Layne Ulmer and Richard Scott and defenseman Jeff MacMillan cleared waivers. Ulmer was the Pack's second-leading goal scorer last season (22), and Scott played only 15 games before sustaining a concussion with the Rangers. MacMillan signed with the Rangers July 22 after spending most of last season with Utah and playing four games with the Dallas Stars.

The Pack now must sign seven other players with two-way contracts who became locked out and must sign AHL contracts to participate in training camp, which starts Sept. 26 at the Rangers' practice facility in Tarrytown, N.Y., before moving to Hartford Oct. 2. The seven are forwards Chad Wiseman, Jed Ortmeyer and Alexandre Giroux, defensemen Lawrence Nycholat and Martin Grenier and goalies Jason LaBarbera and Steve Valiquette.

Forward Lee Falardeau, the Rangers' second-round pick in 2002, signed with the Rangers and will be in camp. Falardeau, 21, played three seasons with Michigan State after playing for under-17 and under-18 teams in the North American Hockey League in 1999-2001.

The Rangers and Pack could know this week when goalie Dan Blackburn will return. The Rangers' first-round pick (10th overall) in 2001 was tested Tuesday after missing last season with nerve damage in his left shoulder sustained lifting weights in July 2003. Blackburn, who was 20-32-4 with a 3.22 goals-against average in 63 games with the Rangers and 2-1-1, 2.71 in four games with the Pack in his first two pro seasons, has been working out and skating but needs clearance from doctors to participate in training camp.

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