Anaheim Ducks’ Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Burke and Kirby Schlegel, Founder and Chairman of Schlegel Sports, owner of Iowa’s AHL franchise made the announcement today in Des Moines that they’ve agreed to a two-year affiliation agreement through 2011.
This effectively ends the Ducks relationship in Portland after three years.
Anaheim is working with Dallas to have some former Iowa Stars players return to Des Moines next season.
“We’ve asked them to have some continuity and carryover; are there some players we could acquire through trades or they could place here so the fans don’t see 20 new faces on opening night?” Burke said.
My first thought would be AHL veteran free agents to fill out the ranks, especially if players like St. Jacques, King, Leach, Hoffman and others do not return to the Ducks organization.
The Stars iced a pretty young team in Iowa, but there are a few guys who are free agents this off season.
Trevor Byrne, a defenseman who signed with Dallas last off-season and played all season in Iowa. He's originally a Blues draft pick and played most of the past five seasons in the AHL and ECHL.
Dan Jancevski was a member of the Stars taxi squad during the playoffs. A defenseman, he was originally drafted by the Stars and was picked up by Dallas again midway through the season in a trade with Tampa Bay. He's played the past seven seasons in the AHL and has six games of NHL experience under his belt.
Bryce Lampman is another defenseman who played part of the past season as a member of Iowa. Like Jancevski, he was traded to the Stars partway through the season from Tampa Bay. He's originally a Rangers prospect and has spent the past six years in the AHL. He's got 10 games of NHL experience.
I believe that defenseman Chris Lee was signed to an AHL contract with the Stars and he could also be available. He's played four years of pro hockey, with this being his first full season in the AHL.
Kevin, I actually expect the Ducks to become much younger and more prospect based. They were heading that way in Portland especially if they stuck around and I expect it to continue with Iowa.
They may add a veteran or two, but I don't see them adding the five or six vets they had on the roster in Portland....especially with some key prospects coming into the pipeline.
I agree full heartly, but they simply don't have the prospects in their system to replace the veterans leaving, especially on the blueline. Only deGray looks to be making the jump to pro this year and there could be two or three spots open from departing veterans. Klubertanz appears headed to Europe, Mitera is a year away and Kampfer is probably two years away.
Up front, it's not as bad, with Morrison, Bailey and Beleskey starting their pro careers as well as Bolt and Dingle fighting for full time in the AHL. Guys like MacMillan, Macenauer and Tangradi are a year away.
Either way, I was just taking Burke's comments about keeping ties with the previous Stars team and extrapolating it out to look at who might be a fit. Interesting enough, the majority of available free agents are defensemen, which might help out the Iowa team quite a bit in filling out their lineup.
Crombeen is definitely a Ducks kind of player. He played in a few of the playoff games between the teams. Good size, skating, abrasive, willing to fight. Right now he seems to be in the Stars' plans for the 4th line, although that's very much up in the air.
I'd say Conner is more likely to be available via trade... he was rumored to be a throw-in to some of the iterations of the Tampa Richards deadline deal. Problem there is that he's undersized and not really skilled enough to compensate. He doesn't strike me as anything more than AHL roster filler in the Anaheim org.
It would be interesting though if the Ducks are open to bringing back some of the Stars' "real" prospects, who as of now, have nowhere to play next year. Something is going to have to be worked out with a split affiliation eventually. Hard to imagine it happening with division rivals though.