There weren’t any American Hockey League games played yesterday, but it was still one of the busiest news days that the AHL has seen this season. Here’s a rundown of the big ticket items from Tuesday, January 31.
CONGRATS CARTER – The piece of news that Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans will be happiest about is the NHL debut of Carter Rowney. The undrafted fourth-year pro was originally recalled by Pittsburgh last week when Evgeni Malkin was sidelined due to injury, but he didn’t crack the lineup in his first stay with the team.
After being returned to NEPA and helping the Pens to wins over Utica and Binghamton last week, Rowney was recalled again by Pittsburgh on Monday, and suited up for the club in its 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. He logged 9:24 of ice time in the victory while skating alongside Bryan Rust and Carl Hagelin.
Rowney was among the hottest players on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton roster headed into the AHL All-Star break. After missing about a month and a half due to injury, Rowney returned to the Pens lineup on January 13 in Rochester. He recorded eight points (5+3) during the next eight games, and posted a four-game goal streak from January 13-18, a career best for the 27-year old center.
ROCKET LAUNCH – The Rocket de Laval, who will hit the ice next year serving as the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate, unveiled their logo and uniforms yesterday afternoon.
The team’s uniforms feature the familiar red, white and blue of the parent club, and the team name pays homage to Maurice ‘the Rocket’ Richard, who played 18 seasons with the Canadiens, won eight Stanley Cups, and became the first player to record 50 goals in a season and 500 in a career.
The Rocket will play their home games at Place Bell, a 10,000 seat facility currently under construction.
ADIEU ALBANY – The New Jersey Devils announced that they will move their AHL club out of Albany and into Binghamton next season, and they signed a deal to keep hockey in New York’s lower tier for the next five seasons.
The Ottawa Senators announced earlier this year that they would be relocating their minor league operations to Belleville, Ontario for the 2017-18 season, leaving the future of hockey in Binghamton in limbo for several months.
“After evaluating multiple scenarios and obtaining the approval of the AHL Board of Governors, we have agreed to partner with a local operating group in Binghamton, NY to relocate the franchise for the 2017-18 season,” said Hugh Weber, President of the New Jersey Devils. “The new arrangement will allow the organization to focus its efforts on developing our player prospects, while leaving the business operations to those with expertise in the market.”
Albany has been home to an AHL team since 1993, when the Capital District Islanders moved from nearby Troy, New York and became the Albany River Rats. The River Rats were affiliated with the Devils (1993-2006) and the Carolina Hurricanes (2006-10) during their tenure, with the Colorado Avalanche splitting the affiliation with Carolina in 2006-07.
When the Hurricanes relocated their AHL club to Charlotte, New Jersey moved it’s minor league operations back to the capital city and dubbed them the Devils.