August 12 2008 08:03PM
The Springfield Falcons had an extremely busy day signing four forwards and a defenceman.
Ryan Huddy, the son of Oilers assistant coach Charlie is a 5’9”, 180lb center who will turn 25 on the 28th, spent four years at Bemidji State University, and had a fairly successful college career as a playmaker. He recorded 23 goals and 56 assists over 105 games. Huddy spent the past two seasons in a second-tier German league. I’d be shocked if he played above the ECHL level.
Marc-Andre Bernier was selected 60th overall in 2003 by the Vancouver Canucks, directly before Maxim Lapierre and David Backes (who was recently handed a $2.5-million/year offer sheet by the Canucks). Bernier scored 29 goals in 2002–03, and then 27 in 2003–04 and 2004–05 in the QMJHL; that’s called static progression. In 39 AHL games with Manitoba, Bernier’s put up a total of two points—he’s like J-F Jacques, but he has trouble adjusting from the ECHL to the AHL. The good news is that he’s scored at a decent clip for the Victoria Salmon Kings, and should be a nice addition to Stockton’s roster. He’s 6’3”, 218lbs, and at one point looked like a goal scorer.
Cory Urquhart was also selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft; 40th overall, by Montreal (five picks ahead of Patrice Bergeron). He’s had an interesting career, scoring very, very well at the ECHL level, and looked okay in brief stints with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Last year he spent time in Hamilton, with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, and bizarrely with the Arizona Sundogs of the CHL. At this point, the offensive forward could use a decent season in the AHL, and he may have the ability to force his way on to the Springfield roster.
Luke Lynes is the youngest of the four; in 2006, Washington took a chance on him 122nd overall, but never offered him a contract. It wasn’t exactly surprising; after scoring 34 goals and 62 points in 2005–06, by 2007–08 he managed 21 goals and 64 points. He also appeared in two games for Stockton in 2007–08, which is probably where he’ll end up next season.
Ryan Constant is the defenceman; he spent three seasons with the OCN Blizzard of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, and in his final season he had 253 penalty minutes in 57 games. He’s been a reasonable enforcer at the ECHL level, but even there he’s only managed five goals in 119 games, so there really isn’t much in the way of offensive upside to speak of. He’ll add a physical element to Stockton’s blueline.
Cory Urquhart has the best odds of playing for Springfield; beyond that, these players will help out in Stockton, but all are young enough that they could have decent AHL careers, and may even get a shot at a cup of coffee at the NHL level.