In our second stop along the AHL trail, we get a good look at some of the league’s Central Division players who may be available via trade at the deadline—or in summer. There is plenty of quality across the division and several attractive pieces that could be of interest to other NHL teams.
Previously in this series:
Last year’s looks:
- Atlantic Division (mentions Colin Miller and Jordan Weal)
- East Division (many interesting players a year ago)
- North Division (Grigorenko and a couple others moved)
- West Division (Marincin)
- Northeast Division (Reinhart, Dano)
- Midwest Division (Danault, Sproul)
CAROLINA (CHARLOTTE CHECKERS)
- D Ryan Murphy. Offensive defenseman with chaos tendencies, he has 108 NHL and 75 NHL games so far in his young career. 22gp, 5-11-16 in the AHL this season, righthanded and 22.
- D Trevor Carrick. Young (21) defender is 6.02, 186 and has what appears to be a complete skill set. A good defender with emerging offense, he has not yet played in an NHL game.
CHICAGO (ROCKFORD ICEHOGS)
- C Mark McNeill. Righty center with good two-way reputation, he received his first recall and NHL game this year. Hawks are loaded at the position, but may bring him up later in the year and could have plans for him. Waiver eligible in the fall, he does not bring a tremendous amount of offense but should have an NHL career.
- D Erik Gustafsson. It may already be too late (Gustafsson has been pretty effective as a Blackhawks defender this year) but the former Oilers draft pick (unsigned) looks like he could help a team. Chicago might make him available if they are looking for an upgrade at the deadline. Second player drafted during the Stu MacGregor era (Tobias Rieder) helping another NHL team.
- D Ville Pokka. Another young blue acquired by the Hawks, suspect it would take an arm and a leg to get the young Finn. At 21, he is finishing up his second quality season in the AHL. 6.00, 214 and shoots right.
COLUMBUS (LAKE ERIE MONSTERS)
- L Kerby Rychel. A little young (21) for this list by I have included him due to his trade request. Split time between the AHL and NHL this year, he is a rugged player with skill. A good pickup depending on price.
- R Josh Anderson. Also young (21) but he might be a pretty rare item: Big winger (6.03, 221) who can also score goals (looks like he will post a substantial jump in year two AHL). Has also seen some NHL time.
- C Michael Chaput. Bigger two-way center with some skill, he is 6.02, 204 and 23 years old. He is 44gp, 10-16-26 in year for AHL. You may say that isn’t enough, but Chris VandeVelde played in his 169th NHL game today.
DETROIT (GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS)
D Ryan Sproul. I like this player, he is a righty, 6.03 and 205
and is a skill defender. He is 23, his shot totals are down from last
season but he might be a very good acquisition for a team like the
Oilers. Possibly one of those LH D could be used in trade. He is 2-5-7
on the powerplay.
D Xaiver Ouellet.
Similar to Sproul but younger, lefty is 6.1 and 200 points, 22. Ouellet
can move the puck well, shoots a lot and is 1-5-6 on the powerplay.
- G Jared Coreau. Literally no idea who he is, but has a .927 save percentage in the AHL for the second season in a row. Six shutouts in 57 AHL games, Jimmy Howard may be in some trouble in Detroit, this guy is probably going to be the backup with the Red Wings in the next couple of years.
MINNESOTA (IOWA WILD)
- R Zack Mitchell. Skill winger improved slightly offensively in his second year in the AHL. Described as being a smart player, good passer, speed an issue.
- C Grayson Downing. First year out of college, he is getting noticed. A fine college scorer at New Hampshire, he is close to a point-per-game in the AHL as a rookie. 23 years old, could have a future.
NASHVILLE (MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS)
- D Taylor Aronson. Appears to be a tweener, but the righty blue can move the puck and is posting solid offensive totals (36gp, 3-17-20) this year. He is 6.04, 180 and 24.
- R Colton Sissons. Two-way winger in his third AHL season, scored 25 in the first two years and got an extended NHL look this season (had one last year as well). Exactly the kind of mid-range prospect who ends up in a deadline deal.
- R Max Gortz. A bigger two-way winger who has some skill, he is 6.02, 202 and 23 years old. Has a plus shot and is posting offense in his first AHL year (41gp, 9-19-28).
ST. LOUIS (CHICAGO WOLVES)
- D Petteri Lindbohm. Young (22) defender already has NHL experience but can’t crack the deep St. Louis blue. He is 6.03, 198 and can move the puck, although he is not an offensive defender.
- L Yannick Veilleux. Billed as an emerging power forward on his draft day (he is 6.02, 210 and was chosen two spots in front of Johnny Gaudreau), he has not delivered offensively since turning pro but is showing signs of life this year.
- L Magnus Paajarvi. I have him on the list every year, but he has managed to stay in the NHL for the most part this year. Hasn’t scored much since 2010, probably available.
WINNIPEG (MANITOBA MOOSE)
- C Chase De Leo. Brilliant offensive forward, this is his first pro season (45gp, 13-13-26). He is small (5.10, 185) and not as talented as Nic Petan (also beginning his pro career with the Moose and Jets), but there may be a window of opportunity to acquire the lesser. Good player.
- R Joel Armia. Big winger has struggled to make progress, but there is a nice resume. He is 6.03, 205 and comes with the reputation of being offensively capable. Was scoring well in the Buffalo system, hasn’t found the range since being traded to the Jets. Has seen some NHL time, could be available.
(Ryan Sproul photo by Mark Williams).