The St. John’s IceCaps reduced their roster to 30 this morning when the American Hockey League club released six players.
Gone are forwards Norm Ezekiel and Braydon Irwin, defencemen Chris Huxley, Cody Sol and Mark Mitera and goaltender Chris Carozzi.
On Sunday, the club let go forwards Joey Sides and Josh Lunden, D-men Jake Marto and Ryan Donald and goaltender Tyler Plante.
Coach Keith McCambridge has 30 men on the roster, and he said earlier in camp he would start the season with between 28-30 players.
The IceCaps open their 2012-13 AHL season Saturday night in Springfield, Mass.
Remaining in St. John’s as of Monday are:
Clarenville— More cuts are coming Monday morning as St. John’s IceCaps coach Keith McCambridge pares down his roster for the opening game of the 2012-13 American Hockey League season Saturday night in Springfield, Mass.
Prior to the IceCaps’ 6-5 overtime loss to the Syracuse Crunch Sunday afternoon at the Clarenville Events Centre, the third and final exhibition game between the two clubs, the IceCaps sent Joey Sides and Jake Marto to the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL, while goalie Tyler Plante, Ryan Donald and Josh Lunden were released.
That leaves 36 players in camp and McCambridge said he will likely start the season with between 28-30 players, given the fact Jason Jaffray will miss the opening two games next weekend and Ray Sawada did not appear in the three games vs the Crunch.
All but one spot on the blueline is set with Paul Postma, Derek Meech, Dean Arsene, Zach Redmond, Travis Ramsey and rookie Will O’Neill. The seventh spot is up for grabs between Julian Melchiori, Ben Chiarot, Mark Mitera, Chris Huxley and Cody Sol.
Chiarot, Huxley and Sol got a chance to prove themselves Sunday with plenty of ice, but look for Melchioro to win the job.
Up front, there still remains a glut of forwards.
“With the NHL lockout, there’s a trickle-down effect where good players are going to be released, good players who usually would have made our team are going to start in the ECHL,” McCambridge said.
Locks for jobs are Jaffray, John Albert, Alex Burmistrov, Patrice Cormier, Aaron Gagnon, Jason King, Carl Klingberg, Maxime Macenauer, Spencer Machacek, Ben Maxwell, Eric O’Dell, Sawada, Brian Sutherby, Ivan Telegin, Hunter Tremblay and Derick Whitmore.
McCambridge said the three games against the Crunch allowed the St. John’s coaching staff an opportunity to see if the new defencemen can adapt to the speed of the game, to see if the new forwards are skill players or those more designed for checking roles.
“When guys come into meetings, we want to ensure they have an opportunity to say, ‘Yes, I was given a fair shot to showcase myself.’
“It’s our job to make sure we bring guys in for a reason. They might not make the team right out of training camp, but they’re brought in to be evaluated and see if they are depth guys down the road, especially this year more than any other.”
The visitors won the Mary Brown’s Cup for the second straight year. Last season, the Norfolk Admirals won the three-game set with the IceCaps. Essentially, the Crunch are last year’s Admirals after the parent Tampa Bay Lightning switched affiliate from Norfolk, Va. to Syracuse, N.Y.
Ondrej Palat scored the game-winner 3:32 into OT.
Harvard grad Alex Killorn led the Crunch with three goals. Klingberg and Redmond, both of whom have had strong training camps for the IceCaps, each had two goals in a losing cause.
The IceCaps open their second AHL season when they visit the Falcons at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass, Saturday night. They play again Sunday afternoon in Hartford, Conn., against the Connecticut Whale.
St. John’s home opener is Friday, Oct. 19 at Mile One Centre when they welcome the Adirondack Phantoms.