There was a lot of speculation there would be a transaction or two involving the St. John’s IceCaps on Monday, and there were, but as of late in the evening, not the one most were expecting.
The IceCaps did re-assign goaltender Michael Hutchinson to the Ontario Reign of the ECHL and released defenceman Travis Ehrhardt from his professional try-out (PTO) contract, but there was no recall of a forward to the parent Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets lost two forwards over the weekend. Matt Halischuk was placed on injured reserve with a fractured forearm suffered blocking a shot in Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Dallas Stars while Anthony Peluso was suspended three hits for a hit on the Stars’ Alex Goligoski in the same game. Peluso was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for the hit, which saw Goligoski face hit the boards, causing a cut that required a dozen stitches to close.
The Jets already had forward Jim Slater (hernia) on the injury list, but winger Evander Kane, who had also been sidelined with an injury, dressed for Winnipeg in Monday’s game in Columbus against the Blue Jackets, while fellow winger Eric Tangradi has been a healthy scratch recently. That would give the Jets the normal 12 healthy forwards, but no more, leading to media speculation in Winnipeg that a player — perhaps St. John’s centre and leading scorer Eric O’Dell — would be recalled from the IceCaps, especially with the Jets playing again tonight in Buffalo and their farm team beginning a 10-day Christmas break. But as of Monday evening, there was no such move announced. Still it could come as Kane left Monday’s game with an apparent foot injury, only to return and score in the Jets’ 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Hutchinson, 23, was recalled from the Reign after Eddie Pasquale suffered an injury in practice Friday and played in one game with the IceCaps during their two-game swing through Southern Ontario over the weekend. He backed up Jussi Olkinuora in a 3-0 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday and took the loss in a 3-2 setback to the Toronto Marlies Sunday afternoon. With the Reign, Hutchinson has a 13-2-2 record, 1.91 goals against average and .928 save percentage.
Ehrhardt, 24, played eight games with the IceCaps this season, scoring one goal and collecting four minutes in penalties. The Calgary native was the last player on the St. John’s roster playing under a tryout agreement. Rearguards Cody Lampl and Jordan Hill, who has also been on PTOs, signed AHL contracts earlier this month.
The move leaves the IceCaps with eight defenceman on its roster.