Defenceman brings experience, veteran presence on the blueline
The St. John’s IceCaps don’t have Paul Postma, or even a Paul Postma-type on their blueline right now.
Zach Redmond has the makings of a power-play quarterback, but he’s hurt. There are early indications rookie Brenden Kichton can develop into that role, but he’s only two games into his professional career. And while the IceCaps have just picked up a defenceman with 200 big-league games to his credit, they don’t want Adam Pardy to be something that he’s not.
“He can’t come down here and try to play a different way than he played in the National Hockey League,” said IceCaps’ head coach Keith McCambridge about Pardy, the Bonavista native who has been assigned to St. John’s by the parent Winnipeg Jets.
“He’s a first-pass defenceman, a big, physical defenceman. The organization wants him to keep the game simple. We don’t want him to be the guy leading the rush. We want him to do the things that led his success in getting to the National Hockey League.”
Pardy, 29, also provides experience that’s not in abundance among St. John’s rearguards. Other than Redmond, who appeared in eight games for Winnipeg last season, Pardy is the only St. John’sblueliner with NHL experience. And with 380 total games between the AHL and NHL, he’s immediately third in seniority in that regard on the IceCaps, behind only captain Jason Jaffray (541) and fellow forward Andrew Gordon (406).
Pardy, signed to a one-way free-agent contract by the Jets over the summer, spent the first week of the NHL season in Winnipeg. But when Grant Clitsome came off the injured reserved list on the weekend, it left the Jets with eight defencemen and one over the NHL’s 23-man roster limit. That Pardy was the player moved out to address the overflow was not surprising since he had already had a waiver clearance that remained in effect.
McCambridge said he has talked to Jets head coach Claude Noel about Pardy’s role for St. John’s (1-0-1), which plays its first road game of the 2013-14 AHL season Friday night in Hamilton.
“His game is a strong first pass to get the puck to the forwards, to play with an edge and defend well ... to make sure he’s not doing too much,” said McCambridge.
“I’ll speak with him about that, like we always do when players joining us, but I know he’s a professional, and he’s certainly coming here knowing what’s expected of him.”
With Pardy arriving, defenceman Cody Sol has been re-assigned to the Ontario Reign of the ECHL. The 22-year-old Sol, who at six-foot-five, was the tallest defenceman on the roster, was a healthy scratch in the IceCaps’ first two games.
“”He needs to play,” said McCambridge, explaining the decision to send Sol to the Reign.
With Sol out and Pardy in, St. John’s still has 11 defencemen the roster, although three — Travis Ehrhardt, Kris Fredheim and Redmond — are hurt, with no specific timetables for their return.
“The batting order would have (Travis) Ehrhardt ahead of Fredheim when it comes to makeing (the weekend road) trip,” said McCambridge.
“But no matter what happens, the guys who are playing are making (any future) decisions that much harder for the staff, which is a real good thing.”
Kichton, Ben Chiarot, Julian Melchiori, Will O’Neill, Cody Lampl and Jordan Hill — with the latter two operating on tryout contracts — played for St. John’s in its first two games, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Providence Bruins, followed by a 5-1 win over the P-Bruins.
Patrick Cullity, like Sol, was a healthy scratch for those weekend games.
As for Redmond, who injured his left leg last week, McCambridge hinted there will be no rush to bring him back into the lineup. That’s not because his services wouldn’t be welcome, but because his long-term health is the main consideration, especially since he missed most of the second half of the 2013-14 hockey season recovering from a lacerated right femoral artery after an accident during a practice with Winnipeg.
“We are going to be very cautious, because Reds needs to play on a consistent basis,” said McCambridge. “It can’t be some sort of situation where he comes back and plays for a couple of games and then reaggravates something and goes back (on the IR).”