With the college signings of Jeff Petry, Matt Beca and Eddie DelGrosso plus the tryouts given to defender Tony DeHart (Oshawa Generals) and forward Jesse Gimblett (Alberta Golden Bears), the Springfield Falcons look a lot different then they did a couple of weeks ago. That appearance will continue to change as more help is on the way including someone to play between the pipes.
As more CHL teams drop by the wayside in their playoffs and NCAA players weigh their options, the list of possible recruits grows.
Today the team announced, or rather it was Bob Stauffer on Oiler's Lunch, that the organization has signed and dispatched college UFA Blair Riley to the farm. Riley was touted as one of the more high profile NCAA free agents available and after four full seasons at Ferris State the winger looks to make a mark at the pro level.
The Bulldogs were a pleasant surprise this past year and spent several weeks on the top 20 poll for their efforts. They failed to reach the NCAA tournament by the slimmest of margins though despite their modest success.
Riley is a Kamloops BC product and led Ferris State in scoring this past season.
As listeners to The Pipeline Show heard yesterday, North Dakota senior Chris Vande Velde expects to be in Sprinfield this weekend as well. I found it interesting to hear Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini on Oilers Lunch today when he said there was "nothing to add" when asked by Stauffer for an update on contract talks.
While Vande Velde seemed very up-to-date on the status of negotiations, Tambellini came across as overly evasive almost as if he's not involved with the discussion. Perhaps he's letting Assistant GM Rick Olczyk take care of it all?
When the Anaheim Ducks recalled goalie J.P. Levasseur from Springfield it left the Falcons with just a single goalie on their roster and in need of a back up ASAP. Bryan Pitton has played 5 games for the Falcons this year and has a 2-3 record.
The obvious question should be "Where is Olivier Roy?"
The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles were eliminated from the QMJHL playoffs last weekend by the Moncton Wildcats. However, I'm told that Roy, Edmonton's 5th round pick last June, has been ill and has not yet been well enough to join the Falcons. That is expected to change in the next day or so and when feeling up to it, Roy will report to Springfield. At the same time, the Oilers are exploring options just in case.
One possibility might be Edmonton-born Ben Scrivens who just wrapped up 4 years at Cornell and is regarded as one of the top netminders in the NCAA over the last two years.
Another could be Kurtis Mucha of the Kamloops Blazers. Mucha was an invite at Oilers rookie camp last fall and performed well. He reportedly turned down a minor league contract last fall and returned to the WHL as an overaged player. The Blazers were swept in the first round by the Vancouver Giants and Mucha joined the Stockton Thunder in the ECHL. He's a phone call away if Roy can't go.
One guy who is done for the CHL year that won't be headed to Springfield is WHL tough guy Cameron Abney. He's not injured or anything but I'm told that he's simply not ready to take his style of game to the AHL level meaning, he's a tough guy in the WHL but he wouldn't stand a chance against pro toughies just yet so not reason to send him there.