Category: NHL


Boston Bruins‘ undrafted rookie center Noel Acciari(55) has been just the kind of spark plug the team was looking for to complete their roster.

Playing mostly limited minutes on an average of 15 shifts per contest, he’s effectively making his presence felt using his small-ish 5’10” but wide 208 lbs. frame to break up plays and agitate the opposing offense despite only notching an assist in 7 NHL games.

He has 6 penalty minutes and a +1 rating.

The team has also magically posted a 5-0-2 record in his time up with the big club.

He has proven he knows how to win as the Providence College squad he skated with for four years won the 2014 NCAA Championship and he was regionally voted as the best defensive forward.

The 24-year old has seemingly played a similar role on reassignment to affiliate Providence Bruins but has also decently affected the score sheet in his first season with 7 goals, 12 assists and a +8 rating in 42 AHL games.

Signed to a 2-year entry level deal he likely just looking forward to become a fixture on the roster.


Tampa Bay Lightning 7th round pick in the 2013 draft (#186 overall) 6th year Swiss-born right wing Joel Vermin(92) picks up his first NHL recall and looks to be staying for a spell.

After a quick start with farm team Syracuse Crunch (3 goals, 7 assists in 12 AHL games with a +2 plus/minus), he already looking to eclipse marks set in his rookie year in North America, where he connected for 12 tallies and 21 helpers.

In 2 games with the parent club he skated 15 shifts for 11:18 of total ice time with 1 assist (on the game-winning goal in his 2nd appearance), 1 shot on net, 2 hits, 1 giveaway, 2 minutes of power play time and a +1 rating. Both games were also victories.

The not exactly huge 5’11” 192 lbs. forward skated 5 seasons in his country’s top league for hometown team Bern racking up some decent numbers (31 goals, 50 assists in 177 games with a +32) and won the 2013 NLA Championship.

At 23-years old he signed a three-year entry level deal that makes him a restricted free agent at the end of the current campaign and looks to be in line for a nice extension to continue.

Ben Smith (21)


7th year right wing Ben Smith(21) didn’t have to wait too long before Colorado Avalanche picked up the unrestricted free agent’s option for 2016/2017, signing him to a one-year, two-way deal.

For the first time since being drafted by Chicago Blackhawks as a 6th round pick in 2008 (#169 overall), he’s set to join his third team since halfway through the 2014/2015 season.

Traded at the deadline to San Jose Sharks from the team he’d spent the previous 5+ years with and won the 2013 Stanley Cup, he skated 19 NHL games scoring 2 goals and 3 assists with a +3 rating but after 6 contests in the follow-up campaign with no points found himself reassigned to affiliate San Jose Barracuda.

After 14 games in the minors exploding the score sheet (8 goals, assists), he was once again dealt at the deadline to Toronto Maple Leafs.

They would keep him on the roster through 16 games registering 2 goals and 4 assists with another +3 rating but sent to farm club Toronto Marlies in their quest for a first Calder Cup trophy.

Despite their best efforts, they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The 28-year old, two-time NCAA Championship winner with Boston College Eagles will likely see more playing time in the big league with the young squad but also could be named captain of affiliate San Antonio Rampage to help guide the prospects.

Wade Megan (28)


Florida Panthers‘ 5th round pick in the 2009 draft (#138 overall) center Wade Megan(28) has played in the club’s system for the last three seasons on minor league contracts, first through two years with San Antonio Rampage, then last season with new affiliate Portland Pirates.

The seemingly graciously listed at 6’1″ 190 lbs. forward recorded new career highs in all categories through 2015/2016 getting 14 goals, 9 assists for 23 points with a +10 rating, 145 shots on net and even a new best 53 penalty minutes.

These totals were more in line with what he achieved in his last two years at Boston University, where he posted identical 29 point campaigns, serving as captain in his senior season.

Heading into his fourth season on an upward scoring trajectory, the soon-to-be 26-year old scores his first NHL contract signing a one-year two-way deal with St. Louis Blues that will likely see him spent most of his time with farm club Chicago Wolves.



Arizona Coyotes‘ 5th year left wing Jordan Martinook(48) must have enjoyed his first full NHL campaign after increasing his scoring output each season with affiliate Portland Pirates.

He played almost a full 82 game slate missing perfect attendance by only a single outing, connecting for a very decent 9 goals and 15 assists for 24 points.

The 23-year old will definitely be looking to add to those totals in the upcoming year with his two-year extension up at the end of next season.


Vancouver Canucks‘ 1st round pick in the 2012 draft (#26 overall) 2nd year center Brendan Gaunce(5o) has taken his game to the next level in his sophomore season with affiliate Utica Comets.

He’s already surpassed his goal mark with 15, tied his assist high at 18, has a new best 33 points and a +9 rating in just over half the AHL games since his rookie campaign.

The 6’2″ 207 lbs. power forward that also fires his fair share of pucks on the net received his big league debut early in the 2015/2016 for a couple of contests and was interestingly returned after his 1st NHL goal.

He stayed with the farm team for the next four months before recently receiving a second summons up to the show and looks like he’s fitting in pretty nicely.

Although he’s yet to add to his totals on the score sheet, he is 100% in the face off dot and adds spark plug energy depth in roughly 10 minutes of ice time, including short-handed situations.

The soon-to-be 22-year old former Belleville Bulls‘ point-per-OHL game player is signed to a 3-year entry level deal through 2016/2017.

You can expect him to compete for a permanent spot on the parent club next season.


New York Rangers‘ 6th year goalie, Swedish-born Magnus Hellberg(45) played a career high 53 AHL games with affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack posting an easy best 30 wins and 20 losses with a 2.40 GAA and .918 SV% including 4 shutouts.

Originally a Nashville Predators‘ 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft (#38 overall) he played his first two pro seasons in Allvenskan with Almtuna IS, then Frolunda HC of the SHL before coming to North America.

The big 6’5″ 200 lbs. net minder played most of his time with minor league team Milwaukee Admirals, but did get into his only NHL game in 2012 and also had a smattering of appearances in the ECHL for Cincinnati Cyclones.

As the just turned 25-year old was heading into his first restricted free agency at the end of 2014/2015, he was dealt to the Blueshirts and quickly signed to a two-year deal.

He was recalled on a couple of occasions but mostly for simple practice and back up purposes. He could easily slide into more big league time, especially if he keeps up the workload for the farm team.


Toronto Maple Leafs‘ 1st round pick in the 2013 draft (#21 overall) rookie center Frederik Gauthier(23) is another young player getting his chance with the big squad in a non-playoff berth season.

The huge 6’5″ 238 lbs. power forward has appeared in 7 games scoring his first NHL point, an assist while skating a lot of minutes short-handed time, delivering crushing hits and breaking up plays.

He’s having a good first year with league leading affiliate Toronto Marlies scoring 6 goals and 11 assists for 17 points in 54 AHL contests with a +17 rating in a mostly checking line role.

This comes after three years of junior hockey with Rimouski Oceanic, where he was virtually a point-per-game player and won the 2015 QMJHL Championship.

The soon-to-be 21-year old, signed through 2017/2018 on an entry level deal, will compete hard at the upcoming training camp for a full-time roster spot but may just win the minor league’s highest award, the Calder Cup first.


Calgary Flames‘ undrafted 2nd year right wing Garnet Hathaway(64) spent the majority of his first season signed to a minor league contract with then affiliate Adirondack Flames posting solid numbers (19 goals, 17 assists), which was good enough to get him a two-year entry level deal towards the end of 2014/2015.

The fairly sizable 6’2″ 205 lbs. forward spent training camp with the parent club and previously signed an ato with Abbotsford Heat after completing four years at Brown University.

His numbers were decent in college hockey but nothing too stellar and in his first 9 AHL games (including one postseason) he failed to record a point.

A late cut to be reassigned to new affiliate Stockton Heat, he didn’t exactly go crazy on the score sheet but continued to show steady progress connecting for a tidy 6 goals, 17 assists in 35 contests.

It was enough to get him a first late season recall.

The 24-year old has skated 4 games averaging 20 shifts for roughly 14 minutes of playing time with 3 shots, a battering ram 19 hits, 7 breakups, 1 takeaway, 6 penalty minutes, 2 assists (in one game) and even :42 short-handed time. He also has a nice +3 rating in only one victory and 3 losses.

Impressive stats that should keep in up in the big league for awhile longer.

He’s set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the current campaign but will definitely be qualified to continue his pro game right where he is.

Zach Hyman (11)


Toronto Maple Leafs‘ rookie center Zach Hyman(11) plays a hard checking, offensive-minded style of game that’s giving the deep selection a longer, early look from the parent club.

He was originally a Florida Panthers‘ 5th round pick in the 2010 draft (#123 overall) but traded in the off season for an older prospect.

The speedy 6’1″ 205 lbs. forward put up exceptional numbers in junior A with Hamilton Red Wings, including 102 points in his final year before joining the ranks at University Of Michigan.

In his senior year, serving as assistant captain he popped for 22 goals and 32 assists in 37 games earning him a 2014/2015 Hobey Baker Finalist nod.

A late cut from training camp, he connected immediately with the scoring sheet on reassignment to affiliate Toronto Marlies.

In 54 AHL games in his first season he has a tidy 13 goals and 20 assists with a +28 rating and 121 shots on net.

The 23-year old’s hard play has earned him an NHL recall.

In his debut he skated a whopping 22 shifts for 15:58 of ice time with two shots, 1 hit and :32 of short-handed play.

He may be on a short leash between the big league and the farm club but before too long it’s almost an easy bet he’ll be permanently up in the show.