Tagged: Rockford IceHogs

Zack Torquato













4th year center Zack Torquato(15) re-signed for 2013/2014 with Wheeling Nailers for another chance to propel the ECHL club into the postseason after missing half of last season on the injured reserved list.

Originally a Detroit Red Wings‘ 6th round pick in the 2007 draft (#178 overall) he was never signed and became an unrestricted free agent but did play games in two seasons with minor league affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins.

He would later sign an AHL contract with Rockford IceHogs but spent most of his rookie season with their affiliate Toledo Walleye, where he put up some pretty good numbers scoring 11 goals and 33 assists in 54 games.

The 6′ 195 lbs. forward is no stranger to posting record marks, as he did with 62 assists in his over-age junior hockey season with Erie Otters.

He got off to a super-hot start with the Nailers posting 9 goals and 22 assists and a crazy 100 shots on net in 25 games and was loaned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins just before Christmas.

In 7 games already chipping away at the score sheet with a pair of goals and assists.

The 24-year old could net a contract in the higher league or if he’s sent back down, it’s not likely to be for a long time.

Original story: 1/5-14

He would stay up with the Penguins for another month skating 18 games with 2 goals, 5 assists and a +1 rating before being returned.

For 2013/2014 he finished up his 4th season in the ECHL setting new scoring highs (14-38-52) and putting in another point-per-game in 6 playoff match-ups.

Just prior to 2014/2015 starting he re-signed for another year with Wheeling Nailers.

Once again he netted a couple of recalls to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton but evened out a bit with only a goal and an assists in 12 games.

In the lower league though, he once again struck for career bests of 19 goals, 40 assists and 59 points, then equal his postseason totals from a year ago.

The 26-year old has decided to stay put for a 5th campaign with the Nailers.

If he strikes on the score sheet quickly he will probably find himself recalled but could possibly go to a different AHL team to try his luck.


6th year right wing Evan Brophey(20) was an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2012 and with no offers and the NHL lockout looming had to find a home for the new season.

Originally a Chicago Blackhawks‘ 3rd round pick in the 2005 draft (#68 overall), he only appeared in one big league game with the team in 4 years and 3 last season with Colorado Avalanche. He has yet to convert for any points.

The 6’1″ 203 lbs. forward isn’t exactly a prolific scoring in the minors but in 407 regular season games he does have 67 goals and 94 assists.

Last season with Lake Erie Monsters, he matched a career high for points (39) and pocketed a best 18 goals, which led the squad in scoring.

Just as the 2012/2013 season started the 26-year old signed a pto with Portland Pirates. He was recently bumped up to an spc after 37 games  (5 goals, 10 assists) to finish out the 2012/2013 campaign with them.

Even though he’s not exactly lighting it up as prolifically as he did last year, he’s still a gritty, invaluable player for the Pirates to have in the fold as they push towards the postseason.

Original story: 2/23-13

He would play 61 games with Portland Pirates scoring 8 goals and 15 assists with a -2 rating but failed to connect in three postseason match-ups.

For the 2013/2014 season he decided to switch shores signing a one-year deal with EC Red Bull Salzburg of Erste Bank Eishockey Liga.

Definitely thought he would have a scoring surge but only managed 12 goals and 12 assists in 43 games but did pot a goal and 4 assists in 14 playoff contests.

His stats were good enough to move up a rung on the European hockey ladder as he inked for his next campaign in Germany’s top league DEL with EHC Red Bull Munchen. He would do well with 5 goals and 13 assists but was limited to only 28 games.

As he goes into his 9th pro season, the 28-year old returns to Austria joining Graz 99ers. We expect another point total uptick for the former Plymouth Whalers’ OHL Champion.


Syracuse Crunch center Philippe Paradis(63) was held pointless in 12 Calder Cup Playoff games until he finally erupted with a hat trick in the team’s Eastern Conference Finals‘ clinching 7-0 victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Originally a Carolina Hurricanes‘ 1st round pick in the 2009 draft (#29 overall) he was traded to Toronto Maple Leafs before he could ever take the ice for the team as a prospect.

He lasted only four games with Toronto Marlies, scoring a pair of assists before he changed hands quickly a second time, becoming property of Chicago Blackhawks.

He started with their minor league affiliate Rockford IceHogs much like he did the previous season on an ato after finishing up his last junior campaign in the QMJHL with PEI Rocket.

The 6’2″ 209 lbs. forward was signed to a three-year entry level contract and spent his rookie season in the AHL.

He continued to ply his trade in the league to start his sophomore run but when he was either playing too diminished a role or failing to put up the numbers found himself reassigned to Toledo Walleye of the ECHL for a short, five-game run tallying no points before being returned.

Once again trade bait and shuffled off to Tampa Bay Lightning‘s organization just before the deadline, he started up right away with their minor league affiliate and in 8 games leading up to the postseason contributed only an assist.

He’s still not seeing a lot of minutes on the ice but has been pretty much consistently in the lineup. Nothing like answering the bell at the right time to keep the parent club interested.

The 22-year year old has one year left on his deal after which he becomes an restricted free agent at the end of next season.

Original story: 6/2-13

He would post AHL career 6 goals and 9 assists for 15 points in 56 games but that’s still far short of the marks he put up in his last three years of juniors.

Although maybe still short of what is expected it was enough to earn him another one-year look.

For 2014/2015 he increased goals scored to a still modest 8 and tied those 15 points from the previous campaign but was also a surprising nice +10 rating in just 34 games due to a late season injury that shortened his progress.

Entering his second restricted free agency, Tampa Bay has decided to continue watching the 24-year old possibly thinking he’s late to develop.


8th year, undrafted veteran center Yannick Tifu(10) captured his first Kelly Cup Championship as team captain with Reading Royals after 400 regular and 57 postseason ECHL games.

He was only ever close to grabbing a title back in 2007, when he was a first year player in the league and went to the Finals with Dayton Bombers.

The 28-year old forward has spent 7 seasons with 7 different ECHL teams and scored over 500 points (170 goals and 342 assists) with an astonishing +62 rating. He was the leading scorer in the 2013 playoffs with 25 points.

Although he has appeared in 81 AHL contests, he’s never had any luck sticking despite putting up decent numbers with 9 goals and 23 assists and signing a one-year deal with Binghamton Senators in 2010.

He ended up skating most of that season with their affiliate, Elmira Jackals.

He’s not the biggest skater at 5’11” 203 lbs. but easily effective enough to get the job done quite well.

Chances are he’ll re-sign for a third season in Reading but it could also be time for him to earn some better money by moving his game to some European ice.

Original story: 5/28-13

After winning the ECHL title he went on to re-sign with Reading Royals to resume as team captain.

He didn’t have as stellar a season and for the first time playing in the league failed to be a point-per-game guy and was a quick exit with the team from the playoffs.

Quite possibly he felt that was an indicator, so he signed for the first time in his pro career to play hockey in another country.

Not quite sure why he chose France but he once again upped his average and had plenty of success with Les Ducs d’Angers scoring 14 goals and 21 assists in 26 games and added another 7 points (3-4) in 10 playoff contests.

For his 11th season, he will turn 31-years old when it starts, he returns to North America signing for 2015/2016 with Brampton Beast.

We’ll see how he fares on the score sheet with this still developing 2nd year group.  You can just about bet he’ll be pegged to captain the young squad though.

And you know you’ve had a long career when 5 of the teams you’ve played for don’t exist anymore.


Chicago Blackhawks‘ 3rd year defenseman Adam Clendening(6) tied for second in AHL assists with 47 and his 12 goals placed him alone at the number two spot in the 2013/2014 season.

As a rookie he actually led the league in the helpers category with 37.

These numbers only continued the tear he was on in his pair of campaigns at Boston University, where he amassed 50 assists in 77 games.

The bigger than he seems 5’11” 190 lbs. blue liner is in the third and final season of his 3-year entry level contract and had yet to realize his dream of a recall with the big club.

But that all changed recently as he was summoned to play his first game in the show.

The 22-year old made it count scoring his first NHL goal on his first shot on net

He’s currently holding his place on the team roster and added an assist (of course) in his second appearance.

He has now been a part of 4 games skating an average of 18 shifts for 13 and a half minutes of ice time with the Blackhawks and could very well stick.

Original story: 11/25-14

Almost humorously he is sent back down less than a week later and gets traded to Vancouver Canucks a month and a half after that.

He would stay with the NHL team for the next two months skating in a total of 17 games scoring a pair of assists.

At the end of March, he was reassigned to join affiliate Utica Comets for their playoff push.

In 11 AHL games he contributed a goal and 4 assists with a +4 rating and once the Calder Cup Playoffs arrived he was a shutdown machine with a +7 plus/minus and also chipped in 3 goals and 5 assists in 23 games that took the team all the way to the Finals.

The restricted free agent signed a new deal for one-year with his new squad for 2015/2016 and is expected to compete hard for a permanent spot on the parent club. He’s easily earned his way.

See related: 4/14-13


March 3, 2015: Adirondack Flames‘ fight leader at 14 bouts, the not exactly large 5’11” 185 lbs. center Mathieu Tousignant(16) is fed up with the way the game is going so picks a fight from some feistiness in front of the opposing net with Rockford IceHogs‘ 2nd year left wing Garret Ross(26) who is credited with 4 mix ups this season and is similarly sized at 6′ 182 lbs.

It was basically a draw with some good punches thrown.

Tousignant was just named “Man Of The Year” too.





Chicago Blackhawks‘ 1st round pick in the 2011 draft (#18 overall) 2nd year center Mark McNeill(28) is on his way to new career highs in scoring with minor league affiliate Rockford IceHogs.

He had 18 goals and 19 assists for 37 points in a full slate of 76 AHL games as a rookie and has already tied his goals mark and is only one off his helpers total in only 53 appearances so far.

Chosen as a replacement to appear in the 2015 All-Star game, he paced the Western Conference 14-12 win with a hat trick.

The pretty sturdily sized 6’2″ 218 lbs. power forward was basically a scoring machine in his last three seasons of junior hockey with Prince Albert Raiders scoring just over a point-per-game.

He led the team in scoring as team captain in his fourth and final year.

Signed through 2015/2016, he’s on a three-year entry level deal.

The 22-year old has yet to realize a recall on a parent club with so much depth and maybe would have scored the dream of an NHL early in the current campaign, if he hadn’t been downed by a blazing puck to the knee that had him sit for a stretch.


10th year veteran center Colin Fraser(24) signed a one-year two-way deal to join St. Louis Blues‘ organization after three seasons with Los Angeles Kings that saw him score a second 2012 Stanley Cup.

He won his first final hardware a couple of years earlier with Chicago Blackhawks and story has it even though he only appeared in 3 postseason contests still was granted his name engraved on the trophy.

You could even stretch it a bit and suggest he was part of a team that has won it all every other season for the last 6 years, as he skated with the Kings for 33 games, but was reassigned to the minor league affiliate Manchester Monarchs for the first time since 2008 with the intent of sending the soon to be unrestricted free agent on his way elsewhere.

And although he was only part of the practice squad for the 2014 run, he was still given his day with the Cup.

The 6’1″ 190 lbs. former Philadelphia Flyers‘ 3rd round pick in the 2003 draft (#69 overall) has played 359 NHL games scoring only 20 goals and 38 assists but given his track record of being around a championship, he has his upside.

He was recalled for a game recently raising his years of appearances in the highest hockey league to 9.

Used ultra sparingly with only 6 shifts and 4:42 total ice he did at least manage a shot on net, one hit and one break up play.

Where the 29-year old takes his game next is anyone’s guess but if he is even associated with another team that wins it, then you can be sure luck will give him yet another shot in the show.


Columbus Blue Jackets‘ fifth year left wing Jeremy Morin(9) was recently acquired via minor league prospect deal from Chicago Blackhawks, where he’s spent all of his pro playing time.

He was originally an Atlanta Thrashers‘ 2nd round pick in the 2009 draft (#45 overall) but was involved in a massive 7-player deal before his skates ever touched the ice.

The 6’1″ 189 lbs. forward has always been on the cusp between playing in the big league and minors after tearing it up at every level of play until he turned pro after only a single dynamite season 47-36-83 in 56 games) in the OHL with Kitchener Rangers.

That followed a pair of more than point-per-game performances in the NAHL with the US National Junior Team.

Appearing in 54 NHL games in each of his years with the ‘Hawks registering 8 goals and 9 assists with +7 rating, he was never quite able to stick.

He  has be a dominant force with their farm club, Rockford IceHogs scoring 81 goals, 78 assists in 208 contests and a massive +21 rating on a team that didn’t always put up a winning record.

Coming to the Blue Jackets, the 23-year old may have seen the last of bus rides as he joins a squad that has a knack for developing their young future stars.

So far, he’s got 1 assist in 4 games but did get a shootout goal that was almost the game-winner against his former team.

Brad Winchester2Sizable 6’5″ 230 lbs. left wing Brad Winchester(15) signed his first minor league contract to play professional hockey in his 12th year of service.

The 33-year old inked late for a one year AHL deal with Norfolk Admirals. He was also invited to Anaheim Ducks‘ training camp to start ’14/’15 but was among the first to be released, despite having a strong showing.

He actually spent 19 regular season and 3 postseason games with them a few seasons ago amongst the many teams he’s skated for.

Originally an Edmonton Oilers‘ 2nd round pick in the 2000 draft (#35 overall), he played his first four years in their system including his first two stints with a pair of farm club Roadrunners, first Toronto then Edmonton.

It wasn’t until his fourth season that he became a regular in the show.

He’s appeared in 390 NHL games (mostly through three years with St. Louis Blues) scoring 37 goals, 31 assists and a monster -42 rating.

His last pair of campaigns have been exclusively in the minors and he seems fairly comfortable assuming the role of assistant captain.

He’s quite the poiny scorer in the league too at 96 goals and 81 assists in 319 games but still haunted by a horrible -32 plus/minus.

It remains to be seen if those on ice accountability numbers will improve but he’s off to a hot start with a first time reversed 3 goals and 4 assists in 9 games and a +1.