Tagged: St. John’s IceCaps


5th year right wing Raymond Sawada(27) signs an AHL contract to join St. John’s IceCaps for the 2012/2013. He was reassigned from Texas Stars to the team near the end of last year appearing in 17 regular season and 15 Calder Cup games.

Originally a 2nd round pick of Dallas Stars in the 2004 draft (#52 overall), he has skated in 11 NHL games over three seasons with one goal to his credit. He scored it on his birthday.

In the AHL, the power forward has played in 289 regular and postseason contests for 45 goals and 80 assists, which are somewhat surprisingly low scoring totals for the 6’2″ 205 lbs. high draft pick.

At 27-years old, he’s seemingly still waiting for his breakout campaign but has to be running low on time in North American pro hockey to prove his abilities.

Original story 8/10-12

He would tie his best offensive output in his first full season with St. John’s scoring a new high 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points but was a dismal -24 in 65 games.

Going into 2013/2014 he signed a deal at the start of the ECHL season with Colorado Eagles, his first venture playing in the lower league.

His numbers were that of a point-per-game player (7-8-15 in 18 contests with a +7 plus/minus) but he must have gotten a bit stir crazy as he up and left for SM-liiga of Finland, joining Tappara but his numbers were similar to what he’d put up in the AHL.

He left there for a year in the EIHL with Belfast Giants and fully exploded with 22 goals and 41 assists in 58 games and added another 2 tallies and 2 helpers in 4 postseason match-ups.

For his 8th pro season, the former Cornell University captain has made a somewhat surprising decision to play 2015/2016 in the Asia League with Oji Eagles, where he should once again dominate on the score sheet.

The 30-year was likely offered a lot of money he couldn’t turn down.


2nd year center John Albert(16) was originally an Atlanta Thrashers‘ 6th round pick in the 2007 draft (#175 overall).

He signed an AHL only deal with Winnipeg Jets to play with their affiliate, St. John’s IceCaps for his rookie season in 2011/2012.

In 64 games he popped in 9 goals and 18 assists, while going a very accountable +10 plus/minus on a good team. He also scored 3 goals and added 2 assists in 15 Calder Cup Playoff games that saw the team get to the Eastern Conference Final.

Count the Jets as impressed, because they re-upped with the 23-year old AHL style for a second season.

At 5’11” (when fully stretched) 190 lbs. he’s the type of player that always looks to put himself at the center of the action and finds the open areas of the ice for scoring chances.

Original story: 7/7-12

Only a couple of months into his sophomore campaign he was sidelined with an upper body injury that limited his 2012/2013 availability to just 24 games for the IceCaps.

In his 2nd minor league deal though, he earned enough respect from the parent club to sign him to a 1-year entry level deal as he was preparing for his third season.

He had a strong year too, scoring a career high 28 goals and 45 points, which was enough to give him a first recall to Winnipeg.

With his first shot on net he managed to pot his first and thus far only NHL goal.

He stuck around for just over two weeks skating 9 games averaging 7 shifts for a little over 6 minutes per game of ice time and was pretty effective in the face off dot.

After being sent back to the minors he continued his strong play and leadership, which carried into the Calder Cup Playoffs (1 goal, 6 assists and a +3 rating) through 21 games leading all the way to the Finals.

His play was good enough to score him an extension for 2014/2015, although he spent the entire time with the farm club posting a new best 26 assists.

The 26-year old was given a qualifying offer to retain his playing rights but ultimately has signed another AHL deal with new affiliate Manitoba Moose.

With more good play the 5th year player could easily have that new contract taken up a level and rejoin the big club but we’ll have to see what happens.


Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets‘ 3rd pick in the 2010 draft (#87 overall), second year defenseman Julian Melchiori(44) proves third time is the charm for a recall. He was summoned on a couple of occasions but returned without cracking the lineup.

Appearing in his first NHL game, he logged 14 shifts for 8:41 minutes total ice time with a -1 rating, 1 block shot, 1 hit and 1 giveaway in the team’s 6-4 victory.

The big 6’5″ 215 lbs. blue liner is mostly a stay-at-home style player but is noticing a bit of an uptick in point production in his sophomore season with 5 helpers in 18 AHL games with affiliate St. John’s IceCaps.

He managed only a goal and 7 assists in 52 games through his rookie campaign.

The 22-year old is signed through 2015 after only a pair of seasons in junior hockey and although he was reassigned back to the farm club, he will probably see more time in the show to continue to prove he has what it takes to stick.

Original story 12/28-13

The fairly huge d-man appeared in only the single game and seemed to fall on the team’s prospect depth chart spending the rest of the season in the minors collecting one goal and a new career high 10 assists with a second best +19 rating but was never inserted into the lineup through 21 postseason match-ups.

He would stay with the farm team for a new season high 70 AHL games but fell to a -16 plus/minus on a squad that was mostly out of the playoff picture for the entire run of 2014/2015.

With his 3-year entry level deal reaching its conclusion he was set to become a restricted free agent and it was looking like the Jets would be giving up on him but have elected to sign him to another 1-year two-way extension.

It will be interesting to see how he emerges from training camp to see if he can find his way back onto the parent club’s future plans but is bound to spend the majority of his playing time with new affiliate Manitoba Moose.



Former Florida Panthers‘ 1st round pick in the 2007 draft (#10 overall) defenseman Keaton Ellerby(4) accepted his first 2-way contract since his three-year entry level deal from Winnipeg Jets to continue with the team after scoring just 2 goals and 4 assists in 51 NHL games last season.

The big 6’4″ 220 lbs. blue liner has never been much to connect with the score sheet producing only 4 goals and 22 assists in 211 contests with a -12 rating.

Through three early career AHL stints he fared slightly better  in 152 games (11-36-47).

Now that he’s beginning a new season in the lower league with affiliate St. John’ IceCaps, he’s off to a quick start two assists in 2 games and looks to be a valuable leader on a somewhat young roster.

With the parent club faltering some out of the gate, the still super-young almost 26-year old could get another look early, especially if he can continue contributing.

Original story: 10/12-14

He did get a one game NHL appearance during his second recall of 2014/2015 notching one assist while skating 22 shifts for 16:58 time on ice with one hit, one breakup and one giveaway.

In the AHL he managed to score 3 goals and 13 assists in 41 games.

The still 26-year old will play his 8th season in the KHL with Barys Astana. It will be interesting to see how he does switching shores.



Winnipeg Jets invited unrestricted free agent left wing Chase Balisy(13) to their training camps after encouraging him to sign a minor league deal with affiliate St. John’s IceCaps.

Originally a Nashville Predators‘ 6th round pick in the 2011 draft (#170 overall), he was left unsigned and free to roam after a successful 4-year campaign with Western Michigan University, where he was captain in his senior year and won the 2012 NCAA/CCHA Championship.

The 5’11” 180 lbs. forward is having an eye-opening rookie campaign.

After being a healthy scratch to start the season, in 56 AHL games he is tied on the team for second with 14 goals, his 19 assists has him sitting at third and is also third with 33 points, which has him very much in the lead for as the top scorer amongst first year players.

The irony of his stats is he is close to surpassing the numbers he put up in a single season in college and already better than his two in US juniors.

He has also done it without unloading a whole lot of shots on net, only 82.

The recently turned 23-year old California native is putting himself into a position where the parent club has to give him a look for an entry level contract.

He’s easily well-deserving of one.



New York Islanders‘ 5th year undrafted left wing Kael Mouillierat(48) has worked hard for every break he’s received.

Signed on the opening day of free agency to his first big league contract, a one-year two-way deal. He spent his first full season 2013-2014 in the AHL with St. John’s IceCaps, where he eclipsed all his career high scoring marks tallying 20 goals and 33 assists in 60 games and added another 7 strikes and 6 helpers in 21 postseason contests that only ended in the 2014 Calder Cup Finals.

The small-ish looking 6′ 190 lbs. forward looks to likely hit a new best in goals (he already has 18 in 51 games) with affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

First, he will have to be reassigned back down, as patience and hard work pay off and he received his first call-up. Although fairly quiet in his first two appearances he struck for his first point, a key assist, and then got his first NHL goal in his third, a big 5-1 victory.

All probably a bit surreal for a guy that started his first three seasons under agreement with Idaho Steelheads and played his entire rookie season with the ECHL team, where he finished with 119 points in 117 games. yup.

The 27-year old is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the current campaign but you can place bets he’ll be retained to stay where he is to continue his steady, storybook development.

Connor Hellebuyck

Winnipeg Jets‘ 5th round pick in the 2012 draft (#130 overall) rookie goalie Connor Hellebuyck(37) is doing everything, including standing on his head to make saves, trying to push farm club St. John’s IceCaps into a playoff berth after last year making it all the way to the 2014 Calder Cup Finals.

The 6’4″ 200 lbs. net minder has started 40 AHL games, more than any other, is tied with a league leading 22 wins and 14 losses to go along with a 2.36 GAA and .926 SV%.

He’s tied for the lead in shutouts with 5 and his goals against average is good enough for 5th among first year back stops.

After two seasons of outstanding numbers with UMass-Lowell Riverhawks including the 2012 NCAA Hockey East Championship and goaltender of the year award in his first year, the 21-year old maybe rightly decided it was time to turn pro.

He’d also shared the top player between the pipes honors in his only year of American juniors in the NAHL with Odessa Jackalopes.

Although he has yet to receive his first NHL recall, he’s easily being groomed and has time as he’s signed to an entry level deal through 2017.

Spencer MachacekAfter attending both Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies‘ training camps on invites, 7th year unrestricted free agent, veteran right wing Spencer Machacek(17) was having a hard time finding a new hockey home.

He was released from his tryout agreement with the AHL team just before the beginning of the new season but did manage to quickly find a landing spot overseas in the German elite league DEL with Augsburger Panther.

In a pair of games he already has his first point, an assist.

Since leaving Winnipeg Jets‘ organization, where he was originally an Atlanta Thrashers‘ 3rd round pick in the 2007 draft (#67 overall) and stayed with them until a late season trade sent him to Columbus Blue Jackets‘ affiliate Springfield Falcons.

Signed to a one-year extension as a restricted free agent, he once again was dealt in a minor late season move and found himself skating with Pittsburgh Penguins‘ farm club, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

They did not offer the 6’1″ 201 lbs. forward a contract to stay on.

In his first four seasons he pretty much averaged 30 helpers in each of his campaigns.

He also dominated on the score sheet in 3 years of junior hockey with Vancouver Giants, where he won a WHL Championship and a Memorial Cup.

It would be surprising if the 26-year old doesn’t become a top scorer where he is. We shall see.

Michael Hutchinson

Goaltender Michael Hutchinson(33) has been on quite the ride through the hockey ranks this season since being left unqualified by the team that drafted him, Boston Bruins.

Originally a 3rd round pick in 2008 (#77 overall), he spent the first three years in their prospect system tending net mostly with Providence Bruins.

He was reassigned on a couple of occasions to ECHL affiliate Reading Royals through his first two campaigns.

None of it compares to the roller coaster ride he’s still on this season backstopping cages in three different leagues.

The almost unassumingly large 6’3″ 192 lbs. free agent net minder signed fairly quickly with Winnipeg Jets for a 1-year 2-way contract.

He was in training camp but quickly reassigned to AHL farm team St. John’s IceCaps and it didn’t stop there as he was sent along to Ontario Reign to start his fourth pro season.

This was where he stepped it up because in 28 starts he won 22, good enough for third in the league, lost a lowest 4 contests and posted a 2.08 GAA and .921 SV%.

He would receive an early Christmas gift on recall but it didn’t last as he was sent back down again. In early 2014 though, he was summoned up once again and due to injury ending up splitting starting duties.

Earning his time in net, he managed a 15-5 record, helping to solidify the IceCaps‘ postseason berth.

The stellar play of the 24-year old earned him his first NHL games.

In three appearances he won 2 and lost 1. One of his wins was against his former team in a shootout and his 1.64 GAA and .943 SV% should almost assuredly score the future restricted free agent an extension.

First up though, he could be on his way to help bring the Calder Cup to the Rock.