ECHL News & Notes – Offseason Report

Everblades sign affiliation agreement with Tampa Bay

ESTERO, Fla  – Florida Everblades President and General Manager Craig Brush said the team has reached an agreement to be an affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2010-11 season.

Under the affiliation arrangement the Lightning will assign players under both NHL and AHL contracts to the Everblades. With being an affiliate of the Lightning, the Everblades will also be associated with Tampa Bay’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals.

“We are extremely pleased to be affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning,” Brush said. “Steve Yzerman has very quickly assembled a top-notch organization. The Lightning will be an exciting team to watch and we look forward to helping with the development of some of their talented young players.”

Tampa Bay is entering its 19th season in the NHL with the highlight of the organization coming in the 2003-04 season when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup. Yzerman was brought on board as the club’s vice president and general manager in May of 2010.

“We are very happy to welcome the Florida Everblades to the Lightning organization today,” Yzerman said. “The Everblades and their management have demonstrated a strong commitment to success by guiding their team to the playoffs in each of their 12 seasons in existence. That is exactly the type of winning environment we feel our players should develop in.”

Yzerman said with their proximity to Tampa and there really isn’t a better option for us.  In addition to the new affiliation with the Lightning, the Everblades will also be continuing its long-standing affiliation with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and its AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.

Idaho extends affiliation with Stars’ organization

BOISE, Idaho – The ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads have extended affiliation agreements with the NHL’s Dallas Stars and AHL’s Texas Stars through the 2010-11 season. It will be the second season the trio of teams has worked together.

Idaho and Dallas, however, have a long history together, dating back to Idaho’s move from the WCHL to the ECHL prior to the 2003-04 season.

The two organizations have been affiliated in all but one of Idaho’s ECHL seasons – Idaho shared an affiliation with Phoenix in 2004-05. Texas, a second-year American Hockey League franchise based in Austin, reached the AHL’s Calder Cup finals in its first season.

“Our relationship with Dallas and Texas has been very beneficial to our organization and our fans,” team president Eric Trapp said. “We’ve enjoyed the affiliation and are excited to see it continue.”

Both affiliates supplied key pieces of Idaho’s run to the Kelly Cup Finals last year – defenseman Brendan Milnamow and forward Kevin DeVergilio were both assigned to Idaho by Texas while forwards Mathieu Tousignant and Michael Neal joined defenseman Guillaume Monast on assignment in Idaho from Dallas. Goaltender Richard Bachman, runner-up in ECHL Goaltender of the Year and Rookie of the Year voting, was also assigned to Idaho by Dallas.

“We are pleased to extend our affiliation with the Steelheads for the 2010-11 season,” said Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. “Idaho has been a great partner and we look forward to working with them again in the development of our prospects.”

Salmon Kings Ink D-Man Ryan Turek

VICTORIA – The Victoria Salmon Kings, an affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks and Manitoba Moose, have signed defenseman Ryan Turek for the 2010-11 season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Southfield, Mich., native joins the Salmon Kings after two seasons with the Alaska Aces.

In 2009-10, Turek dressed for 60 games with the Aces accumulating 10 points (3g-7a) and 85 minutes in penalties. He also participated in all four of Alaska’s 2010 Kelly Cup Playoff contests recording one goal with four penalty minutes.

“Ryan is a very talented young defenseman that brings an all-around skill set to our blue line,” General Manager and Head Coach Mark Morrison. “He will be counted on to play in all situations and will be an integral part of the defense. This is a great addition as it adds youth and skill to our line-up.”

The 22-year-old defender joined the Aces midway into the 2008-09 campaign and finished the season with 35 games in Alaska while accruing three goals and three assists for six points while serving 26 minutes in penalties. Turek also competed in 19 Kelly Cup Playoff games that spring scoring seven points (1g-6a) and tallying eight penalty minutes, helping lead Alaska into the Kelly Cup Final. The 6-0, 185 lb. Turek has competed in 95 career professional games, totaling six goals and 10 assists for 16 points with 111 minutes in penalties.

Turek was drafted in the fourth round (#94 overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues.

K-Wings Sign Trio Of Players

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Kalamazoo Wings have signed forwards Kory Karlander, Sam Ftorek and defenseman Jon Landry for the upcoming season. Per team policy, the terms of the contracts will be undisclosed.

After spending the past two seasons with the Odessa Jackalopes of the Central Hockey League, Karlander returns to Kalamazoo, where he has played five of his previous 15 professional seasons.

Over the past two seasons, Karlander averaged nearly a point-a-night in the CHL earning 126 points (52 goals, 74 assists) in 128 games.

“Kory brings leadership, championship experience and understands what we want to accomplish here in Kalamazoo,” said Bootland. “He continues to be a premiere face-off specialist and helps teams even-strength or on special teams”.

Similar to Karlander, Ftorek returns to Kalamazoo with a rich hockey resume. The 13-year veteran captained the K-Wings a season ago and help guide the club to a North Division crown. Ftorek has seen time at both forward and defense.

The Wolfeboro, New Hampshire native racked up 59 points (26 goals, 33 assists) in 70 games last season.

“There is no doubt Sam leads by example,” said Bootland. “A student of the game, he continues to find ways to improve himself and everyone around him.”

A four-year pro, Landry anchored the K-Wings defense after joining the team in January after beginning the year in the ECHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones and Ontario Reign. Landry also spent one game in the American Hockey League with the Rochester Americans.

Familiar with the ECHL, Landry has played a part of all three of his professional seasons in the ECHL. Landry has also seen time in the AHL, playing 21 games two seasons ago with the Syracuse Crunch.

“Last year, Jon came in and gave our offense a spark,” said Bootland. “Down the stretch, he played through pain and helped stabilize our blue line.”

In 41 games with Kalamazoo, Landry recorded 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) and saw action in all five playoff games, while exhibiting his toughness by playing the final four weeks of the season with a broken foot.

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