With the NHL lockout under full effect, many American Hockey teams have been able to stockpile their club with NHL experience among already established AHL talent. The Norfolk Admirals added four key players to their roster on September 26th, as they look to defend their Calder Cup Championship. Admirals Assistant General Manager, Bob Ferguson announced yesterday that Norfolk signed defense-men Nate Guenin and Matt Smaby and forwards Patrick Maroon and Garrett Klotz to AHL contracts.
Guenin, 29, is an AHL veteran, and has already played in 375 American Hockey Leagues games with multiple clubs including the Philadelphia Phantoms, Syracuse Crunch, Springfield Falcons, Peoria Rivermen and the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The veteran defense-man split time between the NHL and AHL last season, playing in 27 games for the Syracuse Crunch and 15 games for the Anaheim Ducks, the former NHL affiliate of the Crunch. Earlier this off-season, Norfolk inked an agreement to become the AHL affiliate with Anaheim.
Klotz, a 23 year old forward, enters his 5th AHL regular season, but his first with a club not affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers. He was originally drafted in the 2007 NHL entry draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, but never impressed Flyers management. Klotz registered four points in 33 regular season games with the Adirondack Phantoms last season.
Maroon, one of the stars of the AHL last year, joins Norfolk following an outstanding season last year, recording 74 points in 75 regular season games. Maroon has turned his professional career around the past two seasons, following trouble in the Flyers organization in which he was forced to leave the team and subsequently traded to the Anaheim Ducks. With Anaheim, Maroon has played in his first NHL games and finished third in scoring in the AHL last season. He will be a key player for the Admirals until the lockout is lifted, possibly playing on the first forward line and also earning time on Norfolk’s first power play unit.
Norfolk also added another defense-man in Matt Smaby, the former second round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning and standout blue liner at the University of North Dakota. He has struggled to stay healthy the past few seasons, only playing in 30 AHL games last season. Smaby does have valuable NHL experience, accumulating six points in 122 career games. He’ll likely assume a top four defense-man role on the Admirals blue line while helping out on the power play.