- On Wednesday, the Washington Galaxy activated LW Charlie Brooks from the disabled list. Brooks missed the last two and a half weeks with a lower-body injury. Due to his absence, Brooks missed last Friday’s game against Dakota, which recently acquired his younger brother Tanner. It would have been the first time the brothers faced each other in a professional game. To make room for Brooks on the roster, Washington demoted F Roman Bandikoff to their CHL affiliate in Baltimore. With the rebuilding Galaxy looking to provide playing time for their young players, the 36-year-old Bandikoff (5 assists and -3 rating in 24 games) was deemed expendable.
- On Saturday, the Hamilton Pistols sent down D Russ Klemmer to their CHL affiliate in Oshawa, and promoted RW Michael Jennings from Oshawa. The Pistols found themselves down a forward when RW Claude Lafayette suffered a lower-body injury on Thursday. Although Lafayette is not expected to miss much time, but the injury left Hamilton without a spare forward and forced C Henry Constantine to play out of position on the wing. Jennings was with the Pistols at the beginning of the season, but was sent down at the trade deadline. He put up 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 21 games for Hamilton.
- Also on Saturday, the Kansas City Smoke demoted C Owen Griffin to their farm team in Omaha, and called up C Edz Zalmanis from Omaha. This transaction reverses a move made just after the All-Star break. In 13 games with the Smoke, the 22-year-old Griffin recorded one assist while putting up a -11 rating. Zalmanis, meanwhile, lit up the minors, notching 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists) in 15 games.
- Also on Saturday, the Galaxy demoted D Murphy “Mutt” Metheny to their affiliate in Baltimore, and promoted D Ambroz Melicar from Baltimore. As Washington continues to offer more opportunities to their young players, the 23-year-old Melicar was an obvious candidate for a call-up. He was one of the top-scoring defensemen in the CHL, with 42 points (11 goals, 31 assists) in 47 games. The 29-year-old Metheny, the only SHL player to hail from Arkansas, appeared in only 9 games with DC, failing to record a point.
- On the Saturday of the All-Star Break, the Boston Badgers traded LW Cary Estabrook to the Hamilton Pistols for F Norris “Beaver” Young. Read more about the trade here.
- Prior to the beginning of play this week, the Dakota Jackalopes demoted D Victor Addison to their CHL affiliate in Idaho and called up D Rodney Black from Idaho to replace him. Addison was a lightly-used reserve in Dakota this season; he appeared in only 7 games, recording no points and a -4 rating. Recently, he had been passed on the depth chart by Geoff Moultrie. Black, meanwhile, was one of the CHL’s top blueliners, putting up 29 points (19 goals, 10 assists) in the first half and earning a berth in the All-Star Game.
- Also prior to the start of play, the Kansas City Smoke demoted C Edz Zalmanis and RW Andrew “Lucky” Fortuno to their CHL affiliate in Omaha, while calling up C Owen Griffin and RW Adriaen van der Veen from Omaha. Kansas City’s offense was lackluster in the first half; they averaged only 24.3 shots per game, second-worst in the league, and they are dead last in plus-minus at -30. The 23-year-old Zalmanis, who signed a 5-year, $3.5 million free agent contract in the offseason, put up only 4 assists and a -9 rating in 23 games. Fortuno did a bit better, with 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) and a -6 plus-minus in 24 games. The 21-year-old van der Veen was a CHL All-Star and one of leading scorers, with 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists). Griffin, 22, was leading the CHL in plus-minus at +24; he notched 30 points (5 goals, 25 assists) in the first half.
- On Wednesday, the Jackalopes placed Black on the 10-game disabled list. Black got off to a strong start with Dakota after being called up, with a goal and an assist in 2 games, but he exited in the third period of Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Kansas City with an upper-body injury that’s expected to keep him out for 2 to 3 weeks. Since the Jackalopes had 8 defensemen on their roster already, they chose not to call anyone up at this time.
- On Friday, the Badgers activated G Roger Orion from the disabled list, after he’d missed three and a half weeks with a lower-body injury. With Orion activated, Boston returned Jonas Schemko to their minor-league affiliate in Hartford. Schemko looked good in his brief stint with the Badgers, going 1-1-1 with a 2.27 GAA and a .924 save percentage.
- On Saturday, the Washington Galaxy placed LW Charlie Brooks on the disabled list. Brooks suffered a lower-body injury in Saturday’s 6-0 rout of Boston. To replace Brooks on the roster, the Galaxy promoted LW Alan Youngman from their farm team in Baltimore. Youngman is one of the CHL’s top scorers, notching 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) so far on the season.
It was an active trading deadline this season, with almost all contending teams making moves to strengthen their position. The first-place team in the East, the Hamilton Pistols, made the first move several days before the deadline, acquiring LW Piotr Soforenko and D Vitaly Dyomin from the Kansas City Smoke on Sunday to bolster their depth.
The Pistols have been leaning heavily on rookies on their third line (LW Jamie Campbell and RW Michael Jennings) and bottom defensive pairing (Albie Glasco and Buster Kratz). GM Marcel LaClaire had already been contemplating a move to add a couple of veterans, but when Glasco went down with an injury on Friday and Campbell was hurt on Saturday, the matter became a priority.
“We’re getting to a critical point in the season, where we cannot afford to lose our ground,” LaClaire told reporters. “With Piotr and Vitaly, we have a pair of proven, reliable players who can give us some additional grit and solidity, and they can fill holes that we have right away.”
The 32-year-old Soforenko has been one of Kansas City’s leading scorers this season, with 12 goals and 20 assists. He is a graceful skater and smooth passer, and he has worked well with the Smoke’s rookies; he has helped linemates C Darien Picard and RW Zachary Merula compile strong debut seasons. On the other hand, he is not a rugged player and is considered below average on defense.
The 29-year-old Dyomin is a stay-home defenseman who has a reputation as a grinder. He has put up respectable offensive numbers with KC (3 goals, 11 assists), but his primary contributions are through checking and wall work. He is not particularly fast, but he makes up for it with hard hits. Unlike Soforenko, who is a pure rental, Dyomin is signed through next season; this made him an appealing pickup for Hamilton.
In the short term, Soforenko and Dyomin will fill in for the injured Campbell and Glasco; once the latter two return to health, it is expected that the new players will take over for Jennings and Kratz.
Last week, LaClaire publicly agonized over whether to part with some of the team’s top prospects to take a shot at winning now. In this deal, they dealt a pair of youngsters with promise, but held onto their most highly-regarded players.
C Owen Griffin was one of the last cuts in training camp, and he has put up solid numbers with their minor-league affiliate in Oshawa (13 goals, 16 assists). The 21-year-old reported to the Smoke’s affiliate in Omaha in the immediate aftermath of the trade, but he is likely to see time with the big club before season’s end.
D Gary Hermine is well-regarded as an offensive-minded defenseman; the 20-year-old has thrived with Oshawa, putting up 12 goals and 35 assists in 38 games this season. He reported directly to Kansas City, where he joined their bottom pairing and is expected to see time on the power play.
“I’m excited to have Owen and Gary join our team,” said Smoke GM Garth Melvin. “As an expansion club, our eyes are firmly fixed on the future, and we’ve got a couple of young guys who we believe can be a key part of our club for years to come.”
LaClaire stated that he does not expect the Pistols to make any more deals before the deadline. “We have the players we want,” he told reporters. “And we believe we have struck the balance, taking our shot now and still being strong for the future.”