Afer a dismal 2008-09 season which saw the club finish at the bottom of the AHL standings, it is no surprise than several changes were made to the Springfield Falcons roster. Gone are underachieving prospects and in are seasoned veterans who can support the returning corps of young forwards and defensemen. With these changes, the 2009-10 Falcons should put up more of a fight than last season.
Springfield has lost three of last season’s top six scoring forwards. The once touted prospect Robbie Schremp was waived by Edmonton with hopes of returning him to the AHL this season, but the New York Islanders claimed him instead. Also missing are Ryan Stone and Gilbert Brule. Both forwards made the parent club out of training camp.
Springfield is fortunate to have their leading scorer Ryan Potulny back with the club this season. Potulny’s inspired play last season was one of the Falcons’ lone bright spots. He scored 38 goals and added 24 assists in 70 games last season. The 25-year-old will be a key piece in Springfield’s offense again this season.
Coming over from the Pittsburgh organization this season is Chris Minard. Like Potulny, he will likely see lots of time on the power play and be relied on to carry much of the offense.
Other key additions to the line-up are Adam Henrich, Kip Brennan, and rookie Ryan MacMurchy.
This season’s defense looks to be improved over the group of players the team iced last season. The addition of seven-year AHL veteran Dean Arsene was one of Springfield’s better off-season moves. Coming over from Hershey, Arsene will captain the club. The Falcons also added journeyman defenseman Chris Armstrong. Drafted in 1993 by Florida, Armstrong brings a ton of AHL and European experience to the table.
Also coming over from Europe to join the club is former Dallas prospect Matt Nickerson as well as 2008 Edmonton fourth rounder Johan Motin. Motin played last season in the Swedish Elite League and makes his North American debut. The 20-year-old will not be looked upon for much offense, but instead will be asked to play a reliable stay-at-home style of defense. However, he already has a point in two games.
Among the defensemen returning from last season is Taylor Chorney, who was last season’s top point producer from the blue line. As a rookie last year, he played a total of 68 games and chipped in 21 points for the team. If the Falcons are to improve on last season, Chorney will have to continue to produce offensively.
The Falcons will go into this season with Devan Dubnyk once again in the starting role. Last season, Dubnyk played in 62 of Springfield’s games, posting a 2.97 GAA. But he did not receive much help from his teammates and only managed 18 wins. With another season under his belt and what should be a better team in front of him, Dubnyk will most certainly improve on those 18 wins this season.
University of Alberta alumni Aaron Sorochan will start the season as the team’s back-up. Despite being a rookie, Sorochan brings four years of CWUAA experience and a never-give-up attitude that will serve him well as he takes the next step in his career.
Prospects at Training Camp
The most high-profile junior-aged prospect at Edmonton’s training camp this year was Jordan Eberle. Edmonton’s 2008 first-round pick made another strong showing at camp this season and was a late cut. He will return to the Regina Pats of the WHL and will almost certainly be on Team Canada’s WJC team in December.
Two-way center Milan Kytar also attended camp. The Slovak performed well but it was evident that another season with Saskatoon of the WHL was necessary.