Add two players. Subtract two prospects.
The Johnstown Chiefs bolstered their defense via two trades this week, but now must fill a void after two highly-touted prospects declined to report following assignments by the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We lost two real good forwards,” said Chiefs coach Frank Anzalone, who currently has 16 players for Saturday’s opening of training camp. “Right now we only have eight forwards. But we’ve picked up two defensemen and we’re at six defensemen right now.”
The new defensemen are Bryan Nathe, acquired from Dayton for financial considerations on Tuesday, and Andrew Martens, obtained from Florida for financial considerations on Thursday.
The no-shows are 118-point scorer David Desharnais, who will return to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League as an overage player, and Kelly Czuy, a free agent who signed with the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers.
Neither player was property of the Lightning, though both had attended AHL training camp in Springfield, Mass., and were assigned to Johnstown after failing to stick with the Falcons.
Desharnais ranked third in scoring on the Chicoutimi Sagueneens last season, 12 points behind 130-point man Maxime Boisclair, another Lightning prospect assigned to Johnstown. The 5-foot-7, 177-pound Desharnais had 78 goals and 178 assists in 201 games overall with Chicoutimi.
Czuy played at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and briefly with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.
“I don’t know what to say about it,” Anzalone said. “It’s disappointing because Tampa invested a lot of time, effort and probably money into both players. They were very loyal to them. At the end of the day, how can you turn your back? Some kids do. Some agents do. It’s something that probably would be better if you do this on Aug. 10, not Oct. 5.”
Nathe, 23, played the past two seasons with Dayton. He had two goals and 17 points last year and six points in 2004-05.
Add two players. Subtract two prospects.
Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games
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Jordy Mercer doubled home Neil Walker with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
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