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.
“Nathe wanted a change of scenery,” Anzalone said. “He’s coming and we’re hopeful he’ll have a good year. We’ve been able to upgrade a little at that position. We’ve been assigned four defensemen by Tampa. We’re trying to make our team as good as it can be.”
Martens, 25, played NCAA hockey with Bemidji State University, scoring 11 goals and 40 points in 101 games. He appeared in five regular season games for the ECHL’s Greenville Grrrowl, registering an assist, and played six postseason games, with one assist.
“Martens went to the Florida Panthers rookie camp and played pretty decent,” Anzalone said. “The Florida Everblades (Panthers’ affiliate) in our league have an overload of players. His agent made it a point to (NHL) Florida that he wants him to have a place to play. We feel we have a good player who wants to come here.”
Add two players. Subtract two prospects.
Pirates, Jays rained out
The Toronto Blue Jays' spring training game at the Pittsburgh Pirates was rained out Thursday.
The game will not be made up.
Pirates rough up Blue Jays’ Morrow
Brandon Morrow allowed five runs and six hits over three innings in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 6-4 loss Wednesday to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Morrow was making his second appearance since a season-ending forearm injury last May. On Feb. 28, the right-hander gave up two hits and one run in two relief innings.
Steelers sign Polamalu, cut Foote
Troy Polamalu and Heath Miller are doing their part to help the Pittsburgh Steelers get under the 2014 salary cap.
The eight-time Pro Bowl safety and the venerable tight end both signed new three-year contracts with the team on Wednesday designed to give the Steelers some cap relief before the new league year begins next week.
Pens pick up pair of forwards
The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t go for the big splash at the trade deadline this time.
General manager Ray Shero believes the little ripples his team made instead can be just as effective as the franchise pursues its fourth Stanley Cup.
Penguins snap out of slump
Matt Niskanen scored his second goal of the game 7:29 into the third period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Tuesday night to snap a three-game skid.
Niskanen and the Penguins helped ruin the return of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne in his first game since Oct. 22 following an E. coli infection in his surgically repaired left hip.
Morton throws three scoreless innings in Pirates victory
Charlie Morton allowed one hit in three scoreless innings, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.
Morton did not strike out a batter, but he kept Detroit off the bases during his short stint, aside from Don Kelly’s second-inning double.
Alvarez, Martin hit two-run shots in Bucs’ win
Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin hit two-run homers off Brandon Workman, who started in place of injured Jake Peavy, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Boston Red Sox 7-6 Monday.
Pittsburgh leadoff batter Starling Marte reached on an infield single in the first that stopped an 0-for-9 start, and Alvarez homered to right off Workman with two outs.
- Pirates topple Phillies and Burnett
Blackhawks hammer Pens
The swirling snow and frigid conditions made it even more fun for Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Toews had two goals and an assist at a picturesque Soldier Field, and the Blackhawks beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Saturday night in the finale of the NHL Stadium Series.
Bucs tie Rays in 10 innings
Wandy Rodriguez had a solid spring training debut while facing major league batters for the first time in nearly nine months, and the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays played to a 2-all tie in 10 innings.
Rodriguez worked one inning for the Pirates, did not allow a hit and struck out two. It was a good first step back for the left-hander, who missed most of last season due to persistent forearm pain.
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- Pirates, Jays rained out