In the pros: J. Schwartz, Prosser, Crabb, Sterling, Testwuide fight video

ProsserFormer Tiger Jaden Schwartz is making a good impression on Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.

He is one of a number of young stars according to NHL.com who may benefit from their  time in the AHL while veterans played in the ECHL, overseas or tried to stay in game shape on their own.

Nate Prosser and Justin Falk look ready to be the Wild’s third defensive pair. Brian Connelly is injured.

Joey Crabb took part in this Q&A.

Brett Sterling scored a natural hat trick in just over eight minutes during the first period of a 3-1 win for AHL Chicago on Friday night.

In the pros: Connelly, Dineen, McElhinney

Former Tiger Brian Connelly, pictured making a crossing pass last season,  is fifth among AHL defensemen in scoring with 10 points (two goals) in nine games for Houston.

Former captain Nick Dineen found his scoring touch again for KooKoo of the second-tier Finnish pro league with two goals Friday and another pair on Saturday.

Curtis McElhinney is fifth among AHL goalies with a 1.61 goals against, .945 saves percentage  and a 6-1-1 mark in eight games for Springfield.  No doubt, he should be rated higher because those listed ahead of him have as few as two games.

 

Thursday reading: Tigers in the pros, WMU, WCHA schedule

NHL.com interviewed former Tiger Jaden Schwartz for its regular 10 Questions feature. He has four points (two goals) in seven games with AHL Peoria.

Defenseman Brian Connelly has eight points (six assists) in six games for AHL Houston while teammate Chad Rau has three (two assists) in seven games. Kris Fredheim has appeared in two games for the Aeros.

For AHL Chicago, Brett Sterling has five points (four assists) in six games while Bill Sweatt has three (two goals) in seven games.

Mike Testwuide has one goal in two games so far this season for AHL Adirondack. Gabe Guentzel has appeared in two games for AHL Norfolk.

Here is a column focusing on Western Michigan.

This weekend’s schedule in the WCHA …

Games for Friday, November 2: Nebraska Omaha at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Colorado College at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota State at Minnesota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Boston University at North Dakota (NC), 7:37 pm CT; St. Cloud State at Denver (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT.

Games for Saturday, November 3: Nebraska Omaha at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Boston University at North Dakota (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Colorado College at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; St. Cloud State at Denver (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT.

Wild releases own WCHA preseason poll

This just in …

Admittedly, having all these WCHA preseason polls (I voted in three last month) start to get a bit redundant and silly so the Minnesota Wild organization, also chimed in.

With quite a few former WCHA players on its roster, the NHL organization (which is not as busy as usual this time of year for some reason) took time to make its own preseason poll. 

A player’s alma mater clearly affected their judgment and their greatest college rival showing up in last place (when was the last time Minnesota and North Dakota finished last in the WCHA?) showed that the players, which included Brian Connelly, Kris Fredheim, and Chad Rau, did not take it too seriously.  That is a good thing.

CC was picked to finish fourth overall.

In the pros: Bidwill, Connelly, Crabb, Fredheim, Hall, Lamoureux, Rau, Schultz

Former Tiger Kris Fredheim is in AHL Houston’s training camp, along with Brian Connelly and Chad Rau, pictured.

The ECHL Alaska Aces just got a whole lot better with the addition of three NHL regulars — Anchorage residents Joey Crabb, Scott Gomez and Nate Thompson. Aces fans should send thank you cards to Gary Bettman.

Tim Hall and former Air Force Falcon Jacques Lamoureux are also on the Aces’ training camp roster.

Stephen Schultz is on the Trenton Titans roster while Arthur Bidwill is on the Colorado Eagles camp. Most ECHL camps started Friday.

Tuesday reading: CC season preview, Rylan Schwartz, Jaden Schwartz, Connelly, Rau, Sweatt, Testwuide, Bachman, Hockey East

Incoming CC freshman Hunter Fejes, shown in red during the Coyotes prospect camp,  will be one of the six newcomers the Tigers will look to for big results this coming season.

Colorado College sports information posted its season preview.

Senior assistant captain Rylan Schwartz is one of the top players returning in Division I judging from national statistics. His 0.66 goals per game trails only Maine’s Joey Diamond, who he is tied with at 11 power-play goals last season.

RPI’s Without a Peer blog compiled the stats (ECAC first followed by national) in this post.

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz was assigned to AHL Peoria so he may continue to develop during the NHL lockout. Brian Connelly and Chad Rau were sent to AHL Houston. Bill Sweatt is headed to the Chicago Wolves as is Mike Testwuide to AHL Adirondack.

Here are five storylines to watch in Hockey East.

There are high hopes for Richard Bachman among the Dallas Stars leadership.

Former Badger Justin Schultz (remember him?) will benefit from the NHL lockout with some time spent with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons.

NHL free agency: Wild ink Connelly to two-year, two-way deal

The Wild brass continue to make smart moves including this very good depth signing. This was a smart move by former Tiger Brian Connelly, pictured in foreground, who reportedly did not seem a good fit for the Flames organization.

Tiger fans can expect Connelly to make his NHL debut and  spend a little time in St. Paul this season depending on the big club’s health.

He joins Nate Prosser and Chad Rau at the Minnesota training camp later this summer/fall.

Here is the updated list of former Tigers testing the waters of free agency as of 9a.m. MT this July 7.

They are (name, 2011-12 team):  Richard Bachman, (Dallas): Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  Brett Sterling (Blues), and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

From NHL.com …

The Minnesota Wild bolstered its defensive depth late Friday night by inking defenseman Brian Connelly to a two-year, two-way deal. The move gives the Wild an added weapon from the blue line capable of contributing at the offensive end and displaying outstanding puck moving ability and skating.

The Bloomington native split time between the Abbotsford Heat and Rockford IceHogs last season of the American Hockey League. His 52 points (6-46=52) ranked second amongst defensemen in the AHL.

Connelly has played in the AHL All-Star Game the last two seasons. At last year’s AHL Skills Competition, he represented the Western Conference in the Fastest Skater Competition.

The 26-year-old has played professionally. For three seasons, all in the AHL. Before turning pro, the blueliner was a three-year standout at Colorado College. With the Tigers, he amassed 63 points (8-55=63) and was a teammate of Nate Prosser and Chad Rau.

A left-handed shot, Connelly is listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds.