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.

NHL free agency: Bachman re-signs with Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has signed restricted free agent goaltender Richard Bachman to a one-year, one-way contract for the 2012-13 season worth $625,000.

Bachman, 24, posted an 8-5-1 record with a 2.77 goals against average and a .910 save percentage in 18 games with Dallas last season. Bachman earned a win in his NHL debut on Dec. 10, 2011 at Los Angeles, and recorded his first career NHL shutout on Dec. 12, 2011 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Bachman became the first rookie goaltender in Dallas Stars history to win his first three NHL starts, and the first to start seven consecutive games. He was also the first goaltender in Dallas Stars history, and the third in franchise history, to shutout the Rangers (also Gilles Meloche and Gump Worsley).

Bachman represented the United States for the first time in his career at the 2012 IIHF World Championships, stopping 17 of 19 shots en-route to a win over Kazakhstan in his only appearance at the tournament.

Originally drafted in the fourth round (No. 120 overall) by Dallas in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Bachman spent two seasons at Colorado College before making his professional debut with the Idaho Steelheads, Dallas Stars’ ECHL affiliate, during the 2009-10 season. Bachman was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team in 2009-10 and finished as runner-up for the ECHL Goaltender of the Year award.

Prior to his tenure as backup goaltender last season for the Stars, Bachman spent two partial seasons and one full season (2010-11) with the Texas Stars, Dallas’ affiliate in the American Hockey League. In 78 career games with Texas, Bachman posted a 39-29-6 record with a 2.37 GAA and nine shutouts.

Here are the remaining available free agents (all unrestricted) as of 2 p.m. Mountain on Thursday: They are (name, 2011-12 team): Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

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.

Friday reading: Duluth, SCSU, UMass, outdoor games, CC free agents

Three former Minnesota-Duluth defensemen signed NHL contracts.

St. Cloud State is bringing in a Finnish forward this fall along with other updates on the Huskies.

UMass is turned down for the second time this week. The search committee for a new head coach is now regrouping. This story suggests why the job may not be all that attractive. Here is more from the UMass fan blog wondering what the deal is.

Some outdoor hockey games will be played in a 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre in Croatia, pictured, by some European leagues this Sept. 14 and 16. The facility has hosted a number of big-time music acts over the years and seats 5,000.

Here is the updated list of former CC Tigers testing the waters of free agency as of 11 a.m. MT this July 6th.

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

From the GF Herald Twitter feed: Brendan O’Donnell, who missed the second half of the season after shoulder surgery, is playing at Tampa’s development camp.

NHL free agency: Available Tigers update

Here is the updated list of former CC Tigers testing the waters of free agency as of 11 a.m. MT this July 4th.

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

Of those listed, Bachman has the best chance of an NHL-only contract while the others are looking for two-way deals.