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.

NHL free agency: Testwuide re-signs; eight Tigers remain available

Former Tiger captain Mike Testwuide re-signed with the Flyers on Tuesday morning.

That leaves eight former Tigers (as of 11 a.m. MT) weighing their free agency options.

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 NHL.com …

11:40 a.m. – DAY 3: FLYERS INK THREE
With the third day of free agency underway, the Flyers announced three signings. Defenseman Cullen Eddy and forward Mike Testwuide will return to the Flyers organization, as will defenseman Danny Syvret who enters his third separate campaign with the team.

Eddy attended Flyers training camp for the past two seasons and appeared in 54 games for the club’s AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, where he posted 15 points (2G-13A) and 130 penalty minutes. Eddy also recorded 14 points (4G-10A) in 15 games for the Greenville Road Warriors of the ECHL this past season.

Syvret played for the Flyers from 2008-2010 and part of the 2010-11 season.

He recorded his first NHL goal with the Flyers during the 2010 NHL Winter Classic against the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park.

Overall, Syvret has four points (2G-2A) in 27 games with the Flyers.

With the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, Syvret has produced 27 goals and 79 assists for 106 points in 142 regular season games, including 57 points (12G-45A) in 76 games during the 2008-09 season to finish second among all AHL defensemen for the Phantoms during the team’s final year in Philadelphia.

Testwuide has spent the previous two seasons in Glens Falls with the Phantoms. He posted 29 points (12G-17A) in 66 games to go along with 79 penalty minutes.

Since signing with the Flyers on March 19, 2010 out of Colorado College, the 6-3, 220-pound Testwuide has recorded 30 goals and 38 assists for 68 points in 142 games with Adirondack.

In the pros: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, signings

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz scored the opening goal in his second NHL game at Anaheim Wednesday night. It was his first shot on net, seven minutes into the game.  That follows his game-winner on his first shot on Saturday. Two shots, two NHL goals. Nice average so far, huh?

Gabe Guentzel made his pro debut in a 4-3 shootout win for Syracuse against Rochester. Colin Stuart recorded an assist for the host Americans.

Former Bemidji State defenseman Brad Hunt has signed an ATO with the AHL Chicago Wolves as has St. Cloud State junior David Eddy with Calgary.

Expect Jaden Schwartz ice time to increase

This notebook item is taken from a daily notebook by StlToday.com. There’s plenty of info on the Blues’ injuries to point toward more ice time for former Tiger Jaden Schwartz when he plays again on Wednesday.

SCHWARTZ’S ICE TIME

Overall, Blues rookie Jaden Schwartz had an impressive debut Saturday, scoring a goal on his first shot in the NHL. But what impressed Hitchcock was the ability to give Schwartz 13 minutes, 50 seconds of ice time and not blink.

“I think, to me, when you don’t even think about putting a young player on the ice, and you don’t worry about him, that’s a really good sign,” Hitchcock said. “I know he’s 19 years old, but I just put him on the ice because he’s a good player, and that’s all I think about. I don’t think about ‘Man, you’ve got to protect this guy.’ He just goes out and plays.

“He’s able to do that because he’s smart. I think he’s a very, very dependable guy. I’m very comfortable playing him. He knows where to go on the ice with and without the puck.”

Schwartz saw 1:38 of power-play ice time, scoring his goal on the man-advantage by going to the front of the net and cleaning up a rebound. It wasn’t the only time Schwartz camped in the high-traffic area during the game, another surprising development for some.

“I’m not going to change the way I play or change the way I do things,” Schwartz said Sunday, after returning to St. Louis. “I’ve just learned and taught to play the way I am … you’ve got to go to the net to score goals. The defensemen are so good and the goalies are so good. You’re not going to score a whole lot of pretty goals. Some guys have got the talent to do that, but for a guy like me, his first game, I just try to stick within the system. You just go to the net.”

Saturday reading: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, Hall, playoff recaps, previews

Here’s a preview of tonight’s St. Louis at Tampa Bay game when former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will make his NHL debut. (TV: 5 p.m. Mountain FS Midwest, SUN Network).

Expect Gabe Guentzel, pictured at left, to make his pro debut Saturday night for AHL Syracuse against Adirondack and former CC teammate Mike Testwuide. Guentzel will wear No. 10 judging from the roster.

Tim Hall made his pro debut for ECHL Alaska in a 3-1 loss at Colorado. It reads like he played his defensive role well, drawing two penalties.

Here’s a lot of good information on CC and its available personnel next season by the Gazette’s Brian Gomez: CC wing Dakota Eveland will not play next season after offseason neck surgery this Tuesday. Look for one or two more 2012 commits or one of the 2013 players to be brought in a year early.

North Dakota could be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, judging from the latest Pairwise rankings, if it wins its third Broadmoor Trophy in a row against Denver tonight in the WCHA Final Five championship game. ( TV: 6 p.m. Mountain ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain). Here’s plenty of recap and preview notes.

Western Michigan cruised past Miami in the CCHA semifinals on Friday. Top remaining seed Michigan defeated last-place Bowling Green State 3-2 in double overtime to end the Falcons’s memorable run at an NCAA berth.

In Hockey East, Maine downed Boston U in one semifinal while Boston College ended No. 7 seed Providence’s Cinderella run. Maine plays BC at 6 p.m. Mountain (TV: NBC Sports Network).

In the ECAC, Harvard kept its NCAA hopes alive by advancing to tonight’s championship against top seed Union. Harvard is rated at No. 19 in the Pairwise and must win the automatic berth to move on.

In the Atlantic, Air Force will take on No. 3 seed and host RIT tonight (Radio: 1300 AM, 5 p.m. Mountain)

No NHL debut for Jaden Schwartz tonight

A link to the full article is at the bottom of this post.

Jaden Schwartz experienced the first day of the rest of his NHL life at the United Center on Tuesday. The newest member of the Blues, who was playing college hockey three days ago, skated through his first professional practice.

The tempo certainly was a little more rapid than what he was accustomed to at Colorado College. Afterward, Schwartz looked like he had run a marathon. But he enjoyed every sweaty second.

“You’re definitely pretty nervous,” said Schwartz, the team’s No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL draft. “I was excited but obviously really nervous. So I tried to control that as best I could and tried to have fun with it.”

Schwartz will not be in the lineup tonight when the Blues play the Blackhawks and coach Ken Hitchcock wasn’t sure when the 19-year old — who signed with the team on Monday — might make his debut. But Hitchcock indicated it would be sooner rather than later. He thought Schwartz looked comfortable.

“He’s a pretty confident guy,” Hitchcock said. “I guess when it’s his turn to play he’ll be nervous a little bit. But I think the one thing is, he’s comfortable around the guys. It’s not like he’s walking in new here. He’s been around the organization a little bit at various levels. He knows management, knows some of the players, so I think he’s comfortable there.”

Schwartz is likely to play on the current Blues swing, which takes the team to Carolina for a Thursday game and Tampa Bay for a Saturday game before it returns home.

“You can’t have enough good players at this time and I think with the style of game he plays, with him being such a confident 200-foot player … you never know,” Hitchcock added. “You’re going to be using these guys if we don’t get (Alex) Steen and (Matt) D’Agostini back … He’s going to be a necessary add come playoff time.”

Forwards Steen and D’Agostini remain sidelined by concussion symptoms.

Owens happy for Jaden and Schwartz family

Few were surprised that former Tigers sophomore left wing Jaden Schwartz left college early to go pro, especially when offered an NHL contract and a spot on the big club roster the rest of this season.

Plenty may be a little disappointed, a little selfishly perhaps, that Schwartz chose not to play another season in Colorado Springs. Many of those same fans are happy for Schwartz.

Count Tigers coach Scott Owens among them.

“We knew there was a good chance he was leaving,” Owens said Tuesday morning, the day after Schwartz flew to Chicago to meet his new teammates. “We knew coming in he was not going to be a four-year player. He had an opportunity to leave last summer. Whenever you have an elite player, you selfishly hope for another year.”

That said, Owens was pleased to have the 14th overall draft pick (2010) for the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues for two years and happy that he made the jump directly to the NHL. It reflects well on the Tigers program.

When Schwartz makes his debut, perhaps as early as Tuesday at the Blackhawks, he will be the 14th former Tiger to play in the NHL this season

“We are excited for him and his whole family,” Owens said.  “He’s realizing a dream.”

Tuesday reading: Commit on choosing CC; Jaden analysis; Final 5; polls

CC commit Jared Hanson talks about why he chose CC:

“It’s every kid’s dream growing up,” Hanson told his hometown newspaper on Monday by cellphone from Lincoln, Neb., where he plays for the Lincoln Stars of the Tier I United States Hockey League. “I’m very excited about it and am looking forward to it a lot.”

Hanson, 19, who left Palmer after his sophomore season to play at a higher level, is in his second full year with the Stars. The 6-foot, 190-pound forward is second on his team with 22 goals and third on the squad with 43 points and a plus-27 rating. In 97 career games, Hanson has tallied 31 goals and 36 assists with a plus-39 rating.

His play with the Tier I franchise caught the attention of a number of Division I scouts, including the coaches of the storied Colorado College program.

Penn State, Ohio State and Harvard were among the Division I squads battling for Hanson. Ultimately, Hanson opted for a future at the Colorado Springs, Colo., school.

“The hockey program is one of the best in the country annually. The coaching staff is great, not to mention great academics,” Hanson said. “It was kind of an easy decision for me.”

Hanson said he seriously considered schools such as Harvard and Penn State. Northeastern and St. Cloud State also were in the mix.

For more of the article, click here.

This STLToday.com columnist questions why the Blues sent former Tiger Jaden Schwartz immediately to the NHL roster.

Minnesota Duluth prepares for the WCHA Final Five. The Bulldogs play Friday against the winner of the No. 6 seed Michigan Tech/No. 3 Denver winner. The Huskies have enjoyed some success against Denver this season going 1-0-1 in Houghton.

No. 4 seed North Dakota, which plays No. 5 St. Cloud State on Thursday is an NCAA bubble team. SCSU, rated No. 19 in the latest Pairwise rankings, may have to win twice to make the NCAAs. No. 1 Minnesota awaits the winner on Friday night.

Colorado College is out of both national polls, receiving some votes in the USCHO.com poll and nothing in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings.

Blues confirm deal with Jaden Schwartz

Here’s the St. Louis Blues press release.

“It’s been a dream of mine to play in the NHL and I’m excited to be able to do it as a St. Louis Blue,” said Schwartz in the release. “The Blues are having a terrific season and I will do whatever they need me to do just to help out.”

Here’s the STLToday.com article:

CHICAGO • With 12 games remaining on the schedule, the Blues were in first place in the NHL by four points when they woke up in Chicago on Monday. There was a four-point cushion between them and the New York Rangers atop the league standings, five points between the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference.

And the Blues now have something else going for them as postseason beckons.

The team finalized a thee-year entry level contract with Colorado College sophomore Jaden Schwartz on Monday, adding the 19-year old to the parent roster.

Schwartz, the Blues’ No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL draft and 14th selection overall, will join the team in Chicago tonight and will be available on Tuesday against the Blackhawks.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong made it clear Schwartz’s status as a player ultimately rests with coach Ken Hitchcock.

“Ken knows hockey, does his research,” Armstrong said. “He will make those decisions.”

To that end, Hitchcock is well aware of Schwartz and what he has to offer. One has to assume the Blues would not swipe a contract year off their prospect’s NHL clock unless they felt he would get playing time.

“He’s going to spend the rest of the year with us,” Armstrong added. “The way the rule is written, if he signs an NHL deal this year, he can’t go to the minors. So he’s signing to be available for our roster for the the rest of the season.”

“Our options were three: No 1, he was going to stay in college and he decided he doesn’t want to do that. No. 2, sign him and put him in Peoria and start the three-year clock ticking next year. Or No. 3, make him available for our team this year.

“After talking to our scouting staff and Dave Taylor in particular, who has seen him play two of last three weekends. And in looking at our roster now, and our injuries now, we thought it was worth getting him under contract to play for our team this year.”

In the pros: Rau called up; Sterling traded to AHL Portland

Former Tiger Chad Rau was called up by Minnesota recently.

The St. Louis organization has traded former Tiger Brett Sterling, pictured at left, from AHL Peoria to AHL Portland, Maine, an affiliate of the Phoenix organization.

Here’s the official release with stats.

Both traded players are former AHL Rookie of the Years,