Tracey has updates on players and events that have taken place by the Devils’ ECHL affiliate the Adirondack Thunder, plus we take a look at newly named AHL All-Star forward Joey Anderson of the Binghamton Devils for this edition of the Bites.
Joey Anderson has been selected to the 2020 AHL All-Star event held on Jan 26-27 in Ontario, California representing the BDevils. The 21-year-old forward was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the third round and #73 overall in 2016. He joins the previous list of representatives for the BDevils in Bracken Kearns, Jacob MacDonald (2018) and Mackenzie Blackwood, John Quenneville (2019).
Anderson played for two seasons (2016-’18) at the University of Minnesota Duluth while amassing 64 points (23g, 41a) in 75 contests for the Bulldogs. He saw some time in the NHL with the Devils and recorded 4 goals and 3 assists in 34 games during the 2018-’19 season but landed on the IR with an ankle injury that involved a collision with the net, and surgery.
The 5’ 11”, 203 lb. forward currently has 12 goals and 20 assists in 39 games for Binghamton, tied for second with Brett Seney amongst team leaders with 32 points and shows discipline with just one penalty called against him so far this season.
The native out of Fridley, MN has been a staple on the first line paired with Ben Street and Seney much of the first half of the season but has recently contributed on the second line with Mikhail Maltsev and Chris Conner since the acquisition of Nick Merkley in taking his spot.
Special teams play has Anderson serving as a fixture on the top PP unit alongside Colton White, Seney, Merkley and Maltsev and the second PK unit with White, Matt Tennyson, and Ryan Schmelzer.
While Anderson is deep rooted in competing and is willing to give his all in what it takes to win, this is what he had to say last year during his rookie campaign;
“I want to keep showing the intangible things that have gotten me where I am in hockey,” Anderson said. “Winning puck battles, being smart on the puck, being in good spots, winning battles. The biggest thing is being hard to play against, being heavy and playing a fast game.” ~ Feb 8, 2019 for NJ.com
In the latest of the annual post for each quarter of BDevils’ hockey, @RogieVachon30 scored a grade of 91 as a member of the Panel with the 2nd Quarter Report results.
The 2nd year forward is currently in the last of a three-year ELC signed in Apr 2018 and is waiver exempt through the 2021-’22 season. I expect him to continue to improve with his development as the parent club continues to show patience with their prospects with Anderson being a prime example competing in his second full season in the pros.
Yes, he is qualified for a call-up at some point during the second half of the season to help gauge where he is currently at in the organization. Only time will tell if NJ shares the same sentiments.
Tracey’s Updates From Adirondack
It’s the ECHL All-Star Break this week, and it could not have come at a better time for the Adirondack Thunder.
The team’s struggles have continued during the month of January. Since the last update, the Thunder have won just two of five games played, and going into the break this week, Adirondack finds themselves outside of the playoff picture, with a record of 15-18-5-5 and 40 points, good for fifth place in the North Division. They sit two points behind fourth place Maine and 18 points behind first place Newfoundland.
Free agent forward Robbie Payne was selected as the Thunder representative at this year’s ECHL All-Star Classic, held tonight in Wichita, Kansas, but will not participate due to injury. Much like the AHL and NHL, the ECHL will also do a 3-on-3 tournament with four teams, but with a different concept—instead of four divisions, the host Wichita Thunder will be split into two teams, and will face off against the Eastern and Western Conference squads. Mixed in between games of the tournament will be a brief Skills Competition.
After the break, Adirondack will finish the month of January with four out of five games on home ice, starting with a two-game set against Brampton on Friday and Saturday. After a Sunday afternoon game in Worcester, the Thunder will host Maine on January 29th and 31st.
When a team is starving for offense—the team’s average of 2.91 goals per game ranks 20th in the ECHL—they look for ways to improve. Last Monday, the Thunder hoped to do just that, bringing back one of last year’s leading scorers via a three-way trade with Cincinnati and Norfolk.
The Thunder dealt defenseman Gabriel Verpaelst, who had become a fan favorite in Glens Falls thanks to his physical play, and forward Alex Tonge, who had 9 points in 14 games after coming over from Florida, to the Admirals, while receiving defenseman Alex Jaeckle from Norfolk and forward John Edwardh from the Cyclones.
Edwardh, who split part of the last two seasons with Binghamton after finishing his collegiate career at UMass-Lowell, had signed as a free agent with Florida last summer, but was dealt to Cincinnati prior to the start of the regular season. In 33 games for the Cyclones, he scored 11 goals and added 11 assists, numbers far off from his outstanding rookie season with the Thunder, where he was tied for the team lead in goals scored with 27. He made his return to the Adirondack lineup on Wednesday at home against Maine, going scoreless in a 4-1 loss, then broke out with a four-point night (1 goal, 3 assists) in a 5-0 win over Worcester on Saturday.
Working Without a Backup
Since the calendar has turned to 2020, the Thunder have relied solely on goaltender Eamon McAdam to carry the workload in net, with Evan Cormier going back up through the organization after an injury to Mackenzie Blackwood and the brief return of Cory Schneider to New Jersey.
Instead of acquiring a second goaltender through signing or by trade, as the Thunder have done twice this season with other Cormier callups, the team has elected to use local emergency backup goaltenders—or EBUGs—leaving McAdam to essentially work without insurance should something happen to him. Adirondack has gone to the EBUG option 10 times this season out of 43 games played. When the team returns from the break, Sean Romeo—who was acquired from Florida on Tuesday—will become the fourth different non-Devil goaltender to split time with McAdam.
- Charlie Curti ~ (camp invite): Curti has 7 goals and 11 assists in 37 games. He has a goal and an assist in his last five games.
- James Henry ~ (camp invite): Henry has 8 goals and 19 assists in 37 games. He has a goal and two assists in his last five games.
- Eamon McAdam ~ (AHL): McAdam is 9-13-1 with a 3.29 GAA and .890 save percentage. He picked up his first shutout of the season—and broke a personal two-game losing streak—in a 5-0 win over Worcester on Saturday. His 13 losses are tied for the league lead, and he ranks fourth among goaltenders in minutes played (1,514).
- Ara Nazarian ~ (AHL): Nazarian has 7 goals and 11 assists in 34 games. He has two goals in his last four games.
- Nikita Popugaev ~ (AHL): Popugaev leads all Thunder rookies in scoring with 5 goals and 16 assists in 33 games. He has a goal and an assist in his last five games.
- Matt Salhany ~ (camp invite): Salhany ranks second on the team in scoring, with 12 goals and 17 assists in 42 games. He had a 4-point night (2 goals, 2 assists) against Worcester on Saturday.
- Michael Sdao ~ (camp invite): Sdao remains out of the lineup due to injury.
- Colby Sissons ~ (ELC): Sissons continues to lead all Thunder defensemen in scoring with 2 goals and 20 assists in 37 games. He also ranks among the ECHL’s top 20 in defensemen scoring.
- Kelly Summers ~ (PTO): Summers has 5 goals and 8 assists in 29 games. He has a goal and 2 assists in his last four games.
- Ryan Walker ~ (camp invite): Walker has 4 goals and 5 assists in 32 games.
Thanks for reading and look forward to your comments!