AHL Logo Ranking: No. 17 – San Diego Gulls

Jared Clinton
San Diego Gulls logo (via SportsLogos.net/Chris Creamer)

(The AHL has undergone a season of change and one-third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.)

The San Diego Gulls are preparing for the inaugural season, but it doesn’t appear as if it’ll be an incredibly successful one for the Gulls.

San Diego is inheriting the former Norfolk Admirals, which would have been quite the story were these the Admirals of the early-2000s. Unfortunately, the Admirals of the past eight seasons haven’t quite been the same club. Sure, the change in affiliation from Chicago Blackhawks to Tampa Bay Lightning to Ducks has had something to do with it, but the Gulls roster hasn’t been a top for any of its three seasons as the Anaheim affiliate.

In 2014-15, there was realistically only one team worse than the then-Admirals — the 50-point, basement-dwelling Iowa Wild. But no team was as offensively stunted as the Admirals, who scored only 168 goals over the course of the season, and were it not for netminding efforts Jason LaBarbera the season could have been much, much worse.

There are some new pieces that should make fans in San Diego feel a bit more hopeful, however. Anaheim scooped up Chris Mueller, Harry Zolnierczyk, Joe Piskula, Shane O’Brien and Matt Hackett this off-season, who will fight for starts in the AHL with either John Gibson or Anton Khudobin — whichever doesn’t land an NHL backup gig this season.

Mueller is coming off of a 40-point campaign with Hartford, which would have tied him as the leading scorer in Norfolk this past season, while Zolnierczyk’s 44 points would have made him the team leader. Piskula, 31, and O’Brien, 32, are veteran presences — and the only players to have celebrated 24th birthdays — on a very young D-corps that includes Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour.

Realistically, things can’t get much worse for the franchise after what was their worst season since affiliating with the Ducks. Or we hope not, at least. Read more

Ducks sign Santorelli to one-year deal, continue to prepare for Cup run

Jared Clinton
Mike Santorelli (Scott Audette/Getty Images)

Were it not for a Game 7 loss at the Honda Center in the 2014-15 Western Conference final, the Anaheim Ducks could very well be celebrating the franchise’s second Stanley Cup this summer. But with yet another addition, the Ducks looked primed for the opportunity to celebrate another championship following the upcoming campaign.

The Ducks announced they have inked Mike Santorelli to a one-year, $875,000 contract, and Monday’s signing is yet another addition to a roster that already had a lot of promise for the 2015-16 season.

While Santorelli’s not the biggest name available — he’s not a Cody Franson or Christian Ehrhoff — adding the speedy pivot gives Anaheim a depth center option that can contribute both offensively and defensively. That’s not to mention Santorelli comes at a cheap enough price that should Ducks GM Bob Murray want or need to add another piece, he could do so seeing as Anaheim has nearly $7.5 million in open cap space, according to General Fanager. Read more

Why Carl Hagelin’s new four-year, $16 million deal looks good for Anaheim

Jared Clinton
Carl Hagelin was traded to the Anaheim Ducks on June 27. (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)

When the New York Rangers dealt Carl Hagelin to the Anaheim Ducks at the draft, it was a trade made not because the Rangers had no more use for the speedy winger, but because New York simply couldn’t afford to pay Hagelin what he was asking.

Over his four seasons in the NHL, Hagelin, 26, had been a steady 15-goal, 30-point player and, as a restricted free agent, he was due for a healthy raise on the $2.25 million he had earned over the past two seasons.

Well, Hagelin got that raise Friday, signing a four-year, $16 million deal with the Ducks that will keep him locked up until the 2018-19 season. And at an average cap hit of only $4 million per year, the Blueshirts might be kicking themselves in two years’ time. Read more

The Mighty Ducks make a triumphant return on Anaheim’s reported new third jersey

Jared Clinton
Anaheim Ducks reported third jersey logo. (via SportsLogos.net)

Sometimes you just have to give the people what they want. And it’s hard to deny fans league-wide want to see the return of the classic Anaheim Mighty Ducks logo, so that’s exactly what fans are going to get.

The Ducks announced Monday that they would be unveiling a new third jersey this coming season and that it would be worn for the first time on Oct. 16 when Anaheim faces off against the Colorado Avalanche. With the announcement made, it didn’t take long before Icethetics’ Chris Smith had the dirt on the new threads.

According to Icethetics, the Ducks new jersey will bring back the old fan-favorite logo, with the crest popping off the front of a bright orange sweater. Take a look: Read more

Ducks, Silfverberg agree to four-year, $15 million contract

Jared Clinton
Jakob Silfverberg (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Jakob Silfverberg’s big post-season has paid off handsomely, as the right winger inked a four-year, $15 million deal with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks announced Silfverberg’s signing Thursday afternoon and with the young winger locked up to a new deal — one which carries a cap hit of $3.75 million — Anaheim has more than $12 million in available cap space for the upcoming season.

Silfverberg, 24, didn’t necessarily have a breakout regular season. He scored 13 goals and 39 points in 2014-15, which was only a slightly better scoring pace than 2013-14. It’s not just his scoring that makes Silfverberg a quality asset for Anaheim, though. Read more

Matthew Tkachuk and the boys of summer headline The Hot List

Matthew Tkachuk. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

A Hot List in the middle of summer? Why not? There’s plenty of prospects on the ice right now, what with Canada hosting teams in Calgary and Team USA defending home ice in Lake Placid. From world junior prep to Ivan Hlinka tryouts for Canada’s under-18s, there are some important viewings going on right now for the international squads, so let’s take a look at some of the kids who are standing out so far. Players are listed with their presumed 2015-16 squads.

Matthew Tkachuk, LW – London Knights (OHL)

The exciting thing about Tkachuk is that his star will continue to rise as he continues to grow. Already 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Tkachuk showed off his numerous skills in USA White’s 10-4 destruction of Sweden. In fact, Tkachuk had a hat trick in the game.

“I consider myself a power forward and I mix in some skill, too,” Tkachuk said. “My best attribute is my hockey IQ. I use that to get me where I want to be, get to pucks and get around the net, where I am most of the time.”

The son of former NHL great Keith Tkachuk, Matthew has a big hockey family. Jimmy and Kevin Hayes are cousins, while Casey Fitzgerald, his teammate last year with the U.S. National Team Development Program, is a second cousin. Playing for the NTDP seemed like the best career move.

“I just knew it was the best decision for me,” he said. “Seeing all the guys who have moved forward to the NHL – Patrick Kane, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Ryan Kesler – all those good players went there.”

Tkachuk was almost headed to Notre Dame for this season, but signed on with the powerhouse Knights, instead. He’ll go from riding shotgun with top 2016 prospect Auston Matthews at the NTDP to playing with a bevy of huge talents in London such as Christian Dvorak and Mitch Marner. This will be a big development year and Tkachuk already has a role model picked out.

“I watch a lot of James van Riemsdyk,” he said. “I try to play exactly like he does. I’m a pretty big guy, I like to be around the net and I try to mix in some skill.”

Tkachuk wants to work on his quickness, but with such a fast mind, he’s already a handful for opponents. Draft eligible in 2016.

Mitch Marner, RW – London Knights (OHL)

The patience with the puck and the vision to find his man are two aspects of Marner’s game that are so fun to watch – unless you’re an opposing team. The Knights star displayed that in Canada’s 4-1 world junior camp win over Russia on Monday and there’s no reason to suspect the points machine will slow down anytime soon. Drafted fourth overall by Toronto in 2015.

Mikko Rantanen, RW – TPS Turku (Fin.)

Thanks to an out clause in his Finnish contract, Rantanen could come to North America this season and I think he has a shot at the NHL. USA Blue found that out the hard way in Lake Placid as the big, gifted winger thrashed the Yanks for three assists in a 10-3 stomping on Monday. Drafted 10th overall by Colorado in 2015.

Dante Fabbro, D – Penticton Vees (BCHL)

One of two Vees to watch this season alongside center Tyson Jost, Fabbro is a smart, skilled blueliner who doesn’t mind jumping in the rush. His rocket shot netted him a goal for Canada Red in his second under-18 camp game and he had an assist in the other. Fabbro is currently looking at NCAA options. Draft eligible in 2016.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, RW – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)

The talented winger would have been a great candidate for the list thanks to his overtime winner for Canada White’s second win over Canada Red at the under-18 camp, but there’s more to Dubois. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder goes to the net, protects the puck and has great playmaking vision. Draft eligible in 2016.

Brock Boeser, RW – University of North Dakota (NCHC)

As I’ve been telling anyone who listens, scoring in the USHL is tough and Boeser was one of the best with Waterloo. Thanks to his hard shot, Sweden learned that the hard way in Lake Placid as the UND recruit threw up a hat trick in a 10-4 devastation of the Tre Kroner. Drafted 23rd overall by Vancouver in 2015.

Carter Hart, G – Everett Silvertips (WHL)

Though Hart doesn’t have ideal NHL size at six-feet tall, the netminder makes up for it with his athleticism and great post-to-post movement. A breakout underage star for the Tips last season, he’s been solid for Canada Red’s under-18 squad so far. Draft eligible in 2016.

Sonny Milano, LW – Flint Firebirds (OHL)

One of the most experienced players at Team USA’s camp, Milano makes his name by dazzling in the offensive zone. Those sick hands and quick feet helped him notch two goals in USA White’s 5-2 win over Finland. Drafted 16th overall by Columbus in 2014.

Julius Nattinen, C – JYP (Fin.)

A big, talented pivot who impressed scouts last season by adding some nice bite to his game, Nattinen had two goals in Finland’s 10-3 bombing of USA Blue. He’ll take on a bigger role with JYP’s top squad in 2015-16, where his puck control skills will be welcome. Drafted 59th overall by Anaheim in 2015.

Rasmus Asplund, C – Farjestad (SHL)

Asplund began to turn heads last season and has brought up comparisons to Henrik Zetterberg thanks to his all-around game. Though he is playing wing for Sweden in Lake Placid, Asplund is good on faceoffs and is dangerous on both special teams. He has two goals and three points through two games. Draft eligible in 2016.

Igor Bobkov leaves Ducks’ crowded crease, heads for KHL opportunity

Jared Clinton
Igor Bobkov (Lance Thomson/Getty Images)

With Frederik Andersen, John Gibson and Anton Khudobin ahead of him on the Anaheim Ducks’ depth chart, Igor Bobkov couldn’t find his way into an NHL crease. As such, he’s decided to head home.

Bobkov, a 24-year-old Russian netminder, was a third-round pick of the Ducks in 2009, but hadn’t been much more than an AHL backup or ECHL starter in the Anaheim organization since he made his full-time professional debut in 2012-13. During the lockout-shortened campaign, Bobkov was the backup goaltender with the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, where he posted an 11-17-0 record, 3.13 goals-against average and .903 save percentage.

Those 28 games in 2012-13 would be more chances than Bobkov would get over the next two seasons, however. Even with a litany of injuries between the pipes for the Ducks didn’t lead to a chance at the NHL ,or even AHL starting duty, for Bobkov. Instead, Anaheim brought Jason LaBarbera up from Norfolk and signed free agent Ilya Bryzgalov when there was a need in goal this past season.

Coincidentally, Bobkov will be joining the KHL’s Admiral Vladivostok, according to Sports-Express’ Igor Eronko. Read more