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AHL News: Abbotsford Heat Sign Three Players

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In today's somewhat-relevant-to-the-Calgary-Flames news, the Abbotsford Heat have signed three players to tryout contracts: C Justin Dowling, 20, from the Swift Current Broncos to a ATO; D Josh Van Dyk, 24, from the University of Maine to an ATO; and D Russ Sinkewich, 25, from the Alaska Aces to a PTO.

More information and a couple thoughts on the players after the jump.

The effect these signings will have on the big club is negligible. They're pretty much in the no-risk, low-reward category and likely around to fill spots on the roster for injuries or other potential issues.

Both of the defenseman are likely spare bodies, as neither has a high offensive potential or a history of being terrific shutdown defensemen. Gun to my head though, I'd expect a bit more from Russ Sinkewich, and possibly a full AHL contract with the Heat next year. He's a decent sized body and (as much as I hate using this statistic, I don't have a whole lot of choice here) tied for the team lead in +/- with a +18. From what I can tell, he eats up minutes, which isn't a bad thing.

Josh Van Dyk is a bit of a mystery as he just finished his senior season with Maine, and yet is 24, rather than the 22 most seniors are. If anyone knows anything about him, please, send me an email or leave a comment.

The one signing I actually like as much as I have feelings towards any of these is Justin Dowling. Not a high end offensive player, he's consistently "pretty decent". The Pipeline Show talks about him a bit here, but the basics are he's averaged 1.02 points a game for the last three seasons some pretty bad Swift Current teams. This season he actually led the team in points with 67 in 63 games (point of comparison- the next best had 51 in 71) as well as assists with 47. To make my point about how bad this team is- he had nearly as many assists as next best player had points altogether.

Dowling is a smaller player, listed at 5'10" and 182 lbs, which means even as an overager he's had to rely on skill and perception of the ice, rather than simply being bigger than most players to put up these points.

I doubt this will have a long term effect, but I have few complaints about the signing.