Yesterday was Clear Day in the American Hockey League, the day by which AHL teams must minimize their rosters to twenty-two players who will be eligible to play for the team for the remainder of the season and the Calder Cup Playoffs, and the complete lists were released earlier today.
After assigning three players to the ECHL late last month in Ryley Grantham, Bryan Cameron, and Josh Meyers, all older players, the Heat made something of an interesting move last week when they loaned defenceman Keith Seabrook to the Manitoba Moose, Vancouver's main AHL affiliate, in return for forward MacGregor Sharp. Sharp was included on Abbotsford's final Clear Day roster while Seabrook was left off of Manitoba's list.
None of the three aforementioned players made Abbotsford's final list, and neither did goaltender Matt Keetley, who, with an SV% under .900, has been out-dulled by third-string back-up Jean-Philippe Lamoureux this season.
These players can only be re-called in the event of an injury and/or emergency re-call. Signed junior players can also be added to Abbotsford's roster once their season has ended, which means someone like Ryan Howse could see some time for the Heat later in the season. At this point it seems unlikely that the Heat will make the post-season as they sit in fifth place in the North Division with a record of 31-25-9, although they are only three points behind the leading Hamilton Bulldogs, but the Bulldogs have three games in hand.
The Heat's full Clear Day list is as follows:
MacGregor Sharp (VAN)
Quintin Laing (WASH)
Joe Piskula (PHI)
Current roster players left off the list:
I'm no expert, but I'm assuming the players that didn't make the final cut will have to be assigned to the ECHL if they weren't loaned out to other clubs, which is a shame for guys like John Armstrong and Jon Rheault; after struggling with injuries for the majority of his junior and AHL career, Armstrong has appeared in all but one game for the Heat this season but has just six goals and 13 points, while Rheault is Abbotsford's third leading scorer, with 10 goals and 28 points--tied with Brodie and just behind Nemisz and Keith. MacMillan has five goals and 10 points in 50 games this season after being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in the summer.
After a 5-4 win over the Houston Aeros on Sunday in which Kotalik was the hero, the Heat have fifteen games remaining in the regular season, including six against the division-leading Bulldogs, Montreal's top AHL affiliate.