Monday, March 4, 2013

Heeter, Harper to Trenton 3/4

Michael Leighton's arrival in Glens Falls gave the Adirondack Phantoms three goaltenders, which is not an ideal situation, but one of them was assigned to the ECHL's Trenton Titans Monday evening.

Rookie Cal Heeter was sent to Trenton by the Philadelphia Flyers, the Phantoms announced, and winger Shane Harper is also Trenton-bound. Both transactions make some sense, roster-wise.

The Phantoms do not like carrying three goalies -- there are only two nets in practice -- and Leighton is poised to see the bulk of the starts during his time with Adirondack to get him used to playing games again. He has started just two games since April 2012, and said after Sunday's game that played a major role in Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren's decision to send him to the AHL.

The Flyers want Heeter to continue his development, and he will have a better chance to play games in the ECHL. He will still be battling for time with New Jersey Devils farmhand Scott Wedgewood, but Heeter will likely play more in Trenton than he would in Adirondack with Leighton here. It is similar to when Heeter was assigned to Trenton in January, after Brian Boucher joined the Phantoms.

Heeter is 8-13-2 with Adirondack, posting a 2.96 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. The Phantoms will use Scott Munroe as Leighton's back-up, and he can spell Leighton when needed.

Harper, who had 27 points in 70 games last season, has struggled to light the lamp with Adirondack this year, scoring eight points in 42 games. He was sent to the ECHL in January to play more minutes and hopefully rediscover his scoring touch, but the four points he posted in three ECHL games has not translated to the AHL since his return. He has just one goal and five points in his last 19 games, and the demotion appears to clear the way for David Laliberte or Mitch Wahl to re-join the line-up.

Laliberte had been scoreless in five games before Phantoms coach Terry Murray made him a healthy scratch in games Saturday and Sunday. That's more than enough time for a veteran like Laliberte to get the message, and he is a player that can play on both a scoring and checking line for Adirondack. Harper is more of an exclusive top-six player, and he will now have a chance to do that in the ECHL.

Wahl, another healthy scratch Sunday, could also take Harper's spot. Murray wants the center, who was a minus-five in his two games, to be more responsible in his one-on-one battles without the puck.

The moves give the Phantoms 13 healthy forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.

Until next time,


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