Friday, March 1, 2013

A slew of transactions (UPDATED) 3/1

Tom Sestito is reportedly headed west, while the Adirondack Phantoms are gaining an AHL all-star goalie and could also welcome a couple other young prospects to the team later this season.

TSN is reporting that the Vancouver Canucks claimed the 25-year-old Sestito on waivers Friday. The Philadelphia Flyers had sent him to the Phantoms on a 14-day conditioning assignment, but he needed to clear waivers in order to remain in the American Hockey League beyond those two weeks.

The Canucks like what they see in the 6-foot-5, 230-pound forward, who had become expendable in Philadelphia with the play of recent Phantoms call-ups like Tye McGinn and Harry Zolnierczyk and Philadelphia's acquisition of Simon Gagne. He will bring added physicality to Vancouver's line-up.

He will also help to replace Aaron Volpatti, who Washington claimed from Vancouver yesterday. And the loss of his contract gives Philadelphia some extra flexibility, should they decide to make a trade.

Meanwhile, TSN also reported Flyers goalie Michael Leighton cleared waivers, which means he can freely be assigned to the minor leagues. There has been no official word on that transaction yet, though it is unlikely the Flyers would want to keep his $900,000 salary at the NHL level and have it count against the salary cap when they can sent him to the AHL, where it will not cost them anything.

EDIT: Leighton has been assigned to Adirondack, the Phantoms announced.

Leighton, 31, an all-star at the AHL level, appears to have lost his back-up goaltender job to Brian Boucher. Phantoms coach Terry Murray spoke yesterday about Leighton, calling him an "outstanding" AHL goaltender. With Scott Munroe and Cal Heeter already between the pipes, it is not immediately clear what will become of Adirondack's goalie situation if Leighton is assigned here.

One possibility would see the Phantoms go with three goaltenders for the time being, much like they did when Brian Boucher first arrived -- though all parties acknowledged that wasn't the ideal situation. Another option is to assign one of Munroe or Heeter to the team's ECHL affiliate, the Trenton Titans, like they did with Heeter after placing Niko Hovinen on unconditional waivers.

Additionally, the Flyers signed goaltender Anthony Stolarz and forward Brandon Alderson to entry-level contracts. Stolarz was Philadelphia's second-round pick in the 2012 draft, while Alderson was an undrafted forward that had been playing with the OHL's Sault-Ste-Marie Greyhounds. That's the same team that 2011 third-rounder Nick Cousins plays for, so scouts are clearly familiar with him.

Both Stolarz and Alderson will see their entry-level contracts kick in next season.

Stolarz started the season with Nebraska-Omaha, but left to play junior hockey for the London Knights. He is 9-2-1 with London with a 2.17 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.

Because Stolarz was drafted from a team in the North American Hockey League, not Canadian major juniors, he is eligible to play in the AHL next season. He could theoretically join the Phantoms on an amateur try-out contract later this season, once the Knights conclude their season and playoff run.

Alderson has recorded 57 points in 59 games in what will be his final season of junior hockey. He too could join the Phantoms on a try-out once the Greyhounds conclude their season. Both London and Sault-Ste.-Marie have no regular season games scheduled past March 17, but those players cannot join the Phantoms until the regular season ends and their team has been eliminated from the playoffs.

Until next time,


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