The St. John’s IceCaps announced the signing of forward Markus Eisenschmid to a one year AHL/ECHL contract. The German-born Eisenschmid attended Canadiens development and training camps on a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO).
The 6’1″ 180lb. centre was undrafted after scoring 19 goals and 44 points in 50 games with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers last season. He was captain of the German team in the World Junior Championship in Montreal last January.
Eisenschmid had to make a difficult career decision at the end of training camp. He could sign a North American pro contract at close to hockey minimum wage, return to Medicine Hat as an overage junior or take the more lucrative path in the German Elite League with the Hamburg Freezers who own his European playing rights.
The IceCaps, who open thier season in Hartford Connecticut Saturday night also made Gabriel Dumont their team captain again this season. He served in that role when the team was located in Hamilton last season. The alternates will be Mark Barberio and Bud Holloway. Dumont, Barberio and Holloway are the senior members of one of the youngest teams in this year’s American Hockey League.
Unlike the NHL, the AHL has no limit to roster size and the IceCaps have 30 players as the season begins including thirteen rookies and seven second year players. First round draft choices Nikita Scherbak (2013) and Mike McCarron (2014) will make their professional debuts Saturday night.
The IceCaps Opening Roster
Forwards (17): Charles Hudon, Daniel Carr, Mark MacMillan (R), Nikita Scherbak (R), Angelo Miceli (R), Christian Thomas, Jacob De La Rose, Bud Holloway, Stefan Fournier, Connor Crisp, Brandon McNally (R), Michael McCarron (R), Sven Andrighetto, Tim Bozon (R), Jeremy Gregoire (R), Markus Eisenschmid (R) and Gabriel Dumont;
Defencemen (10): Josiah Didier (R), Morgan Ellis, Dalton Thrower, Darren Dietz, Mark Barberio, Mac Bennett, Ryan Johnston (R), Brett Lernout (R), Joel Hanley and Travis Brown (R);
Goaltenders (3): Zachary Fucale (R), Eddie Pasquale and Dustin Tokarski.
(R) = Rookie
FIVE OUT WITH INJURIES
Because there is no roster limit, AHL teams have no need to place players on injury reserve. On the IceCaps current injury list are rookies Tim Bozon, Ryan Johnston, Mark MacMillan, Josiah Didier and Brandon McNally. Bozon, who seems to have no luck at all, suffered a shoulder injury when he was hit into the boards during St. John’s first exhibition game against the Toronto Marlies at Stephenville October first.
While an AHL roster can have an unlimited number of players, game lineups come under the same rules as the NHL -18 skaters and two goal tenders. However the AHL have development rules. Of the 18 skaters (goaltenders are excluded) at least 13 must be qualified as “development players.” Of the 13, 12 must have played in 260 or fewer professional games, including the AHL, NHL and European elite leagues) and one cannot have played in more than 320 games. These calculations are based on totals at the start of the season. A team may have more young players, which will be the norm for the IceCaps but if they fail to reach the 13 player development level they must play a man short.
Among the 30 players on their roster only two – forwards Bud Holloway and Gabriel Dumont have played more than 320 and Mark Barberio fits in just under the 320 as the “development veteran”. Holloway has played in 396 elite pro regular season games (191 AHL/163 Swedish Elite League/42 Swiss National League). Dumont is at 336 (318 AHL/18NHL); Mark Barberio comes into the season at 318 games (215 AHL/103NHL). After that it drops down to defenseman Morgan Ellis who has played in 157 AHL games over his three years since he became a professional.