One of the strengths of Newfoundland Growlers lately has been the goaltending tandem of Parker Gahagen and Angus Redmond, but the stability of the Growlers’ netminding was rattled by a bit of a tremor at the National Hockey League trade deadline.
But it may not be that earth-shaking.
Redmond, who had been assigned to the Growlers from the Anaheim Ducks, was traded, along with a conditional seventh-round draft pick, by the Ducks to the Edmonton Oilers Monday in a deal that brought Swedish defenceman Joel Persson to Anaheim’s organization.
Meanwhile, Gahagen has been recalled, perhaps for just the short term, by the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies.
Instead of going to either of the Oilers’ minor-league teams — the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors or ECHL’s Wichita Thunder — Redmond is remaining with the Growlers.
There are a couple of factors that could be at play.
One is that while Redmond had officially remained property of the Ducks after being loaned to the Growlers, the understanding was the assignment was related to last fall’s minor-league trade that saw the Toronto Marlies send defenceman Ryan Johnston to Anaheim’s AHL affiliate, the San Diego Gulls, in return for future considerations.
Since a player like Johnston, who is on an AHL contract, can’t be traded for one like Redmond, who is in the last year of his NHL entry-level deal, it’s believed the considerations were the loan of Redmond to Newfoundland.
The other factor could be that the inclusion of Redmond in Monday’s trade was simply a matter of contract-matching. Often, teams are reluctant to take on more NHL deals then they surrender in a transaction — they are limited to 50 effective contracts at a time — so when acquiring a player, they will often send an NHL-contracted minor-leaguer, especially those on an expiring deal like Redmond, the other way.
Redmond has appeared in 15 ECHL games since joining the Growlers, registering a 2.31 goal-against average and .918 save percentage. He has also won all 13 of his decisions, making for the third-longest winning streak by a goalie in ECHL history.
Gahagen, who has gone 10-4 with a 1.81 GAA and .939 save percentage, was called up after the parent Toronto Maple Leafs traded netminder Michael Hutchinson, who had been with the Marlies, to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Marlies still had two other goalies — Joseph Woll and Kasimir Kaskisuo — on its roster, but Kaskisuo is said to have a slight injury, one that could at least keep him from practising.
The Marlies’ next game is Wednesday. The Growlers don’t play again until Friday, when they begin a three-game Sunshine State weekend that includes matchups against the Florida Everblades, Orlando Solar Bears and Jacksonville Icemen.
For a while, it looked like Monday transactions involving the Maple Leafs would lead to Newfoundland receiving players.
For example, when Toronto got former Leafs defenceman Calle Rosen from Colorado for Hutchinson and then assigned Rosen to the AHL, it was thought it might mean one of the three rearguards recently called up from Newfoundland might be returned to the Growlers. However, Toronto later dealt defenceman Jordan Schmaltz to the New York Islanders for forward and fellow minor-leaguer Matt Lorito, meaning the Marlies were back to seven blueliners.
As well, the Leafs placed winger Dmytro Timashov on waivers, and if he had cleared, he would have been eligible to sent to the AHL. which in turn could have pushed another forward down to Newfoundland. However, Timashov was claimed by the Detroit Red Wings.
That means, in addition to Gahagen, defencemen Michael Kapla, Mac Hollowell and Joseph Duszak and forwards Giorgio Estephan, Riley Woods and Scott Pooley, the half-dozen players promoted from Newfoundland to the Marlies since the start of the new year, were in the AHL as of Monday evening.
Last week, the Growlers did receive two players from the Marlies, forward Colt Conrad, who has spent most of the season in Newfoundland, and defenceman Trent Bourque, acquired by the Maple Leafs organization in an AHL-level trade.