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Maple Leafs see brighter future after AHL title

Prospects dominate Toronto's Calder Cup-winning roster

by Mike Zeisberger @zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs co-owner Larry Tanenbaum stood at center ice at Ricoh Coliseum on Thursday, smiling and soaking in every precious sight and sound of the euphoric chaos.

Fireworks crackled over his head. Blue-and-white confetti fluttered from the rafters. Toronto had just won the American Hockey League's Calder Cup with a 6-1 victory against Texas, becoming the first men's professional hockey team representing the city to claim a championship since the 1967 Maple Leafs hoisted the Stanley Cup. 

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Marlies' Sheldon Keefe should be a wanted man after Calder Cup win

13 of last 19 head coaches to win title went on to become NHL bench bosses

Toronto Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe didn't care to talk about his future moments after winning the Calder Cup.

All he wanted was to celebrate his team's accomplishment before having to think about his own career.

"I'm gonna party my [butt] off tonight and not think about anything else beyond that," Keefe said on Thursday after his Marlies downed the visiting Texas Stars 6-1 in Game 7 of the American Hockey League championship series.

Leading a team to an AHL title historically has boded well for a coach's future if the plan is to jump to the NHL, whether it be an assistant's role or head coach.

Including Bill Barber, who won a Calder Cup in 1998 and was named head coach with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000, 13 of the past 19 Calder Cup-winning head coaches before Keefe went on to become an NHL head coach.

If you add in Minnesota's Bob Woods and Todd Nelson, who was recently hired by the Dallas Stars as an assistant coach after winning the 2017 Calder Cup, it jumps to 15 coaches to receive an NHL gig shortly after winning an AHL championship.

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SEVENTH HEAVEN: T.O. IS TITLE TOWN AGAIN

TORONTO (theahl.com) … The Marlies have brought a professional hockey championship to Toronto.

Andreas Johnsson and Mason Marchment each scored twice and Garret Sparks made 29 saves as the Marlies defeated the Texas Stars, 6-1, to win their first Calder Cup and capture the first men’s pro hockey title in the city since 1967.

In the first Game 7 in a Calder Cup Finals since 2003, Toronto weathered some early pressure from the Stars, with Sheldon Dries hitting the post on a chance three minutes in and Miro Aaltonen making a diving block at the crease to prevent Gavin Bayreuther from hitting a yawning cage.

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Calder Cup a big deal (and also pretty heavy) for Marlies

The first thing those who have hoisted it say about the Calder Cup is that it’s heavier than it looks.

“You’ve got to be prepared,” says Marlies forward Colin Greening, who won the Cup as a member of the Binghamton Senators in 2011.

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PASQUALE RE-SIGNS WITH LIGHTNING

The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed goaltender Eddie Pasquale to a one-year, two-way contract.

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BROADHURST RETURNING TO BLUE JACKETS

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Monday that forward Alex Broadhurst has signed a one-year, two-way NHL/AHL contract for the 2018-19 season

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MARLIES RE-SIGN GREENING FOR 2018-19

The Toronto Marlies announced that forward Colin Greening has re-signed with the club for the 2018-19 season.

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DUCKS RE-SIGN BOYLE TO TWO-YEAR DEAL

The Anaheim Ducks announced today that they have signed goaltender Kevin Boyle to a two-year, two-way contract extension through the 2019-20 season.

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TEAM BUSINESS MEETINGS IN DES MOINES THIS WEEK

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League is holding the 2018 AHL Team Business Meetings presented by ExteNet Systems this week, with more than 220 representatives from the league and its member clubs gathering at the Hilton Des Moines Downtown in Des Moines, Iowa.

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OTTAWA ACQUIRES BERGMAN FROM SAN JOSE

The Ottawa Senators on Tuesday acquired defenseman Julius Bergman, forward Mikkel Boedker and a sixth-round draft choice in 2020 from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Mike Hoffman, Cody Donaghey and a fifth-round choice in the 2020 NHL Draft.

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MCDONALD RETURNING TO PHANTOMS FOR 2018-19

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms announced that forward Colin McDonald has signed an AHL contract for the 2018-19 season.

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CANUCKS RE-SIGN AHL ALL-STAR BOUCHER

The Vancouver Canucks announced today that the club has re-signed forward Reid Boucher to a one-year, two-way deal.

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KOSTOPOULOS, CHIODO ADDED TO PENGUINS’ STAFF

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton players Tom Kostopoulos and Andy Chiodohave been hired to player development roles within the organization.

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AHL GRADS HONORED WITH NHL AWARDS

Taylor Hall won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the National Hockey League’s most valuable player for 2017-18, one of several American Hockey League alumni honored at the NHL’s annual awards ceremony in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.

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MONSTERS’ FRASCO HONORED WITH KEN MCKENZIE AWARD

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has selected Pam Frasco, vice president of marketing and communications for the Cleveland Monsters, as the winner of the league’s Ken McKenzie Award for the 2017-18 season.

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BLACKHAWKS, CANUCKS TRADE FORWARDS

The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired forward Michael Chaput from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for forward Tanner Kero.

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COYOTES ACQUIRE RUSSO FROM DETROIT

The Arizona Coyotes have acquired defenseman Robbie Russo from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2019 conditional seventh-round draft choice.

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MORIN RETURNING TO STARS IN 2018-19

The Texas Stars announced Monday that the team has re-signed veteran forward Travis Morin for the 2018-19 season.

Morin returns for his 10th season with the Stars after leading the team with 61 points last season, including a league-best 51 assists. The Brooklyn Park, Minn., native added seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 22 postseason games, helping Texas reach Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals.

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SENATORS TAP MANN TO LEAD BELLEVILLE

The Ottawa Senators announced today that Troy Mann has been named head coach of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Belleville Senators.

The contract is a two-year agreement and will run through the 2019-20 season.

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GRIFFINS ACQUIRE CAMPER FROM TUCSON

The Grand Rapids Griffins on Monday acquired center Carter Camper from the Tucson Roadrunners for future considerations.

Camper established career highs with 45 assists and 61 points while appearing in 68 regular-season games between Cleveland and Tucson last season. He also recorded one goal and seven assists for eight points in nine postseason games with the Roadrunners.

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CARBERY NAMED HEAD COACH OF HERSHEY BEARS

Spencer Carbery has been named the 26th head coach in Hershey Bears franchise history, the Bears and Washington Capitals announced today.

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GRIFFINS RE-SIGN FORD TO TWO-YEAR DEAL

The Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday re-signed right wing Matthew Ford to a two-year contract.

Ford, 33, captained the Griffins in 2017-18 and totaled 22 goals and 16 assists for 38 points in 72 regular-season games. He added two goals and three assists in five Calder Cup Playoff games.

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AHL GRADS BRODEUR, ST. LOUIS, O’REE VOTED INTO HOCKEY HALL OF FAM

The Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced that American Hockey League alumni Martin Brodeur, Martin St. Louisand Willie O’Ree are part of the induction class of 2018.

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Appleton sets sights on next challenge, AHL rookie of the year wants spot on Jets

At this time last year, Mason Appleton preparing to be the captain of the Michigan State Spartans in what would have been his junior season of NCAA hockey.

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Just like Botterill with Sabres, Sexton has huge task ahead with Amerks

It's a two-pronged attack going on this week in KeyBank Center. While Jason Botterill is charging through the revamping of the Buffalo Sabres, assistant general manager Randy Sexton is doing likewise for the Rochester Amerks.

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Just like Botterill with Sabres, Sexton has huge task ahead with Amerks

It's a two-pronged attack going on this week in KeyBank Center. While Jason Botterill is charging through the revamping of the Buffalo Sabres, assistant general manager Randy Sexton is doing likewise for the Rochester Amerks.

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CHANGE OF SCENERY SPARKS GREG MCKEGG TO FURIOUS FINISH IN CHARLOTTE

In the AHL, sometimes a change of scenery makes all the difference. 

Take Greg McKegg. An established pro with solid AHL numbers and NHL experience, McKegg signed with Pittsburgh last summer and split the majority of the season between there and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but couldn’t seem to get much traction, notching 12 points in 28 games with the AHL Penguins. In Charlotte, Carolina’s offseason acquisition Josh Jooris had found himself the odd-man-out up top and was sent to the AH

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BLUE JACKETS ADD BERUBE; SCHROEDER TO BLACKHAWKS

The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired goaltender Jean-Francois Berube from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Jordan Schroeder.

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Now bigger, next year quicker: Caps prospect Lucas Johansen tries to strike a balance

Lucas Johansen saw the signs.

The Washington Capitals prospect watched the NHL draft last weekend and noticed how many defensemen who look like him were picked. They were smaller and shiftier, and they reinforced Johansen’s view that the NHL is transforming into a league in which great skaters thrive. It forced him to reconsider his preparation because, a summer after trying to bulk up by eating two chicken breasts and a potato every two hours, he wondered whether getting bigger is still the right move.

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LEXUS NAMED TITLE PARTNER FOR 2019 AHL ALL-STAR CLASSIC

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League and the Springfield Thunderbirds on Thursday announced that Lexus, a division of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., will serve as the title corporate partner for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield, which will take place on Jan. 27-28, 2019, at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.

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Daniel Sprong is in for 'a big year' according to his AHL coach

Clark Donatelli was Daniel Sprong’s coach for pretty much the entire 2017-18 season.

Nothing against Donatelli, but that’s probably longer than Sprong — and certainly many Penguins fans — would’ve liked. He spent all but eight games of this past year with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton instead of in the NHL.

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WOLF PACK SIGN BUTLER TO AHL DEAL

The Hartford Wolf Pack announced today that the team has signed forward Bobby Butler to an American Hockey League contract.
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VARADY NAMED HEAD COACH IN TUCSON

The Arizona Coyotes have named Jay Varady as the new head coach of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners.

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Free-agent addition Austin Czarnik swayed by Flames' full-court press

Twenty-plus teams called to express their interest.

The Calgary Flames travelled to tell Austin Czarnik to his face.

During the free-agent courtship period, Flames general manager Brad Treliving and bench boss Bill Peters made a trip to Michigan for a meet-and-greet with the 25-year-old, treating the right-winger to a meal and also providing some food for thought.

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PANTHERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH THOMPSON, MACDONALD

The Florida Panthers have agreed to terms with forward Paul Thompson and defenseman Jacob MacDonald on two-year, two-way contracts.

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HURRICANES SIGN RENOUF

The Carolina Hurricanes today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Dan Renouf on a one-year, two-way contract.

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FLAMES INK ROBINSON TO TWO-YEAR DEAL

The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed free-agent forward Buddy Robinson to a two-year, two-way contract.

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