The Hawks’ Nest

Defensemen on the move
July 7, 2009, 4:57 pm
Filed under: NHL, Winterhawks | Tags: , , ,

Just a few hours after I teased some changes on and off the ice, the afternoon exploded on us with two announcements about Winterhawks defensemen.

First, it was announced that the Detroit Red Wings had signed Travis Ehrhardt to a three-year entry level contract. What this means for Travis is a little unclear; he could end up with their AHL team in Grand Rapids, their ECHL team in Toledo, or possibly even back with the Winterhawks. Regardless, it’s a tremendous opportunity for him. To go undrafted and then land a contract with an elite organization like the Red Wings is no small achievement.

Meanwhile, another defenseman is on the move as Ryan Kerr has been dealt to Calgary for conditional draft pick.

So let’s assume for a second Ehrhardt isn’t back. These two moves open things up for a variety of people.

First, on the back end, it will afford some of the younger defensemen an opportunity at playing major roles next season. As of right now, five defensemen are slated to return: Troy Rutkowski, Joe Morrow, Brett Ponich, Daniel Johnston and Travis Bobbee, with Tyler Wotherspoon having a good chance at making the team. Had Ehrhardt and Kerr returned, two of those players would have likely been squeezed out, but now they’ll all be in a position to control their own destinies as far a playing time.

It also affects overages. With Kerr gone, Cornish likely not returning due to injuries and Ehrhardt possibly in Detroit’s system, all of a sudden the overage situation becomes much less murky. It will leave just Chris Francis, Radim Valchar, Stefan Schneider and Kurtis Mucha vying for three spots, pending other opportunities that arise for them or possible deals.

All told, it’s been an interesting day here, and will only become more intriguing when camp opens up next month.


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