Portland, ME – When the AHL announces their roster for the Planet USA All-Star’s, the Portland Pirates will have two names on it, which shouldn’t be a surprise.
As expected Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy will join Mark Mancari in Worcester, Mass. which takes place at the end of January.
Kennedy, 22, is second in rookie scoring with 28 points (5g, 23a) in 33 games. His 23 assists with the Pirates rank him first among AHL rookies in assists.
The Buffalo, NY native has played in one game, going scoreless with Sabres after being recalled on Dec. 27.
Gerbe, 21, has played in 25 games with the Pirates this season, scoring 15 goals, 10 assists for 25 points. That currently ranks him fifth in AHL rookie scoring, despite the fact he spent nearly a month with the Buffalo Sabres. In six games, he scored one assist and had a plus-3 rating before suffering an injury that forced him to miss six games.
Gerbe is ranked third among rookies in goals scored and second in power play goals scored as a rookie.
Missing the All-Star event was Jhonas Enroth, who has played well for the Pirates this season and most likely would be named the team’s early season MVP based on his play.
In 24 games, Enroth has a 13-7-0-2 record with a 2.44 GAA as a .919 save percentage. He also has recorded two shutouts this season with the Pirates.
Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen was certainly displeased that Enroth was left off the roster.
“I’m disappointed he didn’t make the team,” he said. “He’s been a huge difference-maker for us and unfortunately, there are a lot of games, one goal games, in Manchester, Binghamton, Albany that he was just so good for us and we just couldn’t generate offense for him.”
The Pirates are finally getting back healthy, but it maybe some time before all the players get back in to the lineup.
Mike Card skated in his first full time practice today and could be a week away from returning to game action, while Jimmy Bonneau may be a bit longer in returning, as his conditioning hasn’t reached where Dineen expects it.
“(Bonneau) is very slow in returning,” said Dineen. “His conditioning has (reached a) plateau and the plateau is not high enough for him to play.”
“It’s frustrating for all of us that’s he’s not able to get in there right now and it my given situation that I have no choice but to be patient.”
On the goalie front, could a trade be in the works?
With Adam Dennis out for the regular season while he recovers from hip surgery, the Pirates have been scouring the landscape looking for a goaltender who could eat up some occasional minutes, giving Enroth, who will play his 11th straight game tonight, a break.
Dineen had some interesting and intriguing comments about the topic, indicating that Buffalo was working on something.
“(Goalie search) has been put off for a reason and won’t be clarified til Friday at the earliest,” said Dineen.
There has been speculation that Buffalo could be looking to make room on a more permanent basis for rookie defenseman Chris Butler and journeyman forward Matt Ellis, but no decision has been made on that front… Still it does raise a few interesting questions.