This time last season the fan base for the Portland Pirates was left clamoring with baited breath for the Buffalo Sabres to announce that they signed a free agent for Portland.
They were left looking for something. Anything?
It’s amazing how 12 months later the Pirates could very well have their all their veterans for the 2011-’12 season all locked up and in place before the first of August.
The Coyotes announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed forwards Brett MacLean, Kyle Chipchura, Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Matt Beaudoin to one-year, two-way contracts. As per team policy the financial terms were not disclosed.
The first player signed by Sabres for Portland (Tim Conboy) wasn’t announced until July 16, 2010.The addition of Chipchura and Pouliot, who was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a draft day trade, put the Pirates in a position to have six veterans penciled in on the roster with Alex Bolduc, Nathan Oystrick, Dean Arsene and Garrett Stafford.
In the AHL, a veteran is classified as any player who has more than 260 professional games played, which includes AHL, NHL, IHL and European elite leagues.
Beaudoin and MacLean were 1-2 in team scoring last season with the Coyotes former AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. Beaudoin recorded 21 goals, 30 assists for 51 points in 63 games, while MacLean scored 50 points (23g, 27a) in 51 games.
In adding veteran’s Kyle Chipchura and Marc-Antoine Pouliot, the Pirates potentially are as deep down the middle as they’ve ever been in recent times including Alex Bolduc and Coyotes prospects Andy Miele and Brett Hextall as well as first-year pro Ethan Werek.
Chipchura, a first round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, spent the last two seasons in the NHL with Montreal and Anaheim. His last year in the AHL was in 2008-’09 with the Hamilton Bulldogs where he posted 35 points in 51 games with a plus-28 rating.
Pouliot, also a first round selection in the NHL Entry Draft, played 69 games for the Norfolk Admirals where he scored 25 goals, 47 assists for 72 points as he led the team in scoring.
With the excess number of centers (6) to fill spots in Portland, Pirates GM Brad Treliving hinted that sliding a center over to play wing was the more likely option.