Remember the old saying – the more things change – the more they stay the same? When it comes to the Whale – it doesn’t look like they’ll be staying the same for long.
Already,some players like Jeremy Williams, and Evgeny Grachev are headed for cities other than Hartford. Jeremey Williams has just signed a contract in Austria and according to the New York Rangers, Evgeny Grachev asked for a trade and he got it last week. Evgeny was traded to the St. Louis Blues for their third round pick (76th) in the 2011 NHL Draft. With that pick the New York Rangers selected Steven Fogarty, an 18 year old forward. Fogarty will be ineligible to play with the Whale this upcoming season due to his age.
This Friday is July 1 and marks the opening of the free agent signing period in the NHL. The Whale have already agreed to terms with forward Dale Weise, forward Chad Kolarik, defenseman Blake Parlett, forward Carl Hagelin, goalie Jason Missiaen, and forward Tommy Grant. Also on the restricted free agent list for the Whale is defenseman Stu Bickel, goalie Chad Johnson, forward John Mitchell, forward Brodie Dupont, forward Devin DiDiomete, and forward Justin Soryal.
The goalie situation for the Whale is one of the big question marks for the upcoming season. The Whale have 5 goalies in the mix right now– Cameron Talbot, Chad Johnson, Jason Missiaen, Scott Stacjer and season MVP Dov Grummet-Morris. With this many goalies it’s easy to see that at least two or three will not play for the Whale this upcoming season. Cameron Talbot has two years left on a contract. Chad Johnson is a restricted free agent. Rumor has it that the Rangers are willing to give Chad another year to see if he improves.
Jason Missiaen is only 20 years old and is signed by the Rangers. Perhaps Jason will start the season in the ECHL with the Greenville Warriors. Jason is a big prospect, real big. He stands at 6′ 8″ and weighs 220 pounds. He can certainly fill a hockey net.
Scott Stajcer is signed as well and he is another big frame goalie. Scott is 6’3″ and 195 pounds; he is also just 21 years old.
With all of the goalies in the Ranger’s system it appears that the first odd man out would be Dov Grummet-Morris. Dov had a fantastic second half of the year after he joined the Connecticut Whale in February. Grummet-Morris just might not have room to fit on the roster for the Whale this season. We will have to see? It is disappointing too. Grummet-Morris won the Team MVP and Fan Favorite Awards this past season. He played in 22 games and held a 2.12 GAA. He also had a .923% save percentage. At 29 years old though, maybe he just does not fit into the Rangers prospect plans? Unfortunately, I do not get the feeling that he will be in net for Hartford this upcoming season.
After the first of the month when the free agents begin to sign contracts we will have a clearer picture of the upcoming roster. You would expect the pace of the signings to be fast and furious, and they will start this Friday!
Connecticut Whale land a broadcasting contract
There were games last year that local fans could not listen to. Some games had no broadcast station at all while other times errors on the Whale’s internet station prevented fans from picking up the broadcast. Chairman of Whalers Sports and Entertainment, Howard Baldwin, stated that he would address this situation in the off season and he did just that.
Just announced on June 27th was a business deal between Whalers Sports and Entertainment and Radio Station 106.9 WCCC. WCCC has been broadcasting in the area since 1959. The station was most recently purchased in 1998. WCCC likes to be known as non corporate radio. They have been involved and have supported the Hartford community well. The station does very well in the key 18-45 age group. They will be carrying the entire 78 game schedule this upcoming season.
WCCC is a 50,000 watt station too, which is the most allowed by Federal law. It will enable the Whale to reach many fans state wide and across the borders into Bruin territories. With this new Whale marketing instrument Whaler Sports & Entertainment is hoping to continue to increase the Whale’s fan base.