Before I even had a chance to post last night’s game review (I drove for many hours between last night and today), Hartford announced its first cuts this afternoon. Eight tryout players were released, including forwards J.T. Barnett, Jean-Philip Chabot, Angelo Esposito, Tyler Gjurich, and Matt Thurber. Additionally, blueliners Brad Cole, Jace Coyle, and Bretton Stamler.
Of particular note are three of these players, who I hope will find another spot–two of whom I believe were let go as part of the numbers game. First, Gjurich, who had a goal in the first two pre-season games, can pass, has great vision, and good hockey IQ was let go. Arguably one of the best players on the ice the last two nights, one has to think that someone else will pick up the 21-year old former member of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. Attending Hartford’s camp on an ATO, Gjurich played last season on the OJHL Buffalo Jr. Sabres. Hard to believe, but he is still college eligible. There are lots of options for Gjurich, who was the third star in last night’s game.
Angelo Esposito was injured on the second shift of the first pre-season game and did not get another chance to perform under his PTO. This is not the first time that injuries have plagued the former first round selection in the 2007 NHL Draft. Once thought to be a number one overall candidate, he always was an offensive wizard, but short on playing in his own end. Then when he seemed to step up that kind of play, he just could not stay healthy. Now at age 24, Esposito may have run out of elite pro hockey chances.
Bretton Stamler did play in both games this week. A former Red Wings pick (7th round in 2005), the 26-year old Stamler was visible, fighting twice last night, and was up and down on defense. He is no doubt a victim of the numbers–basically there is no room for him on the blueline of this team.
Some of the Rangers’ reassigned players are expected to play tonight. I am not in Springfield, so I won’t be tweeting tonight, but will try to get the inside scoop of what goes on.