Riley, MacKinnon, Hill also coming back on AHL deals
The St. John’s IceCaps still have some gaps as they look to build a roster for the 2014-15 American Hockey League season, but the IceCaps brought back some of their important bricks on Monday with the announcement they have re-signed four players, including team captain and last year’s leading scorer Jason Jaffray.
Forwards Blair Riley and Kyle MacKinnon and defenceman Jordan Hill will also be returning under one-year AHL contracts.
Jaffray, 33, played in 76 games with St. John’s last season and led the team in assists (41) as well as points (59). The IceCaps’ all-time leading scorer has played in 566 career AHL games, registering 451 points (181G, 270A) and 668 penalty minutes.
Riley, 28, appesred in 71 games with the IceCaps last season, collecting seven goals, 21 points and 133 penalty minutes. he has played in 215 career AHL games, with 50 points (22G, 28A) and 384 penalty minutes.
MacKinnon, 26, played in 71 games for the IceCaps last season, totalling 39 points, including 12 goals. A native of Walnut, Calif., he has played in 213 career AHL games, with 91 points (40G, 51A) and 65 penalty minutes.
Hill dressed for 68 games for the IceCaps last season, totalling 12 assists and 12 points in 68 games. The 25-year-old, known for his shot-blocking ability, has played in 161 career AHL games, with 29 points (7G, 22A) and 164 penalty minutes.
Although nothing will be finalized until the end of training camp of the parent Winnipeg Jets, Monday’s announcement makes projection of next season’s IceCaps roster a little easier once you consider the following:
• There are six players who played in St. John’s last season and are still operating under NHL entry-level deals: forwards Adam Lowry, JC Lipon and Austen Brassard, defenceman Brenden Kichton and Jullian Melchiori and goaltender Jussi Olkinuora.
• There are three more players — forwards Scott Kosmachuk and Ryan Olsen and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck — entering the first year of their entry-level deals.
• Five players who were with the IceCaps in 2013-14 are restricted free agents who have received qualifying offers from the Jets. These five — forwards Patrice Cormier, Eric O’Dell, Carl Klingberg and John Albert, along with rearguard Ben Chiarot — represent players who probably have the best chance of sticking with the Jets, but the majority should be back in St. John’s.
• Defenceman Will O'Neil, who operated under an AHL deal with St. John's last season, has been re-signed to an NHL contract by the Jets.