Free agency fireworks could start tonight @ midnight
AFHL farm team roster limit will increase from 12 players to 23 players
May 31st, 2011
The first thing to remember when shopping for diamonds in the free agency rough: the key to success in all hockey formats is carefully crafting a well-rounded team. The question is what players are still available in such a deep league? Currently, there are about 700 players signed to AFHL contracts (20 teams with 35 players each).
Most AFHL GMs admit they have no idea who to sign let alone who is still available. But the consensus among those team builders and rebuilders is that they plan to be patient rather than pounce, hoping the glut of available players will depress the market and eventually names will pop up here and there.
“It depends on how the market goes,” Montreal GM Keith Cancilla said. “You can speculate – we’ve been speculating for months. But (tonight) speculation will turn into reality. And I don’t know whether stuff is going to happen in the first 24 hours of this roster limit increase or whether it’s going to be spread out and become a league-wide waiting game.”
Newly hired Wolves GM Jason Briggs suspects there will be a bit of both.
“I think most people are uncertain as to what’s going to happen come (tonight) – I know I am,” Briggs said. “And I think we’re just going to research, prepare and see how it unfolds.”
The free agent pool is lacking in overall depth, but if there’s one position that bucks a trend, it’s in goal, where there are a multitude of free agents looking for jobs.
“It’s the year of the goalie, it seems,” netminder Alex Kangas told theAFHL.com on Monday night.
Kangas, a prospect goalie for the Thrashers (soon to be Jets) is one of many of the free agent goalies. As Kangas looks at his options, he has competition. Joining him in the free-agent waters are prospect goalies such as his former teammate Edward Pasquale, and Columbus’ Gustaf Wesslau.
“You look into stuff and try to understand what’s going on, but ultimately, it’ll come down to which teams believe in you and believe you’re a fit,” said Red Devils goaltender Al Montoya. “And you know, a lot can change at the draft. You have your teams in line that you think need goaltending, but then they make a trade. You really never know what team you’re going to play for come the first game of the season.”
Vipers GM Chris Hartley says goaltending is very important in this league but you’ve got to go after what’s best and grow your players from within.
“I’ve said from Day 1 that I think the way to win the AFHL Stanley Cup is to grow your own,” Hartley said. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t surround those guys with good, quality players.”