Withdrawal can refer to any sort of separation, but is most commonly used to describe the group of symptoms that occurs upon the abrupt discontinuation/separation.
Well if that’s the case, I’m definitely in withdrawal.
It’s been six weeks into an offseason that has felt quieter than normal. Perhaps it was the excitement of eight straight months of puck. Maybe I’m feeling the low after knowing the Calder Cup was only four wins away for the Toronto team. Or likely, I – like everyone else – am missing the steady stream of news and analysis filtering through radio waves, television channels, web outlets and of course print media.
Some have noted that the Leafs offseason has been quieter than expected. Both on and off camera assistant general manager Dave Poulin said recently that in his three years since joining the Toronto brass, it’s been the busiest July he’s been a part of. Come on now, it really hasn’t been that long since the one-for-one trade that saw JVR take a flight to Toronto in exchange for Luke Schenn.
But alas, you all want more.
An impressive addition was made when Toronto scooped Calder Cup winner Mike Kostka from the Tampa organization. Kostka not only scored arguably the most controversial goal of the 2011/12 season (please tell me you remember the game three overtime winner), but he added to his playoff heroism with two in the game four title clincher.
It had been the first time since 1992 that the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate had progressed to the finals.
The playoffs, however, offered more than just an extended look at Jake Gardiner as he performed in his first 100+ game season. It also acted as an active scouting grounds as some of the league’s best filtered into Ricoh Coliseum. Think of it, even first round Rochester was among the league’s better half.
Oklahoma City, the AHL’s leader in the Western Conference, were among the four clubs who filtered into Toronto. Among the Barons who suffered a loss in five games in the conference finals was Dylan Yeo, a Saskatoon native who lead all rearguards with 8 points and 37 penalty minutes through 14 playoff games. Like Kostka, Yeo also made an impression on the residents of ACC’s top floor.
In an #AskPouly segment, Poulin revealed the team has continued to add depth to it’s blue line with the addition of the undrafted Yeo. Another impressive blue chip stock coming out of the Canadian major junior system, Yeo a product of the Prince George Cougars and Calgary Hitmen.
Here’s an interesting Marlies tie for you. To conclude the 2005 WHL trade deadline, Calgary announced the acquisition of Yeo along with Maple Leafs third round selection Justin Pogge in exchange for soon-to-be Marlies PTO signee Andy Rogers. That’s a whole lot of blue and white.
Yeo has split time in each of his five pro seasons between the ECHL and AHL, as he was first part of the Vancouver system, then Washington, followed by one season with Edmonton’s affiliates and now landing in Toronto. So Dylan, welcome!
If that wasn’t enough, the Maple Leafs announced Tuesday morning the signing of two-time Calder Cup winner Keith Aucoin (give him a follow on twitter @coiner11). The veteran American leaguer has amassed 777 points over 673 games, which could be added to his 37 NHL points in 102 contests.
Aucoin will be reunited with Yeo, as they played parts of two seasons on the Hershey Bears.
The signing of Aucoin has produced unconfirmed speculation regarding the fate of Mike Zigomanis, a team leader through the past two seasons on the Marlies squad and a noticeable presence during the playoffs. The AHL’s veteran rule requires that 15 of a team’s 18 skaters be comprised of those who have played less than 320 professional games, a category neither Aucoin nor Zigomanis fall under (this, though, is holding to the assumption that neither earn the opportunity to showcase their skills at ACC, a possibility which remains very real for both).
Interestingly enough, the two were former teammates with the Lowell Lock Monsters – on two separate occasions, actually – as the AHL club served as the affiliate to the Carolina Huricanes.
In the late rounds of the post-season, Zigomanis expressed his desire to return to the blue-and-white, donning whichever sweater management saw fit. He proved himself committed to his teammates and to the system head coach Dallas Eakins was running with the Marlies. He was praised by the coach for his ability to connect with the younger members of the team, sharing with them the insights on professional hockey life.
Although the team hasn’t released any information either way regarding a future with Zigomanis, it would appear to be of benefit to both sides if he were to return, and my sincerest hope it can be arranged.
Wikipedia states, “to experience the symptoms of withdrawal, one must have first developed a physical/mental dependence.”
I may not be able to push a daily dose of 7:00pm puck drops, but with a little bit of searching the steady stream of hockey news is still available to feed the fix.
Don’t you fear, I’ve got ya covered.