Two separate trades in the National Hockey League on Feb. 16 saw two former London Knights change teams and both wind up with the Edmonton Oilers.
Sam Gagner was acquired by Edmonton from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Ryan Spooner, and the Oilers added goaltender Anthony Stolarz from the Flyers in a deal that sent goalie Cam Talbot to Philadelphia.
Edmonton drafted Gagner sixth overall in 2007 and elected to keep him as an 18-year old and put up 49 points as a rookie. He played seven seasons before being traded to Tampa Bay in 2014. An hour after being acquired by the Lightning, Gagner was dealt to Arizona. From there. he went to Philadelphia, signed with Columbus and then landed in Vancouver.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom and Kyle Brodziak are the only players currently on the Oilers’ roster who were there when Gagner last played for them. Gagner spent just one season in London, but alongside Patrick Kane, he recorded 35 goals, 83 assists and 118 points in 53 games and played for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
Stolarz joined the Knights in 2012-13 and was part of a goaltending tandem with Jake Patterson that won on Ontario Hockey League championship. Stolarz made a second appearance at the Memorial Cup in 2014 and then began his pro career. Prior to this season, he has played most of his minutes with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, but whenever injuries hit, he was usually the first recall. Stolarz has spent this season with the Flyers and has appeared in 12 games with a 3.33 goals against average and a .902 save percentage. With Carter Hart doing well in Philadelphia, the Flyers were looking for a veteran goalie. With only Mikko Koskinen in Edmonton, Stolarz will get a chance to compete for the number one job.
Talbot is set to be part of an NHL record in Philadelphia. As Western University alumnus Elliotte Friedman pointed out in a tweet, as soon as he plays, Talbot will be the eighth goaltender the Flyers have used this year.
Sherwood makes NHL debut
Kole Sherwood was recalled by the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this season, but did not get into a game. On Feb. 15, Sherwood got the call again and this time he became the first Columbus-born player to suit up for the Blue Jackets when he was put into the lineup in a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Sherwood played 6:58 and recorded four hits and a blocked shot. He was signed by Columbus in 2015 and joined the Knights for the 2015-16 season. Sherwood was part of London’s 2016 Memorial Cup championship team. He also played in Flint and Kitchener while in the OHL.
London Knights ready for back-to-back road games
The Knights are in Erie for a Sunday afternoon game against the Otters at 4 p.m. London battled back from a 3-1 deficit on Feb. 15 to forced overtime against Erie at Budweiser Gardens, but lost 19 seconds into OT when Jamie Drysdale scored the game winner. The Otters now have a record of 8-2 in overtime this season. They are also 5-1 in shootouts as they push to try to catch the Windsor Spitfires or the Sarnia Sting for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Erie is three points back of the Spitfires and four points behind the Sting.
The Knights will go to Mississauga on Family Day Monday. In the only other meeting between London and the Steelheads this season, the Knights got three-point performances from Adam Boqvist and Alex Formenton and beat Mississauga 7-4. The pre-game show will start at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and 1:30 p.m. on Monday on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
Sanctions against Niagara
Following a third-party investigation, it has been ruled that the Niagara Ice Dogs violated Ontario Hockey League player recruitment policies. Because of that ruling, the OHL has levied a $250,000 fine against Niagara and the Ice Dogs will forfeit their first-round draft picks in the 2019 and the 2021 OHL Priority Selections.
“The League takes our commitment to our players and their player experience very seriously, which includes a fair and competitive on-ice experience among all teams,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch.
“When a club ignores these guidelines, significant sanctions are required.”
Niagara released a statement, saying, “All current Niagara Ice Dogs players and hockey operations staff have no involvement in the sanctions assessed today by the Ontario Hockey League. An appeal will be filed. Therefore, no further comment will be made.”
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