Scott MacPherson promised more offensive punch for the Augusta Lynx next season, and he is wasting no time setting the wheels in motion.
The new coach and director of hockey operations completed his first deal with the Lynx, trading forward/defenseman and fan favorite Sam Ftorek to the Mobile Mysticks for 26-year-old center Russ Guzior.
"Obviously, I don't know Sammy as a player, but I've known Russ since he was about 17 years old as a collegiate player," said MacPherson, who was an assistant coach at UMass when Guzior played at Providence College from 1993-97.
"I watched him play against my team for four years, and he was one of the most dynamic offensive forwards in college hockey," MacPherson said.
In 1' seasons with the Mysticks, Guzior tallied 38 goals and 83 points in 103 games, including 28 goals and 59 points in 66 games last season.
The Chicago native began his pro career in 1997-98 with the ECHL's New Orleans Brass, tallying 21 goals and 46 points in 91 games over two seasons before being traded to Mobile midway through the 1998-99 season.
In 1' seasons with the Lynx, Ftorek -- the son of former New Jersey Devils coach Robbie Ftorek -- tallied 17 goals and 25 assists in 91 games.
The gritty Ftorek began the 1999-2000 season with the Kloten Flyers of the Swiss Elite League before returning to Augusta at midseason.
During Augusta's improbable run to the Southern Conference semifinals, Ftorek was one of the team's top performers, recording four goals and eight points in 12 games.
"I was looking forward to coming back to Augusta and playing here," said Ftorek, who is in Augusta this week visiting friends. "But I talked to the coach in Mobile (Jeff Pyle) and they really wanted me there. It (stinks) not coming back here, but it seems like I'm going to a good situation."
The deal for Guzior is just the start of what figures to be a busy next couple of weeks of moves for MacPherson and the Lynx.
In the coming days, the team is expected to announce the signing of high-scoring veteran center Paul Vincent -- a 6-foot-5, 200-pounder who scored 52 goals in 52 games at three levels last season, and has more goals than any other player in minor-pro hockey over the past 200 games.
With the Odessa Jackalopes of the Western Professional Hockey League last season, the 25-year-old Vincent tallied 42 goals and 81 points in 42 games. The Utica, N.Y., native also played briefly for Hershey of the American Hockey League and Kansas City of the International Hockey League last season.
While Vincent is a newcomer to Augusta, his signing with the Lynx marks his return to the franchise where he spent his first full pro season. In 1995-95, Vincent played for the Raleigh IceCaps, finishing with 12 goals and 21 points in 30 games.
In his only other season in the ECHL, 1996-97 with Peoria, the sixth-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993 NHL draft tallied 31 goals and 60 points in 45 games.
In another move made earlier this month but not announced by the clubs, the Lynx traded the rights to center Stacey Rayan to Mobile, essentially for himself.
In November, Augusta acquired Rayan's rights from Mobile for future considerations. Mobile re-acquired Rayan, then traded his rights to New Orleans.
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.
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