The latest slap in the face to the career of Augusta Lynx winger Jonas Soling came Thursday when the Kansas City Blades of the International League signed Rob Bonneau.
Rather than the Vancouver Canucks summoning Soling for a tour of duty with their IHL affiliate, Kansas City general manager Doug Soetaert tapped the free-agent market on his own and brought in Bonneau, the veteran centerman who spent the past seven weeks with the Lynx.
While Soetaert said he went after Bonneau because injuries left the Blades shorthanded at center, you can't help but wonder why Soling, whom the Canucks drafted and signed, still hasn't been given an extended look at the next level.
"It's a situation where we needed a centerman, and Rob Bonneau's a guy who has produced at the AHL and IHL level, and he was available," Soetaert said. "As for Jonas Soling, he's someone who could get brought in at some point, but it depends on if we have a need due to injuries or call-ups to Vancouver."
The timing of Bonneau's signing was ironic for Soling because the 22-year-old, whose 19 goals through Friday is tied for fourth in the ECHL, recently said he would return home to Sweden after this season if his contract with the Canucks was not renewed, or if he did not sign on with another NHL club.
Soling is in the final year of a three-year contract with Vancouver.
BRASS IN POCKET:
The New Orleans Brass may have unearthed a diamond in the rough in rookie Ryan Fultz.
The 22-year-old Fultz scored two goals in each of his first two games with the Brass last week after signing with the club Dec. 21, and was named ECHL player of the week.
The Rochester, Minn., native played one season at Bowling Green (Ohio) University, but was unable to land with a minor-pro team until signing with New Orleans.
Richmond Renegades winger Rod Taylor set the ECHL's goal-scoring record Friday night in a 4-2 win at home over the Wheeling Nailers.
The 34-year-old Taylor scored his 325th career goal early in the second period, surpassing former Charlotte Checker Trevor Jobe on the all-time list. For Taylor, it was ironic that he accomplished the feat in a Renegades uniform, after spending several years with the archrival Hampton Roads Admirals. He signed with Richmond this summer after Norfolk became home to an AHL team.The ECHL Admirals suspended operations and will resurface in Atlantic City, N.J., next season.
Taylor still has a ways to go before reaching the minor-pro record, which according to Hockeydb.com is held by Dick Roberge, who scored 756 goals from 1954-72 with the Johnstown Jets of the Eastern Hockey League.
Former Lynx Darren Colbourne is now third on the ECHL's all-time list at 323. Colbourne retired after Augusta's inaugural season falling one goal shy of tying Jobe's mark.
Tallahassee Tiger Sharks coach Gerry Fleming was slapped with his share of suspensions during his playing days, but he escaped some unwanted time off last week.
The ECHL decided only to fine Fleming for his outburst in the closing seconds of a loss to South Carolina at home Dec. 23.
Fleming threw three water bottles, a stick and a towel at referee Terry Wicklum after the Stingrays scored the go-ahead goal on a power play. Fleming was given a game misconduct and a gross misconduct, and the T-Sharks fans also expressed their displeasure by littering the ice with debris.
After reviewing the tape, ECHL senior VP of hockey operations Randy Hall decided against suspending Fleming, instead fining him an undisclosed amount.
As a player in the Montreal Canadiens system, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Fleming was one of the most feared enforcers in the AHL. That earned him a cup of coffee in the show with the Habs, where he racked up 42 PIMs in 11 NHL games.
Toledo Storm first-year coach Dennis Holland literally took one on the chin during a recent practice.
Holland lost three teeth and required 12 stitches after he was hit in the face by a player's stick.
That was the least of Toledo's injury troubles. During the same practice, enforcer Mike Christian was knocked out with a concussion which landed him on IR. A few days earlier, sniper Andrew Williamson, who led the ECHL with 63 goals last season, suffered a head injury and was placed on IR.
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425 or email@example.com
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