Friday, October 02, 2009
Twelve returning players highlight the Portland Pirates 2009-10 American Hockey League opening day roster announced this afternoon.
Headlining the list is last season’s leading scorer Mark Mancari as well as 2008-09 AHL Rookie-of-the-Year Nathan Gerbe, who was re-assigned to the Pirates on Wednesday.
Mancari paced the Pirates in scoring in 2008-09 with 29 goals and 38 assists for 67 points in 73 games as the 24 year-old established career highs in all three offensive categories.
Gerbe, a 22 year-old Oxford, Michigan native, finished fifth in AHL Rookie scoring a season ago with 30 goals and 26 assists for 56 points in 57 games. His 30 goals were tops among freshmen. The 5-foot-5 forward’s play earned him 10 games in the National Hockey League with the Buffalo Sabres last season.
The Pirates will also feature a good share of youth and experience up front. Veterans Jeff Cowan (413 NHL games), Brad Larsen (294 NHL games) and Cody McCormick (190 NHL games) will compliment offensively gifted rookies Tyler Ennis and Paul Byron. Ennis, a first round choice (26th overall) of the Sabres in 2008, paced Portland in the pre-season with seven points in three games while Byron (taken 179th overall by the Sabres in 2007) registered a team-high three goals in three pre-season games.
Portland presents the same kind of balance along the blue line. Veteran Joe DiPenta (174 NHL games) will provide experience to a young and talented group of defenders. Marc-Andre Gragnani returns after finishing tied for fourth in AHL scoring among defensemen with 51 points in 76 games a season ago. Mike Weber was a late cut by the Sabres and returns for a third AHL season while top prospects TJ Brennen (selected 31st overall by the Sabres in 2007), Dennis Persson (24th overall in 2006) and Drew Shiestel (59th overall in 2007) make up an impressive list of newcomers.
Jhonas Enroth will anchor the play between the pipes. The 21 year-old from Stockholm, Sweden carried the load for the Pirates last season appearing in 58 games. He finished his rookie AHL season with 26 wins, a 2.75 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.
The Pirates also announced today that forwards Mark McCutcheon and Kyle Wanvig and defenseman Doug Krantz were released.
The Pirates open the 2009-2010 American Hockey League regular season with a pair of road games. This Saturday (October 3rd) the Pirates will be in Springfield to meet the Falcons followed by a Friday, October 9th game against the River Rats in Albany. Both games can be heard live on Atlantic Coast Radio's WLOB 95.5FM beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
The Pirates 2009-2010 home opener will take place on Saturday, October 10th when the Providence Bruins visit the Cumberland County Civic Center for a 7 p.m. start. Tickets for the home opener, as well as all other Pirates home games at the Cumberland County Civic Center, go on sale to the general public on Friday, September 25th by calling (207) 775-3458, visiting the Cumberland County Civic Center Box Office or on-line at www.portlandpirates.com.
Ticket plans for the 2009-2010 season are still available at the Pirates office, located at 94 Free Street in Portland. The Pirates office is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For all the information about the Pirates 2009-2010 ticket plans and 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic visit www.portlandpirates.com or call (207) 828-4665 Ext. 350 to speak with one of the Pirates account executives.