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Heat assign five players to ECHL
The Abbotsford Heat trimmed their roster on Sunday, assigning five players to the ECHL.
Four are ticketed for the Alaska Aces, the Heat's new ECHL affiliate: forwards Andy Taranto and Jordan Kremyr, and defencemen James Martin and Zach Davies. Blueliner Art Bidlevskii has been assigned to the Bakersfield Condors.
Martin is the highest-profile name among the demoted players, due to the fact that he's the only one on a two-way NHL/AHL contract. It's not entirely a surprise he didn't make the cut in Abbotsford, though – he spent the bulk of 2012-13 in the ECHL, and the Heat should have a great deal of depth on the blueline this season.
With the cuts, the Heat still have 27 players in camp, with more expected to be assigned Monday – forwards Ben Street and Blair Jones and defenceman Derek Smith were reportedly placed on waivers by the Calgary Flames today.
Head coach Troy Ward had hoped to cut down closer to his final roster on Sunday, but noted the "trickle-down effect" of players arriving from Calgary has been slower this year.
"If you can have a good week down here with your guys (prior to the start of the regular season), you can really establish your pace and tempo," he said. "But we'll just have to be patient through that process."
Ward said there's a chance the Heat could trim the roster further following Monday's practice, but he's leaning towards keeping everybody around until Wednesday, when the team hits the road to Cleveland for its regular season opener vs. the Lake Erie Monsters.