Portland Pirates defenseman Oliver Ekman Larsson, who spent the last 1-1/2 seasons playing in the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes, won’t be the only player of that caliber in the AHL’s Atlantic Division. Here’s a look at some of the NHL-caliber players expected to suit up against the Pirates this season.
Chris Bourque, Providence Bruins: The son of NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, selected by the Washington Capitals in the third round of the 2005 NHL entry draft, was traded to the Boston Bruins after leading the AHL last season in points with 27 goals and 66 assists while playing for the Hershey Bears.
Carl Klingburg, St. John’s Ice Caps: Selected by the Atlanta Thrashers in the second round of the 2009 NHL entry draft, Klingburg, who spent parts of three seasons in the Swedish elite league, had 15 goals and 22 assists last season for the Ice Caps and was scoreless in seven games with the NHL parent Winnipeg Jets.
Andrei Loktionov, Manchester Monarchs: Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth round of the 2008 NHL entry draft, Loktionov, a center who played for Russia in two world junior tournaments, had three goals and four assists in 39 games last season with the Kings, including two playoff appearances.
James Sheppard, Worcester Sharks: Selected by the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the 2006 NHL draft, Sheppard, a center from Halifax, Nova Scotia, has 11 goals and 38 assists while playing in 224 games for the Wild over three seasons.
Stava Voynov, Manchester Monarchs: Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2008 NHL draft, Voynov, who played for Russia in five world junior tournaments, had eight goals and 12 assists in 54 regular-season games with the Kings last season and added a goal and two assists while playing in all 21 of Los Angeles’ playoff games.