PORTLAND – Alexandre Bolduc, the Portland Pirates’ leading scorer, is among four players from the AHL team who will fly to Arizona Friday morning to join the NHL parent Phoenix Coyotes.
Portland Coach Ray Edwards said Bolduc, a veteran center who has scored 17 goals and 15 assists in 34 games, will be accompanied by center Andy Miele, and defensemen Michael Stone and David Rundblad.
Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson left the Pirates Monday to travel to Arizona to start informal workouts with a group of Phoenix players.
The young Swedish defenseman, who spent the previous 11/2 seasons in the NHL with the Coyotes, had been inactive since suffering a lower-body injury while blocking a shot during a Dec. 22 game against the Manchester Monarchs.
Edwards was unsure whether any of the players will return to the Pirates.
“I don’t want to speculate,” he said. “They will be part of the Coyotes’ training camp, and we will see what happens after that.”
The Coyotes are expected to open training camp Sunday.
The NHL is expected to open a 48-game season Jan. 19 following last Sunday’s end of a 113-day lockout.
Edwards said forwards Scott Arnold, a rookie who had two assists in eight games with the Pirates earlier this season, and Evan Bloodoff, who had two goals and six assists in 48 games with the Pirates last season, were called up from the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators.
Edwards said an effort will be made to add as many as two defensemen to the Portland lineup.
Only five defensemen remain on the Portland roster, and one of them, Maxim Goncharov, has missed the last six games because of an upper-body injury.
The addition of Ekman-Larsson earlier this week left the Phoenix roster with 21 players, two under the NHL maximum.
The Coyotes will start the season without veteran left winger Rafi Torres, who has eight games left on a 21-game suspension he received after hitting Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa in the head during a Stanley Cup playoff game last spring.
The Pirates, who lead the AHL’s Atlantic Division with a 21-12-1-1 record, left Friday for road games against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday night and the Worcester Sharks Sunday afternoon. They host the Connecticut Whale Tuesday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The labor dispute ended when representatives of the NHL reached agreement with representatives of the National Hockey League Players Association on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement.
The new agreement, which replaces an eight-year pact that expired Sept. 15, was ratified by the 30 team owners Wednesday.
Players began voting electronically on the deal Thursday night and balloting is scheduled to be completed by 8 a.m. Saturday. If a majority of the more than 700 NHLPA members agree to the terms, training camps can open Sunday.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: