The Portland Pirates moved Friday to fill roster holes created by the departure of five players to the Phoenix Coyotes’ training camp.
Forwards Evan Bloodoff and Scott Arnold, who were called up from the ECHL’s Gwinnett (Ga.) Gladiators, skated with the Pirates in practice Friday at the Portland Ice Arena.
Defenseman Russ Sinkewich, who has played for the Gladiators and the ECHL’s Alaska Aces this season, joined Portland before the team left on a weekend trip for games at Bridgeport and Worcester. He was signed to a professional tryout contract.
The Coyotes also signed defenseman Boris Valabik, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound defenseman who once played for the Atlanta Thrasher.
Valabik appeared in 29 games with Brno Kometa of the Czech league this season.
Portland also signed Bryce Lampman, a 30-year defensemen who spent five seasons with the Hartford Wolfpack, to a pro tryout.
Centers Alexandre Bolduc and Andy Miele, and defensemen Michael Stone and David Rundblad flew Friday to Phoenix to attend the Coyotes’ training camp, expected to open Sunday following the NHL players’ ratification of a 10-year collective bargaining agreement.
Earlier this week, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who spent the previous 11/2 seasons with the Coyotes, left Maine to join informal workouts with a group of Phoenix players in suburban Scottsdale, Ariz.
For the Portland players left behind, Friday was business as usual.
“We’re losing (some) of our top players but we can’t dwell on that now,” left wing Rob Klinkhammer said. “It’s an opportunity and we have to have guys step up. They’re going to have more ice time and they’ve got to contribute a little bit more now, so it’s a perfect opportunity for a lot of guys on this team.”
“It’s part of the business, and we always expect that there are going to be some big changes, especially in the NHL with the situation they were in,” defenseman Chris Summer said. “You just have to adjust. There’s nothing you can really do except keep playing the right way and doing the right things.”
Ratification of the CBA will end a 119-day lockout of players, which reduced the NHL season to 48 games and delayed its opening until Jan. 19.
The roster moves came after the Pirates won 11 of their past 13 games to move into first place in the Atlantic Division.
The departures don’t necessarily mean the Pirates can’t continue with that kind of success.
“We pride ourselves on the team aspect of the game,” right wing Jordan Szwarz said. “We’re a hard-working bunch and if we stick to what we’ve been doing, we’re going to continue with that success.”
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: