Fredricks eases 'D' shortage
For the first time in a couple of weeks, the Stingrays might have actually received some good news on the personnel front.
The last two weeks, the team has been short-handed with injuries and AHL call-ups. Nine players are out of the lineup for one reason or another. In the past four games, the team has played with just four defensemen, only one of whom -- Nate Kiser -- it started the season with.
To help out, the club signed defenseman Jason Fredricks, and the former Colgate University star will be in the lineup Friday against Cincinnati.
"We think Jason will be able to help us out a lot," said coach Cail MacLean, who first spotted him at the Washington Capitals' developmental camp last summer. "He's been hurt most of the season, but the doctors have cleared him to play, so it might take him a while to get back into game shape, but he's ready to go."
Fredricks, who played five games with the AHL's Providence Bruins last spring, had a "solid camp," MacLean said, and would have been playing with the Stingrays or with another ECHL or AHL team had he not injured his shoulder.
"Obviously, the shoulder injury set him back, but I thought he had a really good camp," MacLean said. "He should give us a big boost on the blue line."
Fredricks played for former Stingrays All-Star Brad Dexter, a Colgate assistant coach.
"Brad was very high on Jason," MacLean said. "He thought he'd fit right in to our systems, and I couldn't agree more. Jason skates very well and he moves the puck well, and that's what I'm always looking for in a defenseman."
MacLean said even when such players as Zach Tarkir (Springfield), Patrick Wellar (Hershey), Dylan Yeo (Hershey), Johann Kroll (Manchester), Joe Finley (hand) and Zach Jones (knee) return to the lineup, Fredricks will still have a chance to compete for a roster spot.
"If he lives up to his potential, I've got to believe he's going to compete for ice time," MacLean said. "He's got the pedigree. He's already played in the American League and held his own, so I'm hoping he can play at a high level."
With Fredricks in the lineup, MacLean will be able to move Trent Campbell back to forward. Campbell has spent the last three games on defense. "I thought Trent played very well for us on the blue line, but we need him up front," MacLean said. "He's a big part of our offense, and that is taken away when he's playing on defense."
MacLean had hoped to sign another player, possibly from the Southern Professional league, but couldn't get a deal done. "Things kind of fell through. We could have used another body out there, but things just didn't work out."
There's an outside chance the Stingrays could have a player return from the AHL.
"There's been some discussions, but nothing definite," MacLean said. "Hopefully we can get a little bit of help in the next week or so."
Holtby called up to Caps
The Washington Capitals called up former Stingrays goaltender Braden Holtby from the Hershey Bears.
Holtby, 20, has posted a 15-2-1 record with Hershey and leads the AHL with a 1.82 goals-against average and ranks third with a .935 save percentage. While with the Stingrays, Holtby had a 7-2-1-2 record with a 2.95 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. He also made an appearance as a backup for the Capitals on Oct. 17 against Nashville.
A 2010 ECHL All-Star, Holtby was the Capitals' fourth-round choice, 93rd overall, in the 2008 NHL draft.
"Certainly it's a great honor for Braden," MacLean said. "His numbers in the (AHL) and down here speak for themselves."
The team's walking wounded continue to be on the mend.
Jones, Josh Godfrey (concussion), Finley and Spencer Carbery (groin) all missed games last week.
Jones and Godfrey did not make the trip to Cincinnati and are not expected to play until next week, if that soon.
"We're going to see how Zach is doing after the weekend and go from there," trainer D.J. Church said. "Josh still hasn't started skating, and I'm not sure when he'll be back out on the ice."
Carbery is expected to play this weekend. "Spencer is doing a lot better," said Church, who expects him back by Saturday or Sunday at the latest.
Finley is back in Minnesota, rehabbing his hand. "Joe is doing great, but it'll be a few weeks before he's back ready to skate," Church said.