A new and full American Hockey League season is full speed ahead after two consecutive seasons without a Calder Cup being awarded. The last team to win a Calder Cup was the Charlotte Checkers in 2019. The Rochester Americans 2021/2022 regular season will start Sunday October 17, 2021 on the road in Utica with the home opener scheduled for Friday October 22, 2021 against Syracuse.
As of publishing this article on July 28, 2021 there’s a total of 23 players that are considered unrestricted free agents that were on either NHL or AHL contracts this past season. That may seem like a high number but last season was 22 players so it’s normal. Majority of those are players that were on AHL only contracts.
Compared to previous seasons, there’s a lot of work to be done in not only filling out the roster but leadership and experienced players to lead the younger core. As of writing this before the start of free agency the leadership on the team with more than one season completed in Rochester will be Andrew Oglevie, Brett Murray, and Casey Fitzgerald. Notable unrestricted free agents from previous seasons are CJ Smith, Dalton Smith, JS Dea, Remi Ellie, Michael Mersch and Steven Fogarty.
There’s only one center under contract penciled in for Rochester and that’s Andrew Oglevie. There’s also only three defensemen – Mattias Samuelsson, Oskari Laaksonen, and Casey Fitzgerald. One position the team is set with is at goaltending with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Dustin Tokarski expected to share time between the pipes.
Compiling a list of top tier AHL free agents is way above the time I have available but will link here to lists put together by others once available. Top free agents who are fringe players between the NHL and AHL will look for the best chance they have at breaking into an NHL lineup. That could make Rochester a target with how young the Buffalo core is expected to be if the salary is right.
This article is about who is signed, who has departed, and where the departed have signed. Please comment, send an email, or a message on Twitter via @LGA585 if there’s any info that’s missed.
What happened last season
The rookie coaching staff of Seth Appert, Adam Mair, and Mike Weber helped guide the team to a 11-15-2-1 record playing against three teams – Syracuse, Utica, and Cleveland. Considering what should have been the core of the team spent most of the season on the taxi squad with Buffalo and the team played without Luukkonen and Tokarski for 12 of the 29 game season they did just fine. The team was competitive every night and as cliche as it sounds they played start to finish every night no matter what the score was.
Rochester had the leagues best power play going into the final week of the season lead by Brett Murray, Steven Fogarty, JS Dea, Michael Mersch, Arttu Ruotsalainen, and Oskari Laaksonen which is a notable accomplishment. The penalty kill was towards the basement but that’s to be expected with a younger core. With a full season ahead, not just 29 games, it’s an area that’ll need improvement.
Jason Karmanos was named associate general manager on April 14, 2021 and will get to work immediately in helping shape the roster.
- 7/28 – Dalton Smith departs as a UFA. Signed 1yr AHL contact w/ the Colorado Eagles.
- 7/28 – JS Dea departs as a UFA. Signed 1yr two-way NHL contract w/ Montreal.
- 7/28 – CJ Smith departs as a UFA. Signed a two-way NHL contract w/ Carolina.
- 7/28 – Steven Fogarty departs as a UFA. Signed a one-year NHL contract w/ Boston.
- 7/28 – Remi Elie departs as a UFA. Signed a one-year two-way NHL contract w/ Tampa.
- 7/28 – Nick Desimone, who was in Rochester on loan, signed w/ Calgary Flames
- 8/25 – Patrick Polino signed an ECHL contract w/ Cincinnati Cyclones
- 8/25 – Brandon Hawkins and Billy Christopoulos signed w/ Toledo Walleye
- 9/7 – Patrick Mcgrath signed an AHL contract w/ Utica Comets
- 9/16 – Dylan Bluujus signed an AHL contract w/ Milwaukee Admirals
Returning from last season
- 7/28 – Brandon Davidson signed a one-year two-way NHL contract w/ Buffalo.
- 8/12 – Ryan Scarfo and Brendan Warren signed one-year AHL contracts.
- 8/18 – Dominic Franco signed a one-year AHL contract.
New Players for 2021/2022
This is a list of players that have been added and could play for the Rochester Americans during the 2021/2022 season that haven’t played in Rochester before as a professional player.
- 7/28 – Sean Malone (Center) signed a one-year two-way NHL contract w/ the Sabres [ Details ] after a season away with Nashville.
- 7/28 – Jimmy Schuldt (Left Defense) signed a one-year two-way NHL contract w/ the Sabres. [ Details ]
- 7/29 – Ethan Prow (Right defense) signed a one-year two-way NHL contract w/ the Sabres
- 8/6 – Mason Jobst (Forward) and Josh Teves (Defense) signed one-year two-way AHL contracts.
- 8/12 – Lukas Craggs (Forward), Peter Tischke (Defense), Mat Robson (Goalie) signed one-year AHL contracts.
- 8/18 – Mitch Eliot (Defense), Nick Boka (Defense), Matthew Cairns (Defense) signed one-year AHL contracts.
Expected in Rochester or Cincy for the 2021/2022 season
- Andrew Oglevie (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Sean Malone (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Mason Jobst (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Jack Quinn (RFA in 2024/2025)
- J-J Peterka (RFA in 2024/2025)
- Brandon Biro (RFA in 2022/2023)
- Brett Murray (RFA in 2022/2023)
- Linus Weissbach (RFA in 2023/2024)
- Matej Pekar (RFA in 2023/2024)
- Lukas Rousek (RFA in 2023/2024)
- Jacob Bryson (RFA in 2022/2023)
- Mattias Samuelsson (RFA in 2023/2024)
- Brandon Davidson (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Jimmy Schuldt (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Josh Teves (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Matthew Cairns (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Oskari Laaksonen (RFA in 2023/2024)
- Casey Fitzgerald (RFA in 2023/2024)
- Mitch Eliot (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Nick Boka (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Ethan Prow (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (RFA in 2022/2023)
- Dustin Tokarski (UFA in 2022/2023)
- Mat Robson (UFA in 2022/2023)
Had a sniff of Rochester last season but expected in Buffalo full time for 2021/2022:
- Rasmus Asplund, Arttu Ruotsalainen, Jacob Bryson
Status of the 2020/2021 Roster
Below is a list of everyone who played at least one game for the Rochester Americans in the 2020/2021 season, their current contract status, and team they’ve signed with for the 2021/2022 season. Order of names is just a copy and paste from HockeyDB based on games played. This does not contain any new players that are coming into the Sabres organization and expected to play in Rochester.
UFA = Unrestricted Free Agent.
RFA = Restricted Free Agent.
- Dawson DiPietro (UFA) is not listed below. He missed the season due to an injury and didn’t play in any AHL games.
- Jesper Olofsson (UFA) is also not listed below. He was signed to play but chose to remain overseas.
|Pos||20/21 GP||21/22 Status|
|Oskari Laaksonen||D||28||RFA in 2023/2024|
|Remi Elie||L||28||Signed w/ Tampa|
|Brett Murray||L||27||RFA in 2022/2023|
|Matej Pekar||L||25||RFA in 2023/2024|
|Dominic Franco||F||23||UFA in 2022/2023|
|Mattias Samuelsson||D||23||RFA in 2023/2024|
|Dalton Smith||L||22||Signed 1yr AHL deal w/ Colorado Eagles (AHL)|
|Griffin Luce||D||22||Signed w/ Springfield Thunderbirds|
|Casey Fitzgerald||D||22||RFA in 2023/2024|
|Dylan Blujus||D||21||Signed w/ Milwaukee Admirals|
|Patrick Polino||F||20||Signed w/ Cincinnati Cyclones|
|Nicholas Welsh||D||17||Signed overseas w/ Nürnberg Ice Tigers aus in the DEL|
|Steven Fogarty||C||16||Signed w/ Boston|
|Brandon Biro||L||15||RFA in 2022/2023|
|Jack Quinn||R||15||RFA in 2024/2025|
|C.J. Smith||L||15||Signed w/ Carolina|
|Jean-Sebastien Dea||C||15||Signed w/ Montreal|
|Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen||G||14||RFA in 2022/2023|
|Arttu Ruotsalainen||C||13||RFA in 2022/2023 – Expected on the Sabres roster|
|Andrew Oglevie||C||12||UFA in 2022/2023|
|Patrick McGrath||R||11||Signed w/ Utica Comets|
|Brandon Hawkins||F||10||Signed w/ Toledo Walleye|
|Brendan Warren||L||10||UFA in 2022/2023|
|Ryan Scarfo||L||9||UFA in 2022/2023|
|Nick Desimone||D||8||Signed w/ Calgary Flames|
|Billy Christopoulos||G||5||Signed w/ Toledo Walleye|
|Jacob Bryson||D||5||RFA in 2022/2023 – Expected on the Sabres roster|
|Michael Houser||G||4||UFA in 2022/2023|
|Rasmus Asplund||C||3||Pending contract, received qualifying offer – Expected on the Sabres roster|
|Brandon Davidson||D||2||UFA in 2022/2023.|
|Dustin Tokarski||G||2||UFA in 2022/2023|