With three of their ECHL-allowed four veteran skaters from last season retired and two veteran slots still open for the upcoming hockey season, the Alaska Aces filled one today when they announced the signing of long-time AHL defenseman Sean Curry.
The Aces also announced the signing of second-year goaltender Mark Guggenberger, who last season was voted the Central Hockey League’s Most Outstanding Goaltender and Rookie of the Year.
Curry, 30, who has played more than 500 games in the AHL and nearly 700 games (regular season and playoffs) as a pro, has a connection to Aces coach Rob Murray – Curry played for AHL Providence during Murray’s long coaching hitch with the Boston Bruins’ affiliate.
The 6-foot-5, 229-pound Curry last season played for Rogle in the Swedish first division (5-8—13 totals) and two seasons ago primarily played in the German Elite League with Hamburg).
Curry is entering his 11th pro season.
Guggenberger, 23, was a stalwart for the Texas Brahmas last season, going 22-11-3 and leading the CHL in goals-against average (2.27), tying for first in shutouts (3) and ranking 9th in save percentage (.912).
Guggenberger and returning second-year goalie James Reid look to be the Aces’ two goalies in the early season while Gerald Coleman, Alaska’s No. 1 goalie the last two seasons, continues to rehab from offseason hip surgery. Coleman, who the Aces have signed, earlier this offseason said he’s targeting a return to game action roughly around Thanksgiving.
With the signings of Curry and Guggenberger, the Aces have announced the signings of 15 players for the 2012-13 season. That breaks down to three goalies, four defensemen and eight forwards, as follows:
Goaltenders (3) -- Gerald Coleman, James Reid, Mark Guggenberger.
Defense (4) -- Steve Ward, Kane Lafranchise, Sean Curry, Todd Orlando.
Forwards (8) -- Nick Mazzolini, Garry Nunn, Tyler Ruegsegger, Matt Robinson, Jordan Kremyr, Tim Hall, Bobby Hughes, Tom Mele.
The other Aces veterans besides Curry will be returning defenseman Ward and winger Robinson, the former Ace who is returning to the club. That leaves Murray with one spot available for a veteran. In the ECHL, a veteran is any skaters (goalies don’t count) who enters the season with 260 or more regular-season games played as a pro (with the small caveat that games played in some lower leagues, primarily European, do not count against that number).
In any event, look for more on these signings in Friday’s dead-trees edition of the ADN.