Forward Kyle Wanvig feels he will
see an increase in production and ice time
after being sent from Chicago to the
Springfield Falcons in a Feb 1st trade.
Lindsay Kramer | NHL.com correspondent
Feb 8, 2007, 12:00 PM EST
The first thought that crossed forward Kyle Wanvig’s mind when told he was involved in a trade from the Chicago Wolves to the Springfield Falcons on Feb. 1 was the last one that anyone would have expected.
He was “giddy like a school girl,’’ Wanvig said.
An odd reaction, on the surface, since Wanvig was leaving the AHL’s version of Disneyland for one of the league’s biggest fixer-uppers. But while watching the Wolves’ rock-'n-roll offense may be fun for fans, it apparently creates an empty feeling in an inactive scorer.
Wanvig, 26, had played in just 26 games for the Wolves, a victim of the Wolves’ scoring depth and his veteran status. His production when he played was respectable, with 10 goals and 11 assists. But Wanvig prefers a full-time role on the AHL’s worst offense (121 goals) to a complementary one on the league’s best (231).
He got that chance when Falcons parent club Tampa Bay sent defenseman Andy Delmore and center Andre Deveaux to Atlanta in exchange for him and forward Stephen Baby.
“I’m very excited to be in Springfield. It’s tough to leave a team that’s doing so well, but in the long run I wanted to play every night and be a factor in games,’’ Wanvig said. “It basically feels like I haven’t played all year. I was never anticipating being in and out of the lineup in the American League.’’
That’s why he signed with the Thrashers as a free-agent in the first place last summer, after spending all of last season with the Wild. Falcons coach Steve Stirling hopes that thrust into the role of being a scoring anchor again, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Wanvig will be strong enough to help carry an offense.
“I’m going to play the hell out of him,’’ Stirling said. “He might be the best goal-scorer we have now. He’ll give tremendous boost to a second line, and he won’t give up anything defensively. I think he’ll be excited about the challenge.’’
Any responsibilities that come with a chance to fly over the boards again are enough to pump up Wanvig these days.
“I’ve been marked as a prototypical power forward. I’m looking to score goals in the crease, be physical, open up ice for the players on my line,’’ he said. “I’m a fairly energetic player. When you’re not playing, it’s tough to stay positive.’’
Hitting the books -- The continuing education of a hockey player is taking on a new meaning in the case of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton winger Jonathan Filewich.
Filewich, a second-year pro, is doing just fine on the ice. He’s leading the Penguins with 39 points, three more than he scored all of last year. He also won the fastest skater competition at the recent AHL all-star gathering.
That sort of success is enough to hog the focus of any player. But Filewich has found time for a side hobby, and we’re not talking golf or video games.
Since the start of his rookie season, Filewich has been taking correspondent courses at Athabasca University in Alberta. He’s finishing up his fourth class, with an eye on someday getting a degree in arts with a major in history.
“I just get really interested in history. I loved reading it,’’ he said. “It wasn’t so much school to me, as another book to read. I still have the dream of playing in the NHL. It’s just that I was told by a lot of people that it’s a smart idea to take classes.’’
Filewich hopes to pace his studies so that by the time he’s done playing, he’s within a year or so of completing his degree. While the schoolwork is meant to give him the basis for a post-playing plan, he said it also helps him during his current career.
“It’s something that keeps me busy and I don’t have to think about hockey all the time,’’ he said. “Sometimes I over-think when it comes to hockey. I come home from the rink and read for a couple hours. Maybe if I focus on school it will help me.’’
Turning back the clock -- As far as Lowell defenseman Dan McGillis is concerned, it’s OK to live in the past a little bit. So one day earlier this week he jumped in his car to catch the Northeastern-Boston University Beanpot Tournament game in Boston. McGillis used to play for Northeastern. Uh, more than a decade ago.
“I’m in the area. Our schedule allows us to go down. I’m excited to get down there to watch it,’’ McGillis said. “I try to keep in touch, go by the school once in awhile. I try to stay young. I’m skating with a lot of younger guys right now.’’
And keeping up with them, too. McGillis, 34, is third on the Devils in scoring with 27 points. He leads all AHL blueliners with nine power-play goals this season, and his power-play goal in overtime goal helped Lowell upset Hershey on Feb. 3.
McGillis’ steadying influence on Lowell’s defensemen goes beyond points. Until getting sent down to Albany last season, the veteran had played in 634 NHL games without ever skating in the AHL. That’s some serious do-as-I-say credibility.