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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
The Hamilton Bulldogs made their final cuts on Friday while also signing a trio of players who were trying out for the team in training camp. Signing with the Dogs were forwards Akim Aliu and Maxime Macenauer as well as defenceman Nathan McIver; they all inked 25-game professional tryout contracts. The final cuts saw forwards Stefan Chaput and Stephen MacAulay sent to Wheeling of the ECHL while Alex Belzile and Jordan Owens were released.
Aliu played five games with Calgary last season, going pointless with 14 PIMS. With their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford last year, he collected four goals and seven assists in 42 games with a -7 rating and a career high 111 PIMS. The 24-year-old Nigerian-born winger has 204 games of AHL experience spanning five pro seasons. He was Chicago's 2nd round pick (56th overall) in the 2007 NHL Draft.
Macenauer last played in the NHL back in the 2011-12 season where he cracked Anaheim's lineup out of training camp. He suited up in 29 games with the Ducks that year, scoring a goal while adding three helpers. He played for St. John's last year (affiliate of Winnipeg), suiting up for 68 games while contributing with 11 goals and 11 assists. Unfortunately, his -29 rating ranked dead last among all AHL forwards; only defenceman Nolan Yonkman (-34) had a worse rating.
McIver has the most NHL experience of these three although he hasn't suited up in an NHL game since the 2008-09 season with Anaheim. In 36 career games at the top level, he has one assist and 95 PIMS. With Bridgeport (affiliate of the Islanders) last year, he had a goal and four assists in 62 games, while adding a whopping 287 PIMS. That led all AHL defencemen while ranking second overall in the league (behind Providence's Bobby Robins). With over 400 games of AHL experience, he will count against Hamilton's veteran limit when he's in the lineup.
Hamilton's roster now stands as follows (newcomers in italics):
Goalies (2): Robert Mayer, Dustin Tokarski
Defencemen (8): Nathan Beaulieu, Joel Chouinard, Darren Dietz, Morgan Ellis, Nathan McIver, Magnus Nygren, Greg Pateryn, Drew Schiestel
Forwards (14): Akim Aliu, Sven Andrighetto, Michael Blunden, Justin Courtnall, Ben Duffy, Gabriel Dumont, Stefan Fournier, Patrick Holland, Louis Leblanc, Maxime Macenauer, Joonas Nattinen, Erik Nystrom, Martin St. Pierre, Nick Tarnasky
There are also a pair of forwards who were injured in Montreal's training camp that are not yet on the roster, Steve Quailer and Christian Thomas. Although both players are with the team, they technically cannot be added to Hamilton's roster until they receive medical clearance. In the meantime, because Thomas spent time in the NHL last year, he will count against Montreal's cap at a reduced rate (relative to his time spent on the Rangers' roster in 2013).