The Forecheck: Gatcomb, Kinal both earn AHL contracts

It's also mock draft szn, and a common landing spot is emerging for Matthew Wood.

Welcome to the UConn Hockey Hub newsletter, which catches you up on all the stories, trends, and anything else you might have missed, along with some quick takes and leftover notes from the weekend.

Kinal, Gatcomb earn AHL extensions

Two former UConn players will be sticking around in the second tier of North American hockey. Forward Marc Gatcomb signed a one-year extension with the Abbotsford Canucks while defensemen Roman Kinal earned an AHL contract with the San Jose Barracuda after joining the team on a professional tryout following the end of the Huskies’ season.

Gatcomb completed his first full AHL season in 2022-23, collecting three goals and five assists in 45 games. He ranked third among the team’s rookies in games played and suited up in all six playoff contests as well.

“Marc was one of our most improved players this year from start to finish,” Abbotsford general manager Ryan Johnson said in a release. “He is a big body that can skate and be a presence in every game. He’s a great pro and we are excited to keep working with him next season.”

Meanwhile, Kinal only appeared in six games (no points) with the Barracuda, but impressed enough to earn a full contract.

In the news

Mock draft szn

With the order for the 2023 NHL Draft set, the mock drafts are beginning to roll in. There’s a common landing spot for Matthew Wood that would be fun for UConn fans.

Unless all the mock drafts decided to copy each other, Wood seems to be a good fit for the Sabres’ young core. Just imagine him and Tage Thompson teaming up for goals as the only two Huskies in the NHL.

Simpson wins BCHL title

Incoming defenseman Owen Simpson won the Fred Page Cup — the BCHL championship — with the Penticton Vees last week. He had an assist in the clincher and finished the postseason with two goals and three assists in 17 games. During the regular season, Simpson had four goals and 12 assists in 54 games.

Kesselring, Smith drafted selected in USHL Draft

Two UConn commit were taken in Phase II of the USHL Draft, which is open to all eligible junior hockey players that are not on a protected USHL roster. ‘04 Forward Mason Kesselring was taken by the Lincoln Stars while ‘05 defensemen Brady Smith went to the Des Moines Buccaneers.

Kesselring spent the 2022-23 season with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, where he collected 21 goals and 19 assists in 50 regular season games. Brady also played in the BCHL, lacing up with the Trail Smoke Eaters, where he collected two points and three assists in 48 games.

Both players are expected to arrive in Storrs as part of the 2024 freshman class.

Hitting the links

State of the program


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