Titans Set Regular Season Roster…Almost

Defenseman Blake Kessel is one of many new players who will be joining the Titans this season (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

Final cuts in the AHL have been made, which means that players were sent down to Trenton…which means the Titans had to cut players. A lot of players.

First off, the following players were sent down to the Titans by the Phantoms: Blake Kessel, Niko Hovinen, Jason Akeson, Marcel Noebels, Ian Slater, Luke Pither and Tyler Hostetter.

Kessel, the brother of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel, is a 23-year-old defenseman in his second professional season. He spent all of last year with Adirondack, scoring one goal while adding 17 assists in 56 games.

Hovinen got outplayed by Cal Heeter in camp. That’s why he’s here. And, for him, this is the best situation. He’ll get the playing time he needs to develop and improve at the North American style of the game, given that this is his first season over here after playing in SM-Liiga (Finland) for the past six years. The 24-year-old is 6-foot-7, and did not perform well in his only preseason action with Trenton.

Akeson, cousin of former Trenton Devils forward Jeremy Akeson, played very well in his first pro season with the Phantoms last year. The 22-year-old forward tallied 55 points in 76 games, and has a 108 point season in the OHL with Kitchener under his belt.

Noebels, the Flyers fourth round pick in 2011, is a 20-year-old German center who will be making his pro debut. He’s spent the last two years in juniors in the WHL, scoring 54 and 58 points, respectively. He racked up 23 points in 22 postseason contests for the Portland Winterhawks last year, coming up just short in the championship series.

Slater is a 24-year-old center looking to make his pro debut after four years of college hockey at Western Michigan. Slater tallied 31 points between his junior and senior seasons.

Pither was in Trenton briefly last season, playing in four games and registering one assist. The 23-year-old has primarily spent the first two years of his pro career in Adirondack, having played in 106 AHL contests since 2010-11.

Hostetter spent the majority of last year in Trenton, and the defenseman played relatively well when not hampered by injury. The 21-year-old Lititz, PA. native played in just 41 games total last season between Adirondack and the Titans, but did manage seven goals in 34 games with Trenton.

In addition, the Devils are sending Brian Haczyk down and may still send down another goalie, which is now rumored to be Scott Wedgewood. However, that is NOT official yet. All other moves are. As of now, Hovinen and Jody O’Neill is the goalie tandem.

Haczyk began his pro career with the Trenton Devils at the end of the 2010-11 season, but spent all but one game of his 2011-12 campaign with New Jersey’s then-affiliate in Kalamazoo. In 63 games, the 25-year-old Secaucus native scored 15 goals and added 11 assists.

The Titans also received Mitch Versteeg, Eric Baier, Connor Goggin, Ryan Grimshaw and Mike Banwell back from their respective AHL camps.

The following players were then cut: Matt Germain, Mark Armstrong, Gentry Zollars, Marcel Alvarez and David de Kastrozza. This is in addition to previously cut players T.J. Miller, Brodie Melnychuk, Nathan Welton and Matt DiGiroloma.

The release of Germain, while not entirely unexpected, is somewhat surprising given that he was one of the first players they brought back this year. But de Kastrozza is the real interesting name here, given that he’s a local guy (Toms River) with size (6-3, 220) and skill (25 games with AHL Hershey last year).

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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2 Responses to “Titans Set Regular Season Roster…Almost”

  1. Sandy Goodwin Says:

    Jason Akeson is Jeremy Akeson’s cousin.

  2. Mash Says:

    My fault. I cut and paste the beginning of the Kessel blurb and didn’t change it.

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