The Abbotsford Heat announced this morning that goaltender Leland Irving has been added to the club’s training camp roster. The Calgary Herald’s Vicki Hall reported on Twitter that Irving has signed a professional try-out agreement with the the AHL club.
Now, you may be asking yourself, wasn’t Irving subject to NHL waivers before heading to the minors? The answer is yes, he would normally be subject to waivers. But due to a quirk in AHL regulations, all American League clubs can sign NHL-contracted players that finished last season in the minors or were on the club’s Clear Day list.
Irving satisfies both requirements*.
*(For the record, Brett Carson could theoretically do this, although he wasn’t on the Clear Day list, as he played for the Heat due to injuries on the back-end throughout the end of the season and playoffs.)
Under the provisions of an AHL professional try-out agreement, individuals can play 25 games per try-out and try-out deals can be re-upped once. In other words, the deal is good for a maximum of 50 AHL games. Depending on circumstances, this means that the Heat may carry Irving, Barry Brust and Danny Taylor to (a) ride the hot hand and (b) maximize Irving’s value to the club.
Note: It’s unclear if Irving faces a maximum of 50 games played or 50 games dressed, as goalies are tricky like that. Let’s assume dressed.
Calgary’s first round pick in 2006, Irving has gradually progressed since turning pro in 2008-09. He’s played with the Quad City Flames, Victoria Salmon Kings, Abbotsford Heat and the Flames themselves. He was recalled last year and, other than the blow-out against Boston, looked pretty good and got starts instead of Henrik Karlsson down the stretch.
But he was also out-played by Danny Taylor in the AHL and backed him up during the playoffs, although some of that can be attributed to Irving bouncing up and down from Calgary, and the fact that he and his wife had their first child. Regardless, getting Irving in some games this season is definitely the right thing for the organization.