Aces sign three for playoff push

Seeking to bolster a roster ravaged by injuries and a retirement, the Alaska Aces of the ECHL today announced the signings of three players, all of whom have been playing in Europe.

With today the deadline for teams in the minor-league hockey circuit to sign players transferring from European leagues, the Aces added defensemen Ed Hill and Derick Martin, and winger Michael Lambert. HIll and Lambert had been playing in Germany, and Martin had been playing in France.

Hill, 27, is a former second-round NHL draft pick of the Nashville Predators, who will lend size to a defense that lacks it. The seventh-year pro is 6-foot-4, 218 pounds.

The 5-11, 185-pound Martin, 26, spent last season with Texas and Columbia in the ECHL.

Lambert, 23, last season won a Calder Cup -- that's the American Hockey League championship -- with Hamilton. He is a former fourth-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens and will provide the Aces size -- he is 6-5, 220.

The Aces' season has been replete with injuries -- 10 different players have combined to miss more than 100 games to injuries. Defensemen Joey Hope (knee surgery) and Bryan Miller (shoulder surgery) were lost to season-ending injuries, and veteran winger Barrett Heisten retired last week with a concussion.

That left the Aces with just 16 skaters, the maximum a team can dress for an ECHL game. Monday's additions allow coach Keith McCambridge some flexibility and are aimed at allowing the club to make a push to the playoffs. At 21-17-5, the three-time defending West Division champs sit fourth in the five-team division entering a three-game series against defending Kelly Cup champion Idaho, starting Friday night at Sullivan Arena.


Anchorage Daily News