The Alaska Aces' lineup will have an elite addition Monday night when the club entertains the Las Vegas Wranglers in an ECHL exhibition game at Sullivan Arena.
NHLer Brandon Dubinsky of Anchorage will center the club's top line and turn it into an all-veteran unit.
Aces coach Rob Murray on Sunday said Dubinsky will play the pivot between fellow NHLer Joey Crabb of Anchorage on right wing and Matt Robinson on left wing.
Dubinsky, like Crabb and Aces center Nate Thompson, also of Anchorage, is denied access to his preferred job - as a Columbus Blue Jacket - because of the NHL lockout. Although Dubinsky is with the team under a professional tryout agreement, that permits him to play in an exhibition game.
If Dubinsky were to join the Aces for the regular season, which Alaska opens in Colorado on Friday, he would have to sign a standard ECHL contract.
Murray said rookie defenseman William Wrenn of Anchorage and defenseman Dustin Molle of Anchorage will also be in the lineup Monday night.
"It's an Anchorage-laden lineup,'' Murray said.
In the Aces' annual two-game home exhibition series, established players often skate in just one of the two matches, and that looks to be the case again.
For instance, Thompson, veteran defenseman Steve Ward and top-line center Nick Mazzolini will all sit out Monday night and play Tuesday. Defenseman Corey Syvret, who was in training camp with AHL Toronto, is expected to play for the Aces on Monday night and returning wingers Garry Nunn and Jordan Kremyr, who have been released from camp by AHL Abbotsford, should both play Tuesday for the Aces.
Murray said veteran defenseman Sean Curry, who has been out with a strained groin, has returned to practice, but won't play in the exhibition games and is likely to sit out the two games in Colorado later this week.
"We'll probably err on the side of caution with him we don't chance a long-term injury,'' Murray said.
Returning Aces winger Tyler Ruegsegger has also been in camp with AHL Abbotsford - he's played 16 games for the Heat in his two pro seasons -- and may still be there to start the season. Murray said he received a report Ruegsegger has impressed in training camp.
After Alaska's exhibition games Monday and Tuesday, Murray likely will make cuts Wednesday. The Aces are scheduled to depart Anchorage for Colorado on Thursday.
Murray said the Aces practiced at Ben Boeke Arena on Sunday and expect to take their morning skate on the ice at recently repaired Sullivan on Monday morning.
The team hasn't yet skated at Sullivan this season because extensive repairs were made in the ice-making system in the last three weeks. Friday, arena workers successfully began the process of making ice and Murray on Sunday said the ice was still being set up, so the Aces went next door to skate at Boeke.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Las Vegas Wranglers
Monday and Tuesday, 7:15 p.m., Sullivan Arena
Tickets: Aces offices (15th and Gambell) open at 9 a.m. Monday and Tuesday.
Radio: KFQD FM 103.7 and AM 750.
By DOYLE WOODY