September 19, 2009 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Chicago Wolves
The Atlanta Thrashers have assigned forwards ANGELO ESPOSITO, RILEY HOLZAPFEL (HOHL-zaf-ehl), RYLAN KAIP (KYPE), ANDREW KOZEK (KOH-zehk), JORDAN LaVALLEE (LAH-VALLEY), BRETT STERLING, and ANTHONY STEWART, defenseman CHAD DENNY and goaltender PETER MANNINO (ma-NEE-noh) to the Chicago Wolves. In addition, the Thrashers have released Chicago center KEVIN DOELL (DOLE), who will report to Wolves training camp when it opens on Monday.
STERLING ranked fourth on the Wolves with 16 goals and fifth with 39 points in 52 games last season. The 25-year-old left wing also tallied a goal and two penalty minutes in six National Hockey League outings with Atlanta. Overall, the two-time American Hockey League all-star and 2006-07 AHL Rookie of the Year has racked up 110 goals - the third most in franchise history - 97 assists and 207 points - sixth most in franchise history - in 199 career regular-season AHL matchups with Chicago, and was a member of the Wolves 2008 Calder Cup championship team. The Los Angeles native also has tallied four points (2G, 2A) and 16 penalty minutes in 19 career NHL contests with Atlanta, spanning two seasons (2007-09).
STEWART appeared in a career-high 59 NHL outings with the Florida Panthers last season, notching seven points (2G, 5A) and 34 penalty minutes. Overall, the 24-year-old right wing has recorded 12 points (4G, 8A) and 38 penalty minutes in 105 career NHL outings with the Florida Panthers, spanning four seasons (2005-2009). The LaSalle, Quebec, native has also posted 29 goals, 66 points and 139 penalty minutes in 130 AHL games with San Antonio (2004-05) and Rochester (2005-08).
ESPOSITO was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins with their first choice, 20th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and was acquired by the Thrashers as part of the Feb. 26, 2008, trade that sent Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh. The 20-year-old forward and 2006 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Offensive Rookie of the Year, ranked second on the Montreal Juniors (QMJHL) with 24 goals and third with 42 points despite appearing in just 35 games last season. He also was a member of the Canadian team that won the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship.
LaVALLEE ranked third on the Wolves with 19 goals and shared ninth with 31 points in 64 contests last season. The 23-year-old left wing also was held scoreless in two NHL outings with Atlanta last year. Overall, the Corvallis, Ore., native, has tallied 54 goals, 106 points and 257 penalty minutes in 219 regular-season AHL outings with Chicago, spanning three seasons (2006-09) and has accrued two points (G, A) in four NHL tilts with Atlanta (2007-09).
HOLZAPFEL was Atlanta\'s second choice, 43rd overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, and made his professional debut with the Wolves last season. The 21-year-old forward shared second among Wolves rookies with 13 goals and 32 points in 73 matchups during his first professional campaign.
MANNINO made his NHL debut in three games with the New York Islanders last season, notching a 1-1-0 record with a 4.52 goals-against average and .870 save percentage, which includes earning his first career NHL victory in his first NHL start against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 15. The 25-year-old netminder, who backstopped the University of Denver to the 2005 NCAA Championship, also appeared in 34 outings for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) during his rookie campaign last year, posting a 17-12-2 record, 2.94 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.
DENNY, KAIP and KOZEK all spent time with the Wolves last season. DENNY tallied 10 points (4G, 6A) and 24 penalty minutes in 40 games with the Wolves and also potted a goal in two outings with the Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL) last year. KAIP recorded two assists, three points and 17 penalty minutes in 42 matchups with Chicago. KOZEK made his professional debut with the club when he potted two goals in five games after being signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract following the conclusion of his senior season at the University of North Dakota (WCHA), where he tallied eight goals and 20 points in 38 games for the Fighting Sioux.
The Wolves open training camp on Monday in preparation for their 16th season opener on Sat., Oct. 3, at 7 p.m., at the Allstate Arena. For more information, or tickets to the game, call 1-800-THE-WOLVES or visit chicagowolves.com.