Six Former Bears Sign NHL or AHL Contracts
PROVIDENCE, RI – Four former men's hockey standouts have signed NHL contracts, while an additional two have signed AHL contracts. Yann Danis '04 signed a one-year two-way contract with the Philadelphia Flyers, while Aaron Volpatti '10 signed a two-year contract with the Washington Capitals. Bobby Farnham '12 and Harry Zolnierczyk '11 both signed a one-year two-way contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In addition, Scott Ford '04 has signed a one-year contract with the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals, while Mike Clemente '12 has signed a one-year contract with the AHL's Springfield Falcons. Ryan Garbutt '09 will enter the second year of a two-year contract he signed last July with the Dallas Stars, bringing the number of Brown alumni on professional contracts to seven.
Clemente spent his rookie season, 2012-13, with the Missouri Mavericks of the CHL while under contract with the Falcons. In 45 appearances with Missouri, Clemente went 25-15-4 with a .894 save percentage, a 3.25 GAA, and one shutout, earning the CHL's Rookie of the Month honors in October. He made his professional debut at the end of the 2011-12 season with Springfield, registering a 2-1-0 record, a .930 save percentage, a 1.99 GAA, and one shutout in six games.
Danis joins the Flyers from the Edmonton Oilers organization, where he led the Oilers' AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, to the AHL's Western Conference Finals in each of the last two seasons. In 2012-13, Danis went 26-15-6 with a 2.59 GAA and a .911 save percentage, followed by a 10-7 record with a 2.41 GAA and a .923 save percentage in 17 Calder Cup playoff games. The previous season, Danis won the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Trophy as the AHL's best goaltender with a 26-14-2 record, a 2.07 GAA and a .924 save percentage. He was named the first team goaltender on the 2012 AHL Post-Season All-Star Team and represented the Barons at the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic. He has played in 53 career NHL games with Edmonton, New Jersey, New York Islanders, and Montreal, compiling an overall record of 17-21-4, a 2.75 GAA and a .910 save percentage. He has played in 276 career AHL games and was the co-MVP of the 2006 AHL All-Star Classic. Danis also played one season in the KHL with Khabarovsk in 2010-11.
Farnham split the 2012-13 season, his first full season as a professional, with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL and the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL. He played a majority of the campaign with WBS, totaling three goals, eight assists and 274 penalty minutes in 65 AHL regular-season contests. His penalty-minute total ranked third in the AHL and first among rookies. Farnham also appeared in four post-season contests for WBS. Before joining WBS full-time in November, Farnham appeared in nine games with Wheeling, tallying three goals, four points and 46 penalty minutes.
Ford will begin his sixth season with the Milwaukee Admirals as the squad's all-time AHL leader in games played with 300. A Captain in 2011-12 with the Admirals, Ford began the 2012-13 season with Peoria, where he was also the team's Captain, but was acquired by Nashville in a trade in February. Since he joined the Admirals last year, the team went 15-4-1 to reach the playoffs for the 11th straight season.
Garbutt will enter his second year of a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars this year. In 36 games in 2012-13, Gabutt recorded 10 points (3g, 7a) and 32 penalty minutes. He appeared in 20 games during the 2011-12 season, and posted two goals, one assist and 22 penalty minutes. In 115 career AHL games, split between the Chicago Wolves and the Texas Stars, Garbutt compiled 35 goals, 35 assists, 70 points, and 214 penalty minutes.
Volpatti resigned with the Washington Capitals after appearing in 31 games with the Capitals and the Vancouver Canucks in 2012-13. Volpatti initially joined the Capitals in February of 2013 after he was claimed off wavers. He recorded one goal, one assist, and 33 penalty minutes combined and compiled three goals, two assists and 86 penalty minutes in 69 career NHL games. In 61 career AHL games with Manitoba, Volpatti recorded 13 points (3g, 10a) and 91 penalty minutes.
Zolnierczyk was acquired by the Penguins from Anaheim earlier this offseason after splitting the 2012-13 campaign between Anaheim and the Philadelphia Flyers. He played in seven NHL games with the Flyers, recording one assist and 36 penalty minutes. Zolnierczyk spent the majority of last season in the AHL with the Adirondack Phantoms and the Norfolk Admirals, collecting 11 goals and 19 points with 68 penalty minutes in 61 games between the two teams. He has played in 44 career NHL games with Philadelphia and 116 career AHL games.
In addition to those listed above, several other recent alumni plan to play either in Europe or in the minor leagues.
Pictured: Aaron Volpatti '10.