New Hampshire natives Zach Sanford, Gavin Bayreuther and Paul Thompson will begin this professional hockey season season skating in the American Hockey League.
The St. Louis Blues assigned Sanford, a forward from Manchester, goaltender Ville Husso and defenseman Jake Walman, a Providence College product, to their AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, on Tuesday, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Dallas Stars assigned Bayreuther, a defenseman from Canaan, fellow blue-liner and UMass Amherst product Joel Hanley and forward Justin Dowling to AHL Texas on Tuesday.
The Florida Panthers loaned Thompson, a Derry native and University of New Hampshire graduate, to the Springfield Thunderbirds, their AHL affiliate, on Sept. 22 after trimming their training camp roster to 36 players.
Sanford, 23, dislocated his left shoulder on the first day of the Blues’ training camp last year, marking the first serious injury of his career. St. Louis activated the Pinkerton Academy of Derry graduate from injured reserve on Feb. 15 and assigned him to San Antonio, where he logged seven points (four goals, three assists) in 20 games last season.
Bayreuther spent all of last season with the Texas Stars, who are coming off a Calder Cup Finals appearance. Texas fell, four games to three, to the Toronto Marlies in the best-of-seven championship series. Bayreuther, who played for former Manchester Monarchs coach Mark Morris at St. Lawrence University, recorded 32 points (seven goals, 25 assists) and a plus-11 plus-minus in the regular season last year. The 24-year-old added eight points in the Calder Cup Playoffs on three goals and five assists.
Thompson, a 29-year-old forward, was a member of the Vegas Golden Knights organization last season, playing exclusively for their AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. Thompson accumulated 38 points (24 goals, 14 assists) over 79 games with Chicago last year.
The eight-year veteran spent the 2016-17 season with Florida, playing 21 games with the Panthers and another 51 with Springfield. Thompson rejoined Florida on July 2, when he signed a two-year, two-way contract.
Thompson recorded a power-play goal in Springfield’s 3-2 exhibition loss to the Providence Bruins this past Sunday.
Thompson told the New Hampshire Union Leader in July that if he began the season with the Thunderbirds, he wanted to provide veteran leadership and help build a winning culture. Springfield missed the Calder Cup Playoffs in both of its previous two AHL seasons.
“That’s the main thing is be a leader, a voice in the room when needed and play the same way as I would if I started the year in Florida,” Thompson said in July regarding how he would approach starting the season in Springfield.