The rumours can be put to rest. There’s a new goalie in town in Anthony Stolarz.
The London Knights held a press conference Tuesday (Jan. 8) afternoon to announce the signing of the Jackson, N.J. native, who left playing hockey at the University of Nebraska-Omaha to come to the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) top team.
The deal to add Stolarz to London’s roster was a quick one, said Knights’ vice-president and general manager Mark Hunter, being contacted about the availability of the Philadelphia Flyers second-round pick on Sunday (Jan. 6), completing the deal Monday (Jan. 7) and bringing the 18 year old to town Tuesday.
“I just felt that the London Knights can give me the best chance to develop my game,” Stolarz said about his transfer from American university, where he posted an a 2-5 record with a 2.56 goals-against average (GAA) and .898 save percentage (SAV%) this year.
The latest acquisition crowded the crease for London, so the team put Kevin Bailie on waivers.
The Knights former over-aged goalie had shared time with Jake Patterson, playing in 27 games and picking up an 18-4 record with a 2.50 GAA and .901 SAV%. Bailie collected 12 of those wins during London’s 24-game victory streak.
“You have to do what’s best for the organization and I don’t feel good about it,” Hunter said about dropping Bailie. “I’m pretty sure another team will pick him up.”
With Stolarz and Patterson in net the Knights now have two goaltenders born in 1994 and potentially set the club up with a pair between the pipes for the next couple of years.
“More or less we’re trying to protect for this year and next year and we do that with this move,” Hunter said.
Stolarz will have only a few days to get ready, as Hunter added the 6-foot-6 goalie will most likely start in Friday's (Jan. 11) home game against the Ottawa 67's.
If Knights fans are holding their breath for more moves to the team’s roster before the OHL trade deadline on Thursday (Jan. 10), then they may want to collectively exhale.
But, under the regime of head coach Dale Hunter and Mark, never say never.
“I can’t see very much happening,” Mark said. “Of course we’re going to look at stuff, that’s the business we’re in. Are we going to make that much? I can’t see it, but I don’t want to say it and then something happens.”