Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Albrecht adds depth to Traverse City

There’s an old adage that says ‘you can never go home again,' but James Albrecht will do just that this weekend.

Albrecht, who was dealt to the Traverse City North Stars from his hometown Chicago Hitmen just a few days ago, will return to West Meadows Ice Arena on Friday as the Stars square off against the Hitmen in a two-game series.

The Geneva, Ill., product led Chicago in scoring, lighting the lamp 16 times and assisting on 12 others in 30 appearances this season.

Traverse City head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo says the forward will fill a host of roles with his new club.

“James makes us deeper, he adds veteran experience and maturity, and obviously the scoring punch,” Palumbo assessed. “With the loss of Steve Behm (to college club hockey), it strengthens us up the middle.”

The Hitmen, coming off a pair of losses at Centre ICE Arena last weekend, fell farther out of the playoff race in the hotly-contested NAHL North Division, parted with Albrecht for future personnel considerations. The club also sent captain and top defenseman Hunter Brown to Wenatchee.

“They really like the kid (Albrecht), and I think part of it was getting some value in return, but also giving him a chance to finish his last season of juniors on a team that’s competing for a playoff spot," added Palumbo.

Albrecht, a 5-foot-11, 180-pounder who represented Chicago in December’s NAHL Top Prospects all-star event in Boston, registered three goals against the Stars last weekend, and was the only player with a positive plus-minus rating (+3) on the Hitmen roster. Remarkably, Albrecht has been assessed just a single minor penalty all season – back on Sept. 11, 2010.

“He can play on the special teams, he can contribute as a penalty-killer as well,” Palumbo added. “We added another important piece of the puzzle.”

The Stars and Hitmen will kick off their return engagement on Friday, and wrap on Saturday in metropolitan Chicago. Both contests face off at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

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