A rather large training-camp contingent has become a little larger for the Newfoundland Growlers.
Defenceman Michael Kapla, who spent the last two seasons in the American Hockey League, has been assigned to the Growlers by their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.
The 25-year-old left-shooting rearguard becomes the 33rd player in training camp for the reigning ECHL champions from Newfoundland. At last count, there were four goaltenders, 11 defencemen and 18 forwards.
Just about all those players are expected to see action tonight and tomorrow as the Growlers play the Brampton Beast in what will be their only preseason games.
Chris Ballard’s broadcasts of the games in Brampton (9:30 p.m. NT tonight and 5:30 p.m. NT Saturday) will be available on online at mixlr.com/NLGrowlers.
The six-foot, 200-pound Kapla played collegiate hockey at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, where he was a two-year captain before being signed as an undrafted free agent by the New Jersey Devils in 2017.
The Wisconsin native got into five NHL games with New Jersey at the end of the 2016-17 schedule, but spent the remainder of his time in the Devils organization with Binghamton of the AHL before a trade in the middle of last season sent him to the Minnesota Wild.
In 2018-19, in 66 games split between Binghamton and Minnesota’s farm team in Iowa, Kapla had 24 points (2G, 22A).
Kapla is only the third rearguard in the Growlers' camp with AHL experience, joining Newfoundland captain James Melindy (60 AHL) games and Joseph Duszak (two games with the Marlies last season).
Even with Kapla reassigned, the Marlies still have nine defencemen on the roster, including Kristans Rubin and Alex Gudbranson, who both played most of last season with the Growlers.
Gudbranson is injured.