Hamilton Bulldogs line up youth and experience for 2006-07 campaign

While it might seem like the hockey season just ended with the National Hockey League’s recently completed Stanley Cup playoffs, a new term is just around the corner.

And with that in mind, the Hamilton Bulldogs are lining up their player personnel for the 2006-07 campaign. Three signings have been announced by the American Hockey League team that combine youth and experience.

Veteran centre Eric Manlow inked a two-year contract. Also signed were defencemen Jon Gleed and Alexandre Dulac-Lemelin. It is the Bulldogs policy to not release financial details.

The 31-year-old Manlow was the Chicago Blackhawks second round (50th overall) in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. The veteran of 11 pro seasons will give the Bulldogs, who missed the playoffs last season, maturity and a potential offensive threat, one of the inconsistent ingredients the team’ offered last season.

The 6-0, 205-pound, left-handed centre, who played the past two seasons with the ‘Dogs North Division rival Grand Rapids, played in all 80 regular season games for the Griffins. He scored 25 goals and added 48 assists for the MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy-winning (regular season points leaders) Griffs. His 73 points was third in team scoring and tied for 17th in the AHL.

Manlow broke into the pro ranks after four years in the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers and Detroit Jr. Red Wings, making his debut in the 1995-1996 season. Since then, Manlow has played for the NHL’s Boston Bruins and New York Islanders, the AHL’s Baltimore Bandits, Providence Bruins, Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Grand Rapids Griffins, the now defunct International Hockey League’s Indianapolis Ice and Long Beach Ice Dogs, and the ECHL’s Columbus Chill and Florida Everblades.

Bulldogs majority owner Michael Andlauer said acquiring the Bellville native address two areas. “As a proven point producer, and a great leader, we are confident that Eric will not only help the Bulldogs win hockey games, but will also assist in the development of the talented group of Montreal Canadiens prospects playing in Hamilton”.

Andlauer added, “Both our local ownership group, and the Montreal Canadiens are committed to making the Hamilton Bulldogs a winner – both on, and off the ice, and the addition of Eric Manlow has helped us to take yet another step in the right direction”.

At the other end of the pro experience scale are Gleed, 22, and Dulac-Lemelin, 20.

Gleed, a native of Milton, just completed his fourth season at Cornell University. He was the Canadiens 7th round (212th overall) selection in the 2004 entry draft. While playing for the Ithaca, N. Y., Big Red, Gleed, a right-handed shooting, 6’2’, 200 pounder, played in a 98 games 2002-2006. He had five goals, 16 assists, and 97 penalty minutes.

The Canadiens made Dulac-Lemelin their ninth round (278th overall) choice in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He just completed his third season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 20 year-old native of Lévis, Quebec is a 6-4, 193-pound blueliner who played three seasons with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar from 2003-2006, before he was acquired last December by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, where he finished his junior career.

During his three seasons in the QMJHL, the left-handed shooting defenceman had 18 goals and 43 assists while accumulating 159 minutes in penalties in 164 games.