Our favorite Hungarian's ascent has stalled. Obviously less enthralled with the story of the first Hungarian making the NHL, the St. John's IceCaps have released Daniel Koger from his PTO:
The St. John's IcecCaps today announced they have released forward Daniel Koger from his professional tryout contract.
Koger, 22, played in three games with the St. John's IceCaps since signing his PTO on Dec. 5/11. He started the season playing in 12 games with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. In that time, the right-winger has collected 11 points (5g, 6a) and eight penalty minutes. He is currently tied for second on the Cyclones scoring leaderboard and leads the team with a plus-8 rating.
The Szekesfehervar, Hungary native spent the 2010-11 season with the Laredo Bucks of the Central Hockey League earning 52 points (29g, 23a) and 40 penalty minutes.
For Koger, it's back to Cincinnati and the ECHL to work his way to the top.
Brendan McCarthy's article on Koger in the Winnipeg Free Press shed light on how Koger came to land a PTO in St. John's:
..coached by Jarrod Skalde, who happens to have been a former roommate of IceCaps’ head coach Keith McCambridge when the two were teammates on the AHL’s Saint John Flames.
"When Zinger (IceCaps general manager Craig Heisinger) brought up (Koger’s) name, I said ‘Why don’t I give Skalde a call.’ I know what Skalde stands for, so his opinion on whether a guy can play means that much more," said McCambridge.
Skalde obviously gave the thumbs-up on Koger, a six-foot-two, 200-pounder who has plenty of international experience with Hungary’s national junior and senior teams, albeit in second-tier competition.
But things might not be as bad as they seem for Koger. According to Koger, Skalde told him that ten different AHL teams have asked about the winger in recent weeks.
If the IceCaps and Jets aren't interested, maybe the Oklahoma City Barons should give him a call. Edmonton has the second-largest concentration of ethnic Hungarians in North America (well behind Cleveland), and would be a welcome home for Koger. Koger to the Oilers could be destiny.
Even if Koger doesn't land another PTO, a few more four point nights in Cincinnati will have his phone ringing: