Going into Sunday’s Game 1 of the North Division Finals against the Laval Rocket, Rochester Americans head coach Seth Appert provided several injury updates via the team’s Twitter account on Saturday.

Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is “inching closer,” practicing before the Amerks departed for Laval. With Luukkonen out, Aaron Dell has started all seven games of Rochester’s postseason so far, with Michael Houser backing up. Luukkonen has not played since the Amerks’ season finale against Utica on April 29.

Defenseman Mattias Samuelsson “is not ready yet, but getting better.” Samuelsson played in 42 games for the parent Buffalo Sabres during the regular season before his postseason assignment to Rochester, but he has yet to play in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Forwards Michael Mersch and Linus Weissbach are still out, the team reported, and will be “reassessed” after this weekend. Mersch has not played since Game 3 of the North Division semifinal series against Utica; Weissbach has been out of action since Game 1 of the Amerks’ opening-round series with the Belleville Senators.

The Stockton Heat have added an intriguing late-round prospect as they prepare to face the Colorado Eagles in the Pacific Division Finals.

With Game 1 set for Monday at Stockton, Calgary Flames 2020 sixth-round pick Rory Kerins has joined the Heat following the completion of his Ontario Hockey League campaign with Sault Ste. Marie. Kerins, 20, exploded for 118 points (43 goals, 75 assists) in 67 OHL games this season to rank second in league scoring.

Kerins is part of Calgary’s promising 2020 draft class that has already shown some impact with the Heat. Forward Connor Zary, the 24th overall pick that year, provided 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 53 games as an AHL rookie in a season delayed by a broken ankle sustained in training camp with Calgary. Fourth-round pick Daniil Chechelev is part of the Heat goaltending corps for the postseason. Seventh-rounder Ilya Solovyov played 51 regular-season games on the Heat blue line, and defenseman Yan Kuznetsov, a second-round pick, started the season with Stockton before returning to junior.

In addition, Calgary 2019 third-round pick Ilya Nikolaev has agreed to a three-year entry-level contract with the Flames and will report to Stockton. The 20-year-old forward had 72 points (23 goals, 49 assists) in 58 games with Tri-City of the United States Hockey League in 2021-22.

Undrafted blueliner Rhett Rhinehart from Saskatoon of the Western Hockey League has signed an amateur tryout deal with Stockton as well. The 20-year-old had 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in 53 games this season.

Patrick Williams

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