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Mavericks lose three to AHL call-ups

Kansas City signs former NHL draft pick Nick Pastujov to help fill the void

By Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
Kansas City Mavericks forward Giorgio Estephan, right, tries to get around the Indy Fuel's Seamus Malone (9) during a game earlier this season. Estephan, who is tied for second in the ECHL with 22 points, was called up to the AHL by the Stockton Heat Wednesday.

Following the two most important wins of the season, the Kansas City Mavericks have lost goaltender Angus Redmond and forwards Giorgio Estephan and Kamerin Nault.

All three have been called up to the American Hockey League.

The Mavericks also announced the signing of forward Nick Pastujov, a former New York Islanders draft pick, to help fill the void.

Estephan was recalled by the Stockton Heat, the Mavericks’ AHL affiliate. Redmond has been loaned to the Toronto Marlies and Nault has been loaned to the Manitoba Moose.

“It’s a double-edged sword in the ECHL,” Mavericks coach Tad O’Had said as he boarded the team bus for Wednesday night’s game in Tulsa. “We want our players to do well, and when they do well – like these three talented players – there is the chance you’re going to lose them.

“The first thing we tell guys when they come to the Mavericks is that we are going to do everything we can to help them get to the next level. Are we happy they’ve made that big step? Of course. But we’re going to miss their presence as we’re really playing well now.”

New Kansas City Mavericks goalie Angus Redmond covers the puck for a sprawling save right on the goal line in Monday's game against the Allen Americans. Redmond stopped 21 shots for his second 4-2 win in an as many days.

Redmond was in the net for back-to-back wins over the then first-place Allen Americans Sunday and Monday. Estephan had points in each of the three games in the series and is tied for second in the ECHL with 22 points (6 goals, 16 assists), five points behind the leader, teammate Brodie Reid.

“We are pleased to see Gio get this opportunity with Stockton in the AHL,” O’Had said. “Gio has conducted himself as a true pro here in Kansas City and has been impactful on and off the ice the entire KC Mavericks organization wishes Gio all the success in Stockton.”

Nault had two assists in 10 games after being acquired in a trade with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. He had an assist in three games with Greenville. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native played at the University of Manitoba and played one game with the Moose in 2018-19.

“We are very pleased to see Kamerin Nault receive a PTO (professional tryout) with his hometown Manitoba Moose; he’s a talented young man who is deserving of this opportunity,” O’Had said.

With goaltenders Andrew Shortridge and Matt Greenfield still on injured reserve, Matt Ginn and Sean Romeo will now share net duties for the Mavericks.

“We like what Matt and Sean bring to the team,” O’Had said. “We’re in the toughest stretch of the season and we’re going to give some young guys on the team the chance to see what they can do.

“And that’s exciting – for them, and for me.”

O’Had is hoping Pastujov can pick up some of the scoring slack that will be lost with Estephan being called up.

Pastujov, a 6-foot, 203-pounder from Bradenton, Florida, joins the Mavericks after playing four years at the University of Michigan.

Last season, he tallied 18 points on nine goals and nine assists in 36 games at Michigan. He was with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers but had not played a game with them yet.

 “Nick is an excellent two-way forward that has had a very successful collegiate career at the  University of Michigan,” O’Had said. “He is a very talented player with great on-ice vision and the ability to be very successful in the professional ranks.”

Pastujov was a seventh-round draft pick to the New York Islanders in 2016.

Redmond posted a 2.00 goals against average and a .923 save percentage in his two games for the Mavericks.

“Angus has been rock steady for the Mavericks these past two games against Allen,” O’Had said. “He will definitely be missed; however, we are happy to see him signing with the Marlies.”