Springfield Signs Atherton to ATO

The Springfield Falcons announced today that [url=http://www.falconsahl.com/detpages/pressbox2969.shtml]they have signed defenseman P.J. Atherton to an Amateur Tryout Agreement (ATO).[/url] Atherton is expected to practice with the Falcons this week and make his debut this weekend with Springfield. Atherton recently finished his collegiate career with the University of Minnesota. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Edina, Minnesota native collected one goal and six assists for seven points in 41 games this year with the University of Minnesota. Atherton is a solid, stay-at-home defenseman known for his physical presence on the ice. Before going to Minnesota, he showed an offensive upside with Cedar Rapids of the USHL, where he scored 7 goals and 22 assists for 29 points in 54 games. In Atherton’s four seasons with U of M, he finished his collegiate career with 5 goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 106 career games. Atherton was a WCHA All-Academic Team member during the 2003-04 season and a U of M Scholar-Athlete from 2002 to 2004. With Tampa General Manager Jay Feaster concerned about the organization staying under the 50-man roster limit next season, this move is indeed a tryout for Atherton to not just make the Falcons, but for a professional contract with the Lightning. Unlike just two years ago, Feaster is going to be picky about who is awarded a contract with the Lightning.