READING, PA- A new season of ECHL hockey is upon us and for most teams, there will be a lot of fresh new faces in their respective locker rooms which isn’t anything new for teams at this level. During the summer, head coach Kirk MacDonald went out and signed nine new players to ECHL deals to play for the Reading Royals for the team’s 17th season of existence.
We’ll first take a look at Adam Schmidt. The Warrington, PA native was the first new player to sign with the Royals back in June after spending the past three seasons overseas. Schmidt has some North American hockey experience as he signed a deal with the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League after finishing off his college career at Holy Cross University. The 26-year-old can play either of the wings which will be a beneficial tool to have.
Emilio Romig is the next player we’ll be looking at. The 24-year-old will be entering his first professional season after wrapping up his college career at the University of Denver. Romig only scored 23 career goals in college so putting up big numbers isn’t expected. During his senior season, Romig was a member of the Denver Pioneers team that went out to win the Frozen Four.
Another new face brought to Reading this season is Mark Naclerio, who is entering his second professional season after his college career at Brown University. Last season, Naclerio spent most of the year with the Atlanta Gladiators, where he put up 33 points (14G, 19A) in 40 games. He also spent some time with the Providence Bruins in the AHL where he only put up two points in 10 games. While at Brown, Naclerio was the team captain during his junior and senior year.
One of the veterans Kirk MacDonald signed during the off-season was Derek Whitmore. Just like Adam Schmidt, Whitmore returns to North America after spending the past three seasons overseas. Whitmore has some NHL experience under his belt as he appeared in two games with the Buffalo Sabres during the 2011-12 season. The 32-year-old has over 300 career AHL games under his belt which would be a nice presence in the team’s locker room. This will be Whitmore’s first season in the ECHL but don’t expect him to be in Reading for long, If anything, his time here will be similar to Kris Newbury’s from last season. In which Kris played in only one game with the Royals before signing a PTO with the Bakersfield Condors.
After looking at some forwards, let’s move to defensemen. We’ll begin with Sam Posa. Posa attended training camp with the Montreal Canadiens where his dad Victor Posa is a scout for the team. Posa spent last season with the Cincinnati Cyclones where he played for Royals assistant coach Patrick Wellar. Posa is a more of a stay at home defensemen so don’t expect him to put up a lot of stats as he only put up eight points last season in 63 games.
The second to last forward Kirk MacDonald brought in this offseason was K.J. Tiefenwerth who just wrapped his college career at Quinnipiac University. Another small guy joining the Royals for the upcoming year at only 5-foot-9, Tiefenwerth only put up 49 points in 137 career college games. Don’t expect him to to be a big contributor on the offensive side of the puck right away.
We’ll be going back to the defensive side for these next two player introductions. First up is Ryan Segalla. A former fourth-round pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins spent last season with the Royals’ longest-tenured rival, the Wheeling Nailers. The 22-year-old played in 62 games with Wheeling while putting up 11 points. At only 22, Segalla is one of the younger players on the team.
The final new defensemen the Royals signed over the summer is Loic Leduc. A former-fourth round pick by the New Islanders, Leduc spent last year up in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. At 6-foot-7, Leduc is one of the tallest, if not the tallest player in Royals history and brings some much-needed size to the team’s defensive core. Having some AHL experience is a nice add-on as well.
The final new player the Royals brought in during the off-season is Tyler Brown. The former Adirondack Phantom spent the past three seasons with the New York Rangers organization. This signing reunites Tyler with Derek Whitmore and with 284 career AHL games and 81 career ECHL games under his belt, Brown brings a veteran presence to the Royals.