We haven’t even reached Thanksgiving yet and the first blockbuster trades of the young ECHL season have already taken place. The Atlanta Gladiators, who are one of the hottest teams in the league at the moment, have cut a deal with a heavily struggling Norfolk Admirals club that is towards the cellar of the South Division as Chuck Weber and Robbie Ftorek have shaken up their respective lineups with a five-player swap, including names that are on American Hockey League contracts as well as some top offensive producers.

Heading to Atlanta are forwards Angelo Miceli and Brady Vail. Miceli, who is under contract with Norfolk’s AHL affiliate in the Milwaukee Admirals, was tied for the team lead in points with 13 while also leading Norfolk in the assist column with nine on the year. Vail was right behind Miceli in terms of point production as he accumulated four goals and ten points while in an Admirals sweater. Both were over a point-per-game players.

In return, the Gladiators have shipped forwards Thomas Frazee, Chase Witala, and Patrick D’Amico to Norfolk. Similar to Miceli, Frazee led Atlanta with ten assists and was tied for the team lead in overall points with 15 on the campaign. Witala is on pace to have a breakout season as he has totaled seven assists and ten points in 11 contests. Lastly, D’Amico has been able to muster just three points in ten appearances.

This is a hard one to wrap your head around. It’s understandable why Norfolk would want to shake things up as they’ve struggled out of the gate going 3-9-1 through their first 13 games. However, Atlanta has wins in seven of their last eight and Weber seemed to have things going in the right direction… why ship out two of your biggest offensive weapons right now? Granted, the Gladiators are getting some pretty decent ammunition in Miceli and Vail in return, but it’s still a pretty ballsy move on Atlanta’s end. In the end, with two Kelly Cups under his belt, I’d think Weber knows what he’s doing. I’d have to give the win to Atlanta here as Vail/Miceli bring a lot more AHL kick to the Glads lineup.

Another higher-end trade was made this afternoon between the Toledo Walleye and Rapid City Rush as they swapped forwards as well.

Heading to Toledo is forward Erik Bradford. This will be Bradford’s second stint in Toledo as he played five games for the Walleye during the 2016-17 campaign before being traded to Utah. Bradford played in seven games with Norfolk this season, tallying six points before being traded to the Rush, where he failed to report, thus why he is now being shipped to northwestern Ohio.

En route to the Black Hills is veteran forward Darian Dziurzynski. A round five draft pick of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes back in 2011, Dziurzynski started the season in Slovakia with HKM Zvolen, accumulating one point in five games before returning to North America, where he signed with Toledo. While with the Walleye, he put up three assists in ten appearances.

While Dziurzynski will bring 184 games of AHL experience to Rapid City’s offensive core, I have to give the upper-hand to Toledo here. Just looking at the numbers, Bradford has 101 points in 134 ECHL games, while Dziurzynski has 43 in 71 ECHL contests. If there’s one thing Bradford has over Dziurzynski, it’s consistency with scoring.

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