CINCINNATI, OH – As the 2017 Kelly Cup Finals are now underway and the ECHL will soon be able to crown this year’s champion, for the other 25 teams in the league, the first stage of the off-season has arrived. On Friday afternoon, the Cincinnati Cyclones rolled out their 30-man protected list, which includes names from the past two seasons, as the first step towards building the 2017-18 roster.
If we’re being honest here, the protected list is arguably the most meaningless part of the summer as you’ll completely forget about this list in two weeks and toss it into the dumpster next to all of your old Justin Bieber CD’s. Once we get to the season ending rosters and qualifying offers, this list goes out the window essentially.
The basic rundown of protected lists is, essentially, everyone and their mother gets protected. The lists are limitless and teams are allowed to protect as many players as they wish, as long as they were signed to ECHL standard player contracts and were never traded or released. Players who were in the ECHL on AHL/NHL contracts during the 2016-17 season are ineligible to be protected. So, players who were sent to Cincinnati via either Nashville/Milwaukee or Columbus/Cleveland are the only players you won’t see on the list.
Stipulations for players who are eligible to be protected:
1. Signed an SPC in 2016-17 with the member, and has not been traded or released
2. Signed an SPC in 2016-17, was recalled to the NHL/AHL or an IIHF team, and has not been traded or released
3. Had received a qualifying offer last summer for the current season, DID NOT sign an SPC, and has not been traded or released
4. Has been suspended by the member or league, and has not been traded or released
5. Signed an SPC on or after the first day of the 2016-17 regular season, then subsequently signed an NHL/AHL contract, and has not been traded or released
6. Has executed the ECHL retirement form, and has not been traded or released
Cincinnati’s 2017 Protected List is as follows:
Forwards (19): Seth Ambroz, Zach Budish, Patrick D’Amico, Rob DeFulviis, Branden Gracel, Nick Huard, Justin MacDonald, Joe Manno, Brandon McNally, Tommy Mele, Christiaan Minella, Dylan Nowakowski, Shawn O’Donnell, Jordan Sims, Justin Vaive, Shane Walsh, Joe Wilson, Andrew Yogan, Dominic Zombo
Defenseman (10): Arvin Atwal, Andrew Blazek, Cody Carlson, Craig Dalrymple, Tyler Elbrecht, Martin Lefebvre, Dan Johnston, Eric Knodel, Sam Posa, Brett Wysopal
Goalies (1): Joel Rumpel
Again, don’t read too deep into that. No, guys like Gracel, Budish, and Wysopal aren’t coming back to Cincy. This is simply just a means of protecting them from signing with other ECHL teams in the case they ever decided to come back to the states, or in Wysopal’s case, come out of retirement and play again.
Now that’s out of the way, there are some other off-season business that we need to turn our attention to.
Way back on March 9th, just before the ECHL’s trade deadline hit, the Cyclones shipped forward Peter LeBlanc to the Manchester Monarchs in exchange for future considerations. This is the only trade Cincinnati has yet to complete. The deadline to complete this trade is on June 13th at 3:00pm EST.
Then, on June 15th, Season Ending Rosters are due to the league by 3pm EST. This roster has a maximum of 20 players that can be included on it. The very next day on the 16th is when Head Coach Matt Macdonald can officially begin signing players for the 2017-18 season.
Another point of interest is those who have moved on from Cincinnati and have signed on to play in Europe next season. In that case, as of now, four names that Cyclones will have a bit of familiarity with have inked with European teams for the 2017-18 campaign: