WHEELING, WV – After finishing the season with their ninth straight winning record, the Wheeling Nailers began work on an unusually long off-season here in the Friendly City. Having missed the playoffs for just the third time in nine years, and after the Eastern Conference Championship in 2015-16, having an early offseason is not something fans are used to.
The upshot to an early offseason, however, is that extra time the team has more time to review players from this past season and to begin to evaluate them and come up with the season-ending roster.
After completing the future considerations trades that saw Tyler Currier go to Wichita to complete the trade that brought Kenton Miller to Wheeling, CJ Garcia moved to Colorado completing the deal that brought Mitch Holmberg to the Nailers and acquired Matt Stanisz from Elmira completing a deal that sent Miller to the Jackals.
The season-ending roster includes Captain Derek Army, who started the season in Wheeling, but spent most of the year with Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. The roster also includes Stanisz, the team’s newest acquisition.
Consisting of 12 forwards, seven defensemen and one goalie, here is the Nailers season-ending roster:
Forwards – Andrew Ammon, Derek Army, Alexandre Carrier, Johnny Daniels, Holmberg, Kale Kerbashian, Jordan Kwas, Daniel Leavens, Garrett Meurs, Gage Quinney, Nick Sorkin, Cody Wydo
Defensemen – Tim Boyle, Danny Fick, Mike Krieg, Ross McMullan, Kevin Schulze, Matt Stanisz, Brett Stern
Goalie – Doug Carr
There are certain players who did not appear on the season-ending roster because they did not sign ECHL contracts last year. Michael Webster, Ryan Segalla, and Christian Hilbrich had(have) contracts with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Sean Maguire is a Pittsburgh signee.
Coach Jeff Christian and the Nailers staff must now decide on up to eight players to extend qualifying offers to. The list of qualifying offers is due to league office 11:59pm ET June 30. If a player signs prior to the deadline, that player is usually not included on it. Of these eight names only four can be veterans (260 regular season games played as of the start of the 2017-18 season.) There is only one player on the season ending roster who meet this criterion and that is Kerbashian.
Qualifying offers must remain eligible to be signed until August 1. If the offer is not signed the team may sign the player to any salary or do nothing. Non-veteran player rights, for players receiving qualifying offers, remain with that team for one playing season. Veteran players the rules vary a bit. If a player is given a qualifying offer and doesn’t sign by August 1, the player becomes a restricted free agent, allowing them to talk to any team in the league. If the player gets offered an opportunity with another team, the team with the player’s rights has seven days to match the contract if they so desire. Also of note, restricted free agents cannot be traded. Non-veteran player rights can be traded.
This is the final step to complete the 2016-17 season and move on to 2017-18. Teams may now begin to sign players for the upcoming season.