Training camp began for the Cyclones Friday morning, and after a few sessions to get the legs moving and getting back into the swing of things, the 2015 preseason is upon us.

It’s been a long time coming, but for the first time since April, the Cyclones will hit the ice at U.S. Bank Arena tonight to kick off a pair of preseason meetings against their foes from the Eastern Conference, the Wheeling Nailers. The match-up will mark the first time in both clubs’ history they will not compete in the same conference. It will be the first two match-ups in a grand total of six meet-ups between the two teams, with four of them being during the regular season.

A couple notes before game time about the Cyclones roster:
-Veteran forward Bobby Hughes will not report as he has decided last minute to move on from professional hockey
-Milwaukee has reassigned forward Eric Robinson, defensemen Mikko Vainonen, Jaynen Risslng, and goaltender Brandon Whitney to Cincinnati
-Andrew Yogan, Jack Downing, Neil Conway, Mike Ratchuk, and Zach Budish were all released from their AHL PTO’s and have re-joined the team
-Adam Payerl is still with Milwaukee at the moment with one round of cuts left. Do not be surprised if he earns himself a spot on the Admirals opening day roster
-David Williams, Tyler Prendergast, Jordan Ruby, Ben Woodley, and Andy Bathgate have been released from their PTO’s

Now onto the fun stuff with a look at the players you’ll be watching this week…

Cincinnati’s roster will include a total of 28 players:
Forwards (15): Jay Camper (PTO), Christiaan Minella, Nick Huard, Jack Downing, Branden Gracel, Ben O’Quinn (PTO), Joe Wilson, Garrick Perry, Gabriel Lavesque (PTO), Eric Robinson, Andrew Yogan, Peter Sakaris, Zach Budish, Drayson Bowman, and Peter Quenneville

Defensemen (10): Jaynen Rissling, Mikko Vainonen, Ben Schmidt, Cody Carlson, Kevin Lind, Ryan Misiak, Steven Weinstein, Riley Weselowski, Brett Wysopal, and Mike Ratchuk

Goalies (3): Neil Conway, Brad Thiessen, and Brandon Whitney

The Cyclones will need to get that 28 down to at least 21 by October 14th.

Now, you may have noticed a three unfamiliar names in that list. That would be because prior to game time, the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters have assigned three players to Cincinnati, despite Kalamazoo being their ECHL affiliate. Those players include forward Drayson Bowman, Peter Quenneville, and goaltender Brad Thiessen

Drayson Bowman (Top Left), Peter Quenneville (Top Right), Brad Thiessen (Bottom Left)

To catch you up to speed, here’s the low down on the three additions to the preseason roster:

: Thiessen’s career has primarily been in the AHL with a short five game stint in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011-2012. In those five contests, Thiessen tallied a record of 3-1-1 between the pipes. He also brings in 206 games of AHL experience between Wilkes Barre/Scranton, Norfolk, and Adirondack; as well as a short 12 game stint in the ECHL with the Wheeling Nailers in 2009-2010, posting an 8-3-1 record.

QUENNEVILLE: Quenneville enters his first professional season after a successful junior career in the Western Hockey League with the Brandon Wheat Kings. In his two seasons in Brandon, he tallied 126 points in 116 contests. Last season, he captained the Wheat Kings to the WHL Ed Chynoweth Cup Finals, where they unfortunately fell to the Kelowna Rockets. I know one question is on your mind, and the answer is yes. Peter is in fact, related to Chicago Blackhawks head coach, Joel Quenneville as the two are cousins.

BOWMAN: Bowman is a guy, that being an ECHL writer, I never thought I’d be profiling on as his experience has been primarily at the NHL level with a few stops in the AHL. He has seen action in 180 NHL contests between the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadians where he tallied 31 points. His AHL numbers are a little better as he tallied 111 points in 248 contests between the Charlotte Checkers and Hamilton Bulldogs. He occupies the Veteran spot left behind by Bobby Hughes.

These three additions make an already tough decision, even tougher for the Coach Macdonald and Keith. This is definitely one of the more stacked rosters in the league right now and seven bodies will need to be cut in order to meet the league deadline next week.

Thiessen coming into the fold will bring in a competitive atmosphere between the pipes between him, Conway, and Whitney. No matter what, in any scenario I can draw up in my head, Whitney will serve as back-up to either Conway or Thiessen.

However, the main question here is how long will these three be in Cincinnati since they were sent by a non-affiliate? Short term or long term?

All of these elements will be put to the test this week to see who will be donning the Cincinnati sweater come opening night.

Preseason Schedule
October 7th – Vs Wheeling – 7:30pm EST (Doors Open at 6:30pm)
October 9th – @ Wheeling – 7:35pm EST

For inquiring minds: Wheeling’s Preseason Roster

We’ll have live coverage of both games on our Twitter page, and Facebook page. Hockey is back, ladies and gentlemen!


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