MOLINE, Ill. — The Quad City Storm will open their sophomore season on October 19, once more taking on the Peoria Rivermen. However, there’s a lot more to the Storm’s upcoming season than merely rehashing the same match-up 13 times, so let’s dive right in.

Nuts and Bolts: 

Record: 18-33-5 (9th in SPHL)
Goals For Per Game: 2.55 (T-8th in SPHL) 
Goals Against Per Game: 3.45 (8th in SPHL)
Power Play: 38/198, 19.2% (4th in SPHL)
Penalty Kill: 43/229, 81.2% (6th in SPHL)

Trending Topics: 

  • First-year teams historically perform poorly, the Vegas Golden Knights making it to the Stanley Cup Finals a notable exception. With an extended offseason and a second-year coach behind the bench now, the Storm could prove themselves a contender for the Presidents Cup this season. 
  • With the goalie tandem of Ryan Mulder and Peter Di Salvo signed this offseason, there will be more stability in net for the coming season. Eric Levine, who signed during the lead up to the inaugural Storm season, was excellent in net last year when he was in town. Levine received many call-ups in 2018-19, the last of which landed him in Newfoundland with the Kelly Cup champion Growlers.
  • The Storm experienced their first call-up of the season before playing their first game. Mulder is up with the ECHL Wichita Thunder on Monday to back up Mitch Gillam after the AHL Bakersfield Condors recalled Dylan Wells. Pszenyczny signed Cody Porter after being released from Knoxville’s camp.

Coach Speak: 

“I was late in recruiting last year just because of when I was hired. But it was nice to have a full summer to bring in great talent,” — Head Coach Dave Pszenyczny.

Worth Watching: 

  • Kristaps Nimanis showed a lot of promise last season, but he only appeared in nine games for the team because of a lower-body injury early in the season. If he stays healthy this year, the Storm could have a giant boost in their offensive game thanks to him.
  • Recent college graduate Mathias Ahman could be quite the offensive defenseman this year. Over four years at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Ahman scored 25 times and added 29 assists in 90 games. If his defense partner can find and pass the puck well, there could be a lot more red lights being lit by a blueliner this season.
  • Shane Bennett led the Storm in points last season, racking up 14 goals and 16 assists in 34 games. Before being traded from the Fayetteville Marksmen, he had scored three times and gone on the scoresheet six times with assists. I expect his points only to go up this season based on his prior performances.

Gone but Not Forgotten:

  • Al Graves was a gritty forward for the Storm last season. He played an essential role on the team as an enforcer and quickly developed an antagonism with Peoria Rivermen player Alec Hagaman. With the intra-Illinois series continuing this season, the services of Graves on the sophomore season squad could have been useful.
  • Mitchell Mueller spent a lot of time in the penalty box last season, totaling 80 PIM in 37 games before being traded to the Knoxville Ice Bears. He also added 24 points (12 G, 12 A) during those games. Scoring, as well as an ability to take penalties, allows a team to maximize roster space by having multi-role players.
  • John Scully was tied with Bennett last year for most goals scored and was also a local player after the QC Dekhockey Summer Tournament last July. While that local fame didn’t bring new fans, it was a good story. He was a workhorse when the team needed him.

Sin Bin Swami Sez:

The Storm will make playoffs this coming season, but not by much. Just squeaking into the postseason in seventh or eighth season is how I foresee the standings shaking out in April. The roster looks upgraded for the Storm, but whether they’ll be able to improve outside of their barn is the real question.