After the rookie frenzy that has been going on the past several weeks from the Cyclones, some veteran leadership was added to the fray on Wednesday afternoon as the Cyclones announced the signing of former Wheeling Nailer, Mike Ratchuk.

From the Cyclones Official Release:

CINCINNATI, OH- The Cincinnati Cyclones have signed defenseman Mike Ratchuk for the 2015-2016 season. The ninth-year pro spent the last two seasons with the Wheeling Nailers.

“Mike is a top defenseman in the ECHL, and he has shown every year that he can make an impact in every game,” said Cyclones Head Coach Matt MacDonald. “He also brings a lot of experience on the backend which will help our younger guys develop.”

A second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2006, Ratchuk skated in 97 games with the Wheeling Nailers over the past two seasons, accounting for 17 goals and 38 assists for 55 points. His 44 points (15g, 29a) during the 2013-2014 season set career highs in goals, assists, and points.

Ratchuk has seen time a various levels since turning pro in 2008, skating in the ECHL for Wheeling and the Elmira Jackals, and helping the Florida Everblades to a Kelly Cup Championship in 2011-12. He as also seen time with the Philadelphia/Adirondack Phantoms, Syracuse Crunch, and Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League (AHL), and the Fort Wayne Komets of the Central Hockey League (CHL). He also spent a season with Ljubljana Olimpija HK in Austria. In 386 career professional games, the South Buffalo, NY, native has tallied 46 goals and added 118 assists for 164 points.

Prior to turning pro, Ratchuk skated two seasons at Michigan State University, totaling 37 points (10g, 27a) in 82 games. He was a also a member of the 2006-07 team that won the NCAA National Championship.

“This was a priority signing for us this summer, and we are excited to have him apart of the organization,” said MacDonald.”

This is without a doubt a huge signing for the Cyclones. With the way things were heading, some people were probably worried they were getting a little too rookie happy, but Ratchuk brings in that veteran leadership and experience to help guide this team, and I think he’ll be a terrific addition to that Cyclones locker room.

An ECHL team is only allowed to have four veterans on the active roster, and this is the first slot taken. I don’t expect all four to be used this season but we might see two or three vets. Depending on if people like Jack Downing decide to return or not.

As many of you already know, I cannot stand shootouts. My hate for shootouts is stronger than my hate for anything Pittsburgh, and that’s saying a hell of a lot. As the Cyclones went 1-9 in shootouts last season, with the following video, I think Ratchuk might be able to help our cause….

Mike Ratchuk is a guy you can’t stand to play against, but if he’s on your team, you love him. This is yet again, another piece to the puzzle successfully found.

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