CINCINNATI, OH – Last season, defense was the weakest area for the Cyclones. Cincinnati desperately needed consistency on the back end. On Wednesday, that problem was addressed with the addition of Eric Knodel (Kuh-know-del).
Hockey’s equivalent of the Green Giant, Knodel stands at 6-feet-6. The West Chester, PA native spent last season between the AHL’s San Diego Gulls and ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies on an AHL contract with San Diego. Only skating in four games with the Gulls, he spent the bulk of the season in Utah, tallying 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 56 appearances, as well as a plus/minus rating of +7. He helped the Grizzlies reach the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, where they were swept by the Fort Wayne Komets, tallying four points (one goal, 3 assists) in ten playoff match-ups.
He made his ECHL debut during the 2014-2015 campaign, splitting time between the Orlando Solar Bears and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. In 19 games with the Marlies, he was good for eight assists. With the Solar Bears, he appeared in 38 games, totaling 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) to go along with a plus/minus of +16.
Prior to turning pro, he spent four seasons at the University of New Hampshire, accumulating 61 points (20 goals, 41 assists) in 116 collegiate appearances. Named team captain of the Wildcats his senior year, he totaled a career high 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists). Knodel made his professional debut during the tail-end of the 2013-2014 season, skating in ten games with the Marlies, tallying two assists.
From the Cyclones’ Official Release, Head Coach Matt Macdonald stated “Eric is a player we have had our eyes on for a few years now. He is a big presence on the ice and has an elite shot and offensive ability. He has also proven to be a defender who can play in many different situations, and has always been a plus performer in our league. This is a solid piece to our back end and we are excited to have him join our organization this season.”
This is another huge get for Cincinnati. Being able to contribute offensively and put up points, while simultaneously remaining defensively sound, Knodel appears to be another Garrett Noonan, who was arguably the Cyclones best defenseman last season. It is unknown if Noonan will return to the Cincinnati blue line after the NHL’s Nashville Predators opted to not renew his contract in June. If the Cyclones are unable to get Noonan to sign an ECHL contract, the addition of Knodel will certainly make up for it.
Get a team-by-team breakdown of all the player movement in the ECHL by visiting our transactions page at thesinbin.net/2016-echl-transactions.