CINCINNATI, OH – The Cincinnati Cyclones made a gigantic splash on Wednesday afternoon with the addition of an experienced veteran that has played in the ECHL, AHL, and NHL. That man is forward, Peter LeBlanc. The Hamilton, Ontario native is the second veteran signing of the off-season for Cincinnati, next to Kenny Ryan. The Cyclones now have two remaining veteran slots available.
LeBlanc, a draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, comes to Cincinnati after two seasons in Europe between Sweden and Finland; suiting up for Rogle BK in Sweden, as well as HPK in Finland from 2014-2016, racking up 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists) in 96 appearances.
The bulk of his playing career has been spent in the AHL, splitting time between the Rockford IceHogs and Hershey Bears. In Hershey, he was teammates with Cyclones Assistant Coach, Patrick Wellar for a pair of seasons during the 2012-13, and 2013-14 campaigns. In 261 American Hockey League contests, he accounted for 132 points (60 goals, 72 assists). During the 2013-14 season, he also made his NHL debut, skating in one game with Washington Capitals.
LeBlanc’s lone stint in the ECHL prior to now came during his rookie season in the 2011-12 season with the Toledo Walleye, tallying 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 22 contests with the “other” ECHL Ohio team.
Prior to turning pro, he enjoyed a very successful four-year collegiate career at the University of New Hampshire from 2006-2010. Being named the Wildcats team captain his senior year, he tallied 85 points (34 goals, 51 assists) in 153 collegiate games.
From the Cyclones’ Official Release: Head Coach Matt Macdonald stated “We are happy to announce the signing of Peter Leblanc, who brings great character along with a high level of experience to our organization. Peter can contribute in all areas of the ice and we believe he will be an immediate impact player for us. We will rely on him in high pressure situations, and he will bring an element we are looking for to help push us in the right direction from the start of the season.”
Looking at his stats overall, this is one fans can be excited about. Similar to what I noted about Kenny Ryan, LeBlanc averaged about half a point per game in the AHL, and was a point- per-game guy his lone season in the ECHL. I would fully expect him to match that point-per-game performance this season.
So, my hot take of the day: Last season’s leading scorer, Jack Downing, signed in Germany over the off-season, leaving a gigantic void on the Cyclones top forward line. I fully expect LeBlanc to fill that void.
The one concern with this signing is that, could it be another Adam Payerl situation? Payerl signed in Cincinnati last off-season after spending his entire career in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, only to be called up by the Milwaukee Admirals on a professional try-out before training camp even opened, and wound up sticking in Milwaukee the entire season.
Fortunately for the Cyclones sake, I can say that is very unlikely. While he may get invited like Payerl did to Milwaukee’s camp, the Admirals seem to be pretty stacked as is this season up front, so I doubt he’ll stick with the Admirals like Payerl did.