ADIRONDACK THUNDER

2014-15 Regular Season Record: N/A

2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs Result: N/A

Key Additions: Forward Greg Wolfe, who was acquired this summer from the Alaska Aces, is a huge add. Last season Wolfe was 5th in rookie scoring (22 goals, 38 assists = 60 points) in 59 games played. His great play earned himself a 9-game stint with Iowa Wild. Wolfe will be entering his 2nd full season in ECHL and his 3rd team in the league. Look for him to be one of Adirondacks big offensive weapons and perhaps have a longer AHL stay if he continues to put up good numbers. Another key addition is forward Rob Bordson. With a grand total of 317 AHL games under his belt, expect Bordson to be one of the leaders on a young Thunder team. Enjoy him while you can because I do not see him not being in the ECHL long. His last appearance in the ECHL he racked up (17 goals, 34 assists=51 points in 38 games). Oh, and he isnt afraid to drop the gloves either.

Key Loss: Tyler Shattock, who was their leading scorer before the switch, signed as a free agent with Kalamazoo Wings. He recorded (23 goals, 40 assists = 63 points) in 65 games and even was a penalty box machine with 101 PIM. Another player who is a key contributor offensively is forward Peter Sivak. Sivak, who signed as a free agent with Fort Wayne Komets, has an astounding 185 points in 185 ECHL games and at 33 years of age he doesnt seem to be slowing down any time soon.

What to Watch For: Adirondack is one of many teams who made the switch to ECHL as Stockton went to AHL. But the fan base I am told is very passionate as they saw two different teams and now hopefully have one they can stick with for years to come so look for them to have some decent success in their first season in the ECHL.

ELMIRA JACKALS

2014-15 Regular Season Record:  32-33-0-7 (71 pts)  — 6th in East Division, 12th in Eastern Conference

2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs Result: Did Not Qualify

Key Additions: Forward Chris Langkow is great add to Elmira after 2 seasons with the AHLs Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He has had good success in the ECHL and can be a scoring threat when on the ice. His rookie season was one for the ages with Alaska Aces. Having Kelly Cup ChampionBrabham Cup Champion, All-Star representative & Rookie of the Month on your resume in your first season is not too shabby. Chris knows what it takes to win and hoist a cup, look for him to be a big leader (perhaps new captain) on the Jackals this coming season.

Last season Elmira lacked toughness. This season they may just have that toughness and player who can get under you skin in Garrett Klotz. A 2007 Flyers draftee who will be with his fifth ECHL team (Greenville, Fort Wayne, Indy, & Wichita previously) brings the toughness you need in your locker room and will stand up for teammates if needed. His 65″ stature is something you dont want to be hit withback away, I say.

Key Loss: Shocking loss is captain Matt Tassone who was released a few weeks ago. Tassone who was everything you want in a leader tried to help Elmira reach playoffs but was unsuccessful. Tassone had already had a brief stint with Elmira late during 2012-2013 season but elected to sign with now defunct Las Vegas Wranglers for 2013-2014 season. Tassone was then brought back last season in Elmira and was named captain. He recorded (15 goals, 13 assists = 28 points) in just 29 games. One of Elmiras big defensive guns Nick Tuzzolino (2 goals, 21 assists = 23 points) has gone onto sign AHL contract with Binghamton for upcoming season. Having a 66″ defenseman is something you hate to lose and also the leadership he brought to the team. 

What to Watch For: Elmira should be a hungry bunch after finishing just being 1 game under .500 last season. Their roster as of now looks pretty strong and I see them getting back to postseason this upcoming year. They brought in a guy who can be a leader on and off the ice as he was signed as a player/coach in Nathan Oystrick. A guy who is no stranger to hockey as he has played in AHL, NHL & KHL. Look for him to help out Elmira in every way possible. This also will be their second season affiliated with Buffalo/Rochester who has already assigned them a good forward in Allan McPherson who played 24 games with Elmira last season is an offensive threat when on the ice. Elmira should be one of three teams in the East to make playoffs.

MANCHESTER MONARCHS

2014-15 Regular Season Record: N/A

2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs Result: N/A (Won AHL Calder Cup Championship)

Key Additions: Forward Gasper Kopitar (yes the brother of Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar) was a fan favorite with the Ontario Reign so it was a no-brainer that they keep in in the organization and bring him to Monarchs Country. I am shocked that he hasnt gotten an AHL look (possibly this season). He is still very young at the age of 23 but has made huge strides at the ECHL level and could very much one day live up to the potential of his older brother. In two seasons with the Reign he racked up a grand total of 19 goals, 26 assists = 45 points in 73 games.

Matt White is another key addition who was brought to Manchester from Ontario after the switch. A center who can move the puck very well and is a key piece if Manchester wants to have good success that Ontario had in ECHL. White looks to have another strong and productive season after racking up 60 points in 68 games last season. White also looks to avenge last seasons postseason in which Ontario lost to Allen in the Western Conference Finals to the eventual champion Allen Americans. 

Key Loss: No doubt about the obvious key loss is the whole Monarchs 2014-2015 squad. Now your whole team or most of it is now in Ontario. Moving from a AHL to ECHL is not fun news for some people, especially when your team just won a cup at a high level of professional hockey. Winning four division championships and a Calder Cup in 14 years in the AHL is something to be proud of. 

What to Watch For: See how the team can be in the ECHL. They do have guys who played in this league previously (with Ontario) so they can perhaps be leaders for newcomers to the team. 

NORFOLK ADMIRALS

2014-15 Regular Season Record: N/A

2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs Result: N/A

Key Additions: From what I saw in this past Saturdays pre-season game in Reading, they have a couple key additions that can be lethal for the Ads. One player who impressed me is forward Michael Beaudry. A 58” center who has speed and good puck movement is coming off a season playing in France (Chamonix) after racking up 26 points in 26 games. Despite being on a try-out contract at the moment, expect him to make Norfolk and be a key contributor to the Ads and put up solid numbers.

Defenseman Mathieu Brisebois, who was assigned from Rockford and put up pretty good numbers last season in the ECHL, is a big add on the back-end for Norfolk. A 510″ player who, at 23 years of age, is showing that he can play in this league as he did with Indy & Rapid City. He had better success with Rapid City after collecting 30 points in 36 points. That is pretty solid for a defenseman (9th in league last season). 

Key Loss: Veteran forward Brendan Brooks (Bakersfield Condors) is a big loss. He would have been a key asset in that Norfolk locker room because all the experience he had. Now he never won a cup but the leadership he brings to any team is something to be proud of. 

What to Watch For: Norfolk and Reading had a heck of a pre-season tilt this past Saturday and from what I can tell Norfolk was a bit rusty as teams tend to be in pre-season. Watch Norfolk (after they cut down their roster from 31) to be a hard hitting bunch that may have an up and down season. I see the Ads squeaking their way into the playoffs if healthy with their own team and their affiliates.

READING ROYALS

2014-15 Regular Season Record:  45214 (96 pts) — 3rd in East Division, 5th in Eastern Conference

2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs Result: Lost in first round 4-3 to South Carolina Stingrays

Key Additions: Forward Jonathan Parker who head coach Larry Courville signed to be part of the offensive punch to the 2015-16 squad. Parker, who had a stellar camp with San Jose a few weeks ago, is a guy who will be a key contributor this season and will score those goals when they are most important as he did with the previous four ECHL teams (Gwinnett, Colorado, Ontario, & Indy). He currently has 67 points in 83 ECHL games and those numbers will continue to climb for Parker as I see him having a very good season in Reading.

Another key addition is forward Robert Czarnik. He was pretty good for Indy last season with 30 points in 31 games. He didnt rack it up when he was traded to the Reign at the trade deadline but still is a great player to have on this sort of rebuilding Reading roster. The AHL veteran with 145 games under his belt looks to continue his success in this league and perhaps have a call-up or two this season.

Key Loss: The Royals lost their top three players in points in Olivier Labelle (72), Adam Hughesman (67) & Pat Mullane (62). Adding to the list are: David Marshall (taking time off) & Sean Wiles (Denmark). All-time leading scorer and fan favorite Ryan Cruthers retired and now is head coach of Charlotte Rush (USPHL Elite). You could say this seasons squad is fairly new but Courville is no slouch when it comes to finding high quality players.

What to Watch For: Reading has always been atop the standings under Larry Courville so expect that again this season.  If the players that are signed dont buy into Courvilles system and the Royals are off to a slow start, expect changes. Also watch for the returners from Lehigh Valley to have a strong second season in Reading. Goaltending should be solid as well with Connor Knapp and Martin Ouellette between the pipes as well.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here