WICHITA, KS – The Wichita Thunder added a second puck-moving defenseman to the blue line corps on Tuesday. Coming to Wichita for the 2016-17 season is former Rapid City Rush & Wheeling Nailers defenseman James Melindy.
“When I started the recruiting process, I wanted to go with a younger team,” said Head Coach Malcolm Cameron. “James, although experienced, is still a young man with lots of upside. He has good size and is a team-first player. With going to the Finals last year, he knows what it takes to be successful in the ECHL and we expect that to rub off on the other new players.”
Melindy, 22, played 52 games last season for the Rapid City Rush before being sent by the Arizona Coyotes to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was a part of a four-player deal prior to last year’s NHL Trade Deadline and finished the season with the Wheeling Nailers. Once he arrived in Wheeling, he appeared in 16 games during the regular season and 21 games during Wheeling’s postseason run to the Kelly Cup Finals. Last season was his best as a pro, combining for 23 points (6g, 17a) in 68 games with the Rapid City and Wheeling.
A native of Goulds, Newfoundland, the 6-foot-3, 203-pound blueliner was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the third round (#88) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He spent his rookie season with the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates in 2013-14, recording two goals in 38 games.
“I’m extremely excited to be joining The Wichita Thunder,” stated Melindy. “I’d been in contact with Coach Cameron from the beginning of summer when I got home and he sold me on coming to Wichita. I think with the team that he is assembling and his knowledge for the game accompanied with his experience, we’ll be a very fun team to watch this season. His track record of moving players on to the next level and having winning teams speak for themselves. I can’t wait to get to Wichita and get the season started.”
The Thunder roster for next season sits at ten players, with still some work to be done. If you’ve missed it, here is a breakdown of the players announced by position so far:
Forwards – Ian Lowe (C), Louick Marcotte, Alexis Loiseau, Mitch Holmberg, Gerrad Grant, Vincent Arseneau
Defensemen – Landon Oslanski, Dalton Reum, James Melindy
Goalies – Drew Owsley
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.