INDIANAPOLIS – After a strong weekend and a big win over the Cincinnati Cyclones on Tuesday morning, the Fuel are making moves to continue pushing for a Central Division playoff spot.
Head Coach Bernie John is unloading defensive depth and adding solidarity on the blueline as well as forward depth.
Tuesday afternoon, Fuel acquired defenseman Jaynen Rissling and cash considerations from the Wheeling Nailers in exchange for defenseman Nolan Descoteaux, forward Stephen Collins and future considerations. A 2012 seventh-round draft pick of the Washington Capitals (No. 197 overall), Rissling comes into Indy having played 41 games split between the Nailers and Allen Americans. In 36 games with Wheeling, Rissling tallied three goals and 10 assists. Trading Descoteaux and Collins comes with the return of a shutdown defenseman that can play top-pair minutes.
In addition to the trade with Wheeling, the Fuel made another swap with the Fort Wayne Komets. Wednesday morning Indy acquired forward Logan Nelson from Fort Wayne for defenseman Anthony Cortese. Acquiring Nelson gives Indy forward depth.
According to Hockey’s Future, “Nelson benefits a lot from getting lots of ice time. At the very best, Nelson projects to be a low-end, second-line center with a slightly above average offensive game and average defensive game.”
The 6-foot-1, 209-pound forward will slot in as a second/third line role with the Fuel. Nelson has notched three goals and 13 assists in 45 games this season between the Komets, Orlando Solar Bears and Norfolk Admirals.
Because making two trades in a week wasn’t enough, the Chicago Blackhawks reassigned Matheson Iacopelli to the Fuel from the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. Iacopelli’s game hasn’t quite developed since starting his professional career. A 2014 third round draft pick of the Blackhawks (83rd overall), Iacopelli has played in 40 games with the IceHogs this season tallying nine goals and eight assists.
“He’s a big winger, listed at 6-3 206 lbs., that excels at coming off the wing and using his quick hands to create space and change shot angles, then firing his heavy snapshot to create offense. Iacopelli projects as a lower line power forward at the next level, but could potentially contribute on the power play with his big shot.”
The roster moves made by the Fuel this week is evidence of their drive to make the playoffs this season. Sitting six points out of a playoff spot, the Fuel have every chance to make it into the top four for the first time in franchise history.