INDEPENDENCE, MO – With a combination of some new and other familiar faces, the Mavericks started their preseason camp on Monday, October 1 with a roster of 24. They open their tenth anniversary season on Friday, October 12 where they host the Allen Americans at Silverstein Eye Center Arena in Independence, MO.
Nuts and Bolts:
2017-18 Record: 34-32-4-2 (74 points)
Playoffs: Did not qualify
Division/Conference Finish: 6th in Central Division/10th in Western Conference
Goals For Per Game: 2.83 (22nd in ECHL)
Goals Against Per Game: 3.10 (12th in ECHL)
Power Play: 48-266 (18% — 10th in ECHL)
Penalty Kill: 40-225 (79.5% — 24th in the ECHL)
On Wednesday, the Mavs announced Rocco Carzo will be the team’s captain this season. It’s a long-time coming for the forward who is entering his third season with the organization. Carzo is a heart and soul guy, and the players should quickly feed off the example he sets day-after-day.
Goaltending has naturally been a question for the Mavericks as well. Last year, eight different netminders suited up for Kansas City and of the starting duo of Tyler Parsons and Mason McDonald, 17 of the games last season had different names between the pipes. In the last week, Nick Schneider was sent down from Stockton. Mavs fans should look to see plenty of McDonald and Schneider this coming season.
Following the intrasquad scrimmage, Mavericks Head Coach John-Scott Dickson had some things to say about the players that stepped up and the ones that did not.
“I thought we could have seen a little bit more from some guys that are battling for some spots but that makes our job a little bit easier when they don’t stand out to you.”
Lines were shuffling throughout the week and with the roster not 100% set they were doing what they could to generate some chemistry between lines.
“As of right now, with the depth we have, who knows who these guys will play with. We’ll just roll with it.”
Practice prepares you for games and it is hard to completely get a feel for a team and see how they come together until they come together to compete. They open up the season against the Allen Americans next Friday and the coaching staff is interested to see how much the intensity will turn up.
Jared VanWormer (42 pts, 20 Goals, 22 Assists)
Jared VanWormer led the league in powerplay goals last season with 14 and was the Mavericks biggest difference maker in the final push to get a playoff spot. He stepped up and coming off a hot finish to last season, hopefully, it can carry over to this season. VanWormer was offered a tryout for the Stockton Heat, so while his presence will be appreciated in Kansas City, he could easily be seeing some time in California this season. VanWormer showed sparks of humble leadership and could easily be one of the guys new players will look to in the locker room this season.
Nick Schneider (WHL Hitmen 61 Games, .885 Save Percentage)
Schneider comes as another young goalie the Flames hope to develop in Kansas City this season. Following the end of his season, he was able to see some time in Stockton for one game when they too were working for their playoff push. This 21-year-old goalie was drafted in the 2015 and holds a contract with the Calgary Flames. Schneider made a name for himself in the WHL and traveled with the Flames to China this preseason but did not see any minutes in the China Games.
Matt Robertson (45 pts, 26 Goals, 19 Assists)
When Robertson was healthy last year he was as a goal machine. He played in the first part of the season and eventually came back by the last few weeks of the season to help the Mavs make a playoff push. He only played in 41 games but averaged a point a game. He was a part of the Mavericks top line usually alongside Mike McMurtry and Hunter Smith. With his usual linemates moving on, it will be interesting to see who will contribute to his production in the coming season.
Gone But Not Forgotten:
Tyler Elbrecht: It’s a tough pill to swallow losing your captain. Even tougher when it’s to your rival three hours away in Wichita. Tyler Elbrecht made his physical presence on the ice known and around the start of the season, you could almost take bets on him dropping the gloves in first ten minutes of the game. Despite bruises and bloody knuckles, Elbrecht could be found on the blue line of every single regular season game last year but only registered a total nine points. He showed class off the ice and knew when his team needed a spark to turn a game around. He leaves big skates to fill for this year’s captain.
Tyler Parsons: Parsons faced a little bit of injury trouble last season but so did multiple other goalies throughout the Flames organization. He came to the Mavericks last year listed as the Calgary Flames Organization’s top prospect with a Memorial Cup and a World Junior Championship under his belt. Parsons used his first pro season to develop in Kansas City and even during the Flames preseason showed the big-time talent that could very well be seen on the NHL squad one day. He gave fans a preview of professional goaltending and their only wish would be to see more of him.
Mike McMurtry: Before securing a spot on the Stockton Heat, McMurty was the ECHL All-Star representative for the Mavericks. He played in 31 games for the Mavericks registering 33 points with 15 goals and 18 assists. During the AHL All-Star break, he made what might be his closing appearance for the Mavericks and played in a couple Flames preseason games this September when the NHL squad was in China.
Sin Bin Swami Sez:
The Mavericks had the talent to play in the postseason last year but couldn’t quite come together to quite make the mark. They battled to the last game and a strong push in the start of the season could be the biggest difference between the point battle at the end of the season for playoff spots. The Mavericks still have a young presence on the team and with more Stockton players making the cut and seeing some time in Calgary there are players that may come and go all season. I expect the Mavericks to at least make the first round of the playoffs this year and put up a good competition against some of their biggest division rivals.