MACON, Ga. – The Macon Mayhem offered a glimpse of what kind of team it’ll be putting on the ice in the fall with the release of the team’s protected list. Each player on the roster will receive an invite to Macon’s preseason training camp.
While any player on the list can pursue chances to play in leagues such as the ECHL, it also means that players protected cannot sign with another team in the SPHL. It also adds up to the possibility that players not protected could still end up back in Macon next season.
The Mayhem’s protected list consists of one goalie, five defensemen and seven forwards.
Key takeaways from Macon’s Protected List
The late-season acquisitions of two SPHL veterans from Knoxville, Marcus Ortiz and Danny Cesarz, certainly raised some eyebrows – seasoned player on the move in any league does.
Any time a team makes a flurry of late-season moves, two paths are being taken. One is building for one season, pinning hopes of what’s being given up resulting in a title in that season alone. Then there’s the approach that the Mayhem are appearing to take.
Given that both Cesarz and Ortiz are on the team’s protected list, it says that both are being counted on to be key pieces for the Mayhem.
You could almost see this one coming. When the Mayhem threw Kevin Entmaa straight into action after his late-season arrival, seeing time in six regular-season contests plus one playoff start, the feeling was that he was given opportunities to show his worth and earn a spot on next season’s team. A 2-3 record and 2.84 GAA showed head coach Leo Thomas quite enough to offer the youngster an opportunity to lead next year’s team.
Now that Entmaa is the only goalie on Macon’s protected list, he looks to have the opportunity to win the job on a full-time basis, especially if Jordan Ruby is back in the ECHL with Wheeling and if Ian Sylves ends up elsewhere.
New scoring punch?
Obviously, it’s not a sure thing. But given that both Jake Trask and John Siemer are not on the team’s protected list, it’s a strong sign that neither figure to be back in Macon next season, rather opting what’s next for them, possibly in their post-playing days.
What does that mean for Mayhem fans? One word – scoring. The two were cornerstones of Macon’s scoring threat the past three seasons, helping lead to a President’s Cup title. This past year, they were the team’s leading scorers, combining for 109 points.
What could a Trask and Siemer-less group of forwards look like? Well, in addition to Ortiz and Cesarz, a big piece could be Derek Sutliffe, the team’s leading scorer among those protected with 36 points (12 goals, 15 assists) along with Stathis Soumelidis (27 points – 12 goals and 15 assists). The veteran experience does not end there as Dakota Klecha is also among those protected.
Others to look for are Shawn Lynch, added to the team before logging eight regular-season games and Jimmy Soper, whose 36-game stint was marked by a solid 16 points.
Two-Way On Defense
Macon looks to have a good defensive nucleus heading into the offseason when it comes to two-way defensemen. Kristaps Bazevics and Jarret Kup are coming off a season in which they combined for 38 points. Kup ended up with a minus-six plus-minus rating, second-best of all defensemen on the team.