MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Manchester Monarchs enter their third season as members of the ECHL and have made or advanced in the Kelly Cup playoffs each of their first two years. The Monarchs are looking to make it to their first Kelly Cup Finals this year, but have lost some key pieces.
Will they be able to rebound?
Let’s take a look.
Head Coach: Richard Seeley, 3rd season with team, 76-48-11-9
Captain: David Kolomatis, 3rd season as captain
Last Season: 37-24-7-4, 4th in North, lost in Eastern Conference Finals to South Carolina Stingrays
Overview: Following a freshman effort that saw them win the North, the Monarchs looked to keep the momentum going and beat the sophomore slump. And beat it, they did. Led by the one-two offensive punch of Matt Leitner (14 G, 39 A) and Joe Diamond (23 G, 27 A) and backstopped by Florida Panthers prospect Sam Brittain, the Monarchs improved in their sophomore season, putting together a run to the Conference finals.
With the team returning mostly as-was on the defensive end, the real questions will be everywhere else. Though their number one offensive threat has returned to the fold, the next four on the stats sheet have either moved on, or are unaccounted for. This will put an impetus on returning players like Zac Lynch and Kevin Morris to increase production, as well as put pressure on newcomers like Tony Cameranesi. Between the pipes, last year’s starter Sam Brittain has gone on to the AHL, leaving the Monarchs with relatively green options in the crease, including rookie Charles Williams.
- Leading point-scorer Matt Leitner returns to Manchester for another campaign, providing the Monarchs with offensive firepower.
- David Kolomatis comes back to wear the C again, and looks to break numerous franchise records in his seventh season in the Jungle.<
- Other key defensive players returning: Colton Saucerman (and his beard) and Craig Wyszomirski, spearheading a mostly-intact version of last year’s defensive squad.
- Winger Michael Doherty joins the team from Yale University. The native of Reading, MA has already made his presence felt in preseason, with 2 goals and an assist over the course of two games.
- ECHL All-Star Tony Cameranesi has arrived from the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, bringing with him 19 goals and 16 assists in 74 games between the Marlies and Solar Bears.
- Jordan Smotherman returns to the jungle from a stint in Sweden. Smotherman also joined coaches Seeley and Giuliano behind the bench during last year’s playoffs.
Blocked and Reported
- Sam Brittain, as previously mentioned, has signed on with the San Antonio Rampage. He brings with him his 2.33 GAA and .925 sv% from the playoffs, where he really came into stride.
- Scoring ace Quentin Shore (18 G, 25 A) signed with the Florida Everblades in the offseason.
- Other lost offensive assets: Joe Diamond and Daniel Doremus (currently unsigned), and Derek Arnold (South Carolina.)
Movin’ On Up
- If Matt Leitner’s scoring prowess returns this year, there’s a good chance he could make the move to the AHL at some point during the season. The 26-year-old played 17 games in Springfield in 2016-17.
- Cameranesi could also be a candidate for a call-up, having already played 37 games at the AHL level with the Marlies.
If Williams can match (or beat) Brittain’s performance in goal from last year, there’s no reason Manchester can’t make the playoffs for a third straight year.
What Say You?
Please consider becoming a Patron as a way to say thanks and support us for what we do! https://www.patreon.com/thesinbinhockey