INDEPENDENCE, MO – The Missouri Mavericks are off to a good start in free agency, looking to back up a record year in Independence, and provide rookie head coach John-Scott Dickson with the adequate firepower to take on the many formidable opponents in the newly formed Mountain Division. After bringing back franchise great Andrew Courtney for yet another year in Missouri, the Mavericks announced on Wednesday morning the re-signing of defenseman Bryce Aneloski and also their first new player of the 2016-17 offseason, rookie forward Dan Correale.
Aneloski returns for his second season in Missouri, after a dynamic 2015-16 campaign. The 26-year-old blue-liner led all Mavericks defensemen in goals (8), points (28), and power play goals (4, tied with Trevor Ludwig). He was second on the team in plus/minus with an astounding +24, trailing on team MVP Jesse Root in that category.
Arguably the best defensemen from a season ago, Aneloski continued to show why he’s a constant threat from the blue line, but also made incredible strides on the defensive side of the puck. With a lot of roster movement around him, Aneloski was the rock of the defensive core, and an important piece for Dickson to bring back in order to build an effective roster.
“I am thankful and blessed to get a chance to put on the Mavericks jersey again this year. It was a long process this summer deciding where I was going to play. However, Missouri has become one of the premier teams to play for in the league and I couldn’t pass up a chance to play here,” Aneloski told The Sin Bin’s Adam Twenter.
Correale will join the Mavericks for his first professional season after a successful career at at the University of New Hampshire. He amassed 64 points in 146 career collegiate games for UNH. The 5’10”, 185 pound forward is known for his blazing speed, which opens up opportunities not only for himself, but his teammates.
Correale was referred to as “the fastest skater in the Hockey East” last season, according to a front office source with the Mavericks. Given that much of the success of last season’s team was due to their speed and skating ability (see Colin Markison and Tanner Fritz), Correale could be an impact player for the Mavericks sooner rather than later.
All in all, it’s a solid start for Dickson in his first season calling the shots. Bringing back Courtney and Aneloski provides leadership and stability on both sides of the puck, and a promising rookie like Correale injects youth and speed from the get-go.
Obviously with only three players announced to this point, there are still many holes to be filled. It will be interesting to see how the roster shakes out, especially the questions surrounding the goalie situation. It will be hard to replace a tandem like Josh Robinson (playing in Europe) and Parker Milner (signed with Hershey in the AHL), but that is exactly what Dickson is tasked with. Steven Summerhays was solid after being acquired last season and certainly is a possibility to return. However, without knowing what is coming down the pipeline from New York and Bridgeport, it could provide some difficulties for Dickson to address specific needs.
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.