Head Coach: John-Scott Dickson (Rookie Head Coach, two seasons as an Assistant Coach under Richard Matvichuk)
Captain: Andrew Courtney (Seventh season with the Mavericks)
Last Season: Regular Season 52-15-3-2, Brabham Cup Winner, Eliminated in Western Conference Semifinals by the Allen Americans
2015-16 Season Summary
The 2015-16 season was historic for the Missouri Mavericks. The team won the Brabham Cup going away with the best record in the ECHL regular season. It was also the first season of the Mavericks affiliation with the New York Islanders and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. While the disappointment of not advancing out of the second round of the playoffs was definitely felt by fans, players, and staff, the season as a whole was a definitive improvement over the previous year’s campaign. In addition to the Brabham Cup, Coach Richard Matvichuk was named ECHL Coach of the Year and General Manager of the Year, and Josh Robinson was named the ECHL Goaltender of the Year.
Hot or Not?
The Mavericks will have a lot of new faces this upcoming season, so judging where the upgrades or downgrades are is merely speculation at this point. The forward position will have a different look with only four returners to start the season, with the addition of Darren Nowick to the roster Wednesday night. Dane Fox and Aaron Berisha look to replace considerable production up front that has been lost with player departures from last year’s squad.
Elsewhere Andrew Courtney will continue as a force on the forecheck while Reed Seckel and Rocco Carzo will provide grit in the corners. The goaltender position looks to be solidified with the return of Josh Robinson and the addition of Eamon McAdam. Robinson, the reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Year, looks to back up his record-breaking performance from a season ago, and should also be a calming force for the young blueliners in front of him. Defensively, the Mavericks will look very different with the only returner being Bryce Aneloski. Expect to see some juggling of the defensive pairings early as new coach Dickson finds groups that work well together.
- Andrew Courtney (21 goals, 19 assists in 2015-16) returns for his seventh season and takes over as the Captain this year. It’s his team now and after an up and down 2015-16 campaign, he’ll look to get back to being a scoring threat on a nightly basis. He’s averaged 27 goals per season over the last five years, and the Mavericks will need him to lead by example.
- Rocco Carzo (15 goals, 41 assists in 2015-16) begins his second campaign for the Mavs. His playmaking ability on the offensive side of the puck was a huge factor on any line he played on and he’ll look to pile up the helpers again this season. He’s as gritty a two-way hockey player as you’ll find and has become a fan favorite.
- Reed Seckel is back and will called upon to do “Reed Seckel Things.” Reed is relentless in getting to the puck and mixing it up in the corners.
- Bryce Aneloski comes back for his second season to anchor the Mavericks blue line. There wasn’t a steadier presence for the Mavs defense last year than Aneloski and he will be counted upon to provide leadership with a young defensive group.
- The Mavericks will have to replace a lot of firepower as their top two scorers from last season, Jesse Root (Austria) and Tyler Barnes (Rockford IceHogs) have moved on after combining for 120 points last year.
- Parker Milner, the other half of the dynamic duo between the pipes for the 2015-16 Mavericks, signed an AHL deal with the Hershey Bears, and will open up the season with their ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stingrays.
- Trevor Ludwig, captain of last year’s Brabham Cup winning squad, has moved on to the Orlando Solar Bears.
- Dane Fox joins the Mavericks this season after coming over from Kalamazoo. He is expected to bring some of the scoring punch the Mavs will need after losing Root and Barnes. Also, expect big things from Berisha. He has tremendous ability with the puck on his stick and, if he spends the entire season with the Mavericks, could challenge Andrew Courtney’s single-season goal record.
- Radoslav Illo is a name some Mavs fans may remember from last year’s Idaho Steelheads squad. The 26-year-old Slovakian showed a lot of promise in juniors and the Mavericks will look for him to take that next step in his development.
- Samuel Noreau joins the Mavericks after playing the 2015-16 season in Norfolk. He’s a big body (6-5, 225lbs) and he knows how to use it. Dickson wants his team to be physical. Noreau will lead that charge.
Movin’ On Up
With the Mavericks new “working agreement” with the St. Louis Blues in addition to their affiliation with the New York Islanders, expect to see a lot of player movement again this season. Don’t be surprised to see Josh Robinson get a look in the American Hockey League again if he has a strong start to the season. Other players that either have or are getting looks at the AHL level include Darren Nowick, Kevin Tansey (currently in AHL camp), Samuel Noreau, Bryce Aneloski, Rocco Carzo, Dmitrii Sergeev, Aaron Berisha, and Lukas Lofquist.
Sin Bin Swami Says… A rookie head coach always goes through some growing pains, and Dickson will be no different. However, he’s a great young hockey mind and is well respected by his players. With support from both the Islanders and the Blues, he should have plenty of resources to limit those growing pains, and should really make an impact in his first season behind the bench.
With the division realignment bringing some new teams into the fold, the Mavericks should see some tougher competition with teams like Idaho and Utah now in the mix. This Mavericks squad could take a little time to gel and find chemistry, but will still be one of the better teams in a tough division. Regular season success has never really been an issue for the Mavericks, so it will be interesting to see what Dickson does come playoff time.
One thing is for certain, the Mavericks will have to overcome their past, and take down the Allen Americans if they want to have any kind of success moving forward. Until they are able to do that, the Kelly Cup will be out of reach.
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