Unless you’re one of those lucky S.O.B’s in South Carolina or Allen, the off-season is sadly upon us. The first phase of the rather lengthy summer in Cincinnati was completed on June 1st. Possibly one of the most meaningless phases at that. All 28 teams around the ECHL submitted their Protected Lists, which basically states that the said team retains the rights to the players they’re protected. For example: If I was a goalie for the Cyclones during the 2014-2015 season, and they chose to retain my rights (Which is an incredibly dumb move because I can’t stop a beach ball), then they would put me on the Protected List.

Cincinnati Cyclones Protected List:
Forwards: Byron Froese, Joe Basaraba, Josh Birkholz, Geoff Irwin, Christiaan Minella, Garrick Perry, Jack Downing, Nick Huard, David Pacan, Branden Gracel, Jack Combs, Ross Ring-Jarvi
Defensemen: Michael Quinn, Brett Wysopal, David MacDonald, Alex Velischek, Jim Jorgensen, Pat O’Keefe
Goalies: Rob Madore, Sean Bonar

Here’s why the Protected List is kind of meaningless. You can protect practically any player who you didn’t trade away or release. There are no limits on the number of players you can protect as long as the players meet the requirements set in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the ECHL and Professional Hockey Players’ Association. You can have 20+ guys protected, or you could have two guys protected, and you’re only protected until June 15th at midnight when Season Ending Rosters are due.  The Season Ending Roster can have a maximum of 20 players.

Also, prior to the Season Ending Roster due date, all Future Consideration deals must be completed by 3pm EST on June 13th.  The Cyclones have three deals from the Regular Season with Greenville and Missouri that need to be completed by then. Those would be:
Future Consideration #1 – The trade that saw Greenville’s Lindsay Sparks go to Cincinnati for a yet-to-be named Cyclone
Future Consideration #2 – The trade that saw Cincinnati’s Devon Krogh go to Greenville for a yet-to-be named Road Warrior
Future Consideration #3 – The trade that saw Missouri’s Jack Downing go to Cincinnati for Brian Nugent, Lee Reimer, and a yet-to-be named Cyclone

After the Season Ending Roster is set, then it’s Qualifying Offer time. Of the 20 players on the Season Ending Roster, the Cyclones can give a maximum of 8 players Qualifying Offers. Free Agent Frenzy begins July 1st as those players who didn’t receive a Qualifying Offer instantly become Unrestricted Free Agents and are open to sign with any ECHL team. Teams have until June 30th to extend Qualifying Offers to the 8 players they chose. The deadline for a player to accept or decline a Qualifying Offer is August 1st. If an agreement can’t be reached by August 1st, then that player will become a Restricted Free Agent, meaning Cincinnati would still retain the player’s rights, but any team who wanted to sign the player has to notify the Cyclones first. If nobody signs the player by August 31st, then the player becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent.

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