MOLINE, IL – Beginning their 22nd year in existence and fourth in the ECHL, the Quad City Mallards are the only ECHL team in Illinois. They’re affiliated with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and AHL’s Chicago Wolves.
Head Coach: Phil Axtell begins his first full season as head coach after replacing Terry Ruskowski on January 20, 2017. Axtell has an overall record of 21-12-2 during the regular season, 1-4 in the playoffs.
Last Season: Regular season record of 40-28-2-2, finished third in the Central Division, and lost in the first round against the Fort Wayne Komets in five games.
2016-17 Season Summary
The Mallards had one of their best seasons in several years last year, winning 40 games for the first time in over ten years. The dismissal of Ruskowski and promotion of Axtell in the middle of the season was a shock, but it seemed to have worked out well. An eight-game win streak under Axtell also was a highlight of the season. Losing to the Komets in the first round of the playoffs, the fourth time in five years to see such an early exit for the Moline-based team was a lowlight of course, but each of the five games between the two teams were close. Last season was a good foundation year for the 2017-2018 season.
- New affiliate: The Mallards ditched the Minnesota Wild to join new kid on the block, the Vegas Golden Knights. A working agreement of previous seasons with the Chicago Wolves has become official as well.
- C.J. Motte: For the first time since 2011-12, a goalie has returned for a second season. He attended the Wolves’ training camp before the Mallards’ began, making 15 saves against the Rockford IceHogs in a preseason game on September 29th.
- Goalie tandem: Because Vegas doesn’t have much in the way of depth due to being new, the Mallards won’t get assigned a goalie and then have to cut one already signed. Kent Patterson was released from his tryout yesterday, so the Mallards tandem in net will consist of Motte and Kris Joyce.
- Sibling Rivalry: Mike Leone, new Mallards forward/defenseman, is the older brother of Cincinnati Cyclones defenseman Chris Leone. The two will face each other for the first time this season on November 14th in Cincinnati for a special 10:30am EST game.
- Last season, the Mallards earned the most standings points in ten years.
- The training camp roster this season has more ECHL experience than last year (of course, the Mallards ended last season with seven rookies).
- With the signing of Jamie Tardif, the Mallards have their first player/assistant coach since 2012-13 with Shayne Toporowski.
- Kris Joyce
- Kyle Novak
- Garret Klotz
Blocked and Reported
- Michael Parks has headed to Vaasan Sport of the Finnish Liiga
- Kevin Gibson was traded to the Rapid City Rush on June 14th, finishing the Mike Monfredo trade in which the Mallards acquired Josh MacDonald.
- Nolan LaPorte requested a trade to the Florida Everblades and it was accepted in return for future considerations.
The Mallards will go to the Western Conference Finals and face Rapid City; game seven required as fans flashback to the Central Hockey League days.
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