MOLINE, Ill. – The off-season lengthened by COVID-19 has finally kicked into gear with the release of the protected lists for each SPHL team. The Storm has protected the rights of 13 players for next season; protecting one goalie, five defensemen, and seven forwards.
Here’s a look back at those 13 players.
Taylor Pryce and Stephen Gaul were the leading scorers last season, each lighting the lamp 15 goals. Pryce added to his points with 16 assists, while Gaul had only 13 assists.
The abbreviated 2019-20 season was Connor Fries’ rookie campaign, and it was a doozy. Twelve goals, 14 assists, and one hat trick filled the stats sheet for the Centerville, MA native in 39 games. Two of those games were with the Peoria Rivermen, but he was held off the game sheet in both games.
Gregg Burmaster, acquired from the Huntsville Havoc on February 4, amassed seven points in 11 games with the Storm. In a longer, 39-game run with the Havoc, he had scored eight times and added six assists.
Another late-season acquisition, Cole Golka, was a point-per-game player in his three games in a Storm sweater. A playmaker throughout the season, he assisted 16 times while with the Birmingham Bulls and added four goals; he scored once while with the Storm.
A player who spent very little time with the Storm but had his rights protected is Joseph Widmar. He appeared in only six games for the Storm this season, during which time he scored once and added three assists. After his brief stint with the Storm, he went overseas to play in the Synerglace Ligue Magnus for the Aigles de Nice in France. While in France, he appeared in 23 games and scored five goals with one assist.
Shane Bennett, who had been with the Storm since their inaugural season, totaled 24 points in 34 games with 10 goals and 14 assists.
Another player with the Storm since day one is Ludlow Harris, Jr. Harris scored 16 points (5G, 11A) in 38 games this past season. He also racked up 60 penalty minutes through the season.
Rookie defenseman Mathias Ahman also had his rights protected after ending the season with the ECHL Kalamazoo Wings for seven games. While registering only a single assist during his first ECHL appearance, it was his four goals and 15 assists in the span of 39 games that earned him the call-up.
The Storm acquired several defensemen through the course of the season, including Ryan Devine, Joe Sova, and Ricky Kramer. Devine was claimed off waivers from Macon in mid-December, skating in 26 games for the Storm and scoring twice with five assists. His greatest contribution to the stat book came in penalty minutes, where he amassed 147 in those 26 games.
Sova was acquired from the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs one month into the season before playing in 32 games for the Storm. The Berwyn, IL native scored five times with 12 assists, though his experience in three different leagues over the span of a decade was a good boon to the young team.
Kramer joined the Storm just over a month before the season was canceled, coming from the Knoxville Ice Bears. In his 11 games with the Storm, he lit the lamp once and had six assists.
Peter Di Salvo has been protected after a season in which he had a record of 9-14-2-1, earned a pair of shutouts, and a .925 save percentage. Having played just over 1500 minutes this season, he also had a 2.50 goals against average and made making 775 saves.
Earlier this offseason, Dave Pszenyczny re-signed to remain the head coach of the Storm for two more seasons, while Storm President, Gwen Tombergs, left her post to join the United Way as their Vice President of Development.
The off-season will continue to roll on as we all await the end of COVID-19 and the beginning of sports again. Until then, follow @SinBinStorm on Twitter for the latest news about the Quad City Storm and @SinBinNews for the latest news on the SPHL, ECHL, and AHL.