CINCINNATI, OH – For the second week in a row, player signing Wednesday featured two new additions to the 2016-2017 Cincinnati Cyclones roster. This time around, experienced defenseman, Sam Posa, along with rookie goaltender, Steve Racine, have signed contracts with Cincinnati for the new season.
The Grand Blanc, Michigan native, Posa is no stranger to Cincinnati as he played several games against the Cyclones as a member of the Indy Fuel during the 2014-2015 campaign. He totaled six assists and seven points in 42 contests during the second half of the season. He spent last season in Italy with Cortina SG, and was the highest scoring defenseman on the team with three goals and 14 assists, as well as led the team in penalty minutes with 47 in 38 games.
Posa’s collegiate career was spent with the University of Windsor for the latter half of the 2013-2014 campaign, as well as the first half of the 2014-2015 season, totaling 17 points in 28 games during that span. Prior to turning pro, he spent four seasons in Canadian Juniors in the Ontario Hockey League between the Windsor Spitfires and Guelph Storm, helping lead Windsor to a Memorial Cup Championship in 2009-2010. Posa made his professional debut back in the old Central Hockey League with the Missouri Mavericks during the opening half of the 2013-2014 season, tallying eight points in 24 games in a Mavs sweater.
The more interesting signing of the two, would be goaltender Steve Racine, coming off a very successful four year collegiate career at the University of Michigan. The Williamsville, New York native backstopped Michigan to the 2016 NCAA Midwest Regional right here in Cincinnati at U.S. Bank Arena, where they ultimately fell to the University of North Dakota. Over the course of four years as a Wolverine, Racine totaled an overall record of 50-22-7, including a career best record of 20-6-3 just this past season, which was good for sixth best in the nation. One of 26 nominees for the Mike Richter Award (nation’s top goalie), Racine’s .914 save percentage last season was good for sixth best in a single season in Michigan hockey history.
The Racine signing also puts some doubt into the idea of Andy Iles returning to Cincinnati this season. In addition to Racine, the Cyclones are also expecting two goaltenders to be sent down from the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals.
With Marek Mazanec most likely getting the call in Nashville to back-up Pekka Rinne at the NHL level. Competition to be Juuse Saros‘ back-up in Milwaukee heats up. The Admirals currently have netminders Brandon Whitney and Mark Visentin under contract. Nashville prospect Jonas Gunnarsson is expected to make his North American debut this season as well. Like last season Whitney is guaranteed to see Cincinnati, so the second NHL/AHL contracted goalie the Cyclones could see is a toss-up between Gunnarsson and Visentin.
So, the Cyclones goaltending situation currently looks to be Racine, Whitney, and Gunnarsson/Visentin.
You can view the Cyclones official release here.