PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Mariners would have just started their season by the time this post is going out, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mariners, at the earliest, will start their season on January 15th of the new year. The Mariners will play 62 games this upcoming season, pending ‘jurisdictional approval,’ according to the ECHL. It is still unknown whether or not fans will be allowed, given pandemic safety procedures and protocols. Steve Craig of the Portland Press Herald recently wrote an article detailing the problem at hand. Essentially, if there aren’t fans in the seats, there will not be games. ECHL teams’ revenues, including the Mariners, depend on filling those seats. Regulations will have to loosen for that to happen, but not at the cost of player, personnel, and fan safety.
As crazy it has been, this offseason has seen numerous names return for their second and even third years in Maine and has also seen the likes of many newcomers. Let’s break down how it has gone so far:
The two newest second-year signees for the Mariners include defenseman Dallas Rossiter, who played in eight games for Maine last season. Mikael Robidoux, a forward who played 11 games but had, incredibly, 80 penalty minutes.
With the addition of Rossiter, the Mariners’ defense now consists of:
Likewise, with the addition of Robidoux, the Mariners’ offense now consists of:
The Mariners currently do not have a signed goaltender, which isn’t particularly concerning, as the New York Rangers currently have five signed goaltenders and have sent goaltenders to Maine in the past to develop. Mariners fans got a glimpse of Adam Huska last season, and he could likely see time in Maine to start the year, as Keith Kinkaid and Tyler Wall appear to have the edge for first and second string in the AHL. Still, the Mariners will most likely sign two goaltenders, regardless of who could be sent down.
Additionally, like previous years, the Mariners will also likely see an influx of defensemen and forwards sent their way from Hartford (or New York, via Hartford). However, it’s hard to speculate who that may be at this time. One thing is for certain: Sorry Mariners fans, it won’t be the number one overall pick from the NHL entry draft, Alexis Lafreniere.
While it’s nice to speculate about who is coming back, some players will not return. Sean Day had his contract terminated by the New York Rangers earlier this spring, and signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Former alternate captain and fan favorite Terrence Wallin‘s status on EliteProspects changed to “Retired,” which hasn’t been discussed too much. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wallin took on a coaching role with the Mariners, given that former assistant coach Anthony Bohn left to take the head coaching position for the FPHL’s Danbury Hat Tricks.
Whatever the case may be behind the bench, experience and guidance will be needed. So far, the Mariners have the third-youngest team by the age of their current signed players in the entire league. They’re also the fourth-least-experienced team in terms of career ECHL regular-season games played. It’s not to say that these guys haven’t played their entire lives, but their adaptability to the game’s professional side will be important to watch when training camp opens in December.
Overall, the Mariners are a young team, but with more offensive upside than ever. However, even with this offensive upside, they haven’t sold out on just that. The team comprises many two-way talents and built around players that compete hard in both ends of the rink.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Mariners re-signed defenseman Scott Savage shortly before this article came out on Monday.
Keep track of all the signings and movement during the 2020 ECHL offseason by visiting our ECHL Transactions page!
Follow Griffin on Twitter for all the latest news regarding the ECHL’s Maine Mariners! Don’t forget to also follow The Sin Bin on social media via Facebook and Twitter for additional AHL, ECHL, and SPHL minor league hockey coverage!