GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – The Adirondack Thunder have announced their first player signing of the 2020-21 season. For the second consecutive season, the team made their first player signing announcement on June 24. And, for the second consecutive season, that first signing happened to be forward Matt Salhany.
After struggling with the Reading Royals and then the South Carolina Stingrays in his rookie season (2017-18), Salhany signed with the Thunder for the 2018-19. After struggling to get into the lineup early that season, “Sal” finally got his chance due to some injuries in the lineup. He made the most of his opportunity and never looked back.
During the 2018-19 season, the coaching staff discovered that the trio of Salhany, Mike Szmatula, and John Edwardh had some chemistry and often kept them together. The three combined for 149 points during the regular season, and were all in the top five in points for the Thunder.
The line was broken up during the offseason when Edwardh signed with the Florida Everblades and Szmatula headed overseas to Poland. Both eventually returned to Adirondack, however, with Szmatula leaving Europe early in the 2019-20 season to sign with the Thunder, and Edwardh returning later in the season via trade. The line was reunited and had some success before being split up again.
Salhany ended the shortened season with 51 points (26 goals, 25 assists) — good for the team lead — with Szmatula coming in second with 49 points (20 goals, 29 assists). Edwardh added 21 points in his 23 games with Adirondack this season.
In his Facebook Live announcement, Salhany noted the close proximity to his hometown in Rhode Island and his familiarity with the area as reasons for his return.
“Super excited to sign, super excited to get back to Glens Falls. It’s a great area, super close for my family to be able to come, and super familiar with the area after two years.”
He also hinted that there are several others on board to return for the 2020-21 season.
“Talking with [head coach Alex Loh], with the uncertainties of everything going on in the world, and our unsatisfactory season and the way things ended…it inspired me to want to come back. And I think a good core group of our guys kind of felt the same way.
“I’m super confident, with Alex, our staff, our core group of guys coming back, and with some newcomers, we can get our team back to the top echelon of the league and really compete.”
If Edwardh and Szmatula are part of the core group who plan to re-sign for 2020-21 (and that line is reunited once again), the Thunder will be a force to be reckoned with.
Follow Carrie on Twitter for all the latest news, notes, and analysis of the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder! Don’t forget to also follow The Sin Bin on both Facebook and Twitter for all the latest AHL, ECHL, and SPHL minor league hockey coverage!