MACON, Ga. – Due to the lure of the ECHL, offseason signings by teams within the SPHL don’t exactly set opening night rosters in stone.
They do, however, at least offer a look at what kind of team fans can expect to see put on the ice come October.
As the Macon Mayhem push toward training camp, they’ll expect to have some veteran muscle on the ice when the team gathers for year five of the team’s tenure in Macon. Stathis Soumelidis has received a training camp invite by the organization, making him the most tenured Mayhem player expected to be at camp and the only remaining player from the 2016-17 President’s Cup champions. Last year, he was fifth on the team in both points (27) and plus-minus rating (+9).
He also brings experience at the next level, too. Soumelidis logged 17 games in the ECHL with Florida and Norfolk last year. That experience should be looked upon by the Mayhem to be a locker room leader with Jake Trask and John Siemer both not expected to be with the team this season. Moreover, Soulemelidis was one of the team’s three co-captains last year.
Need another testament to the impact of Soumelidis? The team went 2-9 after his ECHL call-up last January.
Soumelidis is one of the multiple front-liners invited to camp. Jimmy Soper is set to be in Macon for year three, looking to bounce back after an injury-riddled season last year. Still – in 36 games he rang up a total of 16 points. A late addition to the team last year, Shawn Lynch on the wing, will also be in training camp. He got a taste of pro hockey with the Mayhem at the end of the previous campaign and will be back hungry for more, playing in eight regular-season games and two in the postseason.
With no Jordan Ruby in camp for the first time, one position to watch will be in goal. Keven Entmaa is the odds-on favorite to lead the team onto the ice and take his place in the crease on opening night.
Macon made a bold play to bring Entmaa back by putting him right into the fire when he came aboard late last year, and he went 2-3 and a 2.84 GAA. Even when Ruby returned in time for the playoffs, head coach Leo Thomas thought enough of Entmaa to give him a postseason start.
Follow Brad Harrison on Twitter at @SinBinMayhem.