NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The South Carolina Stingrays checked off one of the final roster hurtles of the offseason Tuesday, announcing the eight players they have tendered qualifying offers to. The forwards consist of Taylor Cammarata, Tim Harrison, Jake Kamrass, Nick Roberto and Steven Whitney. They are joined by defensemen Danny Federico, Marcus Perrier and Frankie Simonelli. None of the group of five forwards and three defensemen are veteran players. The closest is Marcus Perrier, who has logged 259 games, one shy of the 260 required for veteran status.
All three defensemen qualified by the Stingrays are a mix of what is needed for the season. Simonelli is a puck-moving playmaker that isn’t afraid to join the rush. Federico is a stay at home specialist that is seemingly always in the right position to break up plays or keep the puck in the zone. Perrier is a renowned agitator and rugged player who can also chip in offensively.
The forwards that played for the Stingrays last year (Cammarata, Kamrass, Roberto and Whitney) are all proven scorers and are fast mobile players. Harrison, acquired in the offseason to complete a trade, is a larger player in the model of a power forward. All seem to fit the mold of Ryan Warsofsky’s future plans for a more mobile and faster team.
Five players are already signed for the upcoming season. Defenseman Mike Chen, who played well on his assignment up from the SPHL’s Knoxville Ice Bears, and is the only returnee so far. Forward Matt Pohlkamp, who enjoyed a solid rookie year on a struggling Quad City club, looks to continue his successes on the ice in Charleston. Forward Bo Brauer from Notre Dame looks to come in and play a power forward role and forwards Cam McDonald from Colby College and Sam Fioretti from Acadia University fit in the smaller, more agile role that the Stingrays are trending towards.
Lingering Questions for Stingrays
What is most noticeable about the list of qualifying offers is who is not on it. The core leadership group of Joe Devin, Patrick Gaul, Joey Leach and Andrew Cherniwchan is absent. The four veteran players have jointly accumulated 807 regular season and 200 postseason games for the Stingrays. It is hard to imagine all of these players not returning. An experienced group of leaders to guide the rookies through the ups and downs of a pro season is crucial. Look for at least two of these players to return for the upcoming season.
Other notable names exist as question marks for the upcoming season. Trevor Gillies was injured and did not complete the season. Goaltender Jeff Jakaitis was not on the season-ending roster and as such was not qualified. Kelly Zajac and Dylan Margonari were on Hershey Contracts and Tim McGauley was on a Capitals contract. All are unrestricted free agents now.
The other big question mark looming for the Stingrays is Ryan Warsofsky. With former head coach Spencer Carbery now at the helm in Hershey, will he call up is former assistant to fill a similar role there? If Warsofsky moves up, will Steve Bergin get the call to be the next head coach? The former ownership group was keen on upward mobility from within the organization. New owner Todd Halloran may take a different view.