Before we get into Friday night’s contest between the Cincinnati Cyclones (26-24-5) and Orlando Solar Bears (28-21-7), let’s get the big news of the week out of the way first. The news that saw three new faces come into Cincinnati, and two faces make their exit, including a fan favorite.
It was around this time yesterday that I learned I was a fortune teller. As the trade deadline approached, I was thinking to myself who could possibly get the gate in Cincinnati. One name that popped into my head was fan favorite, Brian Nugent. And on Thursday afternoon, that became a reality. In a trade with the Missouri Mavericks: Nugent, Lee Reimer, and Future Considerations were sent to Missouri in exchange for forward, Jack Downing (Pictured to the right).
A lot of eyebrows were raised in Downtown Cincinnati about this trade but, quite frankly, I think the Cyclones made the right move. As stated earlier, Brian Nugent was a fan favorite in town. Why trade somebody so near to the hearts of fans? What Cyclones fans need to understand is: This team is in the running for a playoff spot, and changes were needed to better the team. They need players who can put this club on their back and help contribute to a playoff run. Nugent wasn’t doing that this season. Cyclones fans will always love Nugent for what he did last season. He was a big reason the ‘Clones made it to the Kelly Cup Finals, but, that was last season. This season hasn’t been much of the same story. He was only able to muster five goals in 55 games and was a -18 before departing Cincinnati.
Lee Reimer on the other hand: I was not surprised to see him included in the deal. The young rookie forward out of Michigan State University had only appeared in eight games this season for the Cyclones. If you can remember all the way back to October, Reimer suffered an arm injury in a preseason game against Wheeling, putting him on IR well into the month of February. You could tell watching him play, he was still working on getting his legs back, and still trying to get back into the swing of things. Similar to Nugent, that is not what the Cyclones need for the long haul. It’s unfortunate, but, that’s the way the game of hockey works sometimes.
Now onto what the Cyclones get out of this deal with the likes of Jack Downing. With Missouri, Downing was able to accumulate 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points in 43 games and was a -5. Don’t let those numbers fool you though. Downing is a guy with a shoot-first mentality and loves to crash the net for those hard working goals. Offensive-minded people like that is something the Cyclones have desperately needed this season. Goals have been hard to come by as of late and I think Downing may be that spark this team needs to make a playoff run.
In my honest opinion, both teams benefited from the trade. Missouri, a team that most likely won’t be in the postseason this year, gains a couple pieces to the puzzle that could help come next season. Cincinnati, a team that’s fighting for the right to play in the postseason, gains exactly what they need for the long haul.
Two other faces were added to the fold as well. Fresh out of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, rookie forward Garrick Perry (Pictured to the right) comes to Cincinnati logging in 118 games of experience at the College level. He really began to find his offensive strengths in his Junior and Senior years. This season, he has seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points and was a +8 at Alaska-Fairbanks.
Another new face added to the fold was goaltender Sean Bonar who was claimed off waivers from the Wichita Thunder. Bonar (Bahn-er) has had stints with the Indy Fuel and Orlando Solar Bears this season, in addition to Wichita. He has only logged five starts at the ECHL level this season and will back up Rob Madore as it appears Sam Brittain will be with the Florida Panthers longer than we originally thought.
A big weekend for the Cyclones will begin this Friday night as the season series against the Orlando Solar Bears will conclude. Heading into this weekend, the Cyclones find themselves occupying the 4th and final playoff spot in the North Division. They are just one point ahead of 5th place Wheeling, and two points ahead of 6th Indy. This weekend could be the one that makes or breaks the Clones. They’ve got Orlando and division-leading Fort Wayne Friday and Saturday night at home before making their first trip of the season to Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Sunday afternoon.
We drop the puck from inside U.S. Bank Arena in Downtown Cincinnati this Friday night at 7:35p.m.