MOLINE, Ill. – Less than 60 days remain until opening night for the Quad City Storm in the SPHL. The Storm roster is slowly accumulating, as eight players have been signed to Professional Try-Out Agreements. Of the six players that were selected by the Storm in the Expansion Draft, only one has signed with the team. Almost two weeks have passed since the last signing was announced, with the first signing in Storm history coming on July 6th. Today, we look back at the signings that have been announced so far, and where the expansion draft picks are at now.
First, the first two forwards to ink contracts with the newest SPHL team are local names, as Nicola Levesque and Vladimir Nikiforov have been in the Quad City community in one way or another for several years. Levesque is the younger brother of former Quad City Mallard (CHL) Patrik Levesque, who retired to the Quad Cities. Nikiforov is no stranger to playing at the TaxSlayer Center, as he suited up for the Mallards in two different seasons and leagues (CHL and ECHL). Nikiforov’s time at the TaxSlayer wasn’t only restricted to the home locker room, as he also visited last season with the Tulsa Oilers.
The next two signings came two weeks later when it was announced Don Olivieri and Bryan Arneson had agreed to PTO’s with the team. Defenseman Olivieri spent time with the Rapid City Rush and Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL, as well as with the Mississippi RiverKings and Evansville Thunderbolts last season before signing with the Storm. In 20 games with the RiverKings last year, Olivieri totaled eight goals and 13 assists. Forward Arneson spent most of the previous season with the RiverKings, but played three games for the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL). With the RiverKings, Arneson amassed 27 points (16G, 11A) in 40 games.
Ten days after the signings of Arneson and Olivieri, veteran goaltender Peter Di Salvo and forward Austin Hervey were added to the preseason roster. Hervey is the first player from the expansion draft to be signed by the Storm. In 55 games with the Knoxville IceBears, Hervey scored 12 times and added 15 assists. Di Salvo spent time with the Fayetteville Marksmen, Peoria Rivermen, and Macon Mayhem last season, as well as the Perth Thunder of the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL).
The Storm’s blue line received a boost on August 10th, when Ludlow Harris (who goes by Junior) and Mitchell Mueller were signed. Harris spent the entirety of last season with the Marksmen, assisting 24 times in 50 games – as well as scoring five times. Mueller split last season between the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs, Norfolk Admirals, and Fayetteville.
In the most recent wave of signings, the Storm added a pair of forwards to their inaugural roster. Dalton Mills joins the squad after playing collegiate hockey at Concordia College. There, he piled up 39 points (21G, 18A) in 60 games. John Scully is coming off a career year with the Watertown Wolves in the Federal Hockey League, which includes winning a championship. In 47 games, Scully put up 67 points (27G, 40A) and was a +56 on the season.
Of the expansion draft picks, two have signed elsewhere so far. Dylan Denomme signed with Strasbourg of France on May 19th, while Andy Willigar signed with EHC Zweibrücken on July 29th. Keegan Asmundson, Brandon Pfeil, and Nick Lazorko have yet to sign. Whether they have already signed with the Storm and it has yet to be announced is a mystery. With less than two months until the lone preseason game in Peoria on October 13th, coach Dave Pszenyczny‘s roster will need many additions quickly.