WICHITA, KS – Ahead of their weekend series against the Allen Americans, the Wichita Thunder roster has gone through a significant shift with two unrelated moves.
The first move saw offensive leader Zach O’Brien get recalled to the Bakersfield Condors, after scoring his fifth goal of the season Wednesday night against Kansas City. In 12 games this season, O’Brien has posted five goals and seven assists. As part of O’Brien going to Bakersfield, Chad Butcher has been assigned to Wichita. Butcher has played in just seven games for the Condors this season, collecting two assists.
“Chad is a player with high-end skill and a great brain,” Malcolm Cameron said. “He was the MVP of the Young Stars tournament in Penticton, BC this summer.”
Butcher signed an AHL deal with the Condors in the offseason, after a run in the Western Hockey League in which his offensive production increased every year. He had 25 points in 2013-14 and finished with 103 points (27g, 76a) in 2016-17. Overall, he piled up 259 points (82g, 177a) in 301 career WHL games.
In a move announced midday Friday, the Thunder dealt Louick Marcotte to the Fort Wayne Komets for Ralph Cuddemi.
“Louick was looking for a top-6 (forwards) role and with our depth chart the way it is now, he wasn’t getting it,” Cameron said. “I wanted to give him a chance.”
The 24-year-old Cuddemi is in his second full season as a pro. A native of Concord, Ontario, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder started his career with the Florida Everblades before being dealt to the Utah Grizzlies last October. He appeared in 64 games for Utah, recording 52 points (27g, 25a). Cuddemi was a huge asset to the Grizzlies on special teams last season, scoring a team-high ten goals on the power play and collecting 16 points in special teams situations.
Billed as one of the prize offseason signings for the Komets, Cuddemi has gotten off to a bit of a sluggish start in his sophomore season, collecting six points in ten games for the Komets.
Before turning pro, Cuddemi played four years at Canisius College. He served as the team’s captain during his senior year and tallied 42 points (20g, 22a) in 39 games. He led the Golden Griffins in goals in each of the last three seasons and won an AHA (Atlantic Hockey Conference) Championship in 2013.
Wichita and Allen open their two-game set tomorrow night at Intrust Bank Arena.