WICHITA, Kan. – The rebuild continues for the Wichita Thunder and head coach Bruce Ramsay.
Monday, the team announced they have sent star forward Ralph Cuddemi to the Reading Royals for two future considerations. The 26-year-old finishes his nearly two-season-long stint in Wichita with 108 points (53G, 55A) in 118 regular-season games, as well as four points (1G, 3A) in six Kelly Cup Playoff games.
This is the second trade between the two clubs this summer. On August 30, the team traded the rights to Hayden Hodgson to the Royals for future considerations. With the two trades, the Royals now owe Wichita three players; two of which can be claimed during this coming season.
What It Means:
With this move, the Royals immediately acquire a player who can put 50 points on the board consistently. Cuddemi is a high-end offensive talent in this league, one that sees the ice well, has a great shot and uses it often. The move also makes the Royals’ offense that much deeper, especially with Olivier Labelle, Frankie DiChiara, Brayden Low, and Trevor Yates on the roster.
For Wichita, this is a huge gut-punch. Gone is a player who would have been essential in stirring the pot offensively. As constructed, the roster has two players (Chris Crane and Jordan Sims) who have put up more than 40 points in a season and a ton of unproven talent.
Six. Any time a team can pick up a top-line offensive talent for future considerations, that’s a significant accomplishment. Further, this puts the Royals’ offense up there with Adirondack and Brampton’s as the best in the ECHL North Division.
On the other side of the coin, this news has been coming for some time for the Thunder, it was just a matter of finding the right suitor for Cuddemi’s services. There was no chance he’d be back in a Thunder uniform for a third season.
Who will Ramsay bring in to carry the offensive torch for Wichita? How does the tandem of Steven Iacobellis and Jakob Stukel fit into that equation? How does Cuddemi fit into the rest of the offensive plans for Reading?
Reading is becoming Wichita-east. With the addition of Cuddemi, the Royals have four former Thunder players on their preseason roster; Brayden Low, Jeremy Beaudry, and Hayden Hodgson).