WHEELING, W.V. – The 2016-17 season was one of transition for the Wheeling Nailers, as head coach Jeff Christian fought with injuries and call-ups, while working to identify another veteran corps. After a long offseason in the ‘Wheel, the Nailers are looking to return to the Kelly Cup Playoffs after missing the tournament last season.
Head Coach – Jeff Christian, second season, 34-30-0-8 regular season record.
Last Season – First-year head coach Jeff Christian went with a young roster to defend the Eastern Conference championship won in May 2016 after several players left for Europe, play on other teams or retired. Captain Derek Army got called up to the Milwaukee Admirals in December and did not return. Nick Sorkin and Brett Stern spent long periods of time in the AHL, which left Christian to bring other players in and forced young players to mature quickly. After a good month of January, the Nailers quickly faded down the stretch, going 3-5-2 in their final ten games, earning them an early offseason.
Through two preseason games the Nailers have shown a lot of team speed and the ability to put the puck in the net. Bringing back multiple players back and adding veterans and more experienced defensive corps, the Nailers have the ability on paper to compete for the championship in June 2018.
- Johnny Daniels
- Garrett Meurs
- Danny Fick
- Riley Bourbonnais
- Cody Wydo
Blocked and Reported
- Doug Carr- retired
- Brett Stern- retired
- Gage Quinney- promoted to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
This Wheeling Nailers team will finish 1 or 2 in the north division and will make some noise in the postseason. Don’t be surprised to see this team play for the Kelly Cup.
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