WICHITA, Kan. – It has been 97 days since the Wichita Thunder played their last game. With the untimely end of the season due to Coronavirus, there has been plenty of time for head coach Bruce Ramsay to evaluate his roster from a season ago and begin to make moves to enhance the core going forward, whenever hockey returns.
The first step in that process came Tuesday, when the league announced their season-ending roster. Season-ending rosters may include up to 20 players and cannot include any players who didn’t sign an ECHL contract in 2019-20.
Further, this list only includes players on ECHL contracts, so you will not see Ostap Safin, Beau Starrett, Nolan Vesey, Jakob Stukel, Steven Iacobellis, Vincent Desharnais, Dylan Wells, or Stuart Skinner as they were on NHL or AHL deals when they played for Wichita last season.
The season-ending roster is as follows:
Lane Bauer, Billy Exell, Shaquille Merasty, Peter Crinella, Jason Salvaggio, Fabrizio Ricci, Stefan Fournier, Jay Dickman, Chris Gerrie, Spencer Dorowicz and Frankie Melton
Kyle Pouncy, Jacob Graves, Sean Allen, Patrik Parkkonen, Cam Clarke, Garrett Schmitz, Zachary Borsoi, and Dylan Olsen
Of the 20 players mentioned above, up to eight of them will receive qualifying offers. The team must make those offers by June 30. Up until then, the team can sign as many of those players as possible before the offer is extended.
The qualifying offer must remain open for acceptance until August 1, at which time the qualifying offer becomes null and void and the team may sign the qualified player to any salary or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season. Of the eight qualified players, no more than four can be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the 2019-20 season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded.
Free agency in the ECHL opens on Tuesday. Ramsay recently told The Sin Bin he has “at least” six commitments from players and the team will make their first signing announcement sometime this week. Throughout the period, Ramsay says he will be looking to add high-powered offensive forwards, bring back key pieces from last year’s team, as well as add depth pieces to the lineup.
You can keep up with the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder during the extended offseason by following us on Twitter! Follow Matthew Harding and Matthew Will on Twitter @SinBinThunder and @SinBinNews for the latest news on the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL.
Keep track of all the signings and movement during the 2020 ECHL offseason by visiting our ECHL Transactions page!