WICHITA, KS – I have finally poked my head out of the coal mine long enough to empty out the Reporter’s Notebook as we approach the start of training camp in just 17 days. Being the point man on two major projects; building an app & getting live ECHL scoring on our site, just doesn’t leave much time for writing.

Will He Stay or Go?

If you perused Twitter at all Thursday morning, you might have seen this tweet from our friends at Elite Prospects:

I have not been able to confirm this with the Thunder organization, but when I do, I will have it for you on my Twitter page (@SinBinThunder).

The Impact of Crandall Leaving

Should Crandall bounce for European pastures; it would leave a gigantic hole on the Thunder front-end and make the biggest trade this offseason a wash. Zajac is expected to stick with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League.

As constructed, the Thunder roster (forwards and defensemen) has just two 40-point or more scorers (Crandall and Travis Ewanyk) and five 30-point scorers from the 2016-17 season. Taking Crandall out of that lineup instantly creates a huge offensive void in the Thunder front nine, something that will be very tough for Malcolm Cameron to replace at this point in the game.

Edmonton Rookie Camp Recap

Cameron attended rookie camp in Edmonton last weekend and got a chance to look at several prospects who could wind up in a Thunder uniform very soon.

Speaking of what he could be getting from Edmonton, Cameron said he is pretty pumped, and the players he could be getting are “highly skilled, fast and big.” One of the players likely coming to Wichita is goaltender Shane Starrett, who sported a 1.99 goals against average and .925 save percentage in 37 games at the Air Force Academy last season. Cameron described the 6-foot-5 netminder as a “hard worker.”

Barring a glut of injuries with the Edmonton Oilers (who are playing eight exhibition games for some inane reason) and Bakersfield Condors, Cameron says he expects to see at least five Edmonton Oilers prospects in the lineup opening night.

More New Blood

New Thunder forward Taylor Makin. Photo Courtesy: Acadia University

The Thunder announced their 20th player signing of the offseason Thursday afternoon. Joining the Thunder preseason roster is Taylor Makin, a 25-year-old forward coming off a four-year collegiate career at Acadia University. A native of Blairmore, Alberta, the 6-foot, 202-pound forward collected 19 points (6g, 13a) and 147 penalty minutes in 71 career games for the Axemen.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to play for the Thunder,” stated Makin. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about Coach Cameron and am looking forward to playing for him.”

Veteran Plans

Constructing a roster is all about finding the right mix of “old,” “middle of the road,” and “young” players and that has certainly been interesting to watch unfold across the league this summer. In Wichita, Travis Ewanyk and Guillaume Lepine are the only two classified veterans who have signed. Istvan Sofron has the number of games to be a veteran, but the ECHL does not recognize the leagues Sofron played in, so it becomes a “get a vet for free” card.

Cameron says a third veteran will be announced soon, and it will be a forward. He plans to keep the fourth vet slot open during the season in case someone comes available.

Buy a Lottery Ticket…

It has been a rough two weeks, with two powerful hurricanes hitting the United States. Hurricane Harvey made landfall just northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas and brought historic rainfall to much of the Texas Gulf Coast, while Hurricane Irma made its final of two United States landfalls on Marco Island, Florida Sunday afternoon.

It would figure that the Thunder head coach has houses in the areas impacted by the storms.

Photo of waves on Interstate 10 caused by a storm surge from Hurricane Harvey. Photo: Harrison Sincavage

“My house in Beaumont (Texas) is unscathed. We couldn’t believe it,” Cameron said. “We had friends lose everything.”

Beaumont and much of southeast Texas received at least 20 inches of rain and historic flooding.

At his house just south of Fort Myers, Florida, the Thunder coach says his home sustained relatively minor damage in Hurricane Irma as it plodded up the Florida west coast late Sunday afternoon.

Satellite image of Hurricane Irma as it approached the Florida Keys. Image Courtesy: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

“The eye went right over our community. Lots of trees down and flooded streets. Some shingles blew off and some screens on our lanai blew away, but okay compared to most,” Cameron said.

The area was expected to receive winds of at least 120 miles per hour and a 15-foot storm surge, but because the system weakened as it approached, the effects lessened. Ahead of the storm, Germain Arena in nearby Estero (home of the Florida Everblades) was turned into a shelter and housed about 5,000 people.

The Sin Bin wishes to extend our thoughts and well wishes with everyone dealing with the disasters in Texas and Florida.

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