WICHITA, KS – Thursday afternoon, the Wichita Thunder announced their protected list, which consists of 23 players.

This list is essentially the first step in building the team for the 2017-18 season for the Wichita Thunder, and perhaps, the most meaningless. This list essentially called “dibs” on players who were on the team last year, when it comes to signing them for next season.

The basic rundown of protected lists is, essentially, everyone and their mother gets protected. The lists are limitless and teams are allowed to protect as many players as they wish, as long as they were signed to ECHL standard player contracts and were never traded or released. Players who were in the ECHL on AHL/NHL contracts during the 2016-17 season are ineligible to be protected. So, players who were sent to Wichita from Ottawa/Binghamton are the only players you won’t see on the list.

Stipulations for players who are eligible to be protected:

1. Signed an SPC in 2016-17 with the member, and has not been traded or released

2. Signed an SPC in 2016-17, was recalled to the NHL/AHL or an IIHF team, and has not been traded or released

3. Had received a qualifying offer last summer for the current season, DID NOT sign an SPC, and has not been traded or released

4. Has been suspended by the member or league, and has not been traded or released

5. Signed an SPC on or after the first day of the 2016-17 regular season, then subsequently signed an NHL/AHL contract, and has not been traded or released

6. Has executed the ECHL retirement form, and has not been traded or released

Wichita’s 2017 Protected List is as follows:

Forwards (14):  Brad Cuzner, Zach O’Brien, David Friedmann, Ryan Tesink, Blake Tatchell, Maxime St-Cyr, Gerrad Grant, Darryl Lloyd, Louick Marcotte, Matt DeBlouw, Ian Lowe, Vincent Arseneau, Jack Rodewald, and Alexis Loiseau

Defenseman (7): Jake Bolton, Jamie Doornbosch, Randy Cure, Jeremy Beaudry, Brandon Carlson, Alexis Vanier, and James Melindy

Goalies (2): Drew Owsley and David Shantz

The one head-scratching name you see on the list is David Shantz, who has retired from hockey. Wichita Thunder head coach Malcolm Cameron says Shantz was automatically placed on the list because he was tendered a qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. He will not be on the team’s season-ending roster when it is announced on June 15.

Looking ahead, the team will announce the season-ending roster and will complete several outstanding trades over the next two weeks.

At least two trades will still need to be completed in the next couple of weeks; one with the Allen Americans for Alex Krushelnyski, another with the Toledo Walleye for Landon Oslanski, a third with the Wheeling Nailers for Kenton Miller, and a fourth trade with the Colorado Eagles for Mitch Holmberg. In the cases of Allen and Toledo, Cameron says the Thunder should receive a “very good player” from both trades. It is not known what the Thunder will get from Wheeling and Colorado. The deadline to complete “future considerations” trades is on June 13 at 3 pm ET.

Cameron says he has spent the last two months speaking with more than 100 players and agents, doing evaluations on who to bring back, and says he has “a few guys signed — new and returning.” Cameron says the team should be in a position to make their first signing announcement on June 16, the day free agency opens in the ECHL.

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