Archive for the ‘Offseason News’ Category

More of the same…those words sum up the Cyclones organization pretty well as it heads into the 2012-2013 season. In this post we’ll give you our thoughts on the affiliates and coaches which will guide the ‘Clones through the season.

***

There was no official press release regarding the affiliates but if you’ve been reading the press releases you know that it’s business as usual for the Team. Once again the Cyclones will maintain dual affiliates with both Nashville/Milwaukee and Florida/San Antonio feeding the ‘Clones players. We were impressed with the talent that came our way from San Antonio last season and we think we can expect it to continue this season. On the Nashville/Milwaukee side of things things have been pretty hit or miss over the years. This season that trend could change for the better.

This season, perhaps more than any in recent memory, the NHL affiliates could play a greater role throughout the ECHL. With the NHL locking out players and the their season up in the air, NHL teams are sending more players than ever to the AHL; the Florida Panthers have assigned 25 players (16 forwards, 5 defensemen and 4 goalies) to San Antonio while the Nashville Predators have supplied Milwaukee with 22 players (12 forwards, 8 defensemen and 2 goalies) and that’s not counting the NHL players which can be signed to AHL deals. How is that possible? The guys over at Admirals Roundtable explain it pretty clearly. There are some familiar names on those lists of players but we’ll take a close look at that in an upcoming post. There are limits on active roster sizes and it doesn’t take math PHD to realize that more quality players are going to trickle down the food chain. That could mean more young NHL prospects being assigned to the ECHL or more quality AHL contracted players filtering our way. It also means fewer roster spots for free agents throughout the minor leagues. The bottom line is the talent pool for minor league teams will be deeper and higher quality than it has in years. That is, if the NHL remains shut down…

As ECHL fans we’re hoping the the NHL and NHLPA come to terms quickly or not at all. If the NHL gets up and running in early October it would likely mean business as usual for teams in the ECHL. If the NHL season is fully lost, Cyclones’ fans will see a team that could rival the 2008 Kelly Cup Squad in regards to talent (the only problem is the rest of the League could be elevated to that level as well). The other side of the coin is if the NHL returns to operations in December, it would likely mean rosters would be gutted throughout the minors leaving those teams scrambling for players. If the lockout goes long term the advantage goes to teams with multiple affiliates. If the lockout ends mid-season the advantage goes to the teams who had single affiliations or none at all. The standoff between the NHL and NHLPA is something we’ll be keeping an eye on.

***

Behind the bench it’s more of the same for the Cyclones as well. Jarrod Skalde will be returning, an off-season move which had many fans scratching their heads. Skalde, entering his 5th year as a head coach, his 3rd with the Cyclones holds a career coaching record of 128-131-37; he’s steered the Cyclones to 68-57-19 record over his 2 seasons behind the bench. Those aren’t exactly stellar numbers. Moreover, Skalde missed the playoffs, becoming just the 3rd coach to do so. We should note that we’re referencing the history of a team called the Cincinnati Cyclones, not just this current franchise; the ‘Clones missed the playoffs in 92-93, their first season in the IHL, under Dennis Desrosiers and in 03-04, the last season before suspending operation, under Chris Cichocki. In a pure coincidence we find ironic, Jarrod Skalde played a handful of games for that 92-93 team.

We’ve been hoping to put former head coach Chuck Weber behind us but he’s given us so many sound bites or Chuckisms, if you will that he’s a hard guy not to bring up. The Chuckism that comes to mind here is putting players in a position to play off their natural talents to succeed. It makes sense right, coaching to the abilities to your players. However, under Skalde, we haven’t seen it happening. In his 1st year with the Cyclones Skalde inherited two-thirds of a Kelly Cup Championship team. That team’s success was rooted in defense; enter Skalde, a much more offensively minded coach, and the team faltered. The common fan consensus was Skalde would be better with “his group of guys.” In year the 2 the ‘Clones had much more offensive roster. Were they “Skalde’s guys?” Perhaps not by choice but they were a group of offensively minded guys Skalde should have excelled with. Instead the results were much the same and we heard about roster turnover from call-ups and how young the team was. Our response to that is, it’s the ECHL, there will always be young players, and since the League is a feeder league to upper levels of hockey roster turnover will always exist. Those can’t be excuses, they are just what goes with being a coach in the ECHL. What can Cyclones expect this season? History tells us it will likely be more of the same.

***

There could be a glimmer of hope on the horizon for the ‘Clones as for the 3rd consecutive season Coach Skalde will have a new assistant coach, former Cyclones’ defenseman Matt MacDonald. We know what you’re thinking, doesn’t Matt MacDonald plus Cyclones equal losing? While that phrase never actually came out of our mouths, we won’t lie, we weren’t the biggest fans of Matt as a player, but we’re hoping he can follow in the footsteps of another Cyclones’ defenseman turned coach, Dean Stork.

It’s no secret we prefer defense based hockey here at CycWords and coach MacDonald was considered a true defensive d-man. He also played under a very defensive minded head coach in Chuck Weber. Oh and did we mention he won a Kelly Cup Championship? So he’s a guy that knows what it takes to get there as a player. We’re hoping he can bring a more defensive mindset to the team.

***

Training camp opens Friday. The on-ice workouts are open to the public and we’ll be trying to make it to a few to give you a run down on roster as we head into the preseason weekend and opening night.

Advertisements

We didn’t have much to say last season but if you saw any of the games in person, which if you’re reading this blog you probably did, you know there really wasn’t a whole lot of good stuff to blog about. We didn’t want to be overly negative which would have been very easy to do so we decided to follow our mom’s advice and keep our mouths shut. Sure, there were some good things last year; the home record, the play of Anthony Luciani, Dan Eves and Michael Pelech, as well as the play of some the fill in guys like Derek St. Marie, who made up for what he lacked skill wise with pure energy and really brought a spark to his linemates. However, when it was all said and done none of those things translated to team success and the ‘Clones missed the playoffs for just the 3rd time in Their history (more on that later). Well, we’ve let stew long enough and it’s time to come at the upcoming season with renewed energy.

 Over the next few weeks we’ll be getting caught up on what’s been going on over the summer. So let’s get on with it….

***

 The new North Division…

 If you’ve been following League news over the summer, you know the Chicago Express are now defunct and have been replaced by the Fort Wayne Komets and the Evansville Iceman. Evansville bounced around minor league hockey before getting absorbed into the the IHL/CHL before making their way to the ECHL. We think Evansville is a good fit for the League.

 Fort Wayne on the other hand might be a different story. The Komets are one of the longest standing minor league hockey teams out there. They have a storied history and great attendance, both of which are great for the ECHL. Then there’s the Komet’s ownership. There’s a lot of rumor and specualtion about the Frankes (Fort Waynes ownership) which if true could disrupt things within the League. If they decide to play by the Leagues rules, which so far it seems like they have, then their addition will be great for the Komets and the League.

 The League will also welcome the Orlando Solar Bears to the South Division, as well as, the San Fransisco Bulls to the Western Conference’s Pacific Division. We’re excited to see both Orlando and San Fransisco join the League. The ‘Clones and Solar Bears will always share championship ingredient. Despite it being a different League, the Solar Bears, along with a young video analyst named Chuck Weber, bounced the Cyclones from the playoffs in 2001 on their way to capturing the IHL’s Turner Cup. Weber would later guide the Cyclones to two Kelly Cup Championships in his four years as the Cyclones head coach.

 We’re also happy to see the League finally expanding westward with the addition of the San Fransisco Bulls. We haven’t been shy about voicing our displeasure with Western Conference’s eight teams and biased playoff format. The addition of the Bulls is a step in the right direction. However, it’s still not clear how an additional team will affect the Western Conference’s playoff format.

***

 The schedule….

 It’s a long season; 72 games, 36 home and away, but for teams getting off to a slow start the season can be over before you know it. The Cyclones will play 6 road games in Their 1st 10 games, and They won’t see a road trip longer than 2 games until December 28th thru January 4th when They’ll take on all 4 Divisional opponents. It’s a schedule that should really help if the Team is anything like last season Squad which struggled mightily on the road on road trips while excelling at home.

Diving into the schedule a little deeper, the ‘Clones will face North Division opponents 39 times, Atlantic Division opponents 18 times and the South Division 15 times. The League has brought back inter-conference play this season but none of the Western Conference teams will make their way to US Bank Arena.

As per usual the ‘Clones will see a division heavy schedule with 39 of Their games being played against North Division foes. They’ll play 20 of those games at home. The ‘Clones will face Toledo 9 times (4h/5a), Kalamazoo 8 times (5h/3a), Fort Wayne 9 times (3h/6a) and Evansville 13 times (8h/5a). It looks to be a favorable division schedule for the ‘Clones, facing what has been a dominate K-wings team just 8 times while getting new comers Evansville 13 times. We think those 13 games against the Ice Men will be key if the Cyclones are to make a run at returning to the top of the North Division.

The 18 Atlantic Division games are split evenly with 9 at home and 9 on the road. The 2012-2013 Squad will get an early season bonding opportunity when they head north to the thriving metropolis of Elmira, New York for a pair of games in late October. They’ll also get the Jackals 2 more times at USBA. The ‘Clones will see the Trenton Titans the most of any Atlantic Division team splitting a 6 game series. The Wheeling Nailers will make 3 visits to USBA while the Cyclones will be getting that “Wheeling Feeling” just twice. Three (2h/1a) matchups with Reading wrap up the Atlantic Division tilts.

The ‘Clones will make 3 trips south this season starting with an early trip to Greenville for 2 games in November. The Boys will head south again to play Greenville (1) again along with Gwinnett (1) in early February. They’ll wrap up Their journeys south with 4 game trip through Georgia (Gwinnett) and Florida (Florida -2, Orlando -1) in late March before they return home for the final 2 regular season games at US Bank Arena. Florida (3), South Carolina (3) and Orlando (1) will all make trips to Cincinnati this season.

Overall, the schedule looks favorable for the Cyclones given that there aren’t a lot of long road trips. Keys for the Cyclones will be the 13 matchups with newcomers Evansville and the final swing south. Given the divisional bias of the schedule if the ‘Clones can’t play .600 or better hockey within the division the playoffs will prove to be an uphill battle.

In our next post we’ll pass along our thoughts on the personnel behind the bench, as well as the affiliates.

The winds of change have been blowing through the organization again this summer. Last summer it was the change we all new was coming at some point, the departure of head coach Chuck Weber and assistant coach Dean Stork. They were replaced by head coach Jared Skalde and Scott Fankhouser. Fankhouser has since been replaced former NHL veteran Andrew Cassels. Head coach Jared Skalde made another move this summer that shocked many Cyclones fans…

Ehgo gate…

There was no official word from the Cyclones but on August 11th, Ehgoetz, the player considered by most to be the Cyclones franchise player, announced via his Facebook page and Twitter (@BarretEhgoetz) that he had learned the Cyclones would not be inviting him back. There’s a lot of speculation floating around the internet as to why. Was Barret becoming too expensive? Did Barret not want to be a part of the style of hockey Skalde wants to play? Did Skalde feel that Barret wouldn’t be a good fit for the system? Was Skalde looking to further separate himself from the legacy of Chuck Weber? We’re not even going to attempt to answer that question but we will say that if we were hockey coaches we would do what we could to keep a player like Barret on our team. Ehgoetz might be a year older but he’s a smart, right place, right time kind of player. He’s defensively minded but still capable of 50 or so points. He’s proven his durability and heart over the seasons for the squad. What’s not to like about a player like Barret Ehgoetz? Thanks for all the memories Barret and all the best in your future endeavors.

***

Egho Gate aside, this summer also marked a change in the PR department. In past years, we’d have to wait until mid August to hear about any player signings. This year Nick Brunker appeased many fans by bringing the Cyclones faithful regular updates on the new players that would be dawning a Cyclones sweater this fall. So without any further delay here’s how the roster is currently shaping up:

Neil Trimm (F)Trimm has spent his pro career in the CHL. His numbers are solid offensively which is something the Squad was sorely lacking last season. There’s never been any question that we like defensively minded hockey here at CycWords and the question we have about Trimm is his defense. His first 2 years as a pro he put up 74pts but was -23. However, last season he put up 80pts and went +24 so perhaps he’s become more of a 2-way player. The ECHL is a much more visible league when it comes to AHL call ups and at 6’2″ 200lbs there’s a chance Trimm may not stick around in Cyclones sweater if he replicates his numbers from last season.

Mathieu Aubin (F) –  We know what Mathieu is capable of and there is no doubt he can excel under Skalde’s offensively oriented system. He’s got good size and uses it well. Mathieu’s skating has always left a bit to be desired but showed improvement last season. If he worked hard over the off season and shows the same improvement there’s no reason he can’t have the kind of break out season that puts him back on the AHL’s radar. That is if he can stay out of the penalty box. Mathieu loves to run his mouth and while it’s entertaining to watch as a fan it does occasionally land him in the box.

Mike Liambas (F)The ‘Bus’ is back. Last seasons controversial late addition will be back again this season. Despite the fan reaction, the word is he’s well liked in the locker room. Mike has quite a reputation and that probably gets him in trouble but we were impressed with his hockey sense. He wasn’t a complete liability on the ice, he found soft spots in coverage offensively and always back checked defensively. The question for the ‘Bus’ will be if he can shake his reputation. The other issue is, while he checks harder than just about anyone we’ve seen, he isn’t a true fighter. His role is more of an agitator and as such really needs a true fighter on the bench behind him (think Morehouse/Benson in 2009-2010). to be really effective.

Ryan Blair (D)Blair will join the Cyclones after spending 4 years at UMASS Lowell. Blair was a plus player for his first 3 years for the Riverhawks before posting a -16 in his senior year. In his defense, looking at the rest of the teams numbers weren’t stellar either. It’s always hard to get what you’re going to get with rookies, some get it quickly and some take some time to come around.

Daniel Koger (F)When training camp gets underway it will have a European flair for the 2nd year in a row. Last season, it was Russian Ruben Begunts  adding the flair, this year it will be Hungarian Daniel Koger. Koger spent last season in the CHL after spending 2 years playing in Austria. Koger put up 52pts last season, his 1st in North America. His production was fairly balanced (29g-23a) which is nice to see. The question with many European players is how well they can adapt to the North American game. Daniel has the size and skill to find success in the ECHL, perhaps even the AHL, time will tell how he adjusts to the additional physicality of the North American game. If you want to get an early look at Koger’s game you can check out his promotional video here. The sound track isn’t child friendly so turn the volume down if there are kids in the room (You have been warned).

Nathan Moon (F)We aren’t even sure where to start on this guy. A quick Google search for “Nathan Moon Hockey” yields enough information to keep minor league hockey bloggers like us busy for days. The short story on the 2008  4th round pick of the Penguins is his positive offensive ability which consists of finishing ability and a quick first step. Apparently his overall skating ability hasn’t progressed much since being drafted and he lacks quick decision making during transition play like “give and go’s”. Statistically, Nathan put up some good offensive numbers during his OHL career (332 regular season points) but was -48. His numbers are almost Thomas Beauregard like, except despite his lack of defensive effort Beauregard was able to maintain a positive +/- in Juniors. Dig a little deeper into that Google search and you’ll find his Hockeyfights.com fight card. Based on it and the associated videos it seems like Moon plays a little on the chippy side. If Moon proves to be a solid 2-way player he’ll be a great addition, if not, Skalde better have something up his sleeve to generate offense while on the penalty kill.

Ryan Annesley (D)Don’t be confused by hockeydb.com, the Cyclones haven’t signed a 29 year old left winger. The Cyclones instead signed another rookie defenseman. Annesley spent 5 years at Niagra University (Ryan only played 7 games during the 09-10 season) where he put decent points as far as defenseman go. The concern for us lies in his final year for the Purple Eagles was his best production wise but also saw his lowest +/- at -9. Skalde bills him as “a very good skater who I see playing on our power play and in offensive situations. I know he’s looking forward to making the next step in his career and I’m excited to have a guy who can make that first pass, join the rush, and be responsible defensively.” Well, isn’t the world just perfect? Time will tell is he can actually pull that off at the professional level.

Matt McIlvane (F)McIlvane, a former Ohio State Buckeye captain, has had a tumultuous pro career. He’s spent time in Europe, played a few games in the AHL but has spent most of his pro career in the IHL/CHL, or whatever they’re calling it these days. He also missed out on much of last season due to injury. In an older write up the team over at Hockeyfutures.com consider Matt to be a power forward type of player with suitable finishing ability. He plays a physical game but needs to work on his passing and on ice vision. He could be a solid net front presence that the Cyclones have lacked in recent season. The question will be how well he has rehabbed from an injury which ended his 2010-2011 season very early which he took some time to discuss with Nick Brunker recently.

Mathieu Curadeau (F)Curadeau is a name Cyclones fans might remember from the 2009-2010 season which he spent with Kalamazoo. Mathieu possesses an AHL upside picking up a game here and there but has spent most of his career in IHL/CHL, with the exception of 09-10 season. That season with Kalamazoo was arguably his best putting up 47pts and ending the season +20. He had some good seasons early in his career for the Fort Wayne Komets but that was back when the Komets basically ran the league so the question has to be asked, “Is he really that good, or is he a product of team he played for?” Last season he returned to the Komets, which were no longer in control of the league and registered just 33 points and was -24. We aren’t really sure what to expect from Mathieu. He’s been billed as a skilled forward everywhere he’s played and that’s what we’ve come to expect from a French Canadian who came up through the QMJHL.

Matt Pierce (F)Pierce will make his return to the Cyclones after an injury shortened his 10-11 campaign. Matt is the type of player which should excel under Coach Skalde. He’s got good size, plays a physical game and has plenty of finishing skill. If he regains the form he had in his rookie season, he’ll probably get more than one look at the AHL.

Dan Eves (F)Eves, a mid season addition last year, returns this season. Eves is a well rounded player who is capable of averaging just shy of a point per game. He skates well and plays a solid physical game. He played just 17 regular season games for the Cyclones last season, but we’re interested in seeing what Dan can do over a full season with Coach Skalde.

***

The Cyclones have traded the rights to late season addition and stand out Cory Conacher to Florida for the rights to Brad Snetsinger. Honestly, this isn’t a big deal. While Snetsinger has apparently, signed in Italy (he could return when that season is over), Conacher signed a one-way AHL deal with the Norfolk Admirals. The odds that Conacher laces them in the ECHL are slim at best.

***

According to Eliteprospects.com Brock Sheahan has signed with SC Riessersee of the German Second League. Since he received a qualifying offer the Cyclones will retain Bock’s ECHL player rights for the 2011-2012 season. Best of luck Brock in Germany Brock.

***

There still isn’t any news on the other players the Cyclones qualified. That doesn’t mean that Garrett Suter, Kevin Roeder, and Eric Kattelus haven’t been signed, just that it hasn’t been announced. However, if they haven’t signed, as of August 1st they were all free agents.

-Mike-

Sorry for the long hiatus ladies and gents, sometimes life gets in the way of the things we’d rather be doing like updating CycWords. We’ll do our best not to let it happen again.

***

We won’t spend too much time rehashing the end of the 2010-2011 season. Let’s just say it didn’t end the way we had hoped but when it was all said and done, it ended the way we expected. Sure, we were hoping the Boys would find their groove, ride the play of goaltender Brian Foster and put together a playoff run, but given they way the whole season played out, expecting the Team to recapture the magic of 2010 was too much to ask. The quick 1st round playoff exit was disappointing, especially after the scoring 9 goals on road to earn a split in the 1st 2 games only to see the offense go back on life support and tally just 1 goal the rest of the series. The Cyclones did manage to avoid the dubious honor of becoming the 1st team in Kelly Cup history to not qualify for the playoffs the year after hoisting the cup.

***

Heading into the off season the front office had several questions to answer. The 1st regarded the future of the coaching staff. This one has clearly been answered with the announcement that former NHL veteran Andrew Cassels has replaced Scott Fankhouser as assistant coach. Our knee jerk reaction to this move was that it could indicate a short leash for Coach Skalde. After thinking about it for a bit we don’t think this is the case. Cassels, while having quite a resume as a player, does not have much experience as a coach. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily; we can recall a 1st year head coach who combined with a 1st year assistant coach here in Cincinnati who were pretty successful. As a former play it will come down to how well he can communicate the game.

The 2nd question deals with the affiliates. While no official word has been released, the front office is still using ” proud affiliate of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators” in their press releases so we’re guessing there will be no change from last year. In addition, in a brief conversation with Coach Skalde at the recent Concrete Clones event, he mentioned he would be attending Florida and Nashville’s develop camps. The status quo had us a little worried but then July 1st happened. While Nashville didn’t do much, Florida’s front office was very active during the start of the NHL’s free agent season. It should lead to trickle down effect for the Cyclones. On a related note, the Florida Panthers have reached an agreement to be the parent club of the San Antonio Rampage after parting ways with Rochester; former Cyclones’ skipper Chuck Weber will head to warmer climates to lead the Rampage in their 2011-2012 campaign. As the rosters shake out up the food chain we’ll try to keep an eye on who may be making their way to Cincinnati.

***

On the player front the Cyclones broke away from the norm in announcing the signing of forward Neil Trimm. Coach Skalde is pretty high on the Trimm as he enters his 1st season in the ECHL. Billed as a skilled forward Trimm had a break out year last season putting up 80pts (22g-58a) in 60 games but looking at his previous seasons we’re not ready to label him as a game changing player. In his 1st 2 seasons playing in the CHL Trimm did put up 74pts but he was also -33 in 103 games which raises some questions about his 2-way game.  Last year he put up a solid +24 to go along with those 80 points so perhaps he’s added some defensive responsibility to his game.

***

In other player news, the League released the Qualified lists on Friday. The League allows each team to extend “qualifying” offers to 8 players from their protected lists, those players have until August 1st to accept the offer. If the player doesn’t accept the offer he essentially becomes a free agent. There are different rules applying to veterans so veterans are rarely qualified. You can read all the details in the posted link. The Cyclones qualifed Cory Conacher, Matt Pierce, Dan Eves, Brock Sheahan, Kevin Roeder, Eric Kattelus, Garrett Suter and Brian O’Hanley. The other advantage of qualifying players is that the qualifying team retains the players rights for 1 season if they aren’t playing in the ECHL. For example, if Cory Conacher signs and AHL deal with Rochester (which is no longer affiliated with the Cyclones) the Cyclones would still own his ECHL player rights so if Rochester choose to reassign him to the ECHL, they would have to assign him to Cincinnati or compensate the Cyclones if they wanted to assign him to their own affiliate. This was what happened after the 2008 season when JM Daoust was signed by WB/Scranton. Chuck had a strong feeling JM would be signed after the season so he qualified him to eliminate the chance that he would potentially get assigned to division rival Wheeling. This is a scenario which could end up applying to both Conacher and Brian O’Hanely.

***

Also, according to eliteprospects.com there is an unsubstantiated rumor that Barret Ehgoetz is headed to Europe next season. This is one that we’re keeping our eyes on and as soon as we know more we’ll pass it along.

***

That’s all we have for now. It’s the summer so we’ll be updating sporadically as news comes along. Enjoy the summer, the season will be here before we know it.

-Mike-

We’ve been a little quiet over here at CycWords, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a lot going on. Since our last update, the Team has added several players and made a trade. Elsewhere, NHL camps have started, cuts have been made, with more on the way and with AHL camps starting this coming week, it won’t be too long before we can start to look up the food chain to see who might be falling our way from the affiliates. Here’s a quick rundown:

The Team officially announced the signing of Jonathan Higgins and the return of Doug Krantz. From reading the press release, it appears that Coach Skalde is high on Higgins’ physical play and thinks he’ll adapt well to the pro game. It will be great to have Krantz back on the blue line this season. Doug, who missed out on much of last season due to injuries, has a cannon of a shot and played solid defense while at the same time never hesitating to join the offensive rush.

The Cyclones will continue to be a tough team to play against with the return of Chris Morehouse and the signing of Anthony Iaquinto. Morehouse, who won our “Unsung Hero” award last season, could be described as a professional agitator. He throws players off their game, and is more than willing to engage opponents in affairs of a pugilistic nature should the opportunity arise. He works hard and leaves it all on the ice. In case you need a reminder of what Mr. Morehouse does best, check out this little nugget posted on the Cyclones YouTube page. With the exception of the 08-09 season, the Cyclones have had 2 players bringing a physical element to the Team; Anthony Iaquinto looks to join Morehouse in this department. I’m all for the having these kind of gritty, tough-guy type players on the Squad provided they aren’t liabilities as players. Morehouse proved he can be capable as a player and Iaquinto’s Junior numbers indicate he can contribute as a player and not just as a tough guy.

Coach Skalde has made his first transaction as head coach of the Cyclones in acquiring Dylan Hunter from Utah in return for Brett Motherwell and the dreaded “future considerations.” From a player perspective the deal seems like a wash; the Cyclones give up Motherwell, who spent a chunk of last season in the AHL, for Hunter, who has spent most of his career in the AHL. It’s likely that both players will spent as much time in the AHL as they do in the ECHL this season. The question for the trade is, what will the Cyclones have to give up in order to complete the trade? Will it be a player, cash, or 4 broken sticks and a case of tape? Time will tell. Should Hunter spend any length of time with the Club this season, he should provide an offensive element that was lacking last season.

The Cyclones have agreed to terms with J.C. Sawyer and David Sloane. They guy that I’m excited about here is David Sloane. Sloane is a 2nd year pro who transitioned directly from playing collegiately at Colgate to the AHL and even got a taste of the brass ring when he suited up for an NHL game with the Flyers. Last year, his 1st full season as a pro, saw him split time between the ECHL and AHL. Sloane is a big kid, 6’4″ 220lbs, who should be highly motivated to improve his game and advance his career. The Sawyer signing doesn’t really do anything for me. Sure the guy puts up points, which from the blue line is a bonus for any team, but if you look a little deeper, it looks like he’s a defensive liability. At the ECHL level Sawyer is -34 for his career. Under Chuck Weber the Cyclones were known for playing strong defense, if Coach Skalde subscribes to this theory, it will be interesting to see if Sawyer bring his defensive game up to match his scoring prowess.

Our friends over at LetsgoAmerks.com were kind enough to post Rochester’s training camp roster. Some familiar names include Max Lacoix, Ryan Del Monte, Matt Pierce and Brian O’Hanely. Also on the list is former Wheeling Nailer Tommy Goebel, who I wouldn’t mind seeing don a Cyclones sweater at some point in the season. I haven’t seen any reports of cuts from the Panthers’ training camp yet.

The Nashville Predators have trimmed their training cut roster sending several to Milwaukee. The former Cyclones making their way to Milwaukee are Jeremy Smith and in all likelihood, Chris Muller and Mark Van Guilder.

-Mike-

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up briefly with Cyclones captain Barret Ehgoetz and find out a little about his offseason routine, and his thoughts on the new coaching staff!

CYCWORDS: What kind of summer routine do you have? Do you do mostly off ice or on ice workouts to keep in shape? And where did/do you spend your summer?
BARRET EHGOETZ: I like to stick to off ice workout for the majority of the summer. Especially after a long playoff run you need to take some time off to let your body recover. I like to get back on the ice about a month before training camp. I’ve spent a lot of my summer here in Cincinnati, but have returned to my hometown in Canada for a few trips. I also made trips to Orlando, Montreal, Toronto and France. So it’s been a busy summer to say the least.

CYCWORDS: What do you know about the new coaching staff? Have you met them? What do you think of them so far? Optimistic?
EHGOETZ: I have had a chance to spend some time with the new coaching staff and I’m looking forward to getting the season started with them. Obviously every coach has their own style so things will be different. However, they both seem keen about getting things going and are very excited to continuing building on the success that we’ve had here over the years.

CYCWORDS: Was playing anywhere else an option? A lot of guys are going overseas – did you ever consider that?
EHGOETZ: Over the years I have considered playing other places and have had offers to play overseas. For one reason or another I have decided to take a pass. I’m married and we have a house here in Cincinnati so unless the new coaches trade me, it’s pretty safe to say that I’m not running off anytime soon.

CYCWORDS: What is the best part of playing in Cincinnati? You obviously like it – you keep coming back for more!
EHGOETZ: I think the best part of playing in Cincinnati for me is the relationships that I have built with the people here over the years. From teammates and coaches to fans and the staff and management at U.S. Bank Arena it has been great. And I like winning too.

– Dannielle

Just about a month remains until AHL camps disperse and the ECHL fires the engines to begin the new year. At Great American Ballpark, the Reds are winding down a successful regular season (for the first time in, uh, a while) and they’ve borrowed the Cyclones’ winning ways, translating it into what looks like a lock to make the postseason. However, next door at US Bank Arena, the Cyclones are only just beginning their own long grind and are starting to lay down more pieces to their 19th season [for those keeping score at home, the last Reds World Series was won in 1990: the year the original incarnation of the Cincinnati Cyclones were born].

The Cyclones are up to 4 (announced) players with the August 31st signing of third-year Cyclone Brian O’Hanley. Earlier this summer, Cycwords readers voted Ohhhh-Hanley as Best Defenseman and Most Improved over a year ago with a 20-point increase over the year before (28pts in 70 gp). Note “(announced)” because according to SeacoastOnline.com, the team has signed former University of Vermont Catamount Jonathan Higgins, but there is no announcement from the Cyclones yet. He never put up more than 10 points in a season, and only once in his four year career at Vermont did he put up more than five (7, in 2010). As a forward, his stats leave much to be desired. Check out a YouTube video of his Catamounts’ 2009-10 season:

The coaching staff is now a little more solid with the addition of Scott Fankhouser, long time comrade of Jarrod Skalde. While the two of them lack a lengthy or successful coaching career, they both bring lengthy professional careers to the table, similar to what the Columbus Blue Jackets have done by assembling a coaching staff rich in playing experience.

In case you missed them, NHL.com has picked up a few tidbits about current and former Cyclones coaches:

Skalde to put lessons he learned as a player to work:

“When you can enter a situation where they’ve had success, the people in the organization are highly motivated, that’s an ideal situation for me,” Skalde said. “This organization works extremely hard. I’m looking forward to keeping this train on the track.”

Fankhouser knows coaching with Skalde was a good move:

“For him, it has to be daunting to come to a team that’s had such success. There’s no learning period of getting to know each other. It’s straight into business, straight into learning,” Fankhouser said of the coaches’ chemistry. “We definitely think alike, but I bring a different aspect. We definitely have the same mindset, but we have different perspectives that help each other.”

– Stork brings winning attitude to Greenville:

“The ’08 team, we had a lot of skill, a lot of talent,” Stork said. “This year’s team, we relied on work ethic, grinding the corners, and sticking to systems. We were more of a defensive-minded team. We didn’t give up much. We just competed and competed. We didn’t have much skill. We were a defensive-minded hockey club and got the goal when we needed it.”

Check back in a few days for an interview with captain Barret Ehgoetz!

– Dannielle