Posts Tagged ‘matt pierce’

We posted an early look at the roster the other day and before we could get our “this roster is subject to change” entry we had to delete it and start again as the Cyclones received a few more players from above heading into opening night in Kalamazoo. The newest version of the roster can be found here.

The new additions, Chet Pickard, Anthony Luciani and Keith Seabrook, bring the roster up to the maximum possible of 23; goaltender Bryan Hince was released to make room for the new additions. The ECHL allows teams to carry 20 players on the active roster and use of the IR makes room for 3 additional places (multiple players can be but on 21 day IR but it’s uncommon unless the players are actually injured). Opening night will see one more player added to the 3 day IR with Evan Trupp and Matt Pierce already on the 21 day and 7 day IR respectively. It should be noted that Nathan Moon is still on Worcester’s (AHL) roster, should be be returned to the Cyclones at some point another player will have to be cut assuming the cupboards are full as they are now.

Personally, we happy to see roster maxed out. Chuck Weber utilized the IR very well during his time here, to keep players fresh and to keep the a healthy bit of competition for ice time between the players. The ECHL regular season is shorter than the NHL and AHL seasons, but at 72 games spanning about 6 months it’s still a grind. A maxed roster allows guys to get rotated to recharge and recover from the various dings that they may otherwise have to play through if a healthier player wasn’t available. Also, players tend to be less likely to take shifts off if there a few players in the stands hungry for ice time.

The roster is a little heavy on defensemen to start the season (12 forwards and 9 defensemen) which isn’t a bad thing. If push comes to shove it’s  typically easier to move a D-man up front than it is to ask a forward to move back to the blue line.

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There’s an elephant in the room so let’s talk about it. Chet Pickard will make up half of the goalie tandem along with Danny Taylor to start the season. Chet’s performance last season was quite the ride, in fact it could probably be the theme for a new roller coaster somewhere. Despite being remembered by most fans for the lows and inconsistent play there were also games of brilliance. The question this season this season will be whether Chet can keep his game elevated to a high level consistently. The reports out of Nashville’s training camp is that Chet worked incredibly hard this summer, is in great shape and has a new outlook. It will be interesting to see if that changes now that he’s been assigned to the Cyclones. We’re hoping to see the Chet play with a bit of swagger this season and show us why he doesn’t belong in the ECHL.

The goaltending situation on the Florida/San Antonio side of things is still up in the air. Two of their net minders (Clemmensen and Plante) are on the shelf. The Rampage are giving Manny Legace a look and Brian Foster is playing quite well. Our guess is the Cyclones probably won’t see a goalie from that side of things for some time. When or if they send someone our way it will be interesting to see what Skalde decides to do with Danny Taylor.

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The two other new additions should be great additions. Keith Seabrook should be a solid addition to the blue line. The 2nd round pick of the Washington Capitals has never been a plus player as a professional but he’s also never been assigned to AA hockey before. A player who was a 2nd round pick and has never played below the AHL should be able to step in and make an impact. His addition will make Skalde’s decision for the defensive starting 6 a bit more challenging.

Anthony Luciani will be playing his 1st full year as a professional. He was an offensive force to be reckoned with as a Junior in the OHL. His final season he put up 78 points and was an impressive +26. In a short post stint last season with Rochester he posted 2 goals and 1 assist in 3 games played for Chuck Weber’s Americans. Those aren’t quite David Desharnais numbers but he should provide some extra offensive punch to a roster that already has a lot of offensive potential.

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The 1st test for Sklade’s new Cyclones will be a tough one as the head to Kalamazoo to open the season. The Wings return many of the same players that took them to the Kelly Cup final this past spring. We won’t bet the season on the result of one game, but it should give a good idea if this Squad can live up to it’s potential.

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As this was about to be posted the Cyclones announced the addition of Dan Eves to the 7 day IR and Chris Reed to the 3 day IR. Matt Pierce was transferred from the 7 day to the 21 day IR. That places 4 players on IR which brings the Cyclones active roster down to 19 heading into the weekend.

-Mike-

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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-

February was supposed to be moving month for the Cyclones. It was a month that would see them play 12 games in total, 10 of which would be at home. The Boys started the month 2 games above .500 (19-17-7) and battling for a playoff position and despite Their struggles at home this season there was no reason to think the Boys wouldn’t be making a move up the rankings. It wasn’t to be however as the Cyclones would post a .500 (5-5-2) for the month and finish right where they started, 2 games above .500 (24-22-9).

It all started innocently enough with an OT loss to South Carolina. It was a game the Cyclones probably should have won after leading 2-1 into the later stages of the 3rd period but take 5 of a possible 6 points from the South Carolina was a good sign. The wheels came off the bus in the next 2 games against Wheeling. The Nailers handed the Cyclones a 6-3 loss followed by a 6-3 loss. Then came the trades…several of them.

We’ll dive into the trades a little later but if you’re keeping score at home here is how it all went down. On February 7th the Cyclones acquired Paul McIlveen from Greenville for Chris Clackson. Then, not but 3 days later on the 10th, the Cyclones sent Sam D’Agostino and Christiaan Minella to Wheeling for Casey Pierro-Zabotel. Before the ink could even dry on the Pierro-Zabotel deal, Skalde acquired Samson Mahbod and Dan Eves from South Carolina in return for Ryan Del Monte. Things settled down until the end of the month when the Cyclones were required to send Paul McIlveen to Utah to complete the “future considerations” portion of the trade that brought Dylan Hunter to Cincinnati, er Milwaukee as the case may be (definitely more on this one later).

After the player swaps the over all play picked up and the Good Guys went 5-3-1 over the remaining 9 games. The can’t be considered a disappointment by any means, but it was a month that saw the ‘Clones leave some points on the table, as well as give some up to Division rivals like Kalamazoo.

And now on to the trades…

Clackson for McIlveen This was a big upgrade for the Cyclones. Clackson has a gritty, chippy nature to his game but in all honesty that’s about all he has. He isn’t a skilled offensive player and he’s average in his own zone. Basically, he’s that type of player Skalde already has a lot of…a grinder. McIlveen brought some more speed and offensive skill to the Cyclones. He is also a responsible defensively.

D’Agostino and Minella for Pierro-ZabotelThis trade wasn’t very popular as both D’Agostino and Minella young, solid ECHL level players, but fan favorites as well. D’Agostino is one of the quicker players the team has seen in a while and Minella brings energy and a natural physicality to his game. It was enjoyable to watch their games grow as the season progressed. The downside with the two is that their usage is limited. Neither Sam nor Christiaan saw extended power play or penalty kill time. This made the top 5 forwards see a lot of minutes and could have contributed to some the break downs that lead to late goals. Enter Pierro-Zabotel. Casey has the potential to be a game changing player. He brings plenty of offensive skill to the Squad, but more importantly, is proving to be responsible defensively. There were rumors out of Wheeling questioning his work ethic, but we haven’t seen anything in his game to raise any questions of this sort. Casey is strong on face offs and is capable of playing power play penalty kill minutes. Basically he adds quality and skill to the Cyclones cadre of forwards. Sam and Christiaan could have made for good building blocks for next season and it has disappointing to see them go, but solid ECHL level roll players like Christiaan and Sam aren’t that hard to find in the off season while players of Casey’s quality are and in the culture of the ECHL where contracts for players and coaches are typically 1 year deals, there is a lot of pressure to win now. There is no doubt the Cyclones are a better team with Casey on the Squad. We wish Sam and Christiaan the best of luck wherever their careers land them. Thanks for all your hardwork guys.

Ryan Del Monte for Samson Mahbod and Dan EvesAfter making the 2 for 1 deal for Pierro-Zabotel, and with a few of the guys a little nicked up, Skalde found his bench a little on the short side so in a move that was slightly reminiscent of sending Voakes (who was injured for much of the year) out West for Mathieu Aubin, Skalde stuck a deal with South Carolina sending Del Monte to the Stingrays in return for Dan Eves and Samson Mahbod. In the end this deal benefits the Cyclones pretty well. Mahbod’s fills the void left by the loss of D’Agostino, in fact he’s probably a step faster and has better hands. Mahbod Averaged more than a point per year through 5 seasons of play in the QMJHL. He’s bounced around in his first pro year, but has shown signs of what his potential could be putting up 20 points in 32 games. Eves brings in size and energy to replace what was lost when Minella was dealt. Eves is a 3rd year pro who had break out year last season for Trenton putting up 45 points in 59 games but has struggled to reach that pace this season. We were big fans of Del Monte’s game here on CycWords but let’s face it, he saw limited action with the Cyclones due to AHL opportunities and all indications where he would be getting more opportunities at that level. Essentially, the Squad was able to add to decent players for Del Monte who was a question mark on the season, not because of his play on the ice but because we were never sure if he’d be with the Team or in the AHL for a spell.

McIlveen fulfills “future considerations”This is the one that has the fan base screaming, unfortunately it was up to Utah and it could have been a lot worse. Over the summer, the Nashville Predators traded Ian McKenzie to Atlanta for defenseman Grant Lewis. Ok, no big deal there, but it created the need for Nashville/Milwaukee to add a depth forward and Dylan Hunter was the guy they wanted. The catch was Dylan Hunter’s player rights belonged to the Utah Grizzlies so the deal had to be made at the ECHL level. It’s our understanding, here at CycWords, that the Cyclones where basically asked to make the deal by Nashville/Milwaukee. The Cyclones ship Brett Motherwell off to Utah, done deal right? Sorry, Motherwell had all but signed an AHL deal with Bridgeport and Utah knew there was a high likelihood that Motherwell would never see time in a Grizzlies sweater, so they ask to have “future considerations” added to the deal. This is where the proceedings get ugly. From what we’ve been told, the deal stipulated that Utah would get a forward. The player could not be affiliated and the Cyclones could protect 2 of their non-affiliated players. The player that Utah wanted was Mathieu Aubin, luckily he impressed enough in his stint with Lake Erie that they wanted to keep him close and signed him to a deal. The Cyclones probably pushed for a cash buyout ot some point but Utah wouldn’t have it. They also inquired in to Dustin Sproat and Barret Ehgoetz. Skalde knew that Egho probably wouldn’t have reported and felt Sproat was just too important to the Squad so those 2 were protected. Apparently the deal was close to being completed shortly after McIlveen was acquired but Utah balked. Apparently the AHL deal Aubin signed raised some eyebrows and Utah wanted to get verification that Reynolds, Pierce and Robinson were indeed done for the year, feeling that we had put them on long term IR to protect them. In the end, McIlveen was the top performing, unaffiliated forward so that’s who they took.

The whole deal was a mess from the beginning and Skalde feels the deal could lead to some changes to the CBA to create structure to what “future considerations” are to keep things fair for all parties. Here’s the issue at hand; sure Motherwell never played for Utah, but there was a chance that Hunter could have stuck with Milwaukee from the beginning, never seeing time with the Cyclones. If this had been the case, the Cyclones would have still owed Utah a player. How is this a fair deal? As it stands, Hunter has seen limited time with the Cyclones due to assignment in Milwaukee, so how is fair for Utah to expect one of the Teams top forwards in return?

To conclude, it’s our understanding that the deal was created by Nashville/Milwaukee to fill their needs. Also, had the deal gone down a week or so earlier as was expected, McIlveen would have seen only limited action with the Cyclones and his loss wouldn’t seem so bad. Essentially the Cyclones gave up Chris Clackson, who is actually affiliated with Rochester, to fulfill the deal with Utah.

In other news…

The NHL trade deadline has brought another player to the Squad. The Florida Panthers had some dealings with the Washington Capitals and acquired the rights to Jake Hauswirth. Hauswirth is a big kid, 6’5” 205lbs and from what I recall from out games against the Stingrays he skates pretty well and should be a solid edition to the Squad.

Monday, March 7th is Clear Day for the AHL. We’ll have more information on Clear Day in an upcoming post.

The ECHL trade deadline is Friday, March 11th.

-Mike-

 

 

 

 

Sorry for the hiatus, but I have to be honest, I’m having a hard time getting excited about this Team. Don’t get me wrong, I will always stand behind the Boys and I knew this would be a bit of a rebuilding year with the turnover of the coaching staff but I’m having hard time determining what the identity of this years Squad is; all I can gather is that they want to be physical. Gone is the shut down, grind it out defensive Team we saw under Chuck Weber and in it’s place is a more open free flowing offensive oriented team. The problem is, the Team struggles with offensive and defensive consistency. Although I must admit that the recent game against Reading offered a positive sign of what the Boys are capable of despite it being a shootout loss. It seems to this blogger that the Team is stuck in limbo between what Coach Skalde wants to do and what the personnel is capable of on a consistent basis. The Team is built much like last years which didn’t set any offensive records but won game in the trenches. Until they find Their true identity as a Team They’ll continue to be a .500 hockey club.

There is still a lot of hockey to be played and the Squad isn’t in bad shape standings wise. It’s just a little over a third of the way into the Season and the Cyclones find themselves battling for the top of a tightly contested North Division. The Division lead could be on the line as the Cyclones welcome the Wheeling Nailers for a pair of games. The Nailers currently lead the Cylones by 1pt in the standings and also have 2 games in hand on the Cyclones. It’s needless to say that 2 wins by the Boys would be huge heading into the winter break.

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Since about a third of the season is behind us and the play of some of the individual layers is something that keeps excited about heading down to USBA, I thought it might be fun to hand out some player assessments.

#2 Carl Hudson – Since arriving from Rochester, Carl has been in and out of the lineup as he recovers from various bumps and bruises. While not a true stay at home defenseman, he isn’t quite offensive either. He plays a little on the chippy side and his +5 rating isn’t shabby over 17 games on a team which has trouble scoring at times.

#3 Benn Olson – He’s growing on me. His skating is a liability but when he keeps it simple he’s a serviceable defenseman earning a +7 rating in 23 games. His real roll is as an enforcer and it’s a roll is one that he excels at and seems to relish.

#4 Brock Sheahan – What can I say about Brock that hasn’t been said before. He’s a solid defenseman will to block shots and works hard along the boards. His consistent defensive zone play will be key as the Season progresses.

#5 Brian O’Hanley – Brian is thriving under Coach Skalde’s more offensive game systems. He’s racked up 17pts so far this Season while still taking care of business in the defensive end.

#8 TJ Fast – Despite trailing Brian O’Hanely in scoring by defensemen, TJ is probably the most offensive of the Cyclone defensemen. He has a big shot but his skating is his best asset although it can get him in trouble sometimes when he gets caught too deep or loses the puck.

#9 Mathieu Aubin – Mathieu’s weak point was always his skating but that is a thing of the past. He has more jump in his initial 1st step to go along with more open ice speed. He’s still physical, he still chirps and oh yeah, he leads the Cyclones in scoring. It won’t surprise me if he isn’t rewarded with an AHL call up at some point.

#10 Christiaan Minella – He’s listed at 6’2″ 210lbs but plays much bigger if that’s possible. He’s effort was something that impressed me all the way back in training camp. He throws his body around with aplomb and has found a scoring touch recently. Christiaan has all the attributes that will allow him grow into top performer at the ECHL level with an AHL upside.

#11 Barrett Ehgoetz – Barrett is 2nd on the Team in scoring (Dylan Hunter is currently on assignment w/Milwaukee) and plays in all situations. He is the Captain and anchor if the Squad and I can’t really picture the Cyclones without #11 in the lineup.

#12 Scott Lehman – Scott made and instant impression on the score sheet after arriving from Rochester. He’s listed as a defenseman but has spent time up front under Coach Skalde. He’s solid in the defensive zone but really makes his mark stepping up to join the offensive rush.

#15 Sam D’Agostino – Along with Christiaan Minella, Sam was one of the players that really stood out during training camp. The kid has wheels and has been a pleasant surprise registering some big points in games. Only a +1 he needs to pick up his defensive play and he could stand to be a little more physical but you can’t argue with Sam’s effort on every shift.

#16 Ryan Del Monte – Ryan has returned to the Cyclones after fulfilling a PTO with Rochester. Ryan isn’t a guy that will light up the scoreboard but he will provide the Squad with energy and a lot of grittiness.

#17 Chris Clackson – Chris is another grinder who has shown a bit of scoring touch. His play may not always be the prettiest thing going but it’s proving to be quite effective.

#19 Brett Robinson – Unfortunately Brett has been lost for the Season to injury. Brett wasn’t scoring with the same consistency as last Season but watching him play I felt it was was just a matter of time before he had that break through game to find his rhythm. Brett was skating well, attacking the net and playing with a chip on his shoulder as always.

#23 Matt Pierce – Matt has been plugging along pretty consistently. He earned a call up to Rochester which will hopefully bring his game up to a higher level.

#24 Kevin Roeder – Despite his size Kevin is probably the most physical of the Cyclone defenseman. This Season Kevin seems to be chasing the big hits a little less than last which will help his defensive play and his durability. He’s not shy about jumping into the rush under Coach Skalde and his willingness to provide a big hit comes in handy on the forecheck during dump and chase situations.

#25 James DeLory – I’m not sure where to begin and if someone can enlighten me as to how this kid is playing AA level hockey I’d appreciate it. His skating is a bigger liability than Olson’s. He doesn’t fight as well as Olson, at least as far as I’ve witnessed. The only upside that I can find is that he’s big, strong kid. He was finally put in front of the net on the power play during the game against Reading where he did manage to wreak some havoc.

#26 Dustin Sproat – Dustin returning to the Squad was a huge addition. He’s a heady player, who plays in all scenarios. He made an instant impression on the scoresheet and while not known for fighting he plays with an edge and isn’t afraid to mix it up. He earned a call up to Milwaukee last Season and with Rochester struggling I wouldn’t be surprised to Chuck give him an opportunity at some point.

#27 Scott Reynolds – Scott isn’t scoring with the verve he was last Season. He’s another player that plays in all situations and with as much time as the Cyclones have spent killing penalties this season I can’t help but wonder if that’s effecting his offensive play. He’ll need to find his scoring touch if the Cyclones are going to be a factor down the stretch. Then again, that can be said about all of this years Squad with not a single player averaging more than a point per game.

#32 Dylan Hunter(Currently on assignment with Milwaukee) – Dylan was acquired by the Cyclones in an off-season trade which sent Brett Motherwell plus future considerations to Utah. While Brett Motherwell has spent all Season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Dylan has been in the Cyclones’ lineup. Last Season Dylan averaged more than a point per game for Utah. This Season he’s been flirting with the point per game average. He also leads the Team at +12. Initially I thought he was a bit overrated early on but that was when the team was struggling. As the Team dynamic improved so did Dylan’s over play.

Goaltending – After a rough start which saw numerous odd man rushes and a porous defense which saw all of the Cyclones goalies struggle the team play has improved and the Cyclone net minders have shown that they are more than capable. Marc Cheverie has seen 568 shots which is near the most in the League, he ranks in the 9th among active ECHL goalies in GAA, 10th among active goalies in SV%, and has racked up 3 shutouts. Jeremy Smith has spent much of the Season with Milwaukee and has post wins at the AHL level. Chet Pickard began to find his game after struggling for months before being called up due to the injury of Nashville’s Pekke Rinne. It will be interesting to see who gets reassigned to the Cyclones when Rinne returns.

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In case we don’t check in before the Christmas check out this little nugget from the Belfast Giants.

-Mike-

With training camp and a couple of preseason games against Wheeling behind them, Coach Skalde and Assistant Coach Fankhouser started the week by making a few cuts and preparing for this weekend’s games against the Elmira Jackals. The players cut were Brodie Sheahan, Ruben Begunts and Brad Schroeder. I can’t say that I was surprised by any of the cuts, although parting ways with Schroeder left the team with just 7 natural defensemen, which is a little light in my opinion. However, that has been remedied with the addition of defensemen James DeLory today from Rochester. So for those keeping score, here is a look at where the 2010-2011 Cyclones roster stands now:

Forwards (11)

Mathieu Aubin, Chris Minella, Barret Ehgoetz, Sam D’Agostino, Ryan Del Monte, Adam Bartholomay, Brett Robinson, Matt Butcher, Matt Pierce, Chris Morehouse, Dylan Hunter

Defense (8)

David Sloane, Brock Sheahan, Brian O’Hanely, T.J Fast, JC Sawyer, Doug Krantz, Kevin Roeder, James DeLory

Goal (2)

Jeremy Smith, Marc Cheverie

(It should be noted that Nashville’s Pekka Rinne was injured this weekend and is listed as day to day. This development has caused the recall of Mark Dekanich to Nashville and Jeremy Smith to Milwaukee. Taking Jeremy’s place on the roster this week will be Pat Street.)

On the cuts…

Ruben Begunts – He showed some flashes of skill when I watched him at training camp last week but his overall effort seemed lacking when compared to others in camp on try-out contracts. He showed a bit more jump during the preseason game at Northlands Ice Center but still seemed out of place at times.

Brodie Sheahan – Brodie has the one thing that can’t be coached and that’s speed, but his game seemed a bit raw for the ECHL level. If he wants to continue as a Minor League hockey player, it wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t get picked up by a single A level team somewhere. Brodie Sheahan is a name that we could here again at some point.

Brad Schroeder – Schroeder was definitely the weakest of the blueliners at training camp. The versatility of Adam Bartholomay combined with, as we know now, the addition of James DeLory, made Brad expendable.

On James DeLory

There isn’t too much out there on this kid but here’s what I’ve gathered so far; James is going to be the tough guy on the team. He’s a big kid, 6’5″ 225lbs, and while he’s listed as a defensemen, he has been utilized as a forward for the past few seasons. After reading his profile on hockeyfuture.com, I welcome his toughness, but have some questions as to his hockey sense. I’ve never been a fan of players who fight but are liable in regards to the rest of their game. James will be a player I’ll have my eye on; I’m sure I’ll be weighing in on in the future.

On Elmira…

The Cyclones have had Elmira’s number the last few season, posting a 16-7-0-2 record. However, Steve Martinson was shown the door this off season and has been replaced by Malcolm Cameron. Will this years Jackals’ team be like the rough and tumble teams of the past or more like Cameron’s past teams in Texas and Florida which were quite talented?

Quick notes…

Congrats to former Coach Chuck Weber who won his first game as Head Coach of the Rochester and to Scott Reynolds who notched his 1st AHL point in the win.

Congrats to former Cyclone Mark Van Guilder who tallied his 1st AHL goal, and a game winner at that, in 6-2 win over the Abbotsford Heat. There is currently a video of the goal on the Admirals website.

As Wildman says “Let’s play hockey!”

-Mike-



As we roll into the weekend which will see the Cyclones play a pair of preseason games against the Wheeling Nailers, it brings an end to the Cyclones training camp which began October 1st. I was able swing by Northlands Ice Center this week to check out the on ice training sessions.

Coach Skalde kept the tempo high and had good dialogue with the players. On Monday the coaching staff, which included former NHLer Andrew Cassels, who was helping out for the day, participated in a conditioning drill with players to end the session. The over all mood was light but very business like; there was no question the coaches and players in camp are taking the task of defending the Kelly Cup very seriously. Fans will probably notice a different style of play under coach Skalde, but overall play will continue to be very up tempo judging from the training sessions.

I like to say, give me guys who can skate first and foremost, if they are big even better. The 1st thing I noticed about the group assembled by Coach Skalde was their size and I was pleased with their skating. This years Squad skates as solidly as last years Kelly Cup Championship Squad at the least. Forwards are strong on the puck, have great net presence and finishing ability. The defensemen  big and mobile. There is a lot to like about this group.

After some preliminary cuts, the return of a few players released from AHL camps and the late addition of 2 from Rochester the roster sits at 24.

Forwards:

Barret Eghoetz, Mathieu Aubin, Scott Reynolds, Chris Minella, Brodie Sheahan, Sam D’Agostino, Ruben Begunts, Brett Robinson, Ryan Del Monte, Chris Morehouse, Dylan Hunter, Matt Butcher, Matt Pierce

Defense:

Adam Bartholomay, Doug Krantz, Kevin Roeder, Brad Schroeder, David Sloane, Brian O’Hanely, JC Sawyer, T.J. Fast

Goalies:

Jeremy Smith, Marc Cheverie

As it stands, the Cyclones will have to make at least 1 cut before the rosters get capped for the start of the regular season and with the NHL regular season underway and the AHL season starting this weekend it’s still possible the Cyclones see another player trickle down the line.

A couple of players to keep an eye on if you’re coming out to the preseason game on Saturday:

Chris Minella – Chris is starting his pro career after playing 4 years at Notre Dame. He’s a big, solidly built kid. He didn’t light up the scoreboard in college but after observing his game he seems built for the more physical nature of the pro game.

Sam D’Agostino – Sam is another 1st year player who didn’t have the greatest numbers in college but his effort and energy is hard to miss. The kid has some pretty good wheels and keeps it going even when there’s a lot of contact. I didn’t see him get pushed off the puck very often.

Dylan Hunter – Hunter was acquired from Utah for Brett Motherwell and future considerations. He is billed to be one of the offensive leaders for the ‘Clones this season.  Dylan finally arrived at camp today and he looked pretty solid. Time will tell if he can live up to the billing.

Matt ButcherButcher, a 5th round pick by the Vancuver Canucks, joined the line up yesterday (10/5). Matt had previously been in Rochester’s camp. Butcher showed a lot of finishing touch in his 1st on ice session with the ‘Clones. He’s a guy who has a lot of upside.

David Sloane – Sloane is a solid blueliner with a lot of upside.

Adam Bartholomay – Adam is listed as a forward but spent the early days of camp playing the blueline. He finally got a chance to move up front on day 7 of camp. That kind of versatility can come in handy as injuries and call ups inevitably happen.

JC Sawyer – He’s big and he has a lot of offensive upside. He reads the offensive zone play as well as any defenseman I’ve seen, but can he up he defensive zone play to match?

We’ll be checking back in after the preseason games.

-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-