On Tuesday afternoon, the ECHL released the protected lists for all 26 teams respectively. Protecting a player basically gives the team the rights to that player for the offseason, giving them the opportunity to re-sign them or trade them. There is no guarantee that these guys will in fact be with the Adirondack Thunder next season. To be eligible for the protected list, a player must have:
- Signed a standard player contract for the 2019-20 season with the team and has not been released or traded.
- Signed a standard player contract for the 2019-20 season, and was recalled to the NHL/AHL or IIHF team and has not been traded or released.
- Received a qualifying offer last Summer for the current season, DID NOT sign a standard player contract and has not been traded or released.
- Has been suspended by the member or league and has not been traded or released.
- Signed a Standard Player Contract on or after the first day of the 2019-20 season, then subsequently signed an NHL/AHL contract and has not been traded or released, has executed the ECHL retirement form and has not been traded or released.
Adirondack Thunder Protected List
The Adirondack Thunder have protected 20 players. Those players consist of eight defensemen as well as 12 forwards.
- Alex Jaeckle (D)
- Charlie Curti (D)
- Kelly Summer (D)
- Jake Linhart (D)
- Micheal Sdao (D)
- Blake Thompson (D)
- Tommy Parran (D)
- Desmond Begin (D)
- James Phelan (F)
- Alexandre Carrier (F)
- Conor Riley (F)
- Mike Szmatuala (F)
- Ryan Walker (F)
- John Edwardh (F)
- Nick Hutchinson (F)
- Robbie Payne (F)
- James Henry (F)
- Casey Pierro-Zabotel (F)
- Felix Girard (F)
It comes as no surprise that the Thunder hope to bring back a lot of key names, including Mike Szmatula, Matt Salhany, and Robbie Payne, three guys who essentially carried the team in scoring last season. They also bring back a lot of veteran guys like James Henry and Casey Pierro-Zabotel. The last notable name is John Edwardh who the Thunder acquired midseason in a three-team trade. While doing so from the Cincinnati Cyclones, Edwardh had 21 points in 23 games with the Adirondack Thunder.
The one name on this list who I believe is going to make the biggest impact next season is Nick Hutchinson. Hutchinson only played in one game for the Thunder last year after signing with the team following his tenure at Canisius College. In the one game, he played for Adirondack the Hobey Baker nominee scored the game-winning goal and added an assist. It’s not only his scoring that impressed me it’s the fact that he’s a big body who’s can play on any of the three lines for the Thunder next season.
Despite the rather poor season where the Thunder gave up almost 3.5 goals a game, there were some bright spots for the team in Glens Falls, including rookie defensemen Charlie Curti. In his rookie season, he put 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points in 56 games. Curti is a guy who I could see getting top-line minutes next season, especially if you’re able to pair him with a veteran like Jake Linhart who was second on the team behind Curti in points last season.
One name on this list that is a surprise is Desmond Bergin who didn’t play with the Thunder or Binghampton last season. He qualifies because he was given a qualifying offer last year, but didn’t sign it. During the 2018-19 season, he spent the majority of the year playing in Adirondack where he put up eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points in 37 games. Bergin would then bounce around, playing for three different AHL teams. This included the Providence Bruins, Milwaukee Admirals, and Binghampton Devils. While seeing time with three teams, he combined for 18 games played where Natick, MA native also put up two assists.
What’s Next For The Thunder?
The biggest shock on this list is no goaltender which means Eamon McAdam is likely heading overseas to continue his career. Goaltending was a huge question mark for Adirondack and will be a huge position for Alex Loh and Jeff Mead to fill this offseason while possibly having to bring on a number of goaltenders.
The season-ending rosters are due on June 15th at 3:00pm EST and that list can only include 20 players. I expect it to have a lot of the same names as the one found above looking on to next season.