Adirondack Thunder Announce 2021 Protected List

Courtney Phillips/The Puck Authority

The Adirondack Thunder are back in business and began the process of building for next season, as they announced their protected list on Friday afternoon. With submissions due Friday at 3:00pmET, Adirondack’s list consisted of 17 players; one goaltender, five defensemen and 11 forwards. In 2020, the hockey club’s list stood at 20 players.

Courtney Phillips/The Puck Authority


The Thunder may have protected 11 forwards, but realistically, only nine have the chance of coming back. For starters, Matt Salhany and Mike Szmatula have signed in Denmark for 2021-22. Adirondack will have three returning forwards from 2019-20, as Ryan Walker, Alex Carrier and John Edwardh will all receive contracts to hit the ice come October. These three forwards all bring a different aspect to the franchise. Edwardh will be relied on a lot more in 2021-22, as the Thunder lost their two biggest scorers in Salhany and Szmatuala to the Champions Hockey League. Edwardh got the chance to play with them after he was traded from the Cincinnati Cyclones. Making his return to Glens Falls, the Calgary native racked up amassed 21 points, racking up six goals, while adding 15 assists.

Alex Carrier will be among the bigger bodies this season, but could prove to play a more integral game offensively. Adirondack has gotten bigger bigger upfront and Carrier doesn’t have to worry about throwing his body around all the time. He’s taken part in nine ECHL seasons, and in 2019-20, compiled nine points, racking up three goals and six assists in 36 games.

Ryan Walker is entering his second season with the Thunder after hitting the ice in 49 games, amassing 19 points on eight goals and 11 assists. The New Jersey native will likely slide into the middle-six next season, as he’s a guy who won’t do anything special, but will play a solid all-around game.

Four players will put the Thunder jersey on for this first time, including Nick Rivera and Samuel Laberge, who spent this past season in the ECHL. Rivera played for the Wheeling Nailers, meanwhile, Laberge played for the Allen Americans. Rivera played in 55 games, amassing 29 goals on 14 goals and 15 assists. The California native one of the big bodies that the Adirondack planned to sign before the Thunder opted out. I expect Rivera to be a staple in the lineup heading into next season. Adirondack needs scoring and thats’s exactly what he’s going to bring.

Skating with the Americans in 50 games last year, Laberge amassed 37 points, tallying 15 goals, while adding 22 assists. Ryan Smith is going to be the wild card, as he was a late signing, but didn’t play the shortened campaign last season.

Nick Hutchison and Pete McArthur are my two players to watch heading into next season. McArthur is a fan favorite and has already proved he’ll be a top-line guy. McArthur spent two years as the Thunder captain and could be a favourite to be appointed team leader. Through 55 games in 2018-19, he amassed 45 points on 13 goals and 32 assists. He spent 2020-21 overseas in Italy.

Nick Hutchison is a name I’ve loved since his first game with the Thunder. The Hicksville, NY native is a big forward and strong two-way player who isn’t afraid to throw his body around. He’s also someone who can easily put up 15-20 goals per season. Playing with the Indy Fuel last season, he amassed 19 points on six goals and 13 assists.

Courtney Phillips/The Puck Authority


Adirondack is going to need to add two or three more defensemen before the season begins, however, they have four returning faces in Charlie Curti, Alex Jaeckle, Tommy Parran and Blake Thompson. Heading into his third season, Curti is going to be the top blue-liner and will be expected to eat up a lot of minutes for the Thunder. He impressed a lot of people in his rookie year, and as a result, saw a ton of ice time. In 55 games with the Rapid City Rush, he amassed 16 points on five goals and 11 assists. That led into his rookie season, where he scored 11 goals and 20 assists in 56 games. The return to Glens Falls should only further improve his statistics.

Tommy Parran and Blake Thompson won’t do anything to ride home about. Steven Ruggiero should be a huge addition to Adirondack, as he last played in 2019-20 with the Tulsa Oilers. The Kings Park native stands tall at six-foot-three, which is size the Thunder need and he could be a guy who can put up six-to-eight goals next season.

Andy Camp/Adirondack Thunder


Alex Sakellaropoulos is returning to Glens Falls after spending two years between five different teams. The backstop spent 2020-21 with the Wichita Thunder. In the five games he played with them, Sakellaropoulos owned a 2-3-1 record with a GAA of 2.60. He also posted a .934 save percentage. This is where the Adirondack Thunder struggled the most in 2019-20. Evan Cormier was a complete disaster with the team, and Eamon McAdam was basically being overplayed, including a weekend where he started three consecutive contests. That in mind, I expect Sakellaropoulous to be the weight to hold down the fortress next year. He’ll likely split time with whoever the Devils opt to send down to Adirondack.

%d bloggers like this: