The ECHL offseason is underway, as free agency began on Friday, meaning teams could start signing players for 2021-22. Most teams, including the Adirondack Thunder, didn’t hesitate to get the ball rolling early. The Thunder announced three new signings at The Bullpen Tavern in Glens Falls, as forwards Shane Harper, Rob Bordson and Pete MacArthur were all unveiled as the first three players to join the roster. Harper and Bordson are newbies to Adirondack unlike MacArthur, who has already spent 164 games with the organization. All three of these players bring a scoring touch, which the Thunder desperately need, after losing Matt Salhany and Mike Szmatula to the Champions Hockey League.
Harper joins the Adirondack Thunder after spending three seasons in the Swedish Hockey League. He spent two playing with Orebro HK, and his third skating with Brynas IF. The 32-year-old forward brings experience at all three pro levels, including a 14-game stint with the Florida Panthers. Competing with them in 2016-17, the right-handed shooter tallied two goals and one assist. The native of Valencia, California has shown that he is capable offensively, scoring a career-high 32 goals in 2014-15 with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. In his latest full season in 2019-20, Harper played in 50 games, scoring 15 goals, while adding 14 assists. One of the biggest assets that Harper brings would be his experience, which has seen him play in nearly 400 games in the ECHL.
Bordson is the only player of the three who spent 2020-21 in the ECHL. The Minnesota native was captain of the Kansas City Mavericks. In 59 games with the hockey club, the forward compiled 50 points, tallying 17 goals, while adding 33 assists. Standing at six-foot-two, Bordson isn’t a stranger to Adirondack, having served as the team’s captain in 2015-16, which would make you think he’ll be a candidate for the vacancy. Hailing from Duluth, the veteran brings size upfront, which is going to be key, and was something Alex Loh and Thunder prioritized last season.
The fan-favourite is back in Adirondack after signing last season with the Orlando Solar Bears. MacArthur is the only one of the three who didn’t play professionally during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nearby Clifton Park native brings a strong offensive game and is a candidate to lead the Thunder in scoring next season. Not only is this one a huge signing on the ice, but it’s also a big one off the ice, as he’s beloved in the town of Glens Falls. I expect this to be one of the bigger signings for Adirondack during the offseason.