On Tuesday June 2nd, the Maine Mariners formally announced their selection of players for the 2020 protected list. The protected list contains the names of 20 players of which the Mariners retain ECHL rights. This year, the Maine Mariners protected 11 forwards, eight defensemen and one goaltender. Teams are allowed to protect players, provided that they meet the guidelines set in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association.
Teams shall retain the rights to each player that:
1.) Signed an SPC in 2019-20 which the Member, and has not been traded or released.
2.) Signed an SPC 2019-20, and was recalled to the NHL/AHL or IIHF team, and has not been traded or released.
3.) Had received a Qualifying Offer last summer for the current Season, DID NOT sign and SPC and has not been traded or released.
4.) Has been suspended by the Member or League and has not been traded or released.
5.) Signed an SPC on or after the first day of the 2019-20 Regular Season, then subsequently signed an NHL/AHL contract and has not been traded or released.
6.) Has executed the ECHL Retirement Form and has not been traded or released.
According to the ECHL, Protected Lists may exceed 20 players. The ECHL also says that teams have to complete all Future Consideration trades by 3:00 PM ET on June 12 and that teams must submit their Season-Ending Roster by 3:00 PM on June 15. Season-Ending rosters can include up to 20 players and cannot include any players who didn’t sign an ECHL contract in 2019-20.
The Maine Mariners Protected List is as follows:
FORWARDS (11): Conner Bleackley, Ryan Ferril, Dillan Fox, Brian Hart, Ted Hart, Corey Kalk, Alex Kile, Nick Master, Michael McNicholas, Mikael Robidoux and Terrence Wallin.
DEFENSEMEN (8): Josh Couturier, Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin, Nathaniel Kallen, Austin McEneny, Matt Nuttle, Jonathan Racine, Dallas Rossiter, Gabriel Sylvestre.
GOALTENDERS (1): Francois Brassard.
As previously stated, the Mariners protected 11 forwards. Probably the most notable is Michael McNicholas who led the team in games played (60) and was second in assists just behind Alex Kile. I was happy to see that the Hart brothers (Brian and Ted who are the only two players on the team that are from Maine.) were protected as well.
Ted Hart was named Rookie of the Year by the Mariners following his recall to the team after spending time with the Peoria Rivermen. (He was originally cut from the team after joining for training camp.) According to Mariners head coach and assistant general manager Riley Armstrong, he could see Hart putting up 30 goals in the 2020-21 season if he puts in work this summer.
Armstrong also says that Dillan Fox “pretty much put the team on his back at the start of the year, scoring some big goals and breaking the 20 goal plateau.” His start to the season was noted by six goals in the first six games of the 2019-20 season. Fox played in 59 games this season, second to McNicholas. I’m hoping to see Robidoux stay with the Mariners, mature on the ice and see him play in more games as he only played in 11 this past season.
There were a few names on the list that surprised me a little, most notably rookie Nathaniel Kallen who played in just three games and failed to record a point. After Kallen comes rookie Dallas Rossiter who played in eight games total and matches the zero assists and zero points. Following those two comes Gabriel Sylvestre who clocks in with one assist in the 12 games he played in. I’m hoping that these three rookie defensemen get some more time on the ice this season and I look forward to seeing them continue playing for Maine.
The only goaltender protected this year is Canadian Francois Brassard. It came as a surprise to some to not see Connor LaCouvee’s name beside his. Brassard was a rookie this year, having played in 14 games with 826 minutes played and 38 goals against. After crunching some numbers, it seems that Brassard came out on top, just by a little. Overall, I think that with some hard work this coming season, he could be the top goaltender for the Mariners.