On Monday, June 15th, the defending Kelly Cup Champions, the Newfoundland Growlers, released their season-ending roster which consists of eight players.
Every team in the ECHL is permitted to include up to 20 players to their season-ending roster. However, they may not include players who did not sign an ECHL contract in 2019-2020. Teams are allowed to retain the protective rights of up to eight players by extending a qualifying offer to them by no later than June 30th.
At most, half of these eight players can be veterans, defined as having 260 or more games of professional hockey under their belts. Players on open qualifying offers must not be traded and if a player signs a contract with that club before June 30th, they are not required to reserve a qualifying offer. These offers will be open for acceptance until July 16th.
When that day comes, the qualifying offer becomes void and the team can sign the player to any salary or they can choose to go no further. For teams that decide to extend a qualifying offer to a non-veteran, they will keep the rights to that player for one season.
If a veteran or a goaltender that has played at least 180 games of professional hockey is not signed to a contract by the team, they will become a restricted free agent and can receive offers from any ECHL team. Restricted free agents may not be traded. Any player not signed by August 1st will become an unrestricted free agent.
Who Is Invited To The Party?
With a large majority of Growlers being signed on AHL contracts due to Kyle Dubas’ Double-A model, wanting to develop future talent for the Toronto Marlies, you will not see nearly as many players on this list compared to any other squad in the league.
The season-ending roster is as follows:
FORWARDS: Mark Tremaine, Dylan Vander Esch and Todd Skirving.
DEFENCEMEN: James Melindy, Garrett Johnston, Tommy Panico and Evan Neugold.
GOALTENDERS: Parker Gahagen.
Only one eligible player was not included in this list. A 25-year-old graduate of Robert Morris University, Robert Powers, who was traded from the Atlanta Gladiators on February 18th to complete the deal which sent Reid Jackman down south over a month prior. The two-way utility man from Ajax appeared in 42 games overall, scoring a goal and six assists with 14 penalty minutes. He also had a Plus/Minus rating of -3. According to eliteprospects.com, Robert Powers is now retired.
It was a disappointing end to the season to say the least for the Newfoundland Growlers who already had a playoff berth clinched and looked to win back-to-back titles before the season was cancelled.
The first scheduled game for the Growlers will surely be a spooktacular showdown, as on Halloween, the Battle of Canada will make its first appearance in Brampton for the 2020-21 season. After completing the two-game weekend matchup against the Beasts, the Growlers will head to Worcester for a Wednesday game on November 4th. After that, they will head to “The Pretzel Capital of the World” for a three-in-three weekend series as they attempt to dethrone the Reading Royals.