Season Preview: Kansas City Mavericks Hope To Make Deep Run With Re-Vamped Roster

The 2020-21 season was a disappointing year for the Kansas City Mavericks. They finished the pandemic-strung campaign with a record of 31-31-10. The hockey club seemed disjointed and they ended up missing the playoffs. At the end of the year, the Mavericks parted ways with General Manager Brent Thiessen and gave the job to Tad O’Had, their head coach. Acting as both GM and bench boss, O’Had has spent the offseason re-vamping the roster for what they hope is a more successful season. The Mavericks also renewed their affiliation with the Calgary Flames, their acting NHL parent club. O’Had cites better communication as the biggest contributing factor to that decision. So far, it seems like the deal is paying off, as Stockton has signed five players to two-way, AHL-ECHL deals. Prioritizing toughness and strong defence, O’Had has made it clear that the Mavericks will no longer be a team that can be easily pushed around. O’Had has built a team and staff that is poised to perform well in the Mountain Division, return to the playoffs, and possibly contend for a Kelly Cup.

New Faces

Aside from the multitude of new players who have signed in Kansas City, the hockey club’s staff has seen huge turnover as well. Assistant Coach Kohl Schultz has returned to Stockton in the role of video coordinator, so Riley Weselowski has joined as the new assistant coach. Josh Robinson has reunited with the Mavericks to be the first goaltending coach in team history, and Tony Deynzer was hired as Head Equipment Manager. On the business side, the team has named a new president with the appointment of Mike Cukyne. Coach O’Had’s philosophy is that winning teams are built from the staff out, and he certainly seems to be embracing this mantra, with the staff hirings made over the course of the summer.

At the time of the writing, the Mavericks have signed seven new players, with an additional three who will be on AHL-ECHL contracts. These new players are?

Theo Calvas- D

Jake Bricknell- F (starting the season on Injured Reserve)

Ryan Harrison- F

Westin Michaud- F (on an AHL-ECHL contract)

Jesse Mychan- F

Ryan Olsen- F (on an AHL-ECHL contract)

John Schiavo- F

Jake Smith- F

Shawn Weller- F

Mikael Robidoux- F (on an AHL-ECHL contract)

Returning Players

The following players are returning from the 2020-21 Roster:

Willie Corrin- D

Marcus Crawford- D

Noah Delmas- D

Tommy Muck- D

Bryan Lemos- F

Nick Pastujov- F

Lane Scheidl- F

Loren Ulett- F

Darik Angeli-F

Angus Redmond- G

Andrew Shortridge- G (on an AHL-ECHL contract)

Matt Greenfield- G (on an AHL-ECHL contract)

Help From Above

Kansas City will be starting the season with six assigned players from the Stockton Heat. The following players are on the roster to start the season:

Mikael Robidoux-F

Westin Michaud-F

Reid Perepeluk-F

Koletrane Wilson-D

Greg Moro-D

Andrew Shortridge- G

This is an unprecedented amount of help from Stockton in the time that the Mavericks have affiliated with the team. As mentioned above, it is clear that the relationship between Kansas City, Stockton, and Calgary is at an all-time high.

Goaltending

Kansas City only has Angus Redmond on team contract, but Andrew Shortridge and Matt Greenfield are both expected to be assigned to the Mavericks. These three goaltenders were the strongest of the eight goaltenders who suited up for the team last season. The Mavericks should have no worries in net this season, which will allow the rest of the team to stayed focused on their roles. Expect this goaltending trio to steal quite a few contests throughout the campaign.

Scoring

Kansas City lost their top scorers from 2020-21 when Brodie Reid, Rob Bordson, and Giorgio Estephan all departed the team. This is certainly a challenge, but the current make-up of the team suggests that the scoring won’t be hoarded by three players. Instead, expect scoring from both up and down the lineup. Players like Nick Pastujov, Jesse Mychan, Ryan Harrison, and Marcus Crawford should be big time offensive factors, but don’t be surprised if other names also make their mark on the scoresheet.

Team Culture

This team is going to be made up of a bunch of heart-and-soul type players. Expect this team to leave it all out on the ice night-in and night-out. They will work hard and play as a team. They will stand up for each other and lift each other up. That is perhaps the most exciting aspect about this team.

Schedule

The Mavericks open the season in Coralville, Iowa playing the expansion Iowa Heartlanders on October 22nd. Then, on October 23rd, Kansas City plays their home opener, also against the Heartlanders. They will play Iowa a total of seven times this season. Their first game against bitter rival Allen is set to take place on Saturday, November 1st. The Mavericks one up the heartlanders, playing the Americans a total of ten times this season. The team they will play the most will be the Wichita Thunder, who they will square off with 12 times. The teams the Mavericks will play are as follows:

Allen: 10 games

Idaho: 5 games

Indy: 1 game

Iowa: 7 games

Newfoundland: 2 games

Rapid City: 10 games

Tulsa: 7 games

Utah: 9 games

Wheeling: 1 game

Wichita: 12 games

Wichita will be a tough opponent, but with much of their core from last season leaving, they won’t be as formidable of a challenge as they might have been last season. The Mavericks did not play well against Wichita last season, so it will be imperative that Kansas City exorcise those demons quickly. Allen is going through a near complete roster rebuild, so it is yet to be seen how well they will project to perform. However, the Americans have secured the return of two legendary players in Jack Combs and Chad Costello. If these two are able to revive their chemistry from before, expect Allen to be a formidable foe. If history is any guide, expect the ten games between the Mavericks and Allen to be high energy, high quality battles. There is a good balance between home and away games this season. The team will only have one extended road trip, which is scheduled from March 18th to the 30th. The remainder of the road trips are only three games at most. The Mavericks have a prime opportunity to feast on teams on home ice.

Mountain Division Prediction

  1. Idaho
  2. Allen
  3. Kansas City
  4. Utah
  5. Wichita
  6. Tulsa
  7. Rapid City  

Record Prediction

37-31-4

Kansas City had a difficult time attempting to close out meetings last season. Looking ahead to the new year, expect late game play to be greatly improved. They lost 10 games in overtime or shootouts last season, and it is conceivable that six of those will be additional wins this time around.

Top Scorers Prediction

  1. Lane Scheidl
  2. Jesse Mychan
  3. Nick Pastujov

Penalty Minute Leaders Prediction

  1. Loren Ulett
  2. Jake Bricknell
  3. Mikael Robidoux

Conclusion

This Kansas City Mavericks team appears to be a very strong one that will be challenging to play against. Teams will dread visiting Cable Dahmer Arena because this club will make opponents pay for every inch of ice. The fans will be back in the stands, and the team is looking forward to that as well. There’s anticipation for Mavericks contests to be a mix of high energy, hard hitting affairs this season. Welcome back, Mavericks hockey!

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