On Tuesday October 19th, the Wheeling Nailers announced the signing of Canadian forward Michael Pelech. The two sides agreed to terms on a standard player contract for the upcoming season. Pelech became a free agent after Atlanta announced on October 9th they were opting out of the upcoming season.
For Pelech, 31-years-old, it will be his 12th season of professional hockey. Pelech, a draft pick of Los Angeles, ranks in the top five in a pair of categories. He is fourth in ECHL games played (705) and fifth in assists (372). As well, in 2020-21, he is likely to join the top 20 in points. At this time, he has 541.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, he has suited up for seven ECHL teams. As well, he reached the Eastern Conference Finals with the Cincinnati Cyclones in 2012-2013. Pelech, a left-handed shooter, has spent the last two seasons with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. In doing so, he’s scored 34 goals along with 84 assists for 118 points. He’s done so in 135 games.
Pelech joins Chad Duchesne and Dylan MacPherson as the third member of last year’s Swamp Rabbits to suit up for the Nailers in 2020-21. In a statement from the veteran centreman, he said upon signing his contract on Tuesday, “I am very excited to join the Wheeling Nailers, I feel very fortunate to play hockey in these difficult times. I have heard great things about the coaching staff, organization and community. I cannot wait to get the season started.
As for the thoughts of Mark French, head coach of the Wheeling Nailers, he said of the team’s latest signing, “Michael is a proven point producer at the ECHL level. He has a rare combination of offensive ability and grit. We’re looking forward to adding his experience and leadership to our dressing room.”
In other news regarding potential AHL re-assignments, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced on Tuesday the signing of American goaltender, Shane Starrett. In 2017-18 and 2018-19, Starrett played 39 games in the ECHL with the Wichita Thunder.
The Nailers roster is now comprised of nine forwards; Cody Bradley, Alec Butcher, Tyler Drevitch, Brad Drobot, Kevin Dufour, Andrew Gaus, Luke Lynch, Will Smith and Michael Pelech. On defence, they have Marc-Olivier Duquette, Chad Duchesne, Shane Kuzmeski, Dylan MacPherson and Kyle McKenzie.