The Adirondack Thunder were the second-youngest team in the ECHL this year. Two-thirds of their playoff roster was made up of rookies.
So how’d the new guys do?
Brandon Baddock, F
Joined the team: Assigned by New Jersey Oct. 28, one AHL stint but no games
Stats: Regular season: 21 GP, 0-4—4, 15 PIM, plus-1. Playoffs: 4 GP, 0-1—1, 2 PIM, minus-2.
In his words: “It was a difficult year for me with injuries, but it was a learning experience more than anything. You take what you learned this year and being that much better next year. You’re in a league with men now and every guy out there wasn’t to get to the next level just as much as you do. It’s the things that you’re willing to do to be better than them, day in and day out.”
Cullen Bradshaw, F
Joined the team: signed Feb. 11
Stats: Regular season: 30 GP, 7-17—24, 8 PIM, plus-9. Playoffs: 5 GP, 1-0—1, 0 PIM, minus-1
In his words: “I thought I had a pretty good showing once I got here, as a depth forward, playing anywhere they wanted me. I was happy to help out anyway I could. I tried to put the puck in the back of the net and play some solid hockey. I think I did that for the most part.”
Cam Brown, F
Joined the team: signed March 21
Stats: Regular season: 9 GP, 2-5—7, 6 PIM, plus-1. Playoffs: 4 GP, 0-3—3, 4 PIM, 0
In his words: “It was an awesome experience. I learned a lot from the coaching staff and the veterans. I was pretty lucky to be taken in so easily. I’m going to cherish it forever and learn from it. I learned little things about game preparation and playing the right way.”
Roman Dyukov, D
Joined the team: Assigned by Stockton start of the season
Stats: Regular season: 54 GP, 2-15—17, 40 PIM, plus-16. Playoffs: 2 GP, 0-0—0, 0 PIM, plus-1.
In coach’s words:* “He’s a young man that stepped into a new situation, and a different culture. He’s a young man that I’m proud of because it’s a different game, different style, different language. We talked about the growth he’s had off the ice. I think a lot of us would be lucky to have that kind of growth.”
Stepan Falkovsky, D
Joined the team: Assigned by Stockton start of the season
Stats: Regular season: 54 GP, 21-11—32, 37 PIM, minus-1. Playoffs: 4 GP, 0-2—2, 0 PIM, minus-3
In coach’s words:* A tough situation for Stepan because he really struggled with the language. He’s learning more now after working with a tutor. He has a huge skill and size combination. He had some really exciting moments. He’s a guy that our team took under its wing. It was good to see him and the other guys come together, starting in that all-star game and then scoring many goals on the power play.”
Keegan Kanzig, D
Joined the team: Assigned by Calgary, Oct. 24, four AHL stints
Stats: ECHL — Regular season: 40 GP, 1-4—5, 65 PIM, plus-10. Playoffs: 6 GP, 0-1—1, 21 PIM, 0. AHL — 6 GP, 0-2—2, 10 PIM, plus-1.
In his words: “I thought I learn a lot this season. Being my first year pro, I got to really see how much of a grind it is and how competitive it is to earn the spot, on the team and on the ice. There’s a lot of players out there so you really have to work hard to earn a spot. You have to be consistent. Every night you have to bring in, there are consequences for any mistake.”
Dennis Kravchenko, F
Joined the team: Signed Oct. 21
Stats: Regular season: 41 GP, 17-25—42, 63 PIM, plus-3. Playoffs: 6 GP, 4-1—5, 7 PIM, plus-2.
In coach’s words:* “A lot of compete, a lot of heart, a lot of passion. He’s a player that has a good combination of skill and passion. He made sure he stuck his nose into every battle he could. We’d like to see him play more hockey games, as would he, but when he did he was very effective.” (Kravchenko had injuries issues)
Kevin Lough, D
Joined the team: Start of the season, one AHL stint
Stats: ECHL — Regular season: 51 GP, 4-14—18, 26 PIM, plus-6. Playoffs: 6 GP, 0-1—1, 2 PIM, minus-on. AHL — 1 GP, 0-0—0, 0 PIM, 0
In his words: “Moving up in the levels, you start to realize, there’s a lot of good hockey players out there. I got called up to Binghamton for a short period of time there, and you go up there and then you really realize, there are some quality players out there. It made me realize, what I have to work on, just sort of give me an idea of how much of like an identity you need. There’s so many good players, that if you don’t stand out in certain ways, you’re just going to get buried.
“I have strong passion, and I don’t like getting beaten in the corners. I would say I’m a hardworking, reliable puck-moving defenseman.”
Mason McDonald, G
Joined the team: Assigned by Calgary start of the season, two AHL stints
Stats: ECHL — Regular season: 29 GP, 13-9-3, 2.72 GAA, .897 save percentage. AHL — 1 GP, 0-0-1, 5.75 GAA, .818 save percentage
In his words: “I was happy with my first season. There wasn’t too many highs to too many lows. You just have to get used to this pro game. Guys have harder shots and are a lot smarter than the guys in juniors.”
Brett Pollock, F
Joined the team: assigned by Calgary to begin season, one AHL stint
Stats: ECHL — Regular season: 61 GP, 15-16—31, 14 PIM, plus-2. Playoffs: 6 GP, 0-4—4, 2 PIM, minus-2. AHL — 3 GP, 1-0—1, 2 PIM, minus-1
In coach’s words:* “He grew a lot this year. He’s a different player at the end of the year than he was at the beginning of the year. He’s a very mature young man, a very good teammate and someone that has a high level of skill that it took him a little while to learn the pro game. I think he’s made some good steps and I’m looking forward to seeing what steps he can make in the future.”
Conor Riley, D
Joined the team: start of season, cut Oct. 27, signed again Dec. 6, hurt and not on playoff roster
Stats: ECHL — 41 GP, 9-9—18, 44 PIM, plus-5. SPHL — 8 GP, 0-2—2, 0 PIM, plus-6
In his words: “Sometimes you’re playing well and sometimes you wish you were doing more, a lot of that has to do with opportunities. I’m pretty pleased with my overall season. It’s just frustrating not to be able to play in the playoffs.”
Alex Wall, D
Joined the team: start of the season, two AHL stints
Stats: ECHL — Regular season: 66 GP, 6-38—44, 37 PIM, plus-10. Playoffs: 6 GP,3-0—3, 2 PIM, minus-2. AHL — 2 GP, 0-0—0, 0 PIM, 0.
In his words: “It’s a long season — I learned that. Take it one day at a time. You show up at the rink every single day, it can be stressful and long on your body. Take it one day at a time and take care of yourself.”
Brian Ward, F
Joined the team: start of the season, one AHL stint
Stats: ECHL — Regular season: 49 GP, 27-22—49, 65 PIM, plus-18. Playoffs: 6 GP, 1-2—3, 14 PIM, minus-3. AHL — 8 GP, 0-1—1, 0 PIM, minus-2.
In his words: “I played a lot of games. It’s very different from college. You just kind of learn the role and play and that take care of the body and stay fresh, and rest and be able to play the best hockey come this springtime so I think I learned a lot. I really enjoyed the experience here.”
(* — some players were unavailable, so coach Cail MacLean gave his take)