SEASON PREVIEW | 2016-17 A well-rounded roster for St. John's Posted by IceCaps on
By: Ryan Howell
There will be a very different St. John’s IceCaps group hitting the ice at Mile One Centre this season. Captain Gabriel Dumont, leading scorer Bud Holloway, NHL All-Star MVP John Scott, top defenseman Morgan Ellis, and goaltender and fan favorite Eddie Pasquale are no longer in the Canadiens system, but IceCaps fans still have much to look forward to in what promises to be a great final season under the famous bleu, blanc, et rouge colours of the Montreal Canadiens.
Zach Fucale is back with the IceCaps and will look to build off his rookie season, where he posted a 16-19-4 record, and was highlighted by a CCM/AHL Player of the Week award in February. Charlie Lindgren, a highly sought after free agent who signed with Montreal in March, will be turning pro this season after a very impressive career in the NCAA with St. Cloud State. Last season Lindgren posted a 30-9-1 record complemented by five shutouts, and was nominated for the Hobey Baker award. The 22-year-old also saw one game of action with the Canadiens last season, where he made 26 saves in a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Lindgren is currently on recall with the Montreal Canadiens.
The blue line will be anchored by veteran defencemen Mark Barberio and Philip Samuelsson. Barberio, a puck-moving, offensively minded defenceman, put up 2 goals and 18 assists in 26 games for the IceCaps last season. He was also selected to play in the AHL All-Star classic, but did not attend due to being on recall in Montreal, where he had 10 points in 30 games. Samuelsson, the son of former NHL’er Ulf Samuelsson, brings a responsible defensive game and experience, with 304 AHL games under his belt.
Returnees from last season include Joel Hanley, Josiah Didier, Ryan Johnston, and Brett Lernout. Hanley is entering his third full professional season, and played 10 games for Montreal last season where he had 6 assists. The fearless Didier, who was named last season’s Hardest Working Player is entering his second professional season. Johnston looks to play his first full professional season after missing the first half of last season with an injury, and Brett Lernout will look to carry over his impressive rookie season, which was highlighted by an NHL call-up.
Tom Parisi and Jonathan Racine round out the IceCaps’ defensive roster this season. Parisi, a rookie out of Providence College where he was captain in his final season, played 5 games with the IceCaps last season. Racine, a former Memorial Cup champion, was acquired by Montreal in a trade with Florida and brings 198 games of AHL experience.
Up front, the IceCaps have lots of fire power. Charles Hudon, who led the IceCaps with 28 goals last season is back, and he has some very offensive-minded linemates to work with. Chris Terry, who spent all of last season with the Carolina Hurricanes, is a three-time 20 goal scorer in the AHL. The highly skilled and speedy Russian Nikita Scherbak looks to improve from his injury-ridden first season, which saw him play in 48 games picking up 23 points. The IceCaps will hope to see the former first round pick provide the offence he did in his junior tenure, where he had 160 points in 130 games. Big Michael McCarron is also back in the IceCaps fold. McCarron had 38 points in 58 games with the IceCaps last season, and also appeared in 20 games with the Canadiens.
The IceCaps also have no shortage of grit. Bobby Farnham, who spent last season in the NHL with Pittsburgh and New Jersey, is sure to be a fan favorite in St. John’s. He has 672 penalty minutes in 197 AHL games. David Broll, formerly of the Toronto Marlies and Syracuse Crunch, has double-digit fighting majors in each of his three pro seasons. Returning hard-nosed forward Connor Crisp was limited to 10 games last season with a concussion.
Jacob de la Rose and Stefan Matteau bring a solid two-way game to the IceCaps forward group. de la Rose played in 34 games for St. John’s last season registering 14 points, and spent another 22 in Montreal collecting an assist. Matteau was traded to Montreal from New Jersey last season, and played 32 games between the two teams registering a goal and an assist.
Daniel Audette is the only rookie forward on the IceCaps. The son of former NHL’er Donald Audette finished his junior career in Sherbrooke, Quebec with 237 points in 234 games. He also played 4 games for the IceCaps late last season.
Rounding out the forward group are returnees from last season include team Captain Max Friberg, Mark MacMillan, Markus Eisenschmid, and Jeremy Gregoire. The speedy Friberg split last season with the IceCaps and San Diego Gulls picking up 36 points in 67 games, and will be an important character player. MacMillan looks to improve off of his rookie season where he posted 17 points in 62 games. Eisenschmid was limited to 28 games due to injury and recorded 5 points. Gregoire looks to take on a much larger role in his sophomore season after impressing many at the Canadiens development camp. He posted 11 points in 62 games last season.
The 2016-17 St. John’s IceCaps have a nice balance of speed, skill, and grit, and are sure to play a competitive brand of hockey.