norfolk’s 2016 season-ending roster

Projecting the shape of the team to come

New coach in place, the Admirals are ready to start the offseason player acquisition process. The easiest way to do this is to retain the talent you already have from the season before. As I’ve mentioned previously, there isn’t quite as much idea to predict who Rod Aldoff will want on his squad. Out of these 20 players, the Admirals can extend qualifying offers (QOs) to 8, with only 4 being veterans of 260+ games or more. Players who are not extended QOs can still sign with the team, but they essentially become unrestricted free agents. I’m going to go through the list, and then say if I think the player will be given a QO. By the way: some players are not protected because they were under AHL contracts (Alexis Loiseau), NHL contracts (Greg Chase) or have signed an AHL deal for next year (Scott Allen).

Nic Riopel (G): Arguably Norfolk’s MVP last year, the veteran goaltender played well enough to earn an AHL contract with Syracuse. Edmonton has some prospects signed for next year, but he would likely be a great mentor as well a provide some stability.

Veteran: No

QO: Yes. This is a no-brainer. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t. While Nick Ellis is coming in next year, there’s still going to be room for one more goalie. Niklas Lundstrom is heading back to Sweden, so it could get interesting. I also have no idea if the Oilers want to bring Ty Rimmer back.

Chris Williams (D)The rookie played 12 games last year as he got his feet wet in pro hockey. I can’t quite remember anything else about him, which is my own fault.

Veteran: No

QO: Tough to say, here. He would certainly provide some semblance of team, but he didn’t make a large impact in his short time.

Gabriel Verpaelst (D)Verpaelst changed his game in his second pro year, going from tough-edged enforcer to power-play quarterback who could also be a tough-edged enforcer. He’s definitely part of the team’s core.

Veteran: No

QO: Yes. Verpaelst improved his game, and became a fan favorite in Norfolk. Small thinks  like that matter.

Charles-Olivier Roussel (D)Roussel started off well enough as a puck-moving defenseman, but eventually left the team to play in Slovakia. He’s going to France next year.

Veteran: No

QO: No, that would be a waste.

Josh Currie (F): Currie got off to a hot start in the ECHL before signing an AHL contract with the Condors. He was a fixture on their fourth-line and I think it’s more than likely he wants to sign there.

Veteran: No

QO: No, because of his AHL contract. I think the Ads know that at worst, Currie will sign with the Condors and he can always be sent down.

Nick MacNeil (F)MacNeil missed a good part of the season due to injury, and finished with 17 points in 48 games. This was off of his pace from his rookie season, but he could be valuable going forward.

Veteran: No

QO: Yeah. I think this makes sense as part of a leadership role.

Steven Whitney (F)Brought in to be the face of the franchise, Whitney started off slow but ended up leading the team in points.  He wants to seek out an AHL contract for next year, which makes plenty of sense.

Veteran: No

QO: I think he gets one, if only as a holding pattern. This way, he has a place to come back to, and the Ads get to keep one of their playmakers.

Danick Gauthier (F): Gauthier is a great ECHL guy who’s bounced around the league somewhat. He was in the Tampa Bay system for a bit, and seemed to get in a nice groove at the end of the season.

Veteran: No

QO: Yes, I think it would make a lot of sense to bring him back.

Ryan Salkeld (F)Hometown hero makes good, plays hockey pretty well at the ECHL level. It’s a great story and he was actually a decent addition for the Ads.

Veteran: No

QO: No, but on a technicality. Teams do not have to extend QOs to players if they sign before July 1. This Pilot article implies Salkeld has a contract in the works, but he can’t put pen-to-paper officially until today. Expect a very slow leak of those signings.

Matt Cope (F)Played a few games at the end, scored a goal.

Veteran: No

QO: I don’t see a reason for this, really? Cope could sign, possibly, but there are no strong indicators of it.

Dean Ouellet (F): While I thought he was pretty decent, he’s playing in the LNAH next year. He didn’t light the world on fire, or anything.

Veteran: No

QO: Not necessary, he’s going to Quebec.

Connor Jones (F): This is weird? Jones was an ECHL Bakersfield Condor, ended up in Bridgeport camp, and signed an AHL deal with them. I guess Norfolk had his rights, or this is an error.

Veteran: No

QO: No, this seems very weird.

Alexandre Ranger (F)Petit Range was one of the Ads’ best players early, earning a call-up to AHL St. John’s. His goal-scoring ability would be nice to have.

Veteran: No

QO: I would, because he’s pretty good at the ECHL level.

Chase Schaber (F)An odd predicament here. Schaber played in only 2 games last year because of injury. When he’s been healthy, he’s been very productive. It’s a gamble.

Veteran: No

QO: I would if you can get other players signed before June 30. If not, I wouldn’t really consider giving it so much time.

Scott Allen (F)30 points in 37 games and it would have been more if not injured. He’s signed a deal with Bakersfield.

Veteran: No

QO: Not necessary. He’s already signed within the organization.

Maxime St-Cyr (F): St-Cyr did not play for the Ads last year. He did spend 48 games with the Everblades, where he couldn’t match his 50-goal QMJHL campaign. Eric Veilleux brought him on at the end of last year, and that…kind of spells disaster?

Veteran: No

QO: EV isn’t around, so this is harder for me to parse. I do think you might want to do this as a favor.

Marcus Hinds (F): Hinds played some early before departing for Ryerson University in the fall.

Veteran: No

QO: I don’t see this happening. I think it’s likely Hinds continues his play at Ryerson.

Devin Mantha (F): Devin was decent enough during his run, and then went back to the SPHL to help his team in the playoffs. I think he could be back.,

Veteran: No

QO: I think so.  Mantha’s been a decent player in the SPHL the past few seasons, and Aldoff should be aware of his capabilities.

Paul Rodrigues (F): Weird thing here: Rodrigues has played for Aldoff in each year he was in the SPHL, including his recent championship.  Rodrigues then plays a good portion of the season in the ECHL. With a coach he knows, he might find a permanent home. This was a Veilleux signing, but it’s worked out in an interesting way.

Veteran: No

QO: Good chance it happens.

Mike Seidel (F): Acquired yesterday, decent scorer for Elmira.

Veteran: No

QO: I have lost count of the QOs.

Generally speaking I think the home runs for QOs are: Riopel, Verpaelst, Ranger, Whitney, Gauthier, Rodrigues, Williams, St-Cyr. I will also be wrong a lot.





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Beneath The Scope

Beneath the Scope is a blog that covers the ECHL's Norfolk Admirals. Compete level has never been higher.

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