Friday, July 30, 2010

Benton's Blog / Euro Trip / Stockton Thunder Loses Players



07/29/2010 10:06 AM - Benton's Blog

Didn't we document in this blog space several weeks ago about the lure of Europe?

It's happening. The lure of big money, less games and international competition has taken some bite out of the Thunder roster from 2009-10:

- Chris D'Alvise (pictured) - Italy
- Justin DaCosta - Czech Republic
- J.F. Caudron - Italy
- Colin Hemingway - England


Andrew Perugini, Kelly Czuy and Bryan Young have also signed overseas, but they're asterisks in the "players leaving" category because they were under an NHL or AHL contract last season, not an ECHL contract.

That's now seven players from last season's playoff roster we can address as "the departed."

Now, stop before you hit that big, red, shiny, imposing panic button.

1. As we've said many times, don't forget how much the ECHL is now a "step-ladder" league where you celebrate your favorite player moving up, not witnessing the huge chunk of veterans whose careers are dying. Europe, as much of the AHL and NHL, is part of that.

2. Don't overlook the leadership core retained from last season (Valette, Marcoux) - with Steve Vanoosten already inked for next season. Anthony Aiello, Garet Hunt and Trevor Hunt have expressed their interest in returning, so we'll see how those play out. Assuming those potentials come to fruition, you have six returners back into the mix.

3. There's also rights retained to Aiello, Ryan Constant, Jason Pitton and more - making the potential returners at eight.

4. There are 19 teams this season - meaning - less jobs, meaning - more premium players available on the free agent market.

5. The affiliation factor and how much it can provide you with supplemental, elite-ECHL level talent and lure more potential free agents with the possibility of playing in front of said affiliated team's scouts and upper brass.

With all those factors, eight returners in a roster of 20 active players isn't a bad ratio in a league that can often serve as a revolving door, year-after-year.

It's still only late July, and the hot stove season hasn't even kicked into fifth gear. Enjoy it and with how the Thunder roster for 2010-11 is continuing to evolve!

Mike Benton has served the Thunder as radio broadcaster since the team's inception. Got a question or comment? E-mail Mike at mbenton@stocktonthunder.com

-Written by Mike Benton of the StocktonThunder.com-

*reprinted by OilersJambalaya.com with permission from the Stockton Thunder hockey club*

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