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ECHL has 91 former players on NHL Return to Play Rosters

Wednesday, July 15th
ECHL has 91 former players on NHL Return to Play Rosters

The ECHL has 91 players on National Hockey League Return to Play Rosters, marking the 15th year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 17th consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.

The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has a player or coach on each of the 24 teams and has affiliations with 25 of the 31 teams in the NHL in 2019-20, marking the 23rd consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.

Included among the 91 players on Return to Play Rosters are 14 players who played in the ECHL during the 2019-20 season: Arizona’s Ivan Prosvetov (Rapid City), Boston’s Dan Vladar (Atlanta), Dallas’ Colton Point (Idaho), Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner and Dylan Wells (Wichita), Montreal’s Michael McNiven (Adirondack, Jacksonville and Norfolk), New York Islanders’ Jakub Skarek (Worcester), New York Rangers’ Brandon Crawley and Adam Huska (Maine), Philadelphia’s Kirill Ustimenko (Reading), Pittsburgh’s Alex D’Orio and Emil Larmi (Wheeling), Tampa Bay’s Spencer Martin (Orlando) and Toronto’s Mac Hollowell (Newfoundland).

There are 25 coaches with an ECHL background working behind the benches of teams in the NHL Return to Play including Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, Calgary Flames Interim Head Coach Geoff Ward, Colorado Avalanche head coach, and 2020 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee Jared Bednar, and Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden.

Former ECHL coaches and players on NHL Return to Play Rosters (ECHL affiliate listed in parentheses):

Arizona Coyotes (Rapid City Rush) – Goaltending Coach Corey Schwab (Cincinnati, 1991-92); Goaltending Development Coach Zac Bierk (Augusta, 2001-02); Adin Hill (Rapid City, 2016-17); Darcy Kuemper (Ontario, 2011-12 and Orlando, 2012-13) and Ivan Prosvetov (Rapid City, 2019-20)

Boston Bruins (Atlanta Gladiators) – Head Coach Bruce Cassidy (Jacksonville, 1996-98 and Trenton, 1999-00); Assistant Coach Kevin Dean (Cincinnati, 1991-92 and Trenton, 2010-11); Jarsolav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06); Maxime Lagace (Missouri, 2014-15; Bakersfield, 2014-15 and Idaho, 2015-16) and Dan Vladar (Atlanta, 2016-18 and 2019-20)

Calgary Flames (Kansas City Mavericks) – Interim Head Coach Geoff Ward (Arkansas, 1999-00); Assistant Coach Ray Edwards (Dayton, 1991-94; Birmingham, 1992-93; Huntington, 1994-2000; Cincinnati, 2001-02); Byron Froese (Toledo, 2011-13 and Cincinnati, 2013-15); Alan Quine (Stockton, 2013-14); Buddy Robinson (Elmira, 2013-14) and Cam Talbot (Greenville, 2010-11)

Carolina Hurricanes (Greenville Swamp Rabbits) –Steven Lorentz (Florida, 2017-19); Petr Mrazek (Toledo, 2012-13); Alex Nedeljkovic (Florida, 2014-15 and 2016-17) and James Reimer (Reading and South Carolina, 2008-09)

Chicago Blackhawks (Indy Fuel) – Collin Delia (Indy, 2017-18); Kevin Lankinen (Indy, 2018-19) and Matt Tomkins (Indy, 2017-19)

Colorado Avalanche (Utah Grizzlies) – Head Coach Jared Bednar (Huntington, 1993-96 and South Carolina, 1996-09); Assistant Coach Nolan Pratt (Richmond, 1995-96); Jacob MacDonald (Elmira, 2014-16 and Toledo, 2016-17); Philipp Grubauer (South Carolina, 2011-12 and Reading, 2012-13) and Michael Hutchinson (Reading, 2010-12 and Ontario, 2013-14)

Columbus Blue Jackets – Goaltending Coach Manny Lagace (Richmond, 1996-97); Matiss Kivlenieks (Kalamazoo, 2018-19) and Kole Sherwood (Jacksonville, 2018-19)

Dallas Stars (Idaho Steelheads) – Landon Bow (Idaho, 2018-19); Justin Dowling (Utah, 2011-12 and Idaho, 2012-13); Joel Hanley (Gwinnett, 2014-15); Anton Khudobin (Texas, 2007-08 and Florida, 2008-09) and Colton Point (Idaho, 2018-20)

Edmonton Oilers (Wichita Thunder) – Associate Coach Jim Playfair (Dayton, 1993-96); Assistant Coach Glen Gulutzan (Las Vegas, 2003-09); Josh Archibald (Wheeling, 2014-15); Mikko Koskinen (Utah, 2009-10); Stuart Skinner (Wichita, 2018-20); Mike Smith (Lexington, 2002-03) and Dylan Wells (Wichita, 2017-20)

Florida Panthers – Assistant Coach Andrew Brunette (Hampton Roads, 1993-94); Goaltending Coach Rob Tallas (Charlotte, 1994-95); Josh Brown (Manchester, 2015-16); Philippe Desrosiers (Idaho, 2015-19 and Norfolk, 2016-17); Chris Driedger (Elmira, 2013-14 and Evansville, 2014-15); Mike Hoffman (Elmira, 2010-11); Dryden Hunt (Manchester, 2016-17) and Mackenzie Weegar (Cincinnati, 2014-15)

Minnesota Wild (Allen Americans) – Assistant Coach Bob Woods (Johnstown, 1990-94; Hampton Roads, 1995-96; Mobile, 1996-97; Tallahassee, 1997-98 and Mississippi, 1998-05); Devan Dubnyk (Stockton, 2006-07) and Alex Stalock (Stockton, 2011-12)

Montreal Canadiens – Ben Chiarot (Colorado, 2011-12); Brett Kulak (Colorado, 2014-15) and Michael McNiven (Brampton, 2017-19; Adirondack, 2019-20; Jacksonville, 2019-20 and Norfolk, 2019-20)

Nashville Predators (Florida Everblades) – Ben Harpur (Evansville, 2015-16) and Connor Ingram (Adirondack, 2017-18 and Orlando, 2018-19)

New York Islanders (Worcester Railers) – Christopher Gibson (Orlando, 2013-14); Thomas Greiss (Fresno, 2006-07); Ross Johnston (Missouri, 2015-16); Tom Kuhnhackl (Wheeling, 2012-14) and Jakub Skarek (Worcester, 2019-20)

New York Rangers (Maine Mariners) – Video Coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92); Brandon Crawley (Maine, 2019-20); Micheal Haley (South Carolina, 2006-07 and Utah, 2007-08) and Adam Huska (Maine, 2019-20)

Philadelphia Flyers (Reading Royals) – Nate Thompson (Alaska, 2012-13) and Kirill Ustimenko (Reading, 2019-20)

Pittsburgh Penguins (Wheeling Nailers) – Goaltending Coach Mike Buckley (Mississippi, 2002-04 and Gwinnett, 2003-04); Casey DeSmith (Wheeling, 2015-16); Alex D'Orio (Wheeling, 2019-20) and Emil Larmi (Wheeling, 2019-20)

St. Louis Blues – Jordan Binnington (Kalamazoo, 2013-14); Ville Husso (Missouri, 2016-17) and Austin Poganski (Tulsa, 2018-19)

Tampa Bay Lightning (Orlando Solar Bears) – Assistant Coach Derek Lalonde (Toledo, 2014-16); Yanni Gourde (San Francisco, 2012-13 and Kalamazoo, 2013-14); Spencer Martin (Fort Wayne, 2015-16 and Orlando, 2019-20) Gemel Smith (Idaho, 2015-16); Carter Verhaeghe (Missouri, 2015-17) and Scott Wedgewood (Trenton, 2012-13 and Adirondack, 2015-16)

Toronto Maple Leafs (Newfoundland Growlers) – Goaltending Coach Steve Briere (Mississippi, 2000-01; Cincinnati, 2001-02 and Toledo, 2001-02); Jack Campbell (Idaho, 2014-16); Kyle Clifford (Ontario, 2012-13); Justin Holl (Indy, 2014-15); Mac Hollowell (Newfoundland, 2019-20) and Kasimir Kaskisuo (Orlando, 2016-18)

Vancouver Canucks (Kalamazoo Wings) – Jay Beagle (Idaho, 2006-07); Jordie Benn (Victoria, 2008-09); Louis Domingue (Gwinnett, 2012-15); Micheal Ferland (Utah, 2012-13) and Antoine Roussel (Reading, 2010-11)

Vegas Golden Knights (Fort Wayne Komets) – Assistant Coach Ryan Craig (Pensacola, 2003-04); Oscar Dansk (Kalamazoo, 2014-15); Deryk Engelland (Las Vegas, 2003-05; South Carolina, 2005-06 and Reading, 2006-07); Keegan Kolesar (Quad City, 2017-18); Gage Quinney (Wheeling, 2016-17) and Ryan Reaves (Alaska, 2007-08 and Orlando, 2012-13)

Washington Capitals (South Carolina Stingrays) – Head Coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-96 and Jacksonville, 1995-96); Assistant Coach Reid Cashman (Columbia, 2007-08; Wheeling, 2008-09 and Cincinnati, 2009-10); Professional Development Coach Olaf Kolzig (Hampton Roads, 1990-92); Pheonix Copley (South Carolina, 2013-14); Braden Holtby (South Carolina, 2009-10); Nick Jensen (Toledo, 2013-14); Tyler Lewington (South Carolina, 2015-16) and Vitek Vanecek (South Carolina, 2015-16 and 2017-18)

Winnipeg Jets (Jacksonville Icemen) – Assistant Coach Charlie Huddy (Huntington, 1997-98); Assistant Coach Jamie Kompon (Hampton Roads, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Winston-Salem, 1990-91); Goaltending Coach Wade Flaherty (Greensboro, 1989-90); Anthony Bitetto (Cincinnati, 2012-13); Laurent Brossoit (Alaska, 2013-14 and Bakersfield, 2013-14); Jansen Harkins (Jacksonville, 2017-18); Mark Letestu (Wheeling, 2007-08) and Logan Shaw (Cincinnati, 2013-14)

There are 33 former ECHL officials who worked as part of the NHL officiating team in 2019-20 with referees Jake Brenk, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Trevor Hanson, Beau Halkidis, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Pierre Lambert, T.J. Luxmore, Peter MacDougall, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Ryan Daisy, Julien Fournier, Brandon Gawryletz, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Jesse Marquis, Bevin Mills, Kory Nagy and Bryan Pancich.

There have been 676 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 14 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2019-20 season. The ECHL has had 484 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years. There have been 420 ECHL players have played their first game in the last 15 seasons for an average of 28 per year.

The first ECHL player to play in the NHL was Johnstown Chiefs goaltender Scott Gordon, who played his first game with the Quebec Nordiques against Buffalo on Jan. 30, 1990. The 100th player honor is shared by Jean Sebastien Aubin and Manny Legace, who both made their debut on Oct. 21, 1998 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. The 200th player was Brett McLean with the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 10, 2002 while the 300th was David Liffiton with the New York Rangers on April 11, 2006. The 400th was Phil Oreskovic on March 9, 2009 with the Toronto Maple Leafs while the 500th player honor is shared by Anthony Peluso and Darcy Kuemper, who both made their debut on Feb. 12, 2013 with the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild, respectively. The 600th former ECHL player to reach the NHL was Florida Panthers forward Shane Harper on Oct. 13, 2016.

Former ECHL broadcasters working in the National Hockey League include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Josh Bogorad of the Dallas Stars, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Doug Plagens of the Florida Panthers, Brendan Burke of the New York Islanders, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dave Goucher and Dan D’Uva of the Vegas Golden Knights. Former ECHL player Jody Shelley is an analyst with the Blue Jackets while former ECHL players Shane Hnidy and Mike McKenna are analysts with the Golden Knights.About the ECHL

Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 26 teams in 19 states and two Canadian provinces for its 32nd season in 2019-20. There have been 676 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 14 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2019-20 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 31 NHL teams in 2019-20, marking the 23rd consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

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