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78 former players, 49 coaches on NHL Opening-Day Rosters

Tuesday, October 11th
78 former players, 49 coaches on NHL Opening-Day Rosters

The ECHL has 78 players on National Hockey League opening-day rosters, marking the 21st season in a row with more than 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters. The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has a player or coach on 30 of the 32 teams and has affiliations with 28 of the 32 teams in the NHL, marking the 26th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. There are 49 coaches with an ECHL background working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Buffalo Sabres head coach Don Granato, Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar, Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde, Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Vegas Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy and Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette, who all previously were ECHL head coaches. In addition, Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft is a former ECHL player. It is the 12th consecutive season that there have been 30 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Last season, Bednar became the first coach to lead teams to championships in the ECHL (South Carolina, 2009), AHL (Lake Erie, 2016) and NHL (Colorado, 2022). In 2019-20, Cassidy became the second former ECHL head coach to win the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year, joining Bruce Boudreau, who received the honor in 2007-08. Laviolette, who coached the Wheeling Nailers during the 1997-98 season, became the first former ECHL coach to serve as head coach of a Stanley Cup champion with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. There are 41 former ECHL officials who are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2022-23 with referees Reid Anderson, Jake Brenk, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Mitch Dunning, Trevor Hanson, Beau Halkidis, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Pierre Lambert, T.J. Luxmore, Peter MacDougall, Morgan MacPhee, Michael Markovic, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Carter Sandlak, Graham Skilliter, Furman South, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh and linesmen Steve Barton, Ryan Daisy, Julien Fournier, Brandon Gawryletz, Mitchell Hunt, Trent Knorr, Matt MacPherson, Jesse Marquis, Kilian McNamara, Bevin Mills, C.J. Murray, Kory Nagy, Ben O’Quinn and Bryan Pancich. There have been 727 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 29 who made their debuts in 2021-22. The ECHL has had 535 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 471 ECHL players have played their first game in the last 17 seasons for an average of more than 27 per year. There were five players who played in both the ECHL and NHL in 2021-22: Hugo Alnefelt (Orlando and Tampa Bay), Jon Gillies (Maine and St. Louis/New Jersey), Cameron Hillis (Trois-Rivières and Montreal), Michael Houser (Cincinnati and Buffalo) and Jack LaFontaine (Norfolk and Carolina). The ECHL was represented for the 22nd year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2022 with Colorado Avalanche Head Coach Jared Bednar; Assistant Coach Nolan Pratt; goaltender Darcy Kuemper; Head Equipment Manager J.C. Ihrig and Assistant Equipment Manager Donny White. There were 47 former players and 22 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2022, marking the 17th year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players who have competed in the NHL postseason. 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 while the 700th former ECHL player to debut in the NHL was New Jersey Devils defenseman Mason Geertsen on Oct. 19, 2021. 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, Joe O’Donnell of the Minnesota Wild, Brendan Burke of the New York Islanders, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Everett Fitzhugh of the Seattle Kraken, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dave Goucher and Dan D’Uva of the Vegas Golden Knights. Former ECHL player Tyson Nash is an analyst with the Arizona Coyotes, former ECHL player Jody Shelley is an analyst with the Blue Jackets, former ECHL player Tripp Tracy is an analyst with the Carolina Hurricanes and former ECHL player Shane Hnidy is an analyst with the Golden Knights.Former ECHL coaches and players on NHL Opening-Day Rosters (ECHL affiliate listed in parentheses):  (*) – Injured Reserve/Non-Roster Anaheim Ducks (Tulsa Oilers) – Sam Carrick * (Idaho, 2012-13), Anthony Stolarz (Reading, 2017-18) and Colton White (Adirondack, 2017-18) Arizona Coyotes (Atlanta Gladiators) – Goaltending Coach Corey Schwab (Cincinnati, 1991-92); Josh Brown (Manchester, 2015-16); Connor Ingram (Adirondack, 2017-18 and Orlando, 2018-19); Jonas Johansson * (Cincinnati, 2017-19) and Dysin Mayo (Rapid City, 2016-17) Boston Bruins (Maine Mariners) – Matt Filipe * (Jacksonville, 2020-21) Buffalo Sabres (Cincinnati Cyclones) – Head Coach Don Granato (Columbus, 1991-93 and 1997-99 and Peoria, 1999-00); Assistant Coach Jason Christie (Columbus, 1991-93 and 1998-99; Charlotte, 1993-94; Peoria, 1999-2005; Utah, 2005-08; Ontario, 2011-15; Tulsa, 2015-17 and Jacksonville, 2017-21); Assistant Coach Matt Ellis (Toledo, 2002-03) and Assistant Coach Marty Wilford (Columbus, 1998-99). Calgary Flames (Rapid City Rush) – Assistant Coach Cail MacLean (Jacksonville, 1997-99; Trenton, 1999-02; Reading, 2004-05; South Carolina, 2005-11 and Adirondack, 2015-17); Goaltending Coach Jason LaBarbera (Charlotte, 2000-02); Trevor Lewis (Utah, 2012-13); Nicolas Meloche (Colorado, 2017-18); Dan Vladar (Atlanta, 2016-18 and 2019-20) and MacKenzie Weegar (Cincinnati, 2014-15) Chicago Blackhawks (Indy Fuel) – Assistant Coach Kevin Dean (Cincinnati, 1991-92 and Trenton, 2010-11); Petr Mrazek (Toledo, 2012-13); Buddy Robinson (Elmira, 2013-14) and Alex Stalock (Stockton, 2011-12) Colorado Avalanche (Utah Grizzlies) – Head Coach Jared Bednar (Huntington, 1993-96 and South Carolina, 1996-09); Assistant Coach Nolan Pratt (Richmond, 1995-96) and Jacob MacDonald * (Elmira, 2014-16 and Toledo, 2016-17) Columbus Blue Jackets (Kalamazoo Wings) – Associate Coach Pascal Vincent (Knoxville, 1992-93); Assistant Coach Steve McCarthy (Kalamazoo, 2015-16); Goaltending Coach Manny Lagace (Richmond, 1996-97) and Justin Danforth (Reading, 2016-17 and Cincinnati, 2017-18) Dallas Stars (Idaho Steelheads) – Assistant Coach Steve Spott (Richmond, 1990-91); Luke Glendening (Toledo, 2012-13); Jani Hakanpaa (Quad City, 2014-15); Joel Hanley (Gwinnett, 2014-15); Mason Marchment (Orlando, 2016-17) and Scott Wedgewood (Trenton, 2012-13 and Adirondack, 2015-16) Detroit Red Wings (Toledo Walleye) – Head Coach Derek Lalonde (Toledo, 2014-16); Associate Coach Bob Boughner (Toledo, 1991-92); Goaltending Coach Alex Westlund (Dayton, 1999-2001; Cincinnati, 2001-02; Toledo, 2001-02; Trenton, 2003-04; Charlotte, 2004-05 and 2006-07 and Wheeling, 2013-14); Seth Barton * (Toledo, 2021-22); Ben Chiarot (Colorado, 2011-12); Ville Husso (Missouri, 2016-17) and Alex Nedeljkovic (Florida, 2014-15 and 2016-17) Edmonton Oilers (Fort Wayne Komets) – Head Coach Jay Woodcroft (Jackson, 1999-00); Assistant Coach Glen Gulutzan (Las Vegas, 2003-09); Jack Campbell (Idaho, 2014-16); Vincent Desharnais * (Wichita, 2019-21); Brett Kulak (Colorado, 2014-15); Stuart Skinner (Wichita, 2018-20) and Mike Smith * (Lexington, 2002-03) Florida Panthers (Florida Everblades) – Assistant Coach Jamie Kompon (Hampton Roads, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Winston-Salem, 1990-91); Goaltending Coach Rob Tallas (Charlotte, 1994-95); Ryan Lomberg (Adirondack, 2016-17) and Carter Verhaeghe (Missouri, 2015-17) Los Angeles Kings (Greenville Swamp Rabbits) – Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08) Minnesota Wild (Iowa Heartlanders) – Assistant Coach Bob Woods (Johnstown, 1990-94; Hampton Roads, 1995-96; Mobile, 1996-97; Tallahassee, 1997-98 and Mississippi, 1998-05); Assistant Coach Brett McLean (Johnstown, 1999-00); Goaltending Coach Frederic Chabot (Winston-Salem, 1991-92); Frederick Gaudreau (Cincinnati, 2014-15); Filip Gustavsson (Brampton, 2018-19); Dakota Mermis * (Rapid City, 2015-16) and Jacob Middleton (Manchester, 2015-16)                                                                     Montreal Canadiens (Trois-Rivières Lions) – Assistant Coach Alexandre Burrows (Greenville, 2002-03; Baton Rouge, 2002-03 and Columbia, 2003-05); Goaltending Coach Eric Raymond (Wheeling, 1993-94; South Carolina, 1995-96 and Huntington, 1995-96); Mike Hoffman (Elmira, 2010-11) and Chris Wideman (Elmira, 2012-13) Nashville Predators Tanner Jeannot (Florida, 2019-21); Kevin Lankinen (Indy, 2018-19) and Cole Smith (Florida, 2020-21) New Jersey Devils (Adirondack Thunder) – Associate Coach Andrew Brunette (Hampton Roads, 1993-94); Mackenzie Blackwood (Adirondack, 2017-18) and Vitek Vanecek (South Carolina, 2015-16 and 2017-18) New York Islanders (Worcester Railers) – Ross Johnston (Missouri, 2015-16) New York Rangers (Jacksonville Icemen) – Jaroslav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06); Dryden Hunt (Manchester, 2016-17) and Ryan Reaves (Alaska, 2007-08 and Orlando, 2012-13) Ottawa Senators (Allen Americans) – Associate Coach Jack Capuano (Tallahassee, 1995-97, Knoxville, 1996-97 and Pee Dee, 1997-05); Assistant Coach Davis Payne (Greensboro, 1992-95; Greenville, 1998-00; Pee Dee, 2000-03 and Alaska, 2003-07); Goaltending Coach Zac Bierk (Augusta; 2001-02); Magnus Hellberg (Cincinnati, 2012-14) and Cam Talbot * (Greenville, 2010-11) Philadelphia Flyers (Reading Royals) – Assistant Coach John Torchetti (Carolina, 1988-89; Winston-Salem, 1989-91 and Greensboro, 1993-95); Assistant Coach Darryl Williams (Newfoundland, 2019-21); Hayden Hodgson (Florida, 2017-18; Manchester, 2017-18; Wichita, 2018-19; Reading, 2019-20; Wheeling, 2020-21; Utah, 2020-21) and Felix Sandstrom * (Reading, 2019-20) Pittsburgh Penguins (Wheeling Nailers) – Assistant Coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-96 and Jacksonville, 1995-96); Assistant Coach Mike Vellucci (Erie, 1989-90 and Winston-Salem, 1989-90); Goaltending Coach Andy Chiodo (Wheeling, 2003-06; Elmira, 2009-10 and Bakersfield, 2013-14); Josh Archibald (Wheeling, 2014-15) and Casey Desmith (Wheeling, 2015-16) San Jose Sharks (Wichita Thunder) – Assistant Coach Scott Gordon (Johnstown, 1988-89; Nashville, 1992-93; Knoxville, 1993-94; Roanoke, 1998-2000); Assistant Coach Ryan Warsofsky (South Carolina, 2013-18); Goaltending Coach Thomas Speer (Idaho, 2011-12 and Las Vegas, 2011-12); Steven Lorentz (Florida, 2017-19) and James Reimer (Reading, 2008-09 and South Carolina, 2008-09) Seattle Kraken (Kansas City Mavericks) – Assistant Coach Jay Leach (Mississippi, 2001-02; Augusta, 2002-03; Long Beach, 2003-04 and Trenton, 2003-05); Goaltending Coach Steve Briere (Mississippi, 2000-01; Cincinnati, 2001-02 and Toledo, 2001-02); Chris Driedger * (Elmira, 2013-14 and Evansville, 2014-15); Yanni Gourde (San Francisco, 2012-13 and Kalamazoo, 2013-14); Philipp Grubauer (South Carolina, 2011-12 and Reading, 2012-13) and Martin Jones (Ontario, 2010-11) St. Louis Blues – Jordan Binnington (Kalamazoo, 2013-14); Thomas Greiss (Fresno, 2006-07) and Nathan Walker (South Carolina, 2014-15) Toronto Maple Leafs (Newfoundland Growlers) – Assistant Coach Spencer Carbery (Bakersfield, 2007-08; Stockton, 2007-08; Fresno, 2007-08; South Carolina, 2008-16); Goaltending Coach Curtis Sanford (Peoria, 2000-02); Jordie Benn * (Victoria, 2008-09); Michael Bunting (Rapid City, 2015-16); Justin Holl (Indy, 2014-15) and Timothy Liljegren * (Newfoundland, 2018-19) Vancouver Canucks – Head Coach Bruce Boudreau (Mississippi, 1996-99); Kyle Burroughs (Missouri, 2015-16); Dakota Joshua (Tulsa, 2019-20) and Spencer Martin (Fort Wayne, 2015-16 and Orlando, 2019-20) Vegas Golden Knights (Savannah Ghost Pirates) – Head Coach Bruce Cassidy (Jacksonville, 1996-98 and Trenton, 1999-00); Assistant Coach Ryan Craig (Pensacola, 2003-04); Laurent Brossoit * (Alaska, 2013-14 and Bakersfield, 2013-14); Adin Hill (Rapid City, 2016-17); Keegan Kolesar (Quad City, 2017-18) and Logan Thompson (Adirondack, 2018-19 and South Carolina, 2019-20) Washington Capitals (South Carolina Stingrays) – Head Coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98); Assistant coach Scott Allen (Carolina, 1988-89; Winston-Salem, 1989-90; Erie, 1989-90; Greensboro, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Johnstown, 1996-2002); Nick Jensen (Toledo, 2013-14) and Darcy Kuemper (Ontario, 2011-12 and Orlando, 2012-13) Winnipeg Jets – Assistant Coach Marty Johnston (Florida, 2002-03; Trenton, 2003-04; Long Beach, 2003-04 and Peoria, 2003-04); Goaltending Coach Wade Flaherty (Greensboro, 1989-90) and Mikhail Berdin (Jacksonville, 2018-19) About the ECHL Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 20 states and two Canadian provinces for its 35th season in 2022-23. There have been 727 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 29 who made their NHL debuts in the 2021-22 season. The ECHL had affiliations with 27 of the 32 NHL teams in 2021-22, marking the 25th consecutive season that the league has 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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