WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce their 16th player signing of the 2017 offseason. Wheeling has signed forward Kenny Ryan to an ECHL contract.
Ryan, 26, gives the Nailers four veteran players for the 2017-18 season, as he enters his seventh campaign at the professional level. A 2009 second round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kenny first broke into the pros during the 2011-12 season, when he played for the Reading Royals and Toronto Marles. He notched 13 goals and 23 points in 32 games with the Royals, and went on to play three straight seasons in the AHL from 2012-15. Ryan's best AHL season took place in 2014-15, when he recorded 12 goals and 29 points in 73 games with the Lake Erie Monsters. Last year, Kenny chalked up two goals and one assist in eight games with the AHL's San Diego Gulls, while posting 13 goals and 33 points in 44 ECHL games with the Cincinnati Cyclones and Indy Fuel. His best individual performance of last season came on March 19th, when he netted a hat trick against the Quad City Mallards. That game began a stretch which saw him rack up eight points in four contests.
"Kenny Ryan is a veteran presence, and is one of the top forwards in the league," said Nailers Head Coach Jeff Christian. "We will be looking at him to drive the offense for us, starting with the fact that he's a great face-off guy. He can play in all situations, he wants to get back to the AHL, and he will be able to lead the team on and off of the ice."
Prior to turning pro, the Franklin, Michigan native played two seasons of junior hockey with the OHL's Windsor Spitfires. In 2009-10, he produced 35 points in 52 regular season games, then added five points in 19 postseason contests, as the Spitfires dominated the OHL en route to their second straight Memorial Cup Championship. Windsor fell short in the conference final round the following year, but Ryan had another successful season individually, amassing 60 points in the regular season and 12 points in the playoffs. Kenny was teammates with former Nailer and two-time Stanley Cup Champion Tom Kuhnhackl in 2010-11. The forward also spent two seasons with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program's Under-18 Team, tallying 31 points in 52 games. Additionally, he collected 49 points in 62 games with the U.S. National Under-18 Team.
"Wheeling has always been a great organization from top to bottom, and the team does a great job of developing players," Ryan said. In my career, I've learned a lot and seen a lot, and I am just excited to get out there and have a good year. I play a 200-foot game, and I'm hoping to contribute to the offensive side. Individual success comes from team success, and throughout my whole career, I've played whatever has been asked of me."
Kenny Ryan and the Wheeling Nailers will begin the 2017-18 season with two road games against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on October 13th and 14th. The home opener at WesBanco Arena takes place on October 21st at 7:05, when the Nailers do battle with the Cincinnati Cyclones. To purchase season, flex, or group tickets, or to get more information on tickets and events, call (304) 234-GOAL.