WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins have announced their Season-Opening Roster and captains for the 2016-17 season. Jeff Christian's crew consists of 23 players, with a breakdown of 12 forwards, eight defensemen, and three goaltenders.
Starting with the largest group, the forwards come in with a significant amount of professional experience, as well as the ability to put the puck in the net on a consistent basis. Cody Wydo finished second on the Nailers last season with 23 goals in the regular season, before leading the club with 12 markers during the playoffs. He is joined up front by a fan favorite in Derek Army, who was Wheeling's leading goal scorer in 2014-15, with 29. Jordan Kwas and Andrew Ammon also return for the Eastern Conference Champions, and will be supported by some powerful players from around the league. Josh Shalla lit the lamp 20 times as a member of the Toledo Walleye last season, and has 72 career goals in the ECHL. Garrett Meurs chipped in with 18 tallies as a Fort Wayne Komet, Kenton Miller dented the twine 16 times with the Wichita Thunder, and Nick Sorkin and Darryl Lloyd each reached double digits in goals during their most recent campaigns in North America. Finally, there are three rookies who will suit up at forward - 6-foot-7 Christian Hilbrich out of Cornell University, former WHL Champion Gage Quinney, and Alex Kromm, who got a taste of the pro game last spring.
On defense, the Nailers will have a young bunch, but four of the eight have played professionally, with three of those four having been in Wheeling. The most experienced player in the group is Brett Stern, who played in all 98 games with the Nailers last season, accumulating 29 points between the regular season and playoffs. Danny Fick and Kevin Schulze also return to Wheeling, following last spring's memorable run to the Kelly Cup Final. Sam Windle got his career started last season with the Reading Royals and Norfolk Admirals, but has traded in those colors for the chance to play in the Ohio Valley. The first year players are: former Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick Ryan Segalla, Michael Webster, who posted 44 points with the OHL's Barrie Colts last season, Kyle Flemington, who spent the last two seasons in Europe, and Ross McMullan, who attended St. Lawrence University.
Between the pipes, the Nailers received the services of Doug Carr earlier in the week, after he attended AHL training camp with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Carr has spent the first two years of his career in both the AHL and ECHL, gaining postseason experience in the spring as a member of the Manchester Monarchs. Doug is joined by a pair of rookies - Greg Lewis and Michael Doan. Lewis just completed a four-year college career at Clarkson University, posting 14 victories in his senior season. Doan started at Northern Michigan University, but then transferred to the University of Windsor in 2015-16.
Nailers Head Coach Jeff Christian has also named his captains for the 2016-17 campaign. The captain will be third year forward and fan favorite Derek Army. One of the alternate captains will be defenseman Brett Stern, who was very well-liked in the dressing room last season, as he won the Player's Player Award, as voted on by his teammates. The other alternate captain will be Darryl Lloyd, who has 12 years of professional playing experience in North America and Europe.
These 2016-17 Wheeling Nailers will begin the 25th season of professional hockey in Wheeling presented by The Health Plan on Saturday night, when they host the Brampton Beast at 7:05. The Eastern Conference Championship Banner gets raised to the rafters, and alumni such as Doug Sauter, Brock Woods, and Sean Collins will be part of the celebration. To purchase your tickets, or to get information on season tickets, group tickets, mini plans, and more, call the Nailers at (304) 234-GOAL.2016-17 Wheeling Nailers1 G Michael Doan2 D Ryan Segalla3 D Ross McMullan4 D Sam Windle5 D Danny Fick6 D Kyle Flemington7 F Gage Quinney8 F Nick Sorkin9 F Christian Hilbrich10 F Alex Kromm11 F Cody Wydo16 F Derek Army (C)17 F Jordan Kwas21 F Andrew Ammon23 F Garrett Meurs24 D Michael Webster25 F Josh Shalla26 D Kevin Schulze27 D Brett Stern (A)28 F Kenton Miller30 G Greg Lewis31 G Doug Carr72 F Darryl Lloyd (A)