WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced their 2019 training camp roster. The roster consists of 23 players - 13 forwards, six defensemen, and four goalies.
The 2019 edition of Wheeling Nailers Training Camp has a lot of familiarity to it, as 11 of the 23 players have worn a Wheeling uniform in a previous season. Seven of the remaining 12 have appeared in games at either the AHL or ECHL level.
Two of last season's top three scorers return to Wheeling, as forwards Yushiroh Hirano and Renars Krastenbergs both signed AHL contracts with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Hirano and Krastenbergs combined to rack up 38 goals and 101 points during their first full seasons of professional hockey in North America. Nick Saracino finished the 2018-19 campaign with the AHL's Binghamton Devils, but returns to the Nailers, after collecting 37 points in 27 games during the first half of the year. Alec Butcher is another dynamic returning player for the offense, as he tallied 12 goals and 19 points in 36 games, after joining the club in January, while Lucas Kohls made a quick impression, scoring in his pro debut. Keeping the ice safe for these players will be veteran Brad Drobot, who brings physicality and leadership to the lineup.
Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton have a large impact on the preseason roster, as eight players are under either an NHL or AHL contract, including Hirano and Krastenbergs. One of those players is forward Myles Powell, who was a member of the 2018-19 ECHL All-Rookie Team, after pouring in 31 goals, 35 assists, and 66 points in 57 games with the Brabham Cup Champion Cincinnati Cyclones. Former Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick Jan Drozg makes the jump to the pro game this season with Wheeling, and will be joined by fellow rookie forwards Christopher Brown and Brandon Hawkins, who both found the scoresheet in a few games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last spring.
On the blueline, fan favorite and community star Aaron Titcomb returns for his second pro season, while Craig Skudalski looks to make even larger strides in his second year as a Nailer. Once again, the AHL Penguins made it a priority to add even more quality players to the mix, as fourth year pros Macoy Erkamps and Blake Siebenaler will both log key minutes. Jack Macnee is also back, after joining the team in the final weeks of last season.
Two of Wheeling's four goaltenders have had prior success in the ECHL. Jordan Ruby played a big role with the 2018-19 team, backstopping the Nailers to 12 victories. He will be joined by Andrew D'Agostini, who has 27 career ECHL wins, including a 13-8-2 mark during the 2016-17 campaign, when he and the Brampton Beast reached the second round of the playoffs.
The six players that round out the training camp roster are forwards Anton Lindstrom, Tommy Munichiello, and Willy Smith, defenseman Lane Valimont, and goaltenders Kevin Entmaa and Rob McGovern.
This year's training camp will begin at Printscape Arena in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. All practices are open to the public, who are asked to remain in the seating area while the team is on the ice. Practices on Tuesday, October 1st and Wednesday, October 2nd will take place from 9:45-11:00 a.m., then practice on Thursday, October 3rd will take place from 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
The Wheeling Nailers will play two preseason games on the road against the Fort Wayne Komets this weekend. Friday's tilt is scheduled for 8:05, followed by Saturday's re-match at 7:35. Wheeling will then open its 28th regular season with a road clash against the Cincinnati Cyclones on Saturday, October 12th at 7:35. The home opener will be Saturday, October 19th at 7:05 against the Indy Fuel. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley. For information on season tickets, group tickets, partial plans, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.
2019 Wheeling Nailers Training Camp RosterF Christopher BrownF Alec ButcherG Andrew D'AgostiniF Brad DrobotF Jan DrozgG Kevin EntmaaD Macoy ErkampsF Brandon HawkinsF Yushiroh HiranoF Lucas KohlsF Renars KrastenbergsF Anton LindstromD Jack MacneeG Rob McGovernF Tommy MunichielloF Myles PowellG Jordan RubyF Nick SaracinoD Blake SiebenalerD Craig SkudalskiF Willy SmithD Aaron TitcombD Lane Valimont
2019 Wheeling Nailers Training Camp ScheduleTuesday, October 1st 9:45 AM PracticeWednesday, October 2nd 9:45 AM PracticeThursday, October 3rd 11:00 AM PracticeFriday, October 4th 8:05 PM Preseason Game at Fort WayneSaturday, October 5th 7:35 PM Preseason Game at Fort Wayne