WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce their 15th player signing of the 2023 offseason. Wheeling has re-signed defenseman David Drake to an ECHL contract.
Drake, 28, is set to return for his third season with the Nailers, and is the team's first player signing this summer with veteran status (at least 260 pro games). David is coming off of a career year, as he set personal bests in all offensive categories with four goals, 15 assists, and 19 points. He was also tied for Wheeling's team lead with a +12 rating, and was one of three players who appeared in all 72 contests. The blueliner was first acquired by the Nailers in a trade with the Reading Royals during the 2021-22 campaign. In addition to his four full seasons in the ECHL, Drake has also seen AHL action in his career with Lehigh Valley, Providence, and Rochester, giving him 262 career games played and 53 points.
"David is a player who we counted on in a lot of key situations over the last two seasons," said Nailers Head Coach Derek Army. "He is our most experienced player, and we will lean on him for leadership this season. He led our team defensively last season, because he is tough to play against with his long reach and good stick. Offensively, he is coming off of his best season. We are excited to have number five back in our lineup."
Prior to turning pro, the Naperville, Illinois native played four seasons of college hockey at the University of Connecticut, where he majored in Communications. David's strong defensive game shined in the NCAA, as he averaged over one blocked shot per game during each of his four years with the Huskies and finished with 177. He also recorded 25 points during his time at UConn. Drake first put himself on the professional radar in 2013, when he was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL Entry Draft.
David Drake and the Wheeling Nailers will open the 2023-24 season on the road against the Cincinnati Cyclones on Saturday, October 21st. The team's home opener is Saturday, November 4th against the Reading Royals at 7:10. Season memberships and other terrific ticket plans for the 2023-24 season are available now by calling (304) 234-GOAL. 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.