By Tom LaPlante | Follow me @tlaplante7
With the recent announcement of the Maine Mariners as the ECHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins, as a season ticket holder, I was elated to have the Black and Gold’s ECHL affiliate in my hometown arena, but I also thought this would be an appropriate time to introduce you all to the current roster here in Portland, Maine, and to bring this newest piece of information to light.
Cloutier is a 21-year-old 6′ 0″ 185-pound left-shot left-winger who averaged nearly a point per game in his final two seasons in Gatineau. Stay tuned for more, but I, for one, am excited to see what he can do in the premier ‘AA’ hockey league.
The rest of the Mariners’ roster is not fully filled out yet, but with the ECHL having just wrapped up the Kelly Cup Playoffs, the league has also mandated that teams issue their “Season-Ending Rosters.” The ins and outs of an ECHL roster are many, and I would be happy to go into the details in another article, but the roster announcement is step one in a three-step process of signing players and building a core roster that will be supplemented by both the NHL and AHL affiliate clubs.
Do not expect to see many of the guys playing at the Cross Insurance Arena to be wearing the spoked B anytime soon, and many probably will not even wear the spoked P, but let’s take a quick look at who the Mariners’ Coach and Assistant GM Riley Armstrong has reserved the rights to. Keep in mind, the Mariners’ opted out of the 2020-2021 campaign, along with the rest of the North Division, so any statistics are from the players last season in Maine. If you’d like to take a look at the Mariners’ 2019-2020 season-end statistics, click here.
- Dillan Fox, Nick Master, Ted Hart, Jonathan Desbiens, Michael McNicholas, Conner Bleackley, Mikael Robidoux, Alex Kile, Andrew Romano, Ben Freeman
Bleackley was the 23rd overall pick in the 2014 entry draft by the Colorado Avalanche but never earned a contract, so he went back to the draft and was picked #144 overall in 2016 by St Louis. Bleackley can fly and score goals in bunches but can also disappear for stretches of games as well. He put up 9-14=23 points in 33 games in 2019-2020.
Fox and Hart are two fan favorites; Hart is from nearby Cumberland, Maine, and is the first native Mainer to play for the club. “Teddy” put up 10-8=18 in 48 games but seemed to be finding his game more before COVID shut the season down early. Fox tied for the team lead in goals with 23 and added 17 assists for 40 points and endeared himself to the fanbase with his flowing hair and goal-scoring prowess.
Alex Kile led the squad with 51 points in 57 games and has a knack for scoring the big goals when needed. His physicality and scoring, particularly in overtime, will make his return to Maine very welcomed. McNicholas played four years at UNH before coming to the Mariners in ’18-’19, their (and his) first season in the ECHL. He posted 38 points in 60 games in 2020. Robidoux and Master were rookies in 2019-2020, with Master playing 6 games and Robidoux playing 11.
Someone must have told Robidoux that Portland, Maine, has always been a minor league hockey town because he came out fighting his rookie year amassing 80 PIM in his 11 games. Much like at the Garden, getting into a couple of scraps early will get the Cross Arena fans on your side in a hurry. Desbiens, Romano, and Freeman all were poised to play their first games with the club in 2021, but obviously, that did not come to fruition. Freman played four years at UConn, wearing the C in his last season, and is also from Maine, so I’m sure he will feel right at home.
- Scott Savage, Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin, Michael Kim, Nate Kallen
Savage, Crevier-Morin, and Kallen are the only ones of the four on this list to play for the team in ’19-’20. If Savage’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably because the California native played four years at Boston College. In ’19-’20 with the Mariners’ Savage played 27 games with 8 assists before an injury derailed his season. When he’s healthy, though, he is a solid defenseman who clearly makes the entire team better.
Hopefully, ’21-’22 sees him return with a clean bill of health. Crevier-Morin is a big, physical defenseman who chipped in with 4 goals and 9 assists in 49 games. Kallen played 3 games with the club, not getting on the scoresheet in any of those. He’s a solid skater, and I am excited to get to see more of him in the upcoming year.
No goaltenders were protected by the Mariners, and that isn’t completely shocking, as the Bruins will want their goalies to get as much time as possible in the upcoming season, and there’s no better place to see some rubber in net than the ECHL. Even as recently as the ’19-’20 season Dan Vladar played a game in Atlanta.
If you want to keep up on all the latest Mariners’ news, transactions, and more, follow me on Twitter and check back here for more. The team, and the town, are excited to get back in the building for some hockey; check out the team’s website here. Portland is a great spot, so come check out the city, catch a game, and say hi!