( Photo Credit: ECHL Maine Mariners )

By: Tom LaPlante | Follow me on Twitter @tlaplante7

It’s Wednesday, so you know what that means: the Maine Mariners have player signings to announce! As has been the norm of late, the ECHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins broke the news Tuesday that they have signed two more players to their 2021-2022 roster, forward Mathew Santos and goaltender Zachary Bouthillier. This week also saw the announcement of a home and home preseason series against the Worcester Railers on October 15th and 16th.

Zachary Bouthillier, the first goaltender to sign for the club for the upcoming season, was a 7th round draft pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2018 draft. He was a member of three different teams over the course of four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), playing for Shawinigan, Chicoutimi, and Saint John. Bouthillier had an impressive rookie season with Shawinigan in 2016-2017, going 11-2-4 with a 3.09 GAA and a .889 save percentage.

Before the next season, Bouthillier was traded to Chicoutimi, where he was fine during the regular season but had a 2.76 GAA and .931 save percentage in the playoffs, which was good enough to draw the attention of the Leafs, who made him the 209th overall pick in the draft. He did not play last year due to the pandemic, but at only 21 years old, Bouthillier is definitely still maturing as a goaltender. He could greatly benefit from playing in a league like the ECHL and gaining experience alongside other young goalies in the Bruins system.

Mathew Santos is another Ryerson Univesity product, having played alongside new Mariners signing Devon Paliani at the Toronto University. Santos was a force at Ryerson during his two seasons there, finishing in the top two in overall team scoring both seasons. As noted in the Tweet above, Santos played 49 games in the ECHL for Toledo, where he scored six goals and added six assists for 12 points.

Santos took the ’17-’18 season off and then joined the Rams at Ryerson. Like his fellow signee Bouthillier, Santos did not play during the 2020-2021 season due to the pandemic. Santos’ career started in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2013-2014 with the North Bay Battalion, and he averaged over a point-per-game in his OHL career; clearly, the 26-year-old knows how to score, and I would love to see that prowess show itself again for the Mariners.

With just over a month to go until opening night, Mariners camp will be opening soon, and with that comes the announcement of a couple of preseason games! While Lewiston is not Portland (it’s about 45 minutes north), the $2 admission certainly is tempting if anyone is starved for some ECHL action.

The Colisee in Lewiston has a long history as it was once the home of the QMJHL Lewiston Maineiacs, and it was also the site of the famous Sonny Liston-Muhammad Ali. “Phantom Punch” boxing match, so maybe the history alone is reason to make the trek. The teams then head to Worcester the following night, and then six days later, it’s for real as the puck drops on the third season of Mariners hockey Friday, October 22nd.

Check out the Mariners website here and pick up some merchandise and ticket packages. Individual game tickets go on sale on September 29th, and if you are interested in ticket packages, don’t forget about the October 5th open house where you can pick your seats and paint the blue line. Follow me here on the blog and on Twitter for all things Mariners.