GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – After such a disappointing 2019-20 season, the Adirondack Thunder are looking to get back to their winning ways for 2020-21. They’ve already gotten the ball rolling with some big signings early on.
First up were forwards Matt Salhany and Mike Szmatula, the top two in points for the Thunder in 2019-20. The two have combined for 190 points the past two seasons.
Defenseman Charlie Curti was next up. Curti is coming off a successful rookie season. The Minnesota native seems to have gained some confidence over the course of the 2019-20 season and improved tremendously. He finished with 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists), leading all Thunder defensemen.
The latest announcement was the signing of forward Alex Carrier. Carrier brings the toughness needed to protect the team’s top scorers like Salhany and Szmatula. He also adds a veteran presence that is often crucial in helping the rookies transition into the pro ranks.
In the Facebook Live announcement of the signing, head coach Alex Loh discussed the reasons for bringing back a guy like Carrier.
“Having Alex [Carrier] back is huge. He’s exactly what we need, his leadership, he’s a veteran guy, exactly the type of person that we love to have here as part of the group.
“Alex is a genuinely nice human being. I think that’s the biggest thing for off the ice. With our players, showing the rookies and younger guys exactly what it takes to be a professional.
“On the ice, a solid winger, plays on our third line. Also gives us that toughness that we need.”
Loh also gave some insight on the goaltending situation for the upcoming season. Adirondack’s affiliate, the New Jersey Devils, plan on sending only one netminder to the Thunder, so the ECHL club will have their own to rely on.
“We will be signing our own goalie this season. New Jersey has told us already that they’re only going to be sending one down for next season.
“We do have a goalie in mind for next season, along with the goalie that we’ll be getting from New Jersey.
“We’re looking for a guy that has a little bit of experience. We want to make sure we have the right guys coming in. With New Jersey, it’s gonna be a younger goalie. We want to make sure we have a guy that’s been around a little bit that can help develop their goalie, and also obviously be a great goalie for us.”
Loh and the announced players have sounded pretty confident in how the team is shaping up for 2020-21.
“I’m super confident with Alex [Loh], with our staff, with our core group of guys coming back, and with some newcomers, we can get our team back to the top echelon of the league and really compete,” Salhany said.
“A little disappointing last year how things turned out, but it seems like we’ve got a good crew coming back with the announcements already made,” Curti said.
If their confidence is any indication, the Thunder are already shaping up as a force to be reckoned with come opening night.
Keep track of all the signings and movement during the 2020 ECHL offseason by visiting our ECHL Transactions page!
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