WHEELING, W.Va. – As the number of days before training camp continues to dwindle, the Wheeling Nailers made three more roster moves to fill out their preseason roster. Wednesday, the team signed Ivan Chukarov and traded the rights for defenseman Patrick McNally to Reading. Friday, the Nailers announced defenseman Dylan MacPherson is returning for the 2021-22 season.
The 26-year-old Chukarov is entering his third season as a professional, spending his first two years with the Worcester Railers. He made his pro debut in February 2019 after four years in college at UMass-Amherst. The Des Plaines, Illinois native ended his first season with a bang, netting a pair of goals in a 5-4 Worcester overtime win over Adirondack and on a four-game point streak.
During his college career, Chukarov recorded six goals, 19 assists, and 25 points in 128 games for the Minutemen. Before starting his college career, he was selected in the seventh round, with the 182nd overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
“I coached Ivan in Worcester, and really enjoyed working with him, because he wants to get better every day, and is always looking for ways to develop,” head coach Derek Army said of Chukarov. “He is a long defenseman with elite skating ability and good offensive upside. I’m looking forward to seeing him in training camp.”
“I had a great relationship with Derek Army when I was in Worcester, and I know he is extremely passionate about building a winner in Wheeling. I pride myself in my skating and my vision while being tough to play against.” Chukarov added.
With their second transaction Wednesday, the Nailers shipped the rights of defenseman Patrick McNally to the Reading Royals for future considerations. After being acquired in an early-season trade with Orlando in 2020-21, the Glen Head, NY native played in 56 games, contributing eight goals and 24 assists for 32 points from the blueline. Prior to the trade, he had played in 15 games notching five assists for the Solar Bears.
To finish the week, the black and Vegas gold announced defenseman Dylan MacPherson re-signed for the 2021-22 season. Last season, MacPherson split time between the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Wheeling. He played in ten games for the Penguins in the AHL, while also suiting up for 28 games in the ECHL with the Nailers. In those 28 games for Wheeling, MacPherson recorded seven assists and finished the year with an even plus/minus rating. 2020-21 was MacPherson’s second year as a pro.
In his rookie campaign the Radcliff, Alberta native notched 17 points in 54 games with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. He has also seen AHL time in both of his professional seasons, suiting up for a pair of games with the Springfield Thunderbirds in 2019-20, plus a pair of contests in 2018-19 after finishing his junior career. Recently, MacPherson attended the Pittsburgh Penguins development camp.
“Dylan MacPherson is an important leader for this team, and he is the straw that stirs the drink, as our winning percentage with him in the lineup reflected,” Army commented. “He is big and mobile, and we are looking forward to continuing to push him to the next level as he has a very bright future.”
The Nailers will open the 30th season in Wheeling on the road in Fort Wayne on October 23rd. Their home opener, also against the Komets, will be on Saturday, November 6.
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