PORTLAND, Maine – ARGGGGGHHHH!
The Maine Mariners announced on Monday that they had signed former Portland Junior Pirates defenseman Ryan Jackson. He is the third player who had played in Maine before the ECHL, joining Ted Hart and Ben Freeman.
Jackson, age 25, played four seasons at NCAA Division III Manhattanville College, posting 13 goals and 32 assists (45 points) over 104 games. He turned pro earlier this year as his college career ended, joining the SPHL’s Fayetteville Marksmen. Though a Montréal native, Jackson has ties to Maine, playing one season for the Portland Junior Pirates (2014-15), splitting time between the USPHL Premier and Elite leagues.
Jackson was signed one week after fellow defenseman Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin was re-signed for his second year in Maine.
Crevier-Morin, a staple on the Mariners’ blueline this past season, will look to improve upon a fine first season in Maine. He put up a respectable four goals and nine assists in 46 games, but also led the entire Mariners roster in plus-minus, with a plus-13 rating. The 24-year-old and fourth-year pro will likely be relied upon heavily again this season.
After a predominantly forward-focused group of signings to start the offseason, the Mariners have turned a page and started to focus on signing defensemen. Jackson and Crevier-Morin join Nate Kallen on the blueline signees thus far.
The Mariners have signed 11 players in total, yet their combined experience in ECHL regular-season contests is just under 600 total games played. And, out of 26 teams in the league, they are currently the fourth-youngest team by average age based on current signees. While a young team, more seasoned players like Crevier-Morin will be crucial in ensuring the proper development of inexperienced professional players like Jackson, while keeping the team heading in the right direction.
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