Summer Blog Entry: August 26, 2016
08/26/2016 3:14 PM - Adam Turner
Caught up with Tim Branham today after spending a month at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio and talked about how the 2016-2017 team is shaping up. He has been in the office recruiting and working on this year’s group.
The Grizzlies expect to have arguably the best goaltending duo in the league. The team’s defensemen are going to be very experienced and polished. The team announced Mike Banwell on Wednesday. Banwell has played in 228 professional games, which doesn’t qualify him under ECHL veteran status (260 games), but it’s close enough.
With elite goaltending and defensemen that don’t make mistakes, the Grizzlies aren’t going to allow many goals. Combine that with an already fast and hardworking group of forwards and it’s a solid nucleus the team has put together early. We’ll announce another solid defenseman or two next week.
In case you’ve missed some signings, here’s what’s been announced so far:
The whiteboard in Tim’s office is filled with experienced names as he looks to continue adding pieces here and there.
We’ll announce our preseason schedule with Idaho early next week. Training camp will be abbreviated this year as AHL and ECHL camps will be running concurrently, so the Grizzlies will push back their training camp start date 4-6 days later than usual.
Summer Blog Entry: August 19, 2016
08/19/2016 11:21 AM - Adam Turner
This wraps up the final quiet week of the season for the Grizzlies. Opening Night is eight weeks from tonight and things will start to move quickly from here.
Last year Idaho, Colorado and Utah were all separated by two points during the regular season and judging by the summer; all three teams have made some impressive upgrades. Idaho has added to their backend, Colorado has added even more skill upfront and the Grizzlies have some additional surprises that we’ve alluded to that we’ll be announcing soon. The first big announced signing was Brandon McNally, a second year pro, who spent last year in the Montreal system.
This is my fourth and final blog from the Summer Olympics in Brazil where I’ve been since July 25 with our sister company Cartan Global and their clients visiting for the games. Looking forward to getting back into fulltime hockey mode. We have some exciting announcements on all fronts to make leading up to the season.
We’ll see if the late situation of Patrick Roy departing in Colorado has any late trickle down affect on the ECHL that might go into Labor Day by the time the aftermath is done. Two AHL coaches and two NHL assistants were mentioned as candidates in reports yesterday.
Summer Blog Entry: August 12, 2016
08/12/2016 4:31 PM - Adam Turner
Utah has re-signed C.J. Eick, who was issued a qualifying offer on July 1. His speed on the ice was the first characteristic fans picked up on in the seven regular season games and ten playoff games that he competed in after completing college at Michigan Tech.
Head Coach Tim Branham signed on Tuesday what I consider to be an MVP caliber player who is familiar with fans, but the announcement will not come for awhile. Teams can announce summer signings whenever they want, and in this particular case, one of the best will be held for one of the last. However, each Head Coach receives a list every week that lists all of the players signed by a team whether they have been announced publicly or not.
Branham had an active week as Brandon McNally was announced on Wednesday after he split last year in the Montreal Canadians minor league system. Branham is also close on a veteran defenseman as well that will be announced when complete. As I said a few weeks ago, this is the time of the summer where actual impact signings start to happen. Tim Branham is a tireless old school recruiter who always gets the edge on several key players every summer by just working the phones.
The Grizzlies will have a schedule change to a road game in Florida on Saturday, March 11 as the Orlando Magic will be in action at Amway Center following the NBA’s schedule release yesterday.
Summer Blog Entry: August 6, 2016
08/06/2016 3:34 AM - Adam Turner
Opening night is now exactly two months from Sunday. The Grizzlies and Idaho are currently finalizing their preseason schedule that will look a little different this year.
The ECHL announced this week one rule change for 2016-2017 that will prohibit teams from calling timeout following an icing call joining the AHL and the NHL with this new change.
Alex Krushelnyski, who after the last two years is the 25th leading scorer in team history with 42 goals and 75 assists for 117 points in 130 games, has signed an AHL contract with Ottawa. He was on an AHL contract last year with the New York Rangers but played in Utah because the Grizzlies owned his ECHL rights and were unable to come to an agreement with
Greenville to trade him there so he could play for the Rangers ECHL affiliate.
The ECHL unveiled a new fully responsive website earlier this week. The Grizzlies 2016-2017 website is currently in development and will be unveiled before the season starts. Also, if you missed the new app the Grizzlies unveiled late last season make sure to download that from Google Play or the Apple App Store by searching “Utah Grizzlies ECHL”. The app is designed by Infinity Pro Sports.