The Indy Fuel announced their offseason protected list this afternoon. The list contains players the Fuel possessed the ECHL rights to at the end of last season. The ECHL operates on one-year player contracts, and teams will begin signing players for next season later this month. Notable on the list in terms of players currently in higher leagues is playmaking forward, former alternate captain, Kevin Lynch, who is playing in the AHL Calder Cup Finals with the Syracuse Crunch. Absent from the list are all players who played for the Fuel on assignment from the affiliate Chicago Blackhawks or Rockford IceHogs, notably both goaltenders– Jake Hildebrand and Eric Levine. After NHL and AHL training camps later this summer, ECHL assignments will begin to take shape. Per the ECHL, the Fuel’s protected list is:
Adam Phillips, Travis Armstrong, Zach Miskovic (Captain), Troy Vance, Chris Williams, Brandon Martell, Anders Franzon, Drew Schiestel and Jacob Poe.
Nick Bligh, Matt Rupert (Alternate Captain), Josh Shalla (Alternate Captain), Paul Zanette, Alex Wideman, Kenny Ryan, Woody Hudson, Michael Neal, Cody Sharib, Kevin Lynch, Marek Tvrdon, Anthony Beauregard, Cason Hohmann, Brady Ramsay, Rhett Bly, Mikhail Stefanovich and Darian Dziurzynski.
Looking forward, Fuel fans should really be excited about the prospect of retaining the core of players that keyed a late-season surge, including Neal, Shalla, Rupert, Hudson, Ryan and the franchise’s first ECHL All-Star Wideman. Poised for a return is team captain Miskovic, as he is coming off of his eighth season of professional hockey and first as a player-assistant coach, and provides a steadying locker room presence to the younger players. Following a minor league team is bittersweet, as you want to root for team success but are torn as you celebrate your favorite players moving up to higher leagues as they chase their NHL dream. Stay tuned to Blue HQ on Twitter and Facebook as we will bring you more in-depth coverage of the Fuel’s offseason as they build for next year. The Fuel will begin the season October 13 in Wichita, before the home opener on October 21.