Courtesy of a quick heads up from THJN, the 1st update to the USHL protected lists have been released. Due to a rules change last week, USHL teams did not have to cut down their 30 man rosters to 23 yesterday and will not have to until the 22nd of the month. Most people did not expect an official list of any sort yet so this is a surprise. It obviously is incomplete and the Phantoms have a few names not on the list that should be on the final roster. Maybe by next week. And for what it's worth, I have from a good source that Max Letunov was recently still on a an unreleased list, so don't hit the panic button just yet.

  1. BIRDSALL, CHRISTOPHER D
  2. BRADLEY, TREY W
  3. CONLEY, KEVIN M
  4. CONNOR, KYLE D
  5. DEAUGUSTINE, COLIN J
  6. DRABIN, JOSEPH T
  7. EVANCHO, ZACHARY J
  8. KOLIAS, VASILI N
  9. LEMOS, BRYAN A
  10. MELNICK, JOSHUA M
  11. MEYER, GRANT J
  12. MILLER, MATHEW
  13. NENADAL, JOSHUA D
  14. PARRAN, THOMAS A
  15. PEARSON, CHASE C
  16. SHERWOOD, KIEFER D
  17. TY, FARMER
  18. VANCE, CARSON R
  19. WINKLER, JAMES P

I'm not one who likes to publish unsourced rumors (read as Twitter/Facebook/obscure hockey forums) but... OK, I'm not kidding anyone, am I? Here is one I've been seeing for quite some time and I figured while I had a rare quite day I would type something up. With a few openings for overage players to fill, here is an exciting one to mull over. The name is Taylor Best.

Best has played the past 3+ seasons with the Whitby Fury of the OJHL, a Canadian Jr. A league. The 5'10", 168lb, '94 birth year forward had a breakout season in 13-14, finishing the regular season with 37 goals and 53 assists for 90 points, tieing for 3rd in the OJHL in goals and leading the league in assists and total points. He was most dominate on the Fury's league leading powerplay figuring into 56% of their 71 PP goals, scoring 11 and assisting on 29. His performance earned several awards and honors including being named to the OJHL First All-Star Team, OJHL League MVP and OJHL Most Improved Player. It also earned him a scholarship at a D1 college, Mercyhurst University. He was initilay set to start there in 14-15 but seems to have delayed his entry and very well may end up in a Phantoms jersey.

Well, it's been a few weeks without any major news. Hockey camps of all levels are ramping up, tournaments are being played and it's time to start thinking about our upcoming season. I have a few miscellaneous items that I'd like to touch upon today.

First up is about the Phantoms newest acquisition. The Phantoms acquired Ryan Lomberg from Lincoln for 3 conditional draft picks. Lomberg had played the previous 2 seasons at the University of Maine. However, the D1 schools 3rd leading scorer last year was suspended for an off-ice fight. He played a season for Muskegon who traded his rights to Lincoln who traded him to us. Lomberg has cleared up his legal issues and is appealing his suspension to the universities President. The article has quite a few more details on the incident that led to his suspension and how the appeals process works. If his suspension is upheld, he'll most likely be reporting to Youngstown. Should the suspension be overturned or lessened enough, he'll undoubtedly be heading back to Maine. If it's the latter, the big question will be what we did or didn't give up for nothing.

Next up is some changes the OHL, one of the 3 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) junior leagues, has made to the rules regarding fighting and dangerous hits. Players will receive a game misconduct for their 3rd fight in a game (as opposed the the 2nd in the USHL) and teams will be fined for more than 3 fights in a game. Additionally the rules regarding staged fights has been extended to include any face-off in a game, not just the start of a period, and players will receive a game misconduct for participating in a staged fight. Dangerous hits, which include checking to the head, checking from behind, boarding, kneeing, and clipping will now incur incremental penalties. Players receiving 3 major or game misconducts for dangerous hits in a season or 4 minor penalties in a season for dangerous hits will receive a game suspension and the length of suspension  will be increased a game for each additional infraction. This is important to the USHL because USA Hockey (who governs the USHL) and the CHL have been working together to lower injuries. Many people, including myself, think that both leagues need to be in step with each other to keep a balance between both systems with regards to developing talent pools and getting players drafted. I think the CHL has done a good job at defining and putting in writing what they're doing but I feel it's less than the USHL's efforts in some areas. We'll need to see if the other CHL leagues, the QMJHL and the WHL, follow along and if USA Hockey and the USHL make any more changes.

 

Finally is the Phantoms schedule. The official schedules for some teams are coming out, though not the Phantoms as of this moment. So far the schedule looks a little weak with only 2 games at the USHL Fall Classic, Sep. 16th vs. Dubuque and the 17th vs. USA U18, announced so far. I don't really know what to make of that. I know last years 5 game schedule didn't fare well for Jake Moore and playing all 5 probably contributed to early season fatigue. Sometimes teams don't like to show their rosters too soon and give other teams early opportunities to scout them. Maybe it's travel considerations, being the easternmost team. Whatever the reason, I don't think just 2 games is enough to get the whole team, especially those who have never played a USHL game before, into the flow of things for the regular season. We'll just have to wait until the official preseason schedule comes out.