Well, the official final roster has finally been released and I managed to get the it and the affiliate list updated, sort of. I'll update official jersy number, height and weight later. I also plan on adding college commitments. I'm still a little confused, traditionally the rosters are 23 man and I'm showing 24 from the Phantoms. The USHL lists show Lukas Craggs as an affiliate and not on the full roster. That confusion aside, we now know who's going to be in Ann Arbor on Saturday.

I guess I'll start with the people who won't be with the team. The biggest surprise, Zach Evancho did not make the final cut. I thought Evancho looked to have improved, especially on the PK. But this is probably the most competitive group of forwards that coach Noreen has ever had to cut from. He was picked by the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL in their 2014 draft, that's a very likely landing point for him. After playing 108 regular season games for my favorite team I wish him the best of luck and really hope he finds a new spot quickly. Also cut were forward Ludvig Larsson and defenseman Chris MacMillian. I thought Larsson, the brother of former Phantom captain Alfred, had a good chance. He played some smart hockey and had good vision. MacMillian was a large, aggressive blueliner I thought could have made an impact (literally) as well. Both shouldn't have much trouble finding a slot somewhere. Both were import players. Also not finding a spot was '94 defensman Alex Carle who made the roster last season but fell to injury early in the season. I can only suspect he wasn't ready to play yet.

 

As far as forwards, we're loaded for bear this season. With Kyle Connor and Max Letunov returning and the addition of Ryan Lomberg and Taylor Best we have as formidable of an offense as you'll see in the league. Chase Pearson is also a name we're expected to hear a lot of this season, being a participant in the USA All-American Prospects game and showing on the early NHL CSS report. Also, James Winkler is a forward with a big body who would look real good parked in front of an opposing goalie.

Defensively, we have two returners from last seasons Phantoms squad in Matt Miller and Tommy Parran. Additionally we traded late and former Chicago Steel d-man Connor Yau was a surprise addition to the roster. Yau played in 46 games for the Steel last season. The biggest addition to defense is Vasili Kolias. Kolias was acquired in the dispersal draft from the dormant Indiana Ice. He's a smaller blueliner with lots of speed and great puck skills. He's reminiscent of Ryan Lowney who played for the Phantoms in the 11-12 and 12-13 seasons. His skating and vision should allow him to be a very effective player at both ends of the ice. Ty Farmer is another small, mobile defensman who was tendered and will have to play a minimum of 33 games. Kris Myllari is a larger defensman who looks very comfortable and I'm glad to see the PSU commit get a chance on the squad. 

For goaltending, not much has changed from previousl lists except Ryan Bednard is back on the affiliate list. I expect Collin DeAugustine and Chris Birdsall to provide a solid presence in net. I think DeAugustine will be the #1 goalie early in the season, but Birdsall is worthy of starting on a USHL team and is also on the NHL's CSS list, one only 2 USHL goalies with a B rank on the list next to USA NTDP's Luke Olpika. I like a little goalie competition during the season, things should be leaps and bounds better than last season with a pair of healthy goalies. Bednard is also on the CSS list and if anything goes wrong with one of the others, it's a short trip from Johnstown - just ask DeAugustine. 

And that's where we stand, I guess. Hopefully there won't be much news before Saturday night. I hope to see a few Phantoms Phaithfull in Ann Arbor for the game.