The roster for the Rochester Americans season opener is pretty much set.Â It appears as if we won’t have that goon / enforcer / muscle that we had all hoped for, but it’s time to move beyond that (for now).Â Assuming the team can put in a solid effort for 60 minutes, the team should will be successful.Â We have an excellent new head coach, improved goal tending, and a commitment to success.Â One thing is for certain, if the season starts out slow we’ve been told that we will see changes.Â With Shawn Matthias still in Florida we are still short on someone at center for opening night.
Rory Fitzpatrick will be wearing the “C” on his jersey this season.Â Still no news on who will wear the “A,” but two excellent choices would be Stefan Meyer and Janis Sprukts.Â Both are consistent players that continue to play strong every night and have shown leadership on and off the ice.
Keys to a win (pretty obvious): A full 60 minutes of effort, and play physical.Â The Syracuse Crunch are a physical team, the Amerks need to set the tone showing they won’t back down.Â Even if the gloves aren’t going to be dropped, if a full game is played we’ll be able to score.Â Chris Beckford-Tseu is someone that players will be able to rely on in goal.
According to Amerks.com, here’s the current lineup heading into Thursday (continue reading below for additional notes):
|2||Michael Caruso||D||L||6-2||191||Jul 5, 1988||Mississauga Ont|
|3||Jason Garrison||D||L||6-0||205||Nov 13, 1984||White Rock BC|
|4||Rory Fitzpatrick||D||R||6-2||208||Jan 11, 1975||Rochester NY|
|5||Janis Sprukts||C||L||6-3||235||Jan 31, 1982||Riga Lat|
|7||Drew Larman||C||R||6-3||197||May 15, 1985||Buffalo NY|
|8||Keaton Ellerby||D||L||6-4||186||Nov 5, 1988||Strathmore AB|
|10||Stefan Meyer||LW||L||6-2||200||Jul 20, 1985||Fox Valley, SK|
|11||Brady Calla||RW||R||6-1||205||Mar 14, 1988||Kelowna BC|
|12||Peter Aston||D||R||6-1||205||Feb 24, 1986||Toronto Ont|
|14||Mike Duco||RW||R||5-10||194||Jul 8, 1987||Toronto Ont|
|15||Tanner Glass||LW||L||6-1||210||Nov 29, 1983||Craven SK|
|17||Dan Collins||RW||R||6-2||195||Feb 26, 1987||Syracuse NY|
|18||Andrew Sweetland||LW||L||6-2||204||Oct 21, 1986||Bonavista Nfd|
|19||Karl Stewart||LW||L||5-11||185||Jun 30, 1983||Scarborough Ont|
|20||Luke Beaverson||D||L||6-4||220||Dec 11, 1984||St. Paul MN|
|22||Kenndal McArdle||LW||L||5-11||205||Jan 4, 1987||Toronto Ont|
|25||Jordan Henry||D||L||6-2||198||Feb 11, 1986||Milo AB|
|26||Michal Repik||RW||R||5-10||180||Dec 31, 1988||Vlasim Cze|
|27||Doug O’Brien||D||L||6-1||200||Feb 16, 1984||St. John’s Nfd|
|28||Neil Clark||LW||L||6-2||203||Jul 25, 1981||Burnaby BC|
|30||Chris Beckford-Tseu||G||L||6-0||201||Jun 22, 1984||Toronto, ON|
|32||Franklin MacDonald||D||L||6-0||198||Apr 8, 1985||Sydney NS|
|34||David Brine||C||L||6-1||201||Jan 6, 1985||Truro NS|
|35||Tyler Plante||G||L||6-4||191||Apr 16, 1987||Milwaukee WI|
With that roster, we’re currently short on someone at center.Â The 4th spot is expected to go to Shawn Matthias, but he’s still with the Florida Panthers.Â We may not know until Friday what the deal is.Â Hopefully more information will surface on Thursday.Â Would be great to have him at the opener, expectations are high for him.
Expect Janis Sprukts, Stefan Meyer, and Michal Repik to be the top line.Â We’re hoping to get further details on the other three lines.
Chris Beckford-Tseu had an impressive pre-season and will be starting in goal.
Starting defensemen will probably be Rory Fitzpatrick, Jason Garrison, Michael Caruso, Peter Aston, Luke Beaverson, and Doug O’Brien.Â Keaton Ellerby has been nursing an ‘upper body injury.’Â With an abundance of defensemen I can’t imagine him starting the season playing injured.Â That also leaves Franklin MacDonald as an extra.Â I wouldn’t be too suprised if he was reassigned to the Florida Everblades.
Jordan Henry will be out at least another week with a knee injury.
Kevin O noted — James DeLory came out of junior as a defenseman but the Panthers will be converting him to a right winger.Â Heâ€™ll be learning the new position with the ECHLâ€™s Florida Everblades.
Sounds like Marc-Andre Gragnani of last season, absolutely horrible on defense, but once he moved up his play improved immensely.Â He ended the season as one of the best on the ice.
Overall the lineup may not be one that is considered “stacked,” but it is what it is.Â Openingh night is less than 48 hours away.Â It’s a new day for a Rochester tradition.Â At this point many will be pessimistic, I’ve become optimistic.Â The Florida Panthers and new Amerks ownership are under pressure to put a successful team on the ice.Â If that doesn’t happen I think all are aware a mutiny may occur.
For more on each player you can check out the Democrat and Chronicles “Meet the 2008 Rochester Americans” article.