The Trois-Rivières Lions take their first steps towards the 2022-23 ECHL season

The Florida Everblades took home the ultimate ECHL award on Saturday night, beating the Toledo Walleyes in five games to win the Kelly Cup. It seems like a long time ago the Trois-Rivières Lions pushed the heavily favored Newfoundland Growlers to a winner-takes-all Game 7 before finally running out of steam and being eliminated.

Since then, there has been little news for the Lions to report. We know that the team’s MVP and top scorer, Anthony Nellis, has signed to play in Slovakia next season. Obviously, this is a massive loss for the team, which cannot be officially dealt with until several end-of-season milestones are reached. Rookie defender Luke Orysiuk signed to play in France, and forward Julien Nantel decided to retire during the Lions playoffs.

On June 1, ECHL teams released their protected rosters, which is just a formality to start shaping squads for next season. The Lions roster didn’t really have any surprises, as the entire playoff roster was on the roster, plus injured players Francis Thibault and William Leblanc and suspended players Guillaume Beaudoin and Jesse Lees.

Future Consideration Trade Deadline and End of Season List

The next step is Monday at 3:00 p.m., by which time all pending future transactions must be completed. These exchanges cannot be carried over to the following season.

The Lions have had three such trades, receiving Nellis from the Fort Wayne Komets on Aug. 30, trading Anthony DeLuca to Kansas City on Jan. 29, and trading Cedric Desruisseaux’s ECHL rights to the Wheeling Nailers on March 25.

There was talk earlier this week that the Komets had traded their future counterpart to Kansas City, which would cancel a debt to the Lions, but it was unclear whether Kansas City had traded that pick again. at Indy.

Speculation is that the Lions will receive forward Perrick Dubé from Wheeling to complete their trade. Dubé was a player the Nailers ripped off waivers from the Lions to start with.

On Wednesday, June 15, the Lions will submit their end-of-season 20-man roster, which is a list of all the players they wish to retain the rights to.

Build Lions 2022-23

The first day to sign players for a contract for next season is Thursday, June 16. General manager Marc-André Bergeron mentioned in his end-of-season press conference that offers have already been made to some players, so we could receive our first announcements as soon as possible. from this week.

For players who are signed within two weeks, there is no other step than waiting for training camp. For players unsigned by June 30, Lions can submit up to eight qualifying offers, valid for two weeks. Non-veteran players don’t have much leverage, as the team retains playing rights if they don’t sign the offer. Veteran players can reject the offer and become restricted free agents, in which case they can shop around, but the Lions will have the right to match any offer the player receives.

Team veterans include Mathieu Brodeur (636 professional games played), Olivier Archambault (333) and Mathieu Gagnon (326). Brodeur was the only Lions player to play in all 76 games and was a mainstay on defense. Archambault was polarizing, as he led the team in scoring, but his poor decision-making often offered turnovers. Gagnon was brought in as the muscle of the team, but struggled on the hockey front. Teams are allowed to carry four veteran players.

Key elements of the team are entering their final seasons as non-veterans. Alexis D’Aoust (237), Olivier Galipeau (230) and Cedric Montminy (216) will certainly be important to bring back, although it’s well known that D’Aoust is looking for an AHL contract somewhere.

With the Laval Rocket still in the AHL playoffs, no one knows if the key players under AHL contract will return next season to lend a hand to the Lions, with Peter Abbandonato and Kevin Poulin at the helm. discussion, as well as Shawn St-Amant.

After a successful inaugural season, the Lions will be looking to build on their performances, and the first decisions to determine what the squad will look like are being made right now.

Charles P. Patton