What’s been happening this summer with the Solar Bears? Aside from a hot, rainy summer, we have some interesting things in the works here.
As posted previously by Katya, the Toronto Marlies signed goalie Cal Heeter to a contract. Details of the contract were not released, so it is unclear if it is a one, two or three way deal. What makes the Heeter signing of particular interest to Marlies and Solar Bears fans alike is the fact that Orlando’s starting goaltender from last season’s playoff run, Ryan Massa, is still unsigned.
Massa was injured in the line brawl against in-state rival Florida Everblades in the game three of the first round of last season’s playoffs. He suffered a concussion during the brawl, and did not return for the final playoff games. Massa also had a number of concussions during his college career, and it is whispered that his playing days might be over. We hope not, but could Heeter be the next goalie in Amway Arena?
- The Solar Bears signed defenseman Adam Phillips who was acquired in an off-season trade with the Indy Fuel. Phillips has skated in 168 career ECHL games with Indy, Norfolk, Kalamazoo and Stockton, recording 67 points (21g-46a) and 68 penalty minutes.
- The Bears agreed to terms with defenseman Sam Jardine for the upcoming season. Jardine helped Colorado to the 2016-2017 Kelley Cup with Colorado was a college teammate of Bears forward Chris Crane at Ohio State University.
- The Orlando Solar Bears have agreed to terms with forward Kyle Rankin for the 2017-18 season. Rankin, 24, joins Orlando after completing his first full season of professional hockey in 2016-17 for the Elmira Jackals, recording 23 points (6g-17a) and 61 penalty minutes in 68 games, and served as one of the team’s alternate captains
- The Orlando Solar Bears have agreed to terms with veteran forward Tristan King for the 2017-18 season. King, 26, enters his eighth season of professional hockey after recording 37 points (15g-22a) and 12 penalty minutes in 55 games split between the Allen Americans, Indy Fuel and Greenville Swamp Rabbits during the 2016-17 season. King helped Allen capture the 2016 Kelly Cup, and was teammates with current Solar Bears forward Chris Crane.
- The Orlando Solar Bears have agreed to terms with rookie forward Chris LeBlanc for the 2017-18 season. LeBlanc, 23, is expected to begin his first full season of professional hockey after briefly playing for the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators and ECHL’s Wichita Thunder at the end of the 2016-17 campaign. LeBlanc appeared in six games with Binghamton, and logged five assists and two penalty minutes in seven contests for Wichita.
- The Orlando Solar Bears have acquired the rights to defenseman Alex Mikulovich from the Rapid City Rush in exchange for forward Darik Angeli. Mikulovich finished last season in the ECHL with Rapid City where he played 36 games, scoring 1 goal with 5 assists and added 41 penalty minutes. Alex is not currently under contract to Orlando.
I’ll be back with my next column in a month! Until then, you can follow me for Solar Bears news @pas_55 on Twitter.