SWAMP RABBITS SUBMIT QUALIFYING OFFERS TO SEVEN
Greenville protects ECHL rights to five forwards and two defensemen
BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits
Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced the team has submitted qualifying offers to seven players from its 2015-16 roster.
“There’s a great deal of leadership, skill and chemistry in this group of players to complement the ones we have already signed,” Head Coach Brian Gratz said. “Between this mix of guys and the players we already have, I think there’s a solid core for us to build a championship-winning team around.”
The Swamp Rabbits have submitted qualifying offers to the following players:
Justin DaSilva (D): DaSilva made 61 appearances with the Swamp Rabbits last season, finishing third on the team with 71 penalty minutes and tying for fifth among all ECHL rookies with seven fighting majors. The 26-year-old also notched 21 points (3g, 18a) and a +5 rating in his first full professional campaign. A native of Cambridge, Ontario, DaSilva played four seasons at Ohio State University prior to turning pro.
Sean Escobedo (D): The 25-year-old led all Swamp Rabbits defensemen with 21 assists in 62 contests last season. He added a goal and 44 penalty minutes and was second among team defensemen with 22 points. A native of Bayside, New York, Escobedo also played 13 games in the American Hockey League (AHL) between the Hartford Wolf Pack, Charlotte Checkers, and Manitoba Moose. He caught fire late in the season, collecting a goal and four assists in just 10 games with Manitoba.
Scott Fleming (F): Fleming, 27, was consistently Greenville’s most productive offensive player last season. He led the team with 71 appearances, 57 points, 36 assists and a +17 rating – all career highs. The Plainfield, Ontario native also finished the season tied for second on the club in goals (21) and added 28 penalty minutes. Fleming will enter his fourth pro campaign this October.
Kellen Jones (F): Greenville acquired Jones’ rights on Jun. 13 in a trade with the Missouri Mavericks to complete the Darian Dziurzynski deal from Mar. 3. The 25-year-old registered more than a point-per-game with the Mavericks last season, helping Missouri to the ECHL’s best regular-season record (52-15-5) and the 2016 Brabham Cup title. He notched 25 points (6g, 19a) and a +9 rating in 23 regular-season games and also made 33 appearances in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors and Utica Comets. A native of Montrose, British Columbia, Jones was initially drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the seventh round (202nd overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Kevin King (F): King, 26, signed with Greenville on Mar. 8 shortly after completing a five-year career at the University of Calgary. He gathered one assist in nine appearances with the Swamp Rabbits and also spent three games with the AHL’s Texas Stars. A Calgary native, King recorded 24 points (7g, 17a), 34 penalty minutes and a +7 rating in 28 games during his final college season in 2015-16.
Ryan Rashid (F): Rashid made 68 appearances with the Swamp Rabbits last season, second-most on the team, and ranked fifth in scoring with 38 points (13g, 25a). The 26-year-old added 53 penalty minutes and also played two games with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. A native of Farmington Hills, Michigan, Rashid will enter his third professional season this October.
Vinny Saponari (F): Saponari, 26, spent the entire 2014-15 campaign with Greenville, but only played 40 games with the club last season. He was signed on Nov. 19 and produced 17 points (6g, 11a) and 12 penalty minutes during several AHL stints. The Powder Springs, Georgia native recorded seven points (1g, 6a) and six penalty minutes in 18 appearances with the AHL’s Portland Pirates, Milwaukee Admirals, and 2016 Calder Cup champion Lake Erie Monsters. Saponari was initially drafted in the fourth round (94th overall) by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Per ECHL guidelines, each team is entitled to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight (8) qualified players. Of those eight, no more than four could be veterans (260 regular-season professional games played as of the start of the 2016-17 season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded.
The qualifying offer must remain open for acceptance until Aug. 1 at which time the qualifying offer becomes null and void and the team may sign the qualified player to any salary or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season.
If a restricted free agent is not signed to either an offer sheet or a contract by an ECHL team by Aug. 31, the player shall be deemed an unrestricted free agent.
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