The Indiana Ice announced the members of the franchise’s All-Decade team on Sunday.
The 10 players were the elite from a franchise that has produced six NHL players — with several more in the pipeline — two division titles and two Clark Cup championships in its 10-year history. Paring down such a list couldn’t have been easy — a lot of excellent players (including some who have played — or will play — in the NHL) had to fit into those 10 spots. Three comprised the same line, three have won Clark Cups, two have played in the NHL and one has played in the KHL. Eight have heard their names called in the NHL Draft.
The list, and some of my thoughts on each player …
Blake Coleman: Forward for the Ice from 2009-11. He was the national Junior Hockey Player of the Year in 2011, tallying 34 goals and 58 assists, setting the team record for assists and points. Coleman had 42 goals and 66 assists over his two-year career with the Ice. The Plano, Texas native developed quickly as a big presence on a line with Daniil Tarasov and Brian Ferlin during the 2010-11 season, and became the USHL’s Player of the Year, Forward of the Year, and earned a third-round pick. Watching Coleman develop into a star at the junior level was a real treat. The New Jersey Devils draft pick has continued to score in bunches, averaging more than a point a game this year as a junior at Miami University.
— Blake Coleman (@BColes25) July 22, 2014
Scott Conway: A second-generation Indianapolis hockey player — his father was a Checker before rewriting the British hockey record books — Conway emerged as an offensive force during the 2013-14 season with the Ice. He led the Ice to a Clark Cup title, with team highs in points during the regular season (33 goals, 35 assists, 68 points) and playoffs (4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points). One could see Conway’s impact on the lines he centered during the postseason. He had several linemates — Patrick Newell and Denis Smirnov on the left side, Dwyer Tschantz and Sam Kurker on his right most often — but whatever trio Conway was on was factoring in on the majority of the Ice’s goals, especially in the first two rounds. A skilled playmaker with finishing ability, Conway set the Ice franchise record with four goals in a late-season game against Dubuque on April 2, 2014. He also led the USHL in +/- in 2013-14 (+40), tying teammate Austin Kosack. Conway hails from Kissimmee, Florida, one of two Floridians on the team, and will play collegiately at Penn State next year. Brian Ferlin: Another 2009-11 Ice player. Ferlin was a strong playmaker with excellent finishing touch who had an excellent sophomore season with the Ice. He had 25 goals and 48 assists that season — making him the third-leading scorer on his line — and had 31 goals and 58 assists overall in 102 games with the Ice. That year earned him a selection from the Boston Bruins in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. When the Ferlin-Coleman-Tarasov line was on the ice, there was always a good chance the puck was going to end up in the net or a great chance was going to be created. It was a special line on a very enjoyable team. He played three years at Cornell, tallying 20-plus points each year, and will likely begin his pro career this fall with the AHL Providence Bruins.
Honored to be named to the @indianaice All-Decade Team. First class organization and city, I will always cherish my time I spent there!
— Brian Ferlin (@Baferlin17) July 22, 2014
Garrett Roe: A longtime fan favorite, Roe is the one original Ice player on this list. He was a mainstay in the first three years of the franchise, from 2004-07, and endeared himself to fans with his relentless work ethic in all three zones, his toughness and his ability to put the puck in the net. That work ethic paid dividends — he had two 20-goal seasons in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and he had 51 goals and 86 assists overall. He’s also one of the franchise leaders in games played (155) and penalty minutes (298). When Roe moved on, players who came after who had similar hard-forechecking styles would be described in the Garrett Roe vein. He left an impression on the franchise and its fans, and set a standard that will be hard to overlook. He wasn’t big (5-9, 180), but he made up for it with his tenacity. Roe was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, and after putting up 178 points in four years at St. Cloud State, has played two years in the AHL and one year in Austria.
Daniil Tarasov: One of the most prolific scorers to play in Indianapolis at any level. Tarasov could simply put the puck in the net. He could do it from anywhere, on the ice. He had 37 goals playing with Ferlin and Coleman in 2009-10, and then topped it with 47 goals the following year, often skating with Sean Kuraly, providing a potent 1-2 punch that could be seen again. Both Tarasov and Kuraly are San Jose Sharks property — Tarasov played this past season for the AHL’s Worcester Sharks, and Kuraly is a Sharks draft pick. Tarasov’s 94 goals are a franchise record, and his 163 points rank among the franchise leaders. Interestingly, he’s the only forward who one could say came from a “traditional” hockey area — being born in Moscow. The others come from the American south — Florida, Virginia and Texas.
Nick Bailen: He was another of the early Ice players on this list, joining Roe. No player has played more games in an Ice uniform than Bailen, who suited up 211 times for the Ice. He played in four of the team’s first six seasons, contributing to a division title in 2008. He was a rock on the blueline, despite standing just 5-9. He provided a physical presence (a franchise-record 420 PIM) and the ability to score a bit (83 points). He played three years from 2005-08, then went to Bowling Green for his freshman year, then returned in 2009-10 before transferring to RPI, where he finished his college career. Bailen had 41 points in that last year with the Ice, making him the team’s highest-scoring defenseman and fourth-leading scorer. The Fredonia, NY native had 105 points in college, and played professionally in the AHL and in Finland. He is slated to play for Dynamo Minsk in the KHL this fall.
1. Honored and humbled to have been named to the @indianaice All Decade Team recently. Great city/organization/owner/billets.
— Nick Bailen (@bails29) July 21, 2014
2. @indianaice it is the place that allowed me to begin my career and blossom as a young teenager on/off ice. Thanks Paul Skjodt & ur family
— Nick Bailen (@bails29) July 21, 2014
John Carlson: Carlson was a lot of firsts for the Ice — the first to be drafted in the first round (27th overall by Washington in 2008), the first to stick in the NHL, the first Olympian — playing for the United States in the 2014 Sochi Games. He was for the Ice what he is for the Washington Capitals — a strong two-way defenseman with significant puck-moving ability, whose size (at 6-3) makes him able to cut down the angles for people in his own end. Carlson was an elite talent with the Ice — likely the best player to pull on the franchise’s sweater tallying 43 points in his one full season with the team. He was part of a team in 2007-08 that had three NHL players — joining Paul Carey and Cameron Schilling — and won the USHL’s East Division title.
Josh Jacobs: A two-year player who came to the Ice as a tendered player in 2012. He was a smooth puck-mover for the Ice who anchored the blueline for two years. He was among the USHL leaders in +/- (+36) — with regular defense partner Austin Kosack being +40. Jacobs was a key part of all the Ice special teams for both seasons, winning a Clark Cup in 2013-14. His booming slapshot from the point led to two goals in the Clark Cup Final against Waterloo, including one from beyond the blueline. If advanced stats were kept in the USHL, Jacobs would have been among the leaders — the Ice were a dominant puck-possession team in the league, and Jacobs’ ability to pinch from the point and keep plays alive without taking unnecessary chances was critical in the team’s success. Jacobs is headed to Michigan State this fall, and is a New Jersey Devils draft pick.
Torey Krug: Krug joined the Ice in the 2008-09 season, and showed the elite offensive talent that made him an All-Rookie defenseman in the NHL. Krug scored one of the most significant goals in Ice history, the game-winner late in the third period in Game 5 of the 2009 Clark Cup opening round series against Cedar Rapids, which put the Ice into the next round and on their way to a Clark Cup title. It was his only goal during the playoffs, but he played a big role in getting the puck, making the first pass out of the zone and quarterbacking the attack from the blueline. His 37 assists that season led the USHL. The 5’9 defenseman went undrafted, but his playmaking ability and his leadership ability — he was captain at Michigan State for two years — have made him an impact player in the NHL. He played three regular-season games after signing late in the 2011-12 season and prior to the 2013 playoffs, and had assists in two of them. His play transformed the Boston Bruins’ power play in the 2013 playoffs and in the 2013-14 season, where he became the third-highest scoring rookie defenseman in the team’s 90-year history, and like Carlson, has quickly become a mainstay on the blueline for his NHL team. Like Carlson, Krug has a long NHL career in front of him.
Jon Gillies: What more can be said about Gillies? He came in during the 2010-11 season and shared the net with Casey DeSmith — another in a run of excellent Ice goaltenders. In that time, he set a franchise record with a shutout string that lasted until Hayden Stewart broke it this year. The next year, he became the starter and played in 53 of the team’s 64 games. He holds nearly every goaltending record the team has, going 46-17-11, appearing in 78 games and posting six shutouts. At 6-5, Gillies covers the net, moves well, has a great dose of humility and is poised for an excellent career. To cap his career off, he was credited with a goal in the Ice’s 2012 regular season finale. In 2012, he moved on from the Ice and immediately became the starter at Providence College — a rarity for freshmen. He’s done better than even his excellent Ice stats — where he posted a franchise-record .915 save percentage in 2011-12. In each of his two years at PC, Gillies has stopped 93.1 percent of the shots he’s faced. He was a 2012 Calgary Flames draft pick, but plans to return to Providence this fall for his junior year, where he’ll play with 2013-14 Ice player Brian Pinho.
honored to be named to the @indianaice‘s 10th Anniversary team! wouldn’t be anywhere without everyone in Indy, thank you to all!
— Jon Gillies (@JGillies32) July 22, 2014
What a team! And there are a lot of excellent players who aren’t on this list — Cameron Schilling and Paul Carey have played in the NHL (as has Joel Rechlicz, who briefly played with the Ice). John Kemp had 190 points with the Ice and is the franchise’s all-time leader in assists (154). Sean Kuraly had 100+ points and was one of the most feared forwards in the USHL. Nick Mattson was an anchor on the blueline for years. Mike Cichy and Jason Pawloski were Clark Cup Playoff MVPs. That goes to emphasize how elite this group of 10 is. They have represented the Ice well and given us a lot of thrills both in Indy and beyond, and we’ll enjoy continuing to follow their careers as they go on.
One thing we can all say is thanks for giving us a lot of great memories.