The Indy Fuel have re-signed two players from their inaugural season roster – veteran forward Garett Bembridge and rookie defenseman Andy Simpson.
Bembridge was acquired via trade on Nov. 11 last season, coming from Missouri, and he immediately became a scoring leader for the Fuel. He had 25 goals and 27 assists in 62 games last season, leading the team in scoring. Adding his seven games in Missouri to that total, he had 27 goals and 31 assists in 69 games. He was the team’s MVP last season.
The Saskatoon native is a skilled scorer and playmaker, as well as a veteran leader who fulfilled all of those roles for the Fuel last season. It’s one he’s fulfilled in several different leagues on three continents in his pro career. He has 313 professional goals and 681 points in 850 career games played, counting his Asian, North American and European experience.
The 34-year-old right wing will be entering his 16th professional season, which began in the spring of 2001 with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. He has 35 goals and 74 points in 244 AHL games, spanning through 2009, playing for Hartford, Saint John, Lowell, Syracuse, Portland and Iowa.
He also made his ECHL debut in 2003-04, with seven points in 13 games for Las Vegas. He had a 36-goal season for the Idaho Steelheads in 2005-06 in just 52 games, tallying 42 goals and 84 points across all levels that season. He has also played for the Augusta Lynx, Utah Grizzlies and the Missouri Mavericks in the ECHL, from 2003-04, 2005-09 and 2014-15. He has 92 goals and 251 points in 276 ECHL games, and recently had a 42-goal, 104-point season for the CHL’s Denver Cutthroats in 2013-14. He also has played in the CHL with Wichita. In total, he has played 579 North American pro games, with 164 goals and 454 points. He also has played in Europe in 2004-05, 2007-08 and again from 2009-12, in Germany and Italy. He also played in Japan in 2012-13.
He was the Central Hockey League’s MVP in 2014. Bembridge was drafted twice by NHL teams – in the fifth round by the Rangers in 1999 and in the seventh round by the Flames in 2001.
Bembridge becomes the second of four allotted veterans to sign with the Fuel this season, joining Kevin Quick.
“Garett was a real leader for us in the locker room in our inaugural season,” Fuel coach Scott Hillman said. “He is one of the more experienced veteran players in the ECHL and shows up with a passion to push himself and his teammates to get better every day.”
Simpson initially signed with the Fuel on March 30, coming to the team late in the 2014-15 season after completing his college career at Dartmouth. With the team deep in defensemen and making a playoff push, he did not see any game action. He is the second defenseman to sign with the Fuel, after Quick.
He was Dartmouth’s Unsung Hero award winner, and was third in the nation in blocked shots per game last season.
Simpson had eight goals and 33 points in 109 career games with the Big Green. He is a 24-year-old right-shot defenseman from St. Louis.
“Andy is a mobile defenseman and a real attention to detail player,” Hillman said in a team release. “He comes in with an understanding of how we do things in Indy based on the time he spent with us toward the end of last season.”
Bembridge and Simpson are the fourth and fifth players from the 2014-15 Fuel roster to re-sign with the team. The Fuel now have nine players announced under contract.
2015-16 Indy Fuel roster
- (V) Garett Bembridge (6-0, 180, Saskatoon, Sask.). Age: 34. Shoots: R. 2014-15 team: Indy Fuel (ECHL)
- Rhett Bly (5-10, 185, Regina, Sask.). Age: 26. Shoots: L. 2014-15 team: Indy Fuel (ECHL)
- (R) Casey Thrush (6-1, 185, Easton, Md.). Age: 23. Shoots: L. 2014-15 team: New Hampshire (NCAA)
- (R) Terrence Wallin (6-0, 204, Yardley, Pa.). Age: 23. Shoots: R. 2014-15 team: UMass-Lowell (NCAA)
- Matt White (6-2, 196, McMurray, Pa.). Age: 24. Shoots: L. 2014-15 team: Indy Fuel (ECHL)
- (R) Walker Wintoneak (6-3, 210, Thunder Bay, Ont.). Age: 26. Shoots: R. 2014-15 team: Univ. of Calgary (CIS)
- (V) Kevin Quick (6-0, 181, Buffalo, NY). Age: 27. Shoots: L. 2014-15 team: Dundee Stars (EIHL)
- (R) Andy Simpson (5-11, 190, Chesterfield, Mo.). Age: 24. Shoots: R. 2014-15 team: Dartmouth Big Green (NCAA)
- Shane Owen (6-2, 195, Markham, Ont.). Age: 25. Catches: L. 2014-15 team: Indy Fuel (ECHL)
Players from 2014-15 team who have been issued ECHL qualifying offers and have not signed elsewhere
Nicklas Lindberg (C), Pete Massar (RW), Peter Schneider (RW), Kyle Stroh (C)
Players from the 2014-15 end-of-season roster who have not signed elsewhere/received a QO
Anders Franzon (D), Johnny McGuire (F) Evan Vossen (F)
Players from 2014-15 end-of-season roster who have signed elsewhere
Chris DeSousa (LW) – Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Kirill Gotovets (D) – Rockford IceHogs (AHL) (had been under contract to Rockford)
Justin Holl (D) — Toronto Marlies (AHL) (had been under contract to Rockford)
Mike Duco (LW) – Britain (Sheffield Steelers)
Doug Jessey (D) – France (Brest Albatros)
Nick Bruneteau (D) — Norway (Stavanger Oilers)
Saverio Posa (D) – Italy (Cortina, reported)