The Indy Fuel continued building their 2016-17 roster Thursday by adding one of the ECHL’s top scorers, as well as the first defenseman under contract for the upcoming season.
The Fuel acquired forward Kevin Lynch and defenseman Matt Stanisz from the Florida Everblades in exchange for forward Peter Schneider and defenseman Kevin Clare. All four players signed 2016-17 ECHL contracts prior to the deal.
Lynch was one of the ECHL’s top scorers last season, tallying 22 goals and 36 assists in 62 games for Florida. He was also a +16, and had four points in six playoff games. He was second on the Everblades in goals, assists and points last season, and fourth in plus/minus. He continues the Fuel’s trend of signing players with size, at 6-1, 205 pounds.
The 25-year-old right-shot center will be entering his fourth full pro season this fall. He has 37 goals and 53 assists in 140 ECHL games with Toledo, Evansville and Florida, and also has three goals and an assist in 60 AHL games for Syracuse and Manitoba. A native of the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe, Mich., Lynch was a second-round pick of the Blue Jackets in 2009 , and played four years at the University of Michigan, where he had 35 goals and 37 assists from 2009-13.
Lynch becomes the second 20-goal scorer from last season who is confirmed with the Fuel, joining Tyler Currier, whose signing was announced Tuesday.
“In Kevin we get an elite player in this league that can do everything. He can score, make plays, make others around him better and defend in his own zone,” Fuel coach Bernie John said in a team release. “You look at his track record and where he has played, and it shows that he is a winner. He is not only a great player, but also a great leader.”
Stanisz becomes the first defenseman confirmed for the 2016-17 team, and he had two goals and 16 assists in 41 games for Florida last year as a pro rookie, as well as a +8 rating. The 26-year-old right-shot defenseman played four years at Carleton University in Canada prior to turning pro, where he had 73 points in 94 games. He stands 6-1, 205.
“In Matt we get a steady solid puck moving defenseman. He plays hard and defends well in his own zone but can also add to the offensive side of the game,” John said in the release. “He has a great track record as a leader and being a key part of championship teams.”
Schneider will be moving outside of Indiana for the first time since coming to North America in 2010 – he had played junior for the Indiana Ice, college at Notre Dame and his pro career with the Fuel. He had 20 goals and 25 assists in 74 games with Indy – 10 at the end of the 2014-15 season, and 64 last season. Clare was acquired in a trade with Elmira during the 2015-16 season, and had five points in 13 games with Indy.
The moves give the Fuel five forwards, a defenseman and a goaltender under contract for 2016-17.
2016-17 Fuel roster
- Martin Bellus (6-3, 209, Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia). Age: 24. Shoots: R. 2015-16 team: Piestany SHK 37 (Slovakia)
- Tyler Currier (6-2, 206, Anchorage, Ak.). Age: 28. Shoots: R. 2015-16 team: Elmira Jackals (ECHL)
- (R) Justin Hussar (6-2, 190, Lancaster, N.Y.). Age: 23. Shoots: L. 2015-16 team: Merrimack (NCAA)/Indy Fuel (ECHL)
- Kevin Lynch (6-1, 205, Grosse Pointe, Mich.). Age: 25. Shoots: R. 2015-16 team: Florida Everblades (ECHL)
- Cody Sharib (6-2, 209, Needham, Mass). Age: 25. Shoots: L. 2015-16 team: Indy Fuel (ECHL)
- Matt Stanisz (6-1, 205, Burlington, Ont.). Age: 26. Shoots: R. 2015-16 team: Florida Everblades (ECHL)
- Keegan Asmundson (6-5, 222, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.). Age: 25. Catches: L. 2015-16 team: Indy Fuel (ECHL)