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From the Booth: The Monsters are back!

From the Booth: New Faces, Radio Changes, and Mailbag Questions

Oct 22, 2020

Hello again Monsters fans, we’re back as we continue to navigate this peculiar offseason period. This week, we’ll discuss another AHL addition for the Monsters, more positive CBJ roster news, a huge development for Monsters Radio, and answer a few mailbag questions!


Cleveland Bound

Another important headline roster-wise for the Monsters was revealed on Wednesday, as the club announced experienced AHL blue-liner Thomas Schemitsch inked an AHL contract with Cleveland for 2020-21.


A former standout two-way defenseman with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack once upon a time, Schemitsch has spent four AHL seasons in Springfield, chipping in 15 points (4 G, 11 A) for the Thunderbirds last season. With 62 points (24 G, 38 A) to his credit in 219 career AHL games, the right-handed Thornhill, ON native, 23, brings a steady, balanced game to Northeast Ohio.


He becomes the Monsters’ tenth AHL signee for the upcoming campaign, joining forwards Brett Gallant, Adam Helewka, Zach Jordan, Justin Scott, Michael Struthers and Tyler Sikura, defensemen Wyatt Newpower and Dillon Simpson, and goaltender/goaltending coach Brad Thiessen.


Another exciting development in Columbus was the Blue Jackets’ signing of defenseman Gabriel Carlsson to a two-year, two-way extension, removing the reliable blue-liner from the team’s list of restricted free agents for 2020-21. The former first-rounder for Columbus (29th overall in 2015), has appeared in 23 games for the Jackets and 144 for the Monsters over the past four seasons.


After an impressive campaign spent mostly in Cleveland last year, the Örebro, Sweden native looks poised to assert himself at the next level in the coming year and beyond. It’s great to have Gabe back in the fold organizationally.


Monsters Radio on the Move

Earlier this week the Cavaliers, Monsters, and Charge, along with our longtime partners at iHeartRadio, announced a new three-year extension of our respective broadcasting agreements.


We broke the exciting news that Cleveland hockey fans will now be listening to the team’s games on FOX Sports 1350AM “The Gambler”! On behalf of the entire broadcasting department, I can say that we’re extremely excited to build this relationship with our newfound radio home over the next three seasons and we look forward to utilizing 1350’s excellent local programming in campaigns to come!


Monsters Mailbag

Skippy (@SKIPdaZIP) asks…

“Where does Cliff Pu fit in, and how long do you anticipate his stay in Cleveland to last?”


Well Skip, Pu (acquired by the Blue Jackets via trade from Florida in exchange for D Markus Nutivaara on Oct. 8th) is a Blue Jackets player until such time as he would theoretically be assigned to the AHL level. He has every opportunity to compete in Columbus’ training camp and make the NHL roster.


That said, Pu is an enticing piece and his extremely productive OHL tenure with London, Oshawa and Kingston from 2014-18 helped make him a third-round draft choice (69th overall) of Buffalo in 2016.


After appearing in just 14 total games last season between the AHL (Springfield) and the ECHL (Greenville), Pu is poised for a bounce-back campaign and brings with him 63 games of AHL experience over the last two seasons. Wherever he ends up to start the season, Pu projects to be a reliable presence on the wing and I look forward to watching him play in 2020-21!


Brittnay (@2010_Brittnay) asks…

“How are the Monsters feeling with everything going on and a delayed start? Do you think this could put any strain on the team?”


There is no doubt, Brittnay, that this offseason carries with it significantly more heartburn than usual for players, coaches, staffers, fans, and really everyone involved in the industry. So many important questions remain unanswered, so I feel I can say with absolute certainty that the players are feeling that burden, just as we all are.


Other limitations also exist for players during this period, like access to ice time, training and nutritional considerations, technological and communication hurdles, the list goes on…It’s just not an easy time in the hockey business and until 2020-21 schedules are revealed, I think we’d be naïve to brush off that anxiety.


HOWEVER, we know a few things are always true of hockey people; they love this game, they care about others, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to compete. It’s those tenets that leave me feeling constantly reassured that we’ll figure this all out together in a way that is safe for all involved.


In the meantime, wear your masks, wash your hands, and pitch in to help reduce the spread so we can all see one another’s smiling faces at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse again soon.


Michael Kuper asks…

“Could you explain the rule which prohibits certain ages of players that are allowed or denied the ability to play in the AHL?”


Hey Kup, I think what you’re referring to is the oft-debated ‘NHL/CHL Development Rule’.


To the best of my understanding, this rule prohibits players that are drafted while competing for Canadian Hockey League (CHL) teams – including the OHL, WHL, and QMJHL, Canada’s top major junior leagues – from competing in North American minor professional leagues (like the AHL) until they turn 20. These players are, however, allowed to compete in up to ten games for NHL clubs before their junior returns (or allowed to spend the entire season with their NHL club).


There are also emergency in-season exceptions at the NHL level (think Liam Foudy and CBJ last season), but it’s a rule intended to prevent the junior clubs from losing their very best players for as long as possible thereby protecting the ‘competitive integrity’ of CHL leagues.


The question is, how would the players’ development be best served? By requiring them to stay at a level they’ve already mastered, are we doing what’s best for them, considering the potential benefits of allowing them to jump-start pro careers by playing against larger, more experienced foes in the American League?


The argument goes, ‘Why should players in this situation be allowed to play in the NHL, but not the AHL?’ Personally, I’d like to see those primarily North American players be allowed to make that decision for themselves, especially considering that their 18 and 19 year-old European peers are less frequently limited in this manner.


Remember, submit below or Tweet any questions you may have – hockey-related or otherwise – using the #MonstersMailbag hashtag! Until next time, please continue to wash your hands, wear your masks, stay distant and create your voting plan.


Be well and stay safe!




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