Training Camp kicked off this morning at the Northwoods Ice Center in San Antonio as 35 players took the ice to begin preparations for the upcoming season. 20 forwards, 11 defensemen and four goaltenders will be competing for a spot on the opening night roster over the next week. I figured for today’s post I’d write a bit about a few of the forwards I’m excited to watch this season, so here we go:
Jean-Francois Jacques– Maybe it’s because of the extremely french name, but for some reason my attention has always gravitated to him whenever he’s on the ice in front of me. Originally selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2nd round (68th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, the native of Montreal has both NHL and AHL experience. Last season with the Syracuse Crunch (Anaheim’s AHL affiliate), Jacques racked up 21 goals and added 19 assists and 95 penalty minutes in 65 regular season games. At 6’3″ and 231 lbs, he’s a big guy showed last year that he’s capable of scoring and dropping the gloves occasionally.
Jon Rheault- Signed on the first day of free agency this summer, I think Rheault will be a nice addition to the Rampage lineup. While with the Abbotsford Heat last year, Jon netted 16 goals and 17 assists in 47 games. In 2010 he finished second on Heat’s roster in the assists, points, and shots categories. Hopefully he’ll be able to continue to produce goals and assists down in San Antonio and help the silver and black on the score sheet after they lost a few key point gettters over the off-season.
Drew Shore– I think I’m excited to see Drew play this season because the last time I saw him was almost 2 years ago when he played with Team USA in the 2011 World Junior U-20 Championship. I’m curious to see how his game has improved since then and how he fits into the next level of the game. Coming off a solid senior season, Shore led the University of Denver squad last season with 53 points, 22 of those goals. He got a taste of the AHL after the Pioneers ended their season last March and helped the Rampage finish their season strong.
Anthony Luciani– One of the players who stirred up quite of the buzz at Florida Panthers Development Camp this summer. At 5’8″ Luciani uses his size to zip past opponents and get the puck in the back of the net. Last season in 54 games with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, Antony picked up 26 goals and 23 assists. If he can secure himself a full-time spot on the Rampage’s roster, I think fans will enjoy watching him play night after night.
Scott Timmins- I’ve known and loved watching Scott back from when he was in an AHL Rookie in Rochester. As a two-time OHL Champion, Timmins knows what it takes to win a championship and brings that experience with him to San Antonio for a second season. Last season with the Rampage Scott tallied 27 points in 70 games, and I have a feeling those numbers will continue to rise this season as he and the rest of team chase the Calder Cup once again.
Eric Selleck- My favorite thing about Eric is that he’s not afraid to drop the gloves if he needs to. He’s not afraid to step in when things get rough and will stick up for his teammates. Although he doesn’t normally contribute offensively, Eric does manage to get a few goals each season and definitely makes his presence known. I always enjoy watching him play and can’t wait who he mixes it up with this season.
Pre-season puck gets underway Friday for San Antonio when the Rampage head north on I-35 to the Cedar Park, Texas to take on the the Texas Stars on October 5th. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET) at the Cedar Park Center as fans will get their first look at both the Dallas Stars‘ and the Florida Panthers‘ AHL affiliates. The two teams will take the ice together again the following afternoon at the Northwoods Ice Center in San Antonio at 4 p.m. CT.
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