Amerks Roster Heading into Opening Night

October 9, 2008 - By

The roster for the Rochester Americans season opener is pretty much set.  It appears as if we won’t have that goon / enforcer / muscle that we had all hoped for, but it’s time to move beyond that (for now).  Assuming the team can put in a solid effort for 60 minutes, the team should will be successful.  We have an excellent new head coach, improved goal tending, and a commitment to success.  One thing is for certain, if the season starts out slow we’ve been told that we will see changes.  With Shawn Matthias still in Florida we are still short on someone at center for opening night.

Rory Fitzpatrick will be wearing the “C” on his jersey this season.  Still no news on who will wear the “A,” but two excellent choices would be Stefan Meyer and Janis Sprukts.  Both are consistent players that continue to play strong every night and have shown leadership on and off the ice.

Keys to a win (pretty obvious): A full 60 minutes of effort, and play physical.  The Syracuse Crunch are a physical team, the Amerks need to set the tone showing they won’t back down.  Even if the gloves aren’t going to be dropped, if a full game is played we’ll be able to score.  Chris Beckford-Tseu is someone that players will be able to rely on in goal.

According to Amerks.com, here’s the current lineup heading into Thursday (continue reading below for additional notes):

2 Michael Caruso D L 6-2 191 Jul 5, 1988 Mississauga Ont
3 Jason Garrison D L 6-0 205 Nov 13, 1984 White Rock BC
4 Rory Fitzpatrick D R 6-2 208 Jan 11, 1975 Rochester NY
5 Janis Sprukts C L 6-3 235 Jan 31, 1982 Riga Lat
7 Drew Larman C R 6-3 197 May 15, 1985 Buffalo NY
8 Keaton Ellerby D L 6-4 186 Nov 5, 1988 Strathmore AB
10 Stefan Meyer LW L 6-2 200 Jul 20, 1985 Fox Valley, SK
11 Brady Calla RW R 6-1 205 Mar 14, 1988 Kelowna BC
12 Peter Aston D R 6-1 205 Feb 24, 1986 Toronto Ont
14 Mike Duco RW R 5-10 194 Jul 8, 1987 Toronto Ont
15 Tanner Glass LW L 6-1 210 Nov 29, 1983 Craven SK
17 Dan Collins RW R 6-2 195 Feb 26, 1987 Syracuse NY
18 Andrew Sweetland LW L 6-2 204 Oct 21, 1986 Bonavista Nfd
19 Karl Stewart LW L 5-11 185 Jun 30, 1983 Scarborough Ont
20 Luke Beaverson D L 6-4 220 Dec 11, 1984 St. Paul MN
22 Kenndal McArdle LW L 5-11 205 Jan 4, 1987 Toronto Ont
25 Jordan Henry D L 6-2 198 Feb 11, 1986 Milo AB
26 Michal Repik RW R 5-10 180 Dec 31, 1988 Vlasim Cze
27 Doug O’Brien D L 6-1 200 Feb 16, 1984 St. John’s Nfd
28 Neil Clark LW L 6-2 203 Jul 25, 1981 Burnaby BC
30 Chris Beckford-Tseu G L 6-0 201 Jun 22, 1984 Toronto, ON
32 Franklin MacDonald D L 6-0 198 Apr 8, 1985 Sydney NS
34 David Brine C L 6-1 201 Jan 6, 1985 Truro NS
35 Tyler Plante G L 6-4 191 Apr 16, 1987 Milwaukee WI

With that roster, we’re currently short on someone at center.  The 4th spot is expected to go to Shawn Matthias, but he’s still with the Florida Panthers.  We may not know until Friday what the deal is.  Hopefully more information will surface on Thursday.  Would be great to have him at the opener, expectations are high for him.

Expect Janis Sprukts, Stefan Meyer, and Michal Repik to be the top line.  We’re hoping to get further details on the other three lines.

Chris Beckford-Tseu had an impressive pre-season and will be starting in goal.

Starting defensemen will probably be Rory Fitzpatrick, Jason Garrison, Michael Caruso, Peter Aston, Luke Beaverson, and Doug O’Brien.  Keaton Ellerby has been nursing an ‘upper body injury.’  With an abundance of defensemen I can’t imagine him starting the season playing injured.  That also leaves Franklin MacDonald as an extra.  I wouldn’t be too suprised if he was reassigned to the Florida Everblades.

Jordan Henry will be out at least another week with a knee injury.

Kevin O noted — James DeLory came out of junior as a defenseman but the Panthers will be converting him to a right winger.  He’ll be learning the new position with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades.

Sounds like Marc-Andre Gragnani of last season, absolutely horrible on defense, but once he moved up his play improved immensely.  He ended the season as one of the best on the ice.

Overall the lineup may not be one that is considered “stacked,” but it is what it is.  Openingh night is less than 48 hours away.  It’s a new day for a Rochester tradition.  At this point many will be pessimistic, I’ve become optimistic.  The Florida Panthers and new Amerks ownership are under pressure to put a successful team on the ice.  If that doesn’t happen I think all are aware a mutiny may occur.

For more on each player you can check out the Democrat and Chronicles “Meet the 2008 Rochester Americans” article.

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