The Fuel Tank: Offseason recap


The Indy Fuel will open their season this Friday against the Kansas City Mavericks at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

The Fuel will be one of 13 ECHL teams to begin their season in December, while the Toledo Walleye and Ft. Wayne Comets will join the league in February. The rest of the league has decided to suspend their franchise for this season, which includes division rivals in the Cincinnati Cyclones, Idaho Steelheads and Kalamazoo Wings.

With the season beginning on Friday, let’s recap a longer-than-normal offseason from start to end.

Here is the breakdown of the Fuel offseason signings:

Protected roster list

At the end of the 2019–20 season, ECHL teams must submit their protected roster list. The list gives the ECHL team the power to retain the rights of their players. The Fuel’s list comprised of 13 forwards, 10 defensemen and two goalies for a total of 25 players. ECHL teams can protect as many players as they want, assuming they meet the league requirements.

Forwards (13): Bobby MacIntyre, Cody Payne, Alex Rauter, Ryan Van Stralen, Derian Plouffe, Spencer Watson, Joe Sullivan, Mathieu Foget, Michael Doherty, Alex Krushelnyski (V), Matt Rupert (V), Woody Hudson, Jordy Stallard (R)

Defensemen (10): Tim Shoup, Keoni Texeira, Cliff Watson, Craig Wyszomirski, Alex Brooks, Connor McDonald (R), Ben Youds (V), Eric Schurhamer, Reggie Traccitto, Louis Belisle (R)

Goaltenders (2): Charles Williams, Dan Bakala

Now that the protected list has been submitted, the Fuel must go about re-signing their protected players.

July 8 — Forwards Joe Sullivan and Alex Rauter re-sign with the Fuel

The 22-year-old Sullivan joined the Fuel prior to the 2019–20 season. He had spent the prior season with head coach Doug Christiansen as a member of the Manchester Monarchs. In 51 games with the Fuel last season, the 5-foot-10 forward recorded seven goals and eight assists. Sullivan has appeared in 106 ECHL games for his career, amassing 13 goals and 22 assists.

In addition to bringing back Sullivan, the team also inked forward Alex Rauter to a standard player contract. Rauter was acquired from Rapid City in December of 2019. During his tenure with the Fuel, he appeared in 27 games collecting 11 goals and nine assists. In three ECHL seasons, the 6-foot-1 forward has played in 110 ECHL earning 31 goals and 41 assists.

July 9 — Fuel add forward Cody Payne

The Fuel re-signed Cody Payne from the 2019–20 campaign. After being acquired via trade, Payne only appeared in one game due to the pandemic. Before joining Indy, the former 2012 fifth-round pick of the Boston Bruins played in 41 games with the Worcester Railers of the ECHL. Payne scored seven goals and nine assists. Prior to being drafted, Payne spent three years at the University of Prince Edwards Island, where he earned 39 goals and 31 assists.

July 13 — Goalie Charles Williams returns for a second season

Charles Williams returned to Indy on a standard player contract. Despite splitting time with Chase Marchand and Dan Bakala, he earned a 2.81 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. The Detroit native has appeared in six AHL games between the Hartford Wolf Pack and Ontario Reign, earning a 2.59 goals against average and .897 save percentage. During his ECHL portion of his carrier, Williams has appeared in 121 ECHL games in four seasons. He has earned a career 2.72 goals against average and .914 save percentage.

Prior to turning pro, Williams spent four years at Ferris State before transferring to Canisius College for his final season. In his lone season at Canisius College, Williams stood on his head putting up a 1.82 goals against average and a .943 save percentage. He was named a Hobey Baker Finalist in 2017.

The 5-foot-10 goalie figures to play in a tandem with Bakala this season.

July 21 — Defensemen Tim Shoup returns to Indy

The Fuel took their first step in shoring up their defense for the 2020–21 season in re-signing Tim Shoup. Shoup joined the Fuel last season after spending the entire 2018–19 season with the Manchester Monarchs. The 6-foot, 190-pound defenseman scored three goals and seven assists.

In three ECHL seasons, he has appeared in 73 games tallying five goals and 18 assists. Prior to turning pro, Shoup spent four years at Dartmouth College. He appeared in 107 games for Big Green, earning seven goals and 18 assists. He served as an alternate captain his senior year.

July 28 — Forward Derian Plouffe re-signs with Indy

The Indy Fuel will bring back Derian Plouffe for his third ECHL season. With Indy last season, the 5-foot-10 forward appeared in 49 games, registering 13 goals and 16 assists. The dynamic forward has appeared in 105 ECHL games during his short tenure. Before spending his sophmore campaign with the Fuel, Plouffe helped lead the Newfoundland Growlers to the Kelly Cup Championship with 13 goals and 10 assists.

After an accomplished collegiate career at Niagara University, Plouffe signed an amateur tryout contract with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. He appeared in three games with Marlies, earning three assists in 2017–18.

Aug. 6 — Defenseman Connor McDonald returns

The next name on their protected list to re-sign was Connor McDonald. While only appearing in 11 games last season, McDonald appears to big part of the future. After finishing up his collegiate career at Bowling Green, the 6-foot-1, 181-pound defensemen signed an amateur tryout contract with the Ontario Reign of the AHL.

During his tenure at Bowling Green, the Ohio native appeared in 161 games over four years. Prior to college, McDonald played in the USHL with the Chicago Steel and Youngstown Phantoms for 114 games.

Aug. 13 — Forward Mathieu Foget re-signs

The 23-year-old Mathiew Foget inked a standard player contract to return to the Indy Fuel. Foget was acquired via trade last season from the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in late January. In 21 games with the Fuel, he scored three goals and recorded 14 assists. The 5-foot-11 forward has appeared in 110 ECHL games, earning 27 goals and 49 assists.

The Ontario native appeared in 100 OHL games and 47 collegiate games at Merrimack College before turning pro. His first pro team was the Allen Americans of the ECHL, where he appeared in two games, recording one goal in the process.

Aug. 19 — Defensemen Jake Ryczek returns to Indy

The former Blackhawks seventh-round draft pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Jake Ryczek returns to Indy for his second season. After signing an AHL contract with Rockford IceHogs, Ryczek was assigned to the Fuel prior to the 2019–20 season. Appearing in 46 games, he earned four goals and 13 assists.

Prior to joining the Fuel, Ryczek played two seasons with Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL. The 5-foot-11 defenseman tallied 16 goals and 44 assists in 84 games.

At this point during the offseason, the Fuel had five forwards, three defensemen and one goalie under contract.

Aug. 27 — Indy dips into the free agent pool and signs forward Thomas Ebbing

The Fuel added their first free agent in forward Thomas Ebbing. Ebbing split the 2019–20 season with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and Reading Royals. In 49 ECHL games last season, Ebbing recorded 12 goals and 15 assists. The 5-foot-11 forward has also played in the AHL, appearing in 51 games over the last two seasons with Laval Rocket of the Montreal Canadiens organization. During his AHL stints, he has recorded two goals and four assists.

Prior to starting his professional career, Ebbing spent four seasons at Michigan State. With the Spartans, he appeared in 143 games earning 14 goals and 14 assists. Before his days at MSU, he played one season with the Chicago Steel of the USHL, in which he scored 16 goals and 10 assists. His USHL numbers earned him a spot in the 2012–13 USHL/NHL Top prospects game.

Sept. 2 — Forward Patrick McGrath signs with Indy

Wading into the free agent waters again, the Indy Fuel signed veteran forward Patrick McGrath. The 27-year-old McGrath appeared in 18 ECHL games last season with the Utah Grizzles. During his seven-year career, McGarth has skated in 155 ECHL games, earning seven goals and eight assists.

In addition to appearing in the ECHL, he appeared in 95 total AHL games contests with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Iowa Wild. McGrath tallied three goals and four assists.

Prior to beginning his professional career, the 5-foot-10, 201-pound forward played two seasons with the Prince Edward Island Rockets.

Sept. 10 — Fuel add forward Colton Leiter

The Fuel continued to build their roster by signing collegiate free agent Colton Leiter. After finishing his collegiate career at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the 6-foot-1 forward will begin his professional career with the Fuel. Appearing in 137 NCAA games over four seasons, Leiter earned 28 goals and 35 assists.

Prior to his college career, the Edmonton native played three years in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Spruce Grove Saints. In 139 games, Leiter notched 37 goals and 49 assists helping the team to back-to-back AJHL championships in 2014 and 2015.

Sept. 17 — Goalie Dan Bakala returns for his second season

The Fuel re-signed a familiar face in goalie with Dan Bakala. The 5-foot-11 goalie joined the Fuel on New Years Day 2020 and appeared in 17 games. During his 17 games, he earned a 2.43 goals against average and a .925 save percentage.

Prior to signing with the Fuel last season, Bakala played five games with Mora IK in the Swedish Allsvenskan league. He recorded a 4.26 goals against average and a .854 save percentage.

Bakala is a veteran of many European leagues, spending time in the German DEL, Austrian EBEL and the Swedish SHL. He helped the Frolunda Indians of the SHL win the 2016–17 Champions Hockey League title.

Oct. 1 — Fuel sign veteran forward David Broll

Once again, the Fuel added a veteran free agent forward, this time it was David Broll. The former sixth-round pick of the Toronto Maples Leafs in 2011 has appeared in five NHL games for his career. He also spent plenty of time in the AHL playing 274 games over six seasons between the Toronto Marlies, Syracuse Crunch, St. John’s IceCaps, Laval Rocket and Providence Bruins.

For his ECHL career, the power forward has skated in 45 ECHL games between the Orlando Solar Bears and the Jacksonville Icemen. He has recorded eight goals and 14 assists. At 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds, Broll adds some size to the Fuel forwards for this upcoming season.

Oct. 7 — Indy agrees to terms with defenseman Willie Raskob

After spending the 2019–20 season with Rungsted Seier Capital in the Denmark Metal Liagen, Willie Raskobs returns to the United States with the Fuel. In 48 games last season, Raskbob registered seven goals and 23 assists.

The 5-foot-10 defenseman has appeared in 139 ECHL for his career between the Worcester Railers, Quad City Mallards and Kansas City Mavericks. During the 2017–18 season, Raskob recorded three goals and 34 assists, earning himself a spot in the 2018 ECHL All-Star game.

Oct. 22 — Fuel add forward Peter Krieger to the mix

The Fuel added another forward who spent last season overseas in Peter Krieger. The 26-year-old forward spent the 2019–20 season with the Västerviks IK in the Swedish Allsvenskan. The 5-foot-11 forward skated in 52 games last season, registering 12 goals and 10 assists.

Prior to his pro career, Krieger spent 85 games with Minnesota-Duluth, earning 20 goals and 34 assists while helping the Bulldogs to an NCHC championship in 2019 and back-to-back NCAA championships in 2018 and 2019. Prior to college, he helped the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL to a Clark Cup Final.

Oct. 27 — Fuel acquire forward Jared Thomas from Florida

The Fuel continued to add to their roster, this time via trade. Indy completed a three-team trade with Florida and Tulsa. Indy received Jared Thomas from the Florida Everblades and sent defenseman Alex Brooks to the Tulsa Oilers.

The 29-year-old Brooks spent the last two seasons with the Fuel, appearing in 108 games and earning eight goals and 29 assists. The 6-foot, 181-pound defenseman appeared in 43 games with Fuel last season.

The 26-year-old Thomas’s journey to Fuel is unique. This offseason, he signed with Florida after spending the 2019–20 season with the Tulsa Oilers. Appearing in 50 games for the Oilers last season, Thomas earned seven goals and 24 assists.

The 6-foot-2, 201-pound forward played his college hockey with Minnesota-Duluth prior to turning pro. He appeared in 163 games, scoring 21 goals and 39 assists.

Nov. 13 — Defenseman Cliff Watson returns to Indy

Defenseman Cliff Watson was acquired by the Fuel in January from the Kansas City Mavericks. The 6-foot-2 defenseman appeared in 53 games between the Fuel and Mavericks. He earned five goals and 26 assists last season.

A Wisconsin native, he has appeared in 122 ECHL games tallying 24 games and 51 assists. Other accomplishments include helping the Colorado Eagles to the 2018 Kelly Cup championship.

Watson was a former sixth-round pick of the San Jose Sharks in 2012. He has also appeared in 37 AHL games for his career between the Utica Comets, San Jose Barracuda, Stockton Heat, Hershey Bears, Ontario Reign and Chicago Wolves.

Nov. 18 — Fuel sign forward Seamus Malone

The 5-foot-10 Seamus Malone joins the Indy forward group for 2020–21. Last season, Malone skated in 35 games with the Utica Comets of the AHL, earning four goals and one assist. In February of last season, he was assigned to the Kalamazoo Wings. He recorded one goal and two assists before being recalled.

Before starting his pro career, Malone spent four years at the University of Wisconsin, where he played in 143 NCAA games. With the Badgers, he recorded 33 goals and 71 assists.

Nov. 20 — Fuel sign college free agent defenseman Medric Mercer

The Fuel dipped in the college free agent pool again by signing defenseman Medric Mercer. The 24-year-old defenseman signed his first pro contract after spending three years at the University of Ottawa. Mercer skated in 73 games, tallying 17 goals and 20 assists.

Prior to college, Mercer played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League between the Soo Greyhounds and Oshawa Generals. In three full OHL seasons, the 6-foot-3 defenseman earned 20 goals and 59 assists.

Nov. 24 — Fuel re-sign leading scorer Spencer Watson

Spencer Watson returns to the Fuel after scoring a franchise record 31 goals in the 2019–20 season. The 5-foot-10 forward skated in 54 games with the Fuel last season and earned 59 points. Watson finished the year with a league-leading 11 goals on the power play and earned a 2020 ECHL All Star bid.

After finishing tied for 11th in the ECHL with 59 points, Watson was awarded the ECHL Sportsmanship award for the 2019–20 season. The award is presented to the player who is judged to have exhibited the best sportsmanship combined with a high standard of play.

A former seventh-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2014, he has appeared in 152 ECHL games between the Fuel and Manchester Monarchs. The London, Ontario, native has skated in 28 AHL games with the Ontario Reign and Rockford IceHogs. For his career, he has two AHL goals and three AHL assists. In the ECHL, Watson has 78 goals and 73 assists for his career.

With Watson in the fold, the Fuel are now at 13 forwards, six defensemen and two goals signed for 2020–21.

Nov. 27 — Fuel add forward Antoine Waked

Indy continued to scoop up former AHL players, this time with Antoine Waked. Waked spent all of last season with the AHL’s Laval Rocket. He appeared in 32 games with the Rocket, tallying two goals and three assists. The 6-foot-1 forward was assigned to the ECHL in early October, appearing in six games while earning one goal and two assists before being recalled.

For his career, the power forward has appeared in 122 AHL games, earning 11 goals and 10 assists. In the ECHL, he has appeared in 13 games, recording two goals and five assists.

Prior to going pro, Waked played four seasons in the QMJHL with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. He played in 224 games, earning 68 goals and 89 assists and helped the team to a QMJHL championship in 2015–16.

Dec. 1 — Defenseman Keoni Texeira returns to Indy for a second season

The power play captain returns for his second season in Indy. In 59 games with the Fuel last season, Keoni Texeira totaled four goals and 27 assists and finished second in the ECHL in power play assists.

Entering his third pro season, Texeria has appeared in 129 ECHL games, totaling 11 goals and 66 assists. Before going pro, the 6-foot, 209-pound defenseman appeared in 344 WHL games with Portland Winter Hawks.

With Texeira in the fold, the Fuel roster stands at 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies signed for 2020–21.

Training camp began on Dec. 2. Stay Tuned for more ECHL and Fuel news to come!


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