Just past the quarter pole of their season, the Pacific Division-leading Wranglers are among the ECHL’s top teams and poised to improve with the recent addition of several proven players.
Former ECHL All-Stars Ash Goldie and Jason Krischuk will join Josh Lunden and Mike Hoffman in making their home debuts today for Las Vegas (10-6-3, 23 points) against the Idaho Steelheads (7-9-3, 17) at Orleans Arena.
Goldie scored 39 goals and 74 points for defunct Long Beach (ECHL) in 2006-07 and compiled 40 goals and 83 points for defunct Victoria (ECHL) in 2007-08. The 30-year-old, who played two seasons in Europe and was in Japan last year with Wranglers captain Mike Madill, had his season debut delayed by the birth of he and his wife’s first child.
“It’s hard to jump right back into it, but I feel pretty good,” Goldie said. “Hopefully before long I’ll be back where I should be.”
Goldie and Lunden, a second-year pro who split time last season between Las Vegas and the American Hockey League, appeared in the Wranglers’ last two games in Stockton.
“It’s going to take some time to get their timing back, but they’re two really good, special players,” Las Vegas coach Ryan Mougenel said of the forwards. “They’re going to be an added boost for us.”
The 30-year-old Hoffman, a 6-foot-5-inch, 248-pound forward with extensive AHL experience, is a big, physical presence who, along with Adam Huxley, makes the team tougher.
“I love the additions of Huxley and Hoffman,” Mougenel said. “Teams taking liberties have come to a halt since adding those two guys.”
Krischuk, 31, last played for the Wranglers in 2009-10 and retired after last season. Mougenel lured him out of retirement to bolster a defense depleted by injuries.
“He’s a kid who has always been in great shape, so if he can crush some minutes for us, that will be huge,” Mougenel said.
Eric Lampe leads the league in goals with 17, Judd Blackwater is tied for third in scoring with 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists), and goalie Joe Fallon is seventh in goals-against average (2.34) for Las Vegas, which will play 10 of its next 12 games at home.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.