Players vying for spots with the Wranglers get a welcome respite from the grind of training camp at 7:30 p.m. today when the team plays the Bakersfield Condors at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas’ lone preseason home game.
The Wranglers, who lost to Cincinnati in six games in last year’s ECHL Kelly Cup Finals, also will play preseason games Saturday at Bakersfield (Calif.) and Sunday at Ontario (Calif.) before opening their regular season Oct. 17 at Alaska. Las Vegas’ home opener is scheduled for Oct. 23 against Ontario.
"All three preseason games are going to be really big for some guys," Wranglers coach and general manager Glen Gulutzan said. "They’re all competing for jobs."
Unhappy with his team’s conditioning when camp opened Friday, Gulutzan has pushed his players scheduling up to four workouts a day.
"We’re getting better, but I certainly didn’t like where we were at the start," he said. "The conditioning level of some of our players isn’t where it needs to be if we’re going to be a top team in this league, and we’re just trying to remedy that right now.
"Some guys in here didn’t know what it’s like to be a pro yet, but they’re about to figure it out."
The Wranglers have 26 players on their camp roster, which must be trimmed to 20, and all but two have reported — with defenseman Brandon Straub (Quad City) and high-scoring forward Matt Beaudoin (Milwaukee) still in American Hockey League camps.
Las Vegas, which has compiled three straight 100-point seasons, returns three of its top five scorers from last season: Tyler Mosienko and twin brothers Peter and Chris Ferraro.
The team also returns forwards Adam Miller, Brandon Kaleniecki and Shawn Limpright, though Limpright hasn’t been cleared to play as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Other players to watch include center Mike Hamilton, who scored 50 points last season for the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators; rookie John DeCaro, a two-time Central Hockey League goalie of the year; and center Chris Neiszner, who played for Las Vegas for two seasons before playing last year in France.