WWW.AEROS.COM - SEASON PREVIEW
Prior to the beginning of the Aeros 2012-13 season, Josh Fisher and Joe O’Donnell break down the Aeros South Division foes.
San Antonio Rampage – South Division
2011-12 Record: 41-30-3-2, 87 pts.
Playoffs: West Division Finals (Lost to OKC – 5 games)
Aeros All-time Record vs SA: 68-29-9-6
2011-12 Season Series = Aeros 7-2-1-2
The Rampage, now in its 11th AHL season, enter the 2012-2013 campaign as the top affiliate of the Florida Panthers for the second straight season. Last season, ESPN.com and HockeysFuture.com ranked the Panthers prospects tops in the NHL. Thus, it’s safe to assume that the Rampage will have a core of solid prospects over the next several seasons. Head coach Chuck Weber and his assistant, Jason Cipolla, return behind the bench for their second go-around.
Guys you may know already:
Does the name Casey Wellman sound familiar? The former Aeros star has bounced around over the last nine months, getting traded twice during that span. Wellman now finds himself in the Panthers organization, and for the time being, playing for a team he torched during his Aeros tenure. In 10 career games against the Rampage, the Brentwood, California native posted 12 points. Now, he’ll be looking to light up the other Lone Star State teams, as the Rampage look to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in team history.
Nolan Yonkman (D) – At 6’6”, 251 lbs., it’s hard to miss the Rampage’s returning captain. A physical presence on the blue line, and a top penalty killer, Yonkman is back with the Rampage for his seventh full AHL season.
Players to Watch -
Andre Deveaux (F) – A two-time 20-goal scorer at the AHL level, Deveaux will provide a rough and tumble attitude to the Rampage forward lines, which will be his first season in San Antonio. He’s big, he’s mean and he’ll run you through the boards on the forecheck. At the same time, he likes sitting in the sin bin…to the tune of 1,161 career AHL penalty minutes.
Quinton Howden (F) – The 25th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft will don the black and silver of the Rampage this season. He’s the first of the blue-chip Panthers prospects to turn pro, and by all accounts, he’s a legit scorer. Howden finished his WHL career with 111 goals, and he twice skated for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships.
“Team Take”: (I asked Dan Weiss, “Voice of the Rampage” to give you his take on how the team is built this season)
“After the playoff loss to OKC, the Florida staff believed the club needed some more jam and weight along the walls, especially with the skill rookies coming in (Howden & Shore). That led to the UFA signings of Deveaux and J.F. Jacques, who will team with Eric Selleck (23 fighting majors last season) and Justin Vaive to address that issue.
Wellman was the big skill acquisition up front. He had a career nine goals and 12 points in 10 games against San Antonio (only 28 career goals against the rest of the league). Jon Rheault had a good start in Abbotsford last year (11 goals, 25 points in 30 games) before getting injured and missing much of second half.
Bottom line, the team will need to replace the offense vacated by their top four scorers (Matsumoto, Thomas, Cullen, and Kearns) who together produced 69-108-177 or roughly 33% of last season’s points total.”
The Season Series –
The Aeros and Rampage will meet 12 times during the regular season, beginning on Sunday, October 14th.
Oklahoma City Barons Preview - Click Here
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