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Indy Fuel Season Preview: Part 2

Wednesday, December 9th
Indy Fuel Season Preview: Part 2

The 2020-21 ECHL season is shaping up to be unlike anyone has ever seen before. One of 13 teams that is beginning their 2020-21 season in December, the Indy Fuel began their seventh annual training camp on Wednesday afternoon. In his second season behind the bench, Head Coach and General Manager Doug Christiansen and his staff have been hard at work throughout the long offseason building a team that will look to be the first Indy Fuel team to win a playoff game.

Familiar Faces

After what was one of the best offensive years in Fuel franchise history, Head Coach Doug Christiansen returned the ECHL’s second-highest goalscorer in Spencer Watson. In his third professional season, Watson recorded a career-high 31 goals and 28 assists as well as a franchise record 11 power-play goals. The London, Ontario native expects to return to Indy with an even deeper Fuel team by his side, hopefully raising his offensive upside to another level. 

Acquired in a trade from the Rapid City Rush in early December, Alex Rauter re-signs with the Fuel after scoring a career-high 15 goals during the 2019-20 season. The third-year forward registered 15 goals and 11 assists last season and seeks to have a solid season with a familiar supporting cast around him. 

Core Power

Building and keeping a core in the ECHL is a difficult task. Building upon that core is even more difficult, yet Christiansen seems to have done just that this season. The Fuel are no strangers to returning players for multiple seasons but this season is different. This season, Christiansen returned a strong cast of players as well as creating depth within the offensive unit by signing proven players such as Derek Barach, Antoine Waked and Seamus Malone. Combined, the Fuel offensive unit skated in 127 American Hockey League games during the 2019-20 season.

Adding Toughness

Coach Christiansen discussed several times throughout the offseason the priority of adding size to the roster. With the signing of David Broll, Indy adds a 6-foot-2, 236-pound winger that registered nine goals and nine assists in 35 EIHL games last season. The veteran forward has 274 AHL games under his belt as well as five games for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Toughness is a part of the game that the Fuel struggled in last season, seeing several unexpected players answering the bell throughout the season. An early offseason addition, Patrick McGrath will be the player that will generate the toughness that Christiansen is looking for as well as drop the gloves when needed. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward skated in 18 ECHL games with the Utah Grizzlies during the 2019-20 season, earning one goal and 86 penalty minutes, as well as finishing with seven fighting majors. 

Lineup Prediction

Broll - Barach - Watson

Rauter - Malone - Waked

Krieger - Plouffe - Marcinew

Thomas - Leiter - Foget

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FUEL FALL TO WHEELING IN GAME 4
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