Erie Otters’ Summer Checkup

The Erie Otters have been busy this summer. In case you’ve been busy or been spending your summer in the pool, we will get you caught up on all things Otters as we approach the home stretch of the offseason.

Jamie Drysdale at the U-17 Development Camp

Fourth-overall pick Jamie Drysdale was invited to Canada’s National Under-17 Development Camp this past week. While playing for Team Blue, Drysdale recorded two assists in their second game and helped the team earn a 2-1 record in the round-robin tournament.

Considered by many to be the best defenseman that was available in this past Priority Selection, Drysdale showed off his great skating ability in this rush up the ice.

Drysdale is expected to be a major contributor to both the Otters and Hockey Canada in future seasons. As GM Dave Brown recently told me, Drysdale is one of the best defensemen to come through the league in some time. Otters’ fans will have plenty to look forward to coming up.

Otters Select Petr Cajka in Import Draft

The Otters needed a forward at the CHL Import Draft and got one when they took Petr Cajka with the 11th overall pick. He last played in the Swiss Elite Jr. A League.

Cajka is considered by some as a potential first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. GM Dave Brown gave the following assessment of Cajka:

“He’s a slick, smooth skating center who is responsible and has a very good hockey IQ. As a late 2000, Petr enters this season as a player who has garnished a great deal of interest leading into the 2019 draft based on his efforts and hard work, and we’re excited to be able to assist him through the process.”

Expectations were certainly going to be higher in Erie this season. This pick helps confirm that notion. Early predictions I’ve seen have the Otters finishing 6th-8th in the Western Conference and making the playoffs.

Aidan Timmermans Helps Raise Funds for Humboldt

This is a really cool story. Defenseman Aidan Timmermans teamed up with Iron Empire Clothing on a T-shirt fundraiser to raise funds for the Humboldt Family Assistance Fund. After 815 shirts, $24,000 was sent to the Fund. $12,000 was raised by Timmermans and then matched by Otters’ owner Jim Waters.

“I expected to sell a few shirts to family, friends and through the gym I work out at,” Timmermans said. “With the power of social media and help of the Otters, we took orders for 700 shirts in the first week. My experiences in the OHL really showed me that one person can make a difference. I’m very fortunate and extremely thankful to have the opportunity in any way I can.”

In a time where there’s been much in the way of tragedies throughout the world, seeing stuff like this does give us hope that if we come together, we can really make a difference in the world. Well done, Aidan.

Otters Hire Shane Clifford as Goaltending Coach

The Otters made an addition to their coaching staff by bringing in Shane Clifford as their new goaltending coach. The name should ring a bell to some fans. He’s the coach that helped Carter Hart win CHL Goaltender of the Year.

Clifford brings a wealth of experience to the Otters. He’s been in Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre, Columbus (Ohio State), Johnstown and Les Duc d’Angers. He also has a goaltending school in the Pittsburgh area. John Gibson is among the notables that have gone through the school.

The Otters are expected to have both Anand Oberoi and Daniel Murphy compete for the starting job with both splitting time early. Bringing in a coach like Clifford should help their development. Now the question is which one will rise up and claim the crease as their own. It’ll be one of the early storylines of the 2018-19 season.

And that’s it. You are caught up on the Otters. Their preseason gets underway at the second annual OHL Showcase at Buffalo’s Harborcenter at the end of August. Make sure you follow THW as camps around the country will be underway within a month’s time.