Apr 5, 2022

Hello ‘Cuda Country, hope you had a great week. We’re down to just seven games in the regular season and three games remaining at the SAP Center. Because the Barracuda have dropped all four of its contests since we last spoke and the Henderson Silver Knights, the team they’re chasing for the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division, went 2-2 over the week, the Barracuda will need to win-out and have the Silver Knights lose-out over its final nine games to get into the playoffs. So, even though the Barracuda reached the postseason four years ago with similar odds, it will take  miracle to get in. That being said, the Knights and Barracuda will square off twice this weekend at the SAP Center which should make things interesting.


If the Barracuda don’t reach the postseason, it’ll be the first time in the club's seven-year history that it will not qualify for the playoffs (There were no playoffs in 2020 due to COVID-19).


We took our team photo on Friday and players also voted on team awards, which included Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Best Defenseman, Roy Sommer Most Inspirational Award, and the John McCarthy Leadership Award. The award winners will be revealed before the season ends, but for fun, I wanted to get your votes too. So, this week on Twitter I’ll begin my first mailbag, using the hashtag #AskNolly. I’ll periodically present questions for feedback from you, the fans, and will then go over your answers in the following blog. But for this first addition, I want to hear your votes on the team awards.


For fun, I also figured I’d dish out my award winners. So here we go...



Most Valuable Player:

Scott Reedy


Although Scott Reedy hasn’t played for the Barracuda since late February, in my opinion, he was the team’s most consistent forward through the first five months of the year. He’s played wing and center, killed penalties, scored 10 goals on the power-play and despite being in his first full season in the AHL, he was one the team’s most relied upon players.


38 gp: 18+9=27, 4 PIMS, 1 SHG, 1 GWG, 28.1 shooting percentage



Rookie of the Year:

Nick Cicek


Nick Cicek sat out 14 games earlier this year with a broken jaw, yet he still has 23 points (5+18=23) in 45 games from the blueline. Going back to the preseason, he’s looked like a player that belonged at the AHL level, despite being an undrafted free-agent signee on an AHL contract. Beyond just his play on the ice, he is beloved in the locker room and was allowed to wear an "A" as an alternate captain over the last handful of games, a big deal for a first-year player.



Best Defenseman:

Artemi Kniazev


Because I gave Cicek my rookie of the year vote, I'll give Artemi Kniazev my best defenseman vote. After a slow start, he's really come on in the second half and now leads all team d-men in goals (6), power-play goals (2), and shots 114. Like many skilled defenders, the defensive side of the game often comes slower but he's adjusted to the physicality, speed, and grind of pro hockey nicely as the season has continued on. I'm really excited to see his maturation over the next couple of years.



Roy Sommer Most Inspirational Award:

Evan Weinger


I said on air the other day that Evan Weinger should get some MVP love for the role he’s played this year. For awards given out to players who often have the most points and goals, he’s probably not going to win it but he deserves to be in the conversation. On top of him setting single-season career-highs in goals, assists, and points, he also plays heavy minutes on a nightly basis. He kills penalties, generates offense with his speed, is hard to play against, and now in year four of his career, he’s taken on a bit of a leadership role too.


57 gp: 12+12=24, 18 PIMS, 2 SHG, 85 shots, 2 GWG


Honorable mention: Montana Onyebuchi went from yoyoing between the AHL and ECHL, and playing sparingly in the AHL when he was here, to being a constant on the blueline, and a proven tough-guy in the AHL. At just 21 years of age, he’s fought 11 times this year and has rarely looked out of place. Beyond just his fighting prowess, his overall game has come around too. He makes a good first pass, has continued to evolve his offensive instincts and if you don’t have your head up he’s going to knock it off. I can’t tell you how many times he’s stapled guys hitting the offensive blueline this year. Clean, yet bone-crushing, hits that you don’t see all that often these days. Even though the game is more skill-based than it has ever been, there is still plenty of room for Onyebuchi’s game.



John McCarthy Leadership Award:

Mark Alt


As one of the youngest teams in the AHL, Mark Alt played a very valuable role beyond just his shutdown style of play. His leadership and day-to-day approach made an incredible impression on many of the team’s young players. The AHL is as youthful as it has ever been, which makes vets all that much more important. Although he was traded to Rochester before the AHL’s trade deadline, he’s still my winner of the team’s leadership award.


46 gp: 3+5=8, 20 PIMS, 48 shots


I want to hear your picks, so tweet me using the hashtag #AskNolly and we’ll go over the fan vote during next week’s blog.


Before we sign off, I wanted to remind you that you can win an orange jersey right off the backs of the players following our game on April 10 against the Silver Knights. Also, during both home games this weekend, all 'Cuda swag will be 50% off so gear up!


All Battery Members that have already chosen their season ticket plans will be automatically entered to win a game-used orange jersey by a member of the 2021-22 team. Winners will be sent an email before the game with details of the jersey off the back process. The drawing is random, and all winners can pick up their jerseys following the game. For fans who won but can’t make it on April 10, they will be shipped to them.


Once fans collect their jersey, they will have the opportunity to get it signed and take a photo with the player on the ice, except for the winners of player jerseys who did not participate in the game. Those jerseys will have already been signed.


That’ll do it for this edition of Nolly’s Notes. Thanks for reading and so long until next time.

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