January 2, 2012 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Missouri Mavericks
INDEPENDENCE, Missouri - The Missouri Mavericks announced Monday the Central Hockey League (CHL) team has made a pair of trades with the Arizona Sundogs. Missouri has acquired goaltender Levente Szuper in exchange for defenseman Steven Kaunisto and future considerations, and the Mavericks traded forward Mike Gurtler in exchange for forward Patrick Schafer.
Szuper, 31 (6/11/80), is in his 11th professional season and second in the CHL. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound netminder was drafted in the fourth round (116th overall) by the Calgary Flames in the 2000 National Hockey League (NHL) entry draft. In 15 games played this season, the Budapest, Hungary native has a .918 save percentage and 3.17 goals-against average (GAA). Last season with the Sundogs, Szuper (ZOO-per) appeared in 41 games with a record of 18-13-5, a 3.38 GAA and .904 save pct. He set Arizona franchise records in games played (41), minutes (2,342), saves (1,240) and wins (18).
"With our roster getting heathy, we have the opportunity to work on strengthening our team and Levente Szuper is an elite goaltender at the AA level," said Mavericks' Head Coach Scott Hillman. "He has played in the top leagues around the world and performed very well. He is right at the top of our league in save percentage which makes us a deeper team at the goaltending position."
Szuper played three seasons in the Flames organization with the St. John Flames to start his career (2000-03) which included a Calder Cup championship during his rookie season. He moved to the St. Louis Blues organization in 2003-04 where he split time between the AHL's Worcester IceCats and the ECHL's Peoria Riverman where he went 23-8-1 for Peoria in 2003-04. Prior to playing for the Sundogs, Szuper played five seasons in Europe in Italy, Sweden, Germany and Austria.
"To acquire a goaltender of this caliber mid-season we had to give up some players. Steven Kaunisto and Mike Gurtler are good young players and although we hate to part with them, we believe we have made our team stronger," added Hillman. "It also affords us the opportunity to add Patrick Schafer who is a hard working forward that provides energy from a role position. Our team has been very focused on clarifying roles and Patrick is a player who we hope can step into a needed checking role so we can continue to improve our club defensively."
Schafer, 24 (12/24/87), is in his second professional season after playing 38 games for the Sundogs last season. The Hilliard, Ohio native had 22 points (11-1122) in his 38 games with the Sundogs last season, and he has five points (2-35) in 19 games this season. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward played in six games with the ECHL's Alaska Aces this season before joining the Sundogs.
Prior to turning pro, Schafer played four seasons with Ohio State University where he had 11 goals and 24 assists in 122 games played.
"Coming off two great team wins, we believe we have a clear picture of what direction we need to take this team to give ourselves a chance to win each and every night and we believe that is what our fans want to see," finalized Hillman.
The Mavericks open up the 2012 portion of their schedule next weekend, getting visits to Independence Events Center from the Tulsa Oilers on Friday, January 6 and the Quad City Mallards on Saturday, January 7. Faceoff is at 7:05pm for both games. Tickets for all regular season games are on sale via Ticketmaster. Call (816) 252-7825 for more information or visit www.MissouriMavericks.com .