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 Wheeling Nailers

Nailers Announce 2024 Playoff Roster

April 16, 2024 - ECHL (ECHL)
Wheeling Nailers News Release

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced their roster for the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The roster consists of 19 current players and five open spots for five of seven eligible players who are currently in the American Hockey League. The current roster consists of 11 forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders.

In goal will be the tandem that combined to produce 34 of the club's 38 victories this season. All-ECHL First Team member Taylor Gauthier had one of the best goaltending seasons for Wheeling in recent memory. The second year pro led the ECHL with a .923 save percentage and four shutouts, finished second with a 2.23 goals against average, and ranked fourth with 24 wins. Jaxon Castor enjoyed a great rookie season, as he posted a 10-4-1 record, which included wins in his final three starts to help the team secure its postseason berth. Both netminders will be playing in the playoffs for the first time in their professional careers.

Looking to the blueline, one player on this year's roster has had a taste of playoff hockey in Wheeling, and that is David Drake, who played in all 11 postseason matches in 2022. The veteran finished this season with career bests in both points (20) and +/- (+18). Joining Drake at the top of the team's +/- is Thimo Nickl, who was a rock defensively, as he led the Nailers with a +25 rating during his first pro season in North America. From an offensive standpoint, Davis Bunz stood out in a big way, as he was one of two defensemen on the club to reach double digits in goals. Bunz lit the lamp ten times, tallied 31 points, and finished with a +20 rating. Justin Lee finished second on the squad in defensive scoring with 33 points, and will look to bring his experience of winning an NCAA National Championship into the locker room. Louie Roehl is a two-time NCAA National Champion, as he comes off of his second straight solid season of being a key piece of the Wheeling blueline. Phip Waugh is the newest member of the bunch, as he notched a pair of assists in his first 12 games, after completing his college career at Mercyhurst.

Offensively, the Nailers did a fantastic job of filling up the net, as they poured in 232 goals. The leader in that category was Jordan Martel, who averaged over a point-per-game following his trade from Utah, as he had 29 goals, 18 assists, and 47 points in 45 games in a Wheeling uniform. This is Martel's third straight ECHL playoff appearance. Tanner Laderoute was the top rookie performer for the Nailers this season, as he reached the 50-point plateau, thanks to his 24th goal of the season in a pivotal win over Fort Wayne last week. Laderoute is another former NCAA National Champion on the roster. ECHL All-Star Dillon Hamaliuk averaged over a point-per-game in his third pro season, as he amassed 39 points in 36 games while playing for the Nailers. Captain Justin Addamo had an enormous impact when he was in the lineup, as the club went 26-8-1 in the 35 games he played. Addamo collected 34 points in those contests, which included six in the final two, when the season was on the line. Iron man Matt Koopman was the only player to play in all 71 games this season, and he also finished with 34 points, which included six shorthanded points to tie for the league lead. Wheeling had six rookies register at least 30 points this season, and another one of those was David Jankowski, who scored the team's first goal of the season, which got the ball rolling on a 37-point year for him. Jordan Frasca saw his play take a gigantic step forward this season, as he turned a 12-point rookie season into a 33-point sophomore campaign, which included one of the squad's two natural hat tricks. Peter Laviolette III will become the second Wheeling native to play playoff games for his hometown team. Laviolette finished second on the club with 102 penalty minutes, while chipping in offensively with 11 points. Three forwards joined the team late in the season, and made significant impacts to earn spots on the postseason roster. Jared Westcott had the most offensive success out of the three, as he racked up four goals and six points in six games. Dustin Manz scored his first two goals on the same night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Cal Kiefiuk is yet another former NCAA National Champion, who suited up in three games after turning pro.

The Nailers placed seven players on their Playoff Eligible List, as these seven players are currently in the AHL, but five of them can be utilized to fill out the final open roster spots to bring the team to the maximum number of 24. All seven players are with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Forward Lukas Svejkovsky averaged over a point-per-game with 37 points in 30 ECHL contests. Forward Matthew Quercia was the only Nailer to finish with double digits in goals (11) and assists (22) and triple digits in penalty minutes (152). Forward Evan Vierling turned 25 points in 34 ECHL games into seven points in his first seven career AHL matches. Forward Raivis Ansons picked up two goals and an assist in his eight games with Wheeling. Defenseman Isaac Belliveau was the top defensive scorer for the Nailers, as he accumulated 14 goals and 38 points during his rookie campaign. Defenseman Owen Headrick made the most of his brief time in Wheeling with five points in six games. Goaltender Garret Sparks won a Calder Cup with Toronto in 2018.

The 2024 Central Division Semifinal Series between the Wheeling Nailers and Indy Fuel will begin at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Friday and Saturday, before heading to WesBanco Arena on April 22nd and 23rd. Game five (if necessary) will be played in Cranberry on April 27th. All home games will begin at 7:10. To purchase tickets for the playoffs or for any questions or concerns about ticketing, please visit or call (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.


2 D Phip Waugh

5 D David Drake

7 D Davis Bunz

8 F Cal Kiefiuk

9 F Tanner Laderoute

10 F David Jankowski

11 F Peter Laviolette III

14 F Jordan Frasca

20 F Justin Addamo

25 F Jared Westcott

26 F Dustin Manz

28 D Louie Roehl

32 D Justin Lee

33 G Taylor Gauthier

35 G Jaxon Castor

36 F Matt Koopman

51 F Jordan Martel

70 F Dillon Hamaliuk

82 D Thimo Nickl

Eligible Players in the AHL

13 F Matthew Quercia

18 D Owen Headrick

40 G Garret Sparks

41 F Evan Vierling

72 F Lukas Svejkovsky

78 D Isaac Belliveau

80 F Raivis Ansons

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