By: Joe Rozycki
The Kansas City Mavericks announced on Tuesday that they were extending their affiliation agreement with the Calgary Flames and Stockton Heat for the upcoming 2018-19 season.
Over the course of last year, the first year of the affiliation for the three clubs, there were some growing pains as the three separate organizations learned the best ways to operate individually, while maintaining the overall, mutual goals throughout the entire affiliate system. The Flames, Heat, and Mavericks all had to push through trying times, especially when injuries bared the cupboard several times throughout the course of the campaign.
Now this partnership has been forged for another season, with some new faces in the fold. Calgary announced that Bill Peters would take over behind the bench for the Flames, replacing Glen Gulutzan who was earlier relieved of his duties. Peters spent the previous the previous four seasons at the helm for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Just like the parent club, Stockton has a new bench boss as well. Cail MacLean was named head coach of the Heat on June 4th, replacing Ryan Huska who was hired by Peters as an Assistant Coach in Calgary. MacLean both played and coached at the ECHL level for a number of years, which can only infuse the relationship between he and Mavericks coach John-Scott Dickson even more. Dickson mentioned on the Mavs Insider podcast on Tuesday night that he has already made contact with MacLean and has had ongoing conversations since.
So, what seemed to be another year of the same arrangement is anything but that. Like with any successful affiliation, communication will be the key, and it sounds as if the groundwork has already been laid by the coaches at each level.
So as we prepare for Year Two of this affiliation agreement, it’s time to take a look back at Year One and the impact that the Flames and Heat have had on the Mavericks organization.
Kayle Doetzel – Defenseman
Doetzel appeared in 48 games with the Mavericks last season, tallying three goals and nine assists. He also notched 10 games with Stockton, pitching in a couple of helpers in the AHL as well. Doetzel is far from a flashy player, but he’s as reliable as they come. Along with Nate Widman, Doetzel proved that he can be a stay-at-home defenseman, but also jump into a rush as well. Hopefully, we’ll see him in a Mavericks sweater again this season.
Darren Nowick – Forward
Mavericks fans were already familiar with the skills of Nowick, as he began his career in Kansas City back in 2016. His game became more and more polished since his debut, and eventually led to Stockton signing him to a two-way deal prior to the 2017-18 season. Unfortunately, injuries hampered the dynamic forward and limited him to just 47 games split between Kansas City and Stockton with only 21 points under his belt. Nowick was dominant when healthy at the ECHL level, and if he can stay on the ice, he’s in line for a bounce back season.
Mike McMurty – Forward
Speaking of dominance, that’s exactly what McMurty displayed during his tenure with the Mavericks. Tallying 33 points in 31 games earned him several different trips up to Stockton, where he added another 18 points in 33 games. He has proven he can play at the next level, and I would imagine he will get every opportunity to do so this upcoming season.
Hunter Smith - Forward
Smith overcame a slow start to the season to become a consistent contributor on the Mavs' top line before catching the injury bug that plagued the Mavericks for most of the season. Smith finished with 17 points in 35 games but began to show flashes of what made him a second round pick along with Mason McDonald in 2014.
Mason McDonald – Goaltender
Injuries and transactions caused quite the goalie carousel throughout the affiliation at times last season. McDonald was right in the thick of the chaos, getting tabbed for multiple trips to the Heat. After a bit of a rocky start for the Mavericks, McDonald was a steadying force between the pipes. While his overall numbers don’t look great (11-14-1, 3.16 GAA, .894 SV %), they are a bit deceiving thanks to some of those early season struggles. However, there’s a great chance he starts the season with Kansas City. Where he goes from there will be up to him.
Tyler Parsons – Goaltender
It was a bit of a shock when Parsons, the top prospect in the Flames organization, was assigned to Kansas City to begin the season. The rookie netminder showed why that title has been bestowed upon him. He showed many flashes of brilliance throughout the season, but his rawness and young age was also on display at times. After a brief injury scare, Parsons battled back and earned a call-up to Stockton. The results were mixed in those seven appearances in the AHL, proving that Parsons needed a little more fine tuning. Now with a full professional season under his belt, Parsons is ready to make some noise at the next level.