Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rats Annouce Signing of Olson, Herauf, Micflikier, Paiement

The River Rats today officially announced the signings of Benn Olson, Brad Herauf, Jacob Micflikier, and Jonathan Paiement.

We knew about Paiement, and we had heard rumors about the other three, but nothing official until now. The signings round out the team well for next season.

Big Benn Olson, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, is a physical stay-at-home defenseman and powerful enforcer. The 22-year-old from Port McNeill, British Columbia, is returning for his second year with the club.

Benn Olson
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

As an undrafted rookie, Olson started last season strong, but like many of the 2008-09 River Rats, he was sidelined with an injury. From November until late January, Olson was out with a broken thumb.

After recuperating, he played five reconditioning games with the ECHL's Florida Everblades and subsequently returned to the Rats to finish the year.

In 36 games with Albany, Olson landed four assists, 140 penalty minutes, and finished the year with a +2 ranking, not bad considering the team's record.

After Albany lost Trevor Gillies to a concussion, Olson stepped in as the team's go-to tough guy, showing no signs of pain in his once mangled right hand.

Prior to going pro, Olson spent four seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Kamloops Blazers. In 275 junior career games, Olson tallied 4 goals, 29 assists, and racked up 834 penalty minutes. He finished his final season in Seattle with a +31.

Olson's solid, physical defensive game will be needed more than ever this year. Expect him to run protection for young talent like Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman.

Brad Herauf
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

The 27-year-old Brad Herauf, last listed at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, was called up from the Florida Everblades mid-season last year. In his first AHL stint, the scrappy, strong-hearted checking forward played well enough to earn a regular spot in the Rats' line-up. In 37 games, he tallied two goals, two assists, and 116 penalty minutes.

Herauf, who hails from Regina, Saskatchewan, spent the previous four seasons in the ECHL, totaling 211 games, 40 goals, 57 assists, and a whopping 851 penalty minutes.

Herauf may be a bit undersized for a checking forward, but he plays like a pit bull. He doesn't back down from anybody, works the boards well, and drives to the net with the best of them.

Herauf has inked a two-way deal with the Rats, meaning he will play somewhere between Albany and Florida next season. He is an excellent depth player to have in the organization.

Forward Jacob Micfliker is the new guy. Coming in at 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, the 25-year-old native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, spent last season between the Rochester Americans and the Florida Everblades. Rochester shares their ECHL affiliate with the Rats.

Micflikier scores crashing the net

In 39 games with the Americans last season, Micflikier scored four goals and 12 assists. In 10 contests with the Blades, he had 10 goals and 14 assists.

Micflikier spent the previous year between the Springfield Falcons and their ECHL affiliate, the Stockton Thunder. He scored five points (4 G, 1 A) in eight games with Springfield and marked an impressive 37 points (10 G, 27 A) in 29 games with Stockton.

From 2003 to 2007, Micflikier attended the University of New Hampshire and became one of the school's all-time leading scorers. In 154 NCAA games, he tallied 58 goals and 92 assists for 150 points.

With Micflikier inked to a one-year deal, the Rats now have a range of depth forwards in the system.

Albany will be well protected against injuries, call-ups and any other voids that may need filling.

News of Jonathan Paiement's signing was first dropped in July by Malcolm Cameron, head coach of the Everblades. Learn more about the well-rounded blueliner here.