IceDogs wild about new addition
The Niagara IceDogs appear to be in it to win it this season.
The IceDogs added right winger Ivan Lodnia from the Erie Otters in exchange for forward Danial Singer and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2019 (from Kingston) this week, and general manager Joey Burke said the deal was made with a deep playoff run in mind.
“This is a signed NHL draft pick and it’s a message, not only to our team but to all the teams around the league, that we’re going for it this year,” he said. “The timing of this cements that we’re not playing around.
“We feel we have the talent and the group in this dressing room to make a deep run and we want to win. We’ve been build toward this for three years.”
In three seasons with the Otters, Lodnia has 155 points (62 goals, 93 assists). The Los Angeles native was drafted in the third round (85th overall) by the Minnesota Wild in the 2017 NHL Draft. After his 2017-2018 season ended in Erie, he joined the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League for six games.
Burke sees Lodnia, who turns 19 later this month, making an impact right away.
“Absolutely, he’s going to come into our top six,” he said. “Potentially, say he’s on a line with Akil Thomas and Philip Tomasino, that would be pretty exciting to watch and they play at a pace a lot of teams wouldn’t be able to handle.”
Reports surfaced that Lodnia had asked for a trade, but Burke said the IceDogs had been interested in the winger going back to last season.
“We couldn’t get anything to work and then (Erie general manager) Dave Brown and I got a dialogue going early last week and things started to move pretty quickly on it,” Burke said. “It was a situation where he is an elite forward and he fits our style and will compliment some of our other guys.
“It was a no-brainer in a sense.”
Singer, 19, scored 26 goals and emerged as a reliable offensive threat last season.
“Any time you add a player of Ivan’s quality, you are going to have to trade quality back out, and I want to thank Danial for everything he has done here in Niagara,” Burke said.
Singer, a native of St. Catharines who began his junior career with the Fort Erie Meteors, appreciated the opportunity to play for his hometown team.
“I would like to thank the Niagara Ice Dogs for giving me the opportunity to play,” Singer said. “Hockey has a business side to it and stuff happens. I look forward to the future and am excited to see where it takes me.”
The IceDogs open training camp Aug. 28. Their first exhibition game is Aug. 31 versus Barrie in Thorold.
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