About a month ago, Raw Charge creator and contributor John Fontana wrote about Charlie Dodero, a defenseman who made 36 appearances with the Syracuse Crunch last season. In his article, John (rather accurately, as it turns out) made the argument that Dodero, who made an impression on Crunch assistant coach Trent Cull during their shared time in Sudbury, deserved another chance to show what he can do at the AHL level.
Someone within the Tampa Bay Lightning apparently agrees.
It was announced earlier this afternoon that Dodero has been signed to an AHL contract with the Crunch for the 2015-2016 season:
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Syracuse Crunch have signed defenseman Charlie Dodero to a one-year American Hockey League contract, Crunch general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.
Dodero, 22, appeared in 36 games with the Crunch during the 2014-15 season, collecting five points (1g, 4a), 72 penalty minutes and a plus-7 rating.
The Bloomingdale, Illinois native also skated in 33 contests with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL last season, racking up 12 points (3g, 9a) and 81 penalty minutes. In 91 career ECHL games with Idaho and the Greenville Roadwarriors, Dodero has accumulated a total of 33 points (7g, 26a) and 178 penalty minutes.
Prior to his professional career, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound defenseman spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sudbury Wolves and Kitchener Rangers, where he tallied 69 points (11g, 58a) and 286 penalty minutes over 248 contests.
Dodero filled in on the blue line for the Crunch last season when Syracuse was in desperate need of reinforcements, and was able to prove that he was deserving of an AHL contract. If Dodero doesn't make the team out of training camp, then he will be loaned to an ECHL team until he's needed (which one that will be is still to be determined). As John pointed out in his own article, even with assuming that Nikita Nesterov and Luke Witkowski make the Lightning, Dodero will still face pretty stiff camp competition in Syracuse from the likes of Anthony DeAngelo, Daniel Walcott (assuming he's signed at some point), Slater Koekkoek, Dylan Blujus, Matt Taormina, Joey Mormina, and Jake Dotchin.
But, even if he doesn't make the team out of camp, Dodero is a fantastic insurance player who has already proved that he can chip in when needed in big ways. It'll only be a matter of time before he lands in Syracuse again if he doesn't stick immediately in October, and the Crunch will be better for having him waiting in the wings. He knows a lot of the guys in Syracuse already, is very familiar with the coaching staff and Tampa's systems, and has proven that he can play at this level. This is a solid depth move for the Crunch to shore up their blue line.