In a depth move, the Syracuse Crunch signed goalie Nic Riopel to a one-year AHL contract. The move seems clearly a depth addition for the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL as the 27 year-old Riopel spent his 2015-16 season in the ECHL between the Norfolk Admirals and Rapid City Rush. His career only has him staked with 21 games of North American hockey higher than the ECHL. Those games came by way of the Adirondack Phantoms in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Riopel is a 2009 draft selection by the Flyers organization.
Riopel becomes the organization's 5th goalie, behind the NHL tandem of Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy and AHL tandem of Kristers Gudlevskis and Adam Wilcox. If he plays games at the AHL level remains to be seen. There is the potential for a netminder transaction before the deadline, meaning the dealing of contract-year Bishop, but that isn't a certainty. The Crunch having a backup to step in if Gudlevskis or Wilcox get hurt or recalled, is a necessity and a slot that needed to be filled. Allen York, who had been with the Crunch contractually, has retired from the game.
Riopel posted a 2.56 GAA and a .924 save percentage in 32 games with the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL last season. He also played 2 games with the Rapid City Rush where his numbers took a hit (4.03 GAA and .843 save percentage).