The two main concerns throughout the current campaign for the Syracuse Crunch has been a lack of defensive depth and inconsistency between the pipes. One of those questions marks has been erased today, as the Lightning and Panthers have swapped minor-league goaltenders Adam Wilcox and Mike McKenna.
This transaction comes as the second big move involving the Crunch in the last 48 hours — Toronto Marlies leading scorer Byron Froese made the jump to the salt city in a deal that sent Brian Boyle to the Maple Leafs.
Wilcox, a second-year pro out of the University of Minnesota, has improved immensely over the past calendar year. Goaltending coach David Alexander has worked wonders with the 24-year-old net-minder in his positioning and overall confidence between the pipes. In 34 games with the Crunch this season, the former Hobey Baker award finalist has a record of 18-9 while posting a 2.87 GAA.
Presumably taking the number one job in Syracuse from here on out is veteran Mike McKenna. McKenna was a 2002 sixth-round selection of the Nashville Predators, and has only gotten better with age. The 33-year-old St. Louis native has skated in 26 games with the Springfield Thunderbirds, accumulating a record of 9-10 to go along with a 2.83 GAA.
Here are some reactions from the Crunch faithful:
While this move comes as a bit of a shock, it’s a welcomed surprise for a Crunch team that is looking poised to make a run for the league’s most coveted piece of hardware.