It didn’t take long for South Carolina Stingrays head coach Ryan Warsofsky to see the potential in rookie defenseman Colton Saucerman.
Saucerman, 24, played just four regular-season games with the Stingrays last season, but Warsofsky wasted little time in re-signing the former Northeastern star for the upcoming ECHL season.
“Colton is a puck-moving defenseman and those kinds of players are hard to come by at this level,” Warsofsky said. “You could see Colton’s potential the minute he stepped on the ice. He has all the tools you are looking for in a defenseman. He gets pucks out, he can play the power play, and he has a great shot. He really improved throughout the playoffs, and we believe he has a chance for big growth in the pro game.”
Saucerman returns to the Stingrays after joining the club late in the 2015-16 regular season and playing a key part in the club’s run to the Kelly Cup’s Eastern Conference finals.
Saucerman signed with the Stingrays in April after a four-year NCAA career at the Huskies. He made an immediate impact with the Stingrays, scoring a goal in his pro debut on April 2 against Kalamazoo.
He finished with four points, one goal and three assists, in four regular season games.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to Charleston,” Saucerman said. “Most guys coming out of college just want an opportunity to play and show what they got. I don’t think there was a better situation than the one I came into last year in South Carolina. I came in not knowing what to expect, and towards end of playoffs I was playing key minutes in key situations. That was a dream come true. You have coaches you click with, and that was apparent with both Spencer Carbery and Ryan Warsofsky. It was a no-brainier in wanting to play for Ryan this season, and it’s a first-class organization. We certainly have some unfinished business as well. The season cannot get here soon enough.”
In the playoffs, Saucerman played in 15 games, recording eight points on two goals and six assists.
“The playoffs is when teams are at their best and you can learn a lot about a player,” Warsofsky said. “Colton came in and played like he’d been there all season. The games are very fast and the intensity level is really high and I thought Colton was able to handle everything really well. He knows what to expect from the pro game and that’ll work to his advantage during the season.”
Prior to joining South Carolina, Saucerman helped lead Northeastern to a Hockey East Championship and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. He was named to the Hockey East All-Tournament team and finished the season with 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 40 games. The 5-9, 190-pound defenseman collected 64 points (20 goals, 44 assists) in 140 collegiate games.