The Marlies relationship with the Orlando Solar Bears of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) appears to have had an additional benefit arise recently. The Bears are not just an affiliate team to send players to for assignment either more playing time or conditioning stints before being recalled to the AHL but also as a potential pool from which to draw players as the necessity arises. Last season we saw Kory Nagy and Bryce Aneloski join the Marlies from the Solar Bears and I for one was glad to see the organization experimenting a little more with their ECHL relationship. It seems there was also one further benefit that arose recently, scouting, as the Marlies recently announced they had signed ECHL league MVP and goal scoring leader, Mickey Lang, a member of last years Orlando Solar Bears squad to a one year AHL deal.
The 27 year old product of Reno, NV started his pro career in 2011 after leading the Manhattanville Valiants, NCAA Division III in terms of both goals and points for two consecutive years landing him some well deserve accolades in 2010 including Player of the Year and 1st Team All American. The 5’10”, 174lbs right shooting centerman put up 44 goals and 33 assists for 77 points in 61 games played and has shown progress in almost every consecutive professional year he has had since leaving Manhattanville. Although going undrafted, Lang has continued to rise through the ranks of professional hockey, doing it the hard way but continuing to grow with each step taken.
With the Marlies losing TJ Brennan to the New York Islanders, Jerry D’Amigo to the Columbus Blue Jackets (when they brought back Matt Frattin) and potentially the likes of Petter Granberg, Carter Ashton and Peter Holland to the Maple Leafs this year, there was significant need to find scoring and that is something Lang should be able to provide. At worst, my assumption is that Lang could be loaned/sent back to the Solar Bears for the remainder of the year, something the Bears would benefit from and Marlies coming out of the agreement without much more than a little lost equity for what they risked.
The scouting reports on Lang are thin but what is out there has a consensus that Lang possesses “big league speed” and has quality vision and passing abilities. A little more about Lang and his transition to profession hockey can be found in the link below, courtsey of the Quad-City Times:
Looking forward to attending some Marlies games this year to see what Lang can lend to the team. There is going to be a significant shift in the opportunities available for the younger players on the team given the openings that are potentially available so I am sure many are looking forward to the start of the season as much as we are. As always, puck for thought.