The South Carolina Stingrays should contend as one of the top teams in the ECHL this season even with the loss of star goaltender Jeff Jakaitis. Recently the team has improved themselves even further by signing former NHLer Trevor Gillies.
Gillies, a 36 year old forward, has played in 16 professional seasons and 57 games in the National Hockey League. That might not seem like much, but it brings valuable experience that cannot be measured for a team in a league such as the ECHL.
Trevor brings leadership, a professionalism and a work ethic that are second to none,” Stingrays head coach Sepncer Carbery told the Post and Courier. “He’s regarded in the hockey world as an incredible teammate who takes his job very seriously. He has the ability to bring an entire team together and get them all pulling in the same direction.
“Even at his age, Trevor isn’t looking to just pick up a pay check,” Carbery said. “That’s just not in his DNA. He will approach an ECHL game like he would an NHL game. That’s just the kind of professional he is.”
Gillies has an astounding 261 penalty minutes in his limited NHL time. The enforcer split his NHL experience between the Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders at parts of the 2005-2006 season and between 2009 and 2012 with the Islanders. In that time, he took on several fights against NHL heavyweights such as Shawn Thornton and Jared Boll.
“There are only three lines in this league, so Trevor will play a regular shift,” Carbery said to the Post and Courier. “He’s excellent on the forecheck and will create space for his linemates. He can do more than just fight and hold other teams accountable. He’s going to help us win hockey games.”
Gillies does have ECHL experience as well dating back to 1999 when he played for the Mississippi Sea Wolves. He most recently was a member of the Orlando Solar Bears in the 2013-2014 season but has played for other ECHL clubs such as Augusta, Greensboro, Peroia, and Richmond.
The Stingrays are expected to compete for a Kelly Cup once again after they reached the finals last season.