The Missouri Mavericks announced the signings of five players for their second season. Four of the five players will be returning from last year, and the fifth will be playing in his first professional season. Here is some insight on the latest players that have (re)joined the Mavericks:
Derek Knowles - Defenseman - 6'3" 205lbs
- Knowles will be playing in his first professional season. Although he will be considered a rookie, Knowles has played well on both the collegiate and junior levels. He played college hockey for the University of Guelph tallying 62 points in 98 games, and also played two seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League. With the signing of Knowles, the Mavericks continue to address one of their biggest needs from last season, which is size on the defensive side of the puck.
Derek Pallardy - Forward - 5'10" 175lbs
- Pallardy will return for a second season with the Mavericks. Pallardy's stat line is far from impressive (4 goals and 14 assists in 61 games), however his versatility bailed out Coach Scott Hillman many times throughout the course of the season. Pallardy was the ultimate utility player for the Mavericks last season, having played nearly every position outside of goalie. When the injury bug bit the Mavericks defenseman last season, it was Pallardy who was entrusted with keeping the defensive unit afloat, moving back from his traditional forward position to the blue line. He is a gritty player that will do whatever is asked of him, and that's the kind of players that are needed when putting championship teams together.
Brett Hammond - Forward - 5'11" 195lbs
- Hammond proved to be one of the most consistent two-way players on the Mavericks last season. He tallied 28 points (11 goals and 17 assists) in 59 games, but his numbers are not indicative of his importance to this team. He is great in the face-off circle, a tremendous penalty killer, one of the better powerplay forwards on the roster, and also has a great impact on the defensive side of the puck. If Jeff Christian does not return for next season, look for Hammond to flourish with his puck distribution skills.
Simon Watson - Forward - 6' 190lbs
- For most of last season, Watson was ineffective on the offensive side of the puck. The expectations for Watson were through the roof, and the mental burden may have had an impact on his play on the ice. However, Watson put it all together for the Mavericks during the stretch run, and proved that he has the ability to be a dominant forward in the CHL. Watson tallied 18 points in the final 24 games, and helped put this team into the playoffs in their first year of existence. Look for Watson to continue that success this year, and take his place as one of the better offensive forwards in the league.
Gerry Festa - Goalie - 5'10" 175lbs
- When the Maverick signed Festa in the middle of last season, the play of their goalies had plagued them throughout the entire first half. Festa had an immediate impact, beating some of the best teams in the league. More importantly, the rest of the league started to take notice of the Mavericks. Not only were they scoring a ton of goals, but now they were making moves to solidify their defensive unit. The signing of Festa will be remembered as the first step toward the Mavericks' playoff run. However, with Festa committed for the 2010-11 season, does this mean the end of Charlie Effinger in a Mavericks' sweater?
With this latest batch of signings, it is apparent that Hillman wants to retain the majority of his players from last year. However, there are still a few key contributors that are still not under terms with the team. There are many questions regarding to the future of Christian and Effinger, however other fan-favorites like Mike Burgoyne and Nick Sirota are still out there as well. The Mavericks now have 11 players signed for the upcoming season, and it will be interesting to see who fills out the remaining spots.