A powerful veteran presence, offensive depth, a big-bodied defensive core and a group of younger guys that have made the most of the last year and a half: head coach Chris Hartsburg likes what he sees from the 2021-22 Erie Otters so far.
“What I like about our group here is we’re consistent all the way through our lineup. I think we have a lot of guys that fill the role of what we want to be as a team and how we want to play the game. Importantly, our guys really understand our identity and our culture and are prepared to make sure it’s bought into right away.” – Chris Hartsburg
2019-20 Record: 26-26-4-7, 63 points (Fifth in Midwest Division)
Head Coach: Chris Hartsburg (Fourth season)
Opening Game: Saturday, Oct. 9 @ Flint
The Otters have depth up front with three solid forward lines that are going to be able to contribute and a younger fourth line that will be able to spark the team. Daniel D’Amato has established himself as a productive player in the League and holds an important role as one of four 20-year-old forwards heading into the season. Hartsburg is excited about the team’s offensive strength and feels D’Amato – who’s had the chance to dip his toes on NHL ice as a Vegas Golden Knights training camp free agent invitee – is ready to take a big step as a leader.
Another factor Hartsburg and the Otters organization are most excited about this season is getting first round 2020 OHL Priority Selection pick Spencer Sova into some game action. Among the strengths of the team’s defensive core are its size, and Sova is a big-bodied strong skater who can move the puck with explosive speed. The future is bright for Sova, who Hartsburg hopes will fall in line with the same impact Jamie Drysdale had in Erie as a 17-year-old.
The Otters are set up for success in net with big 6-foot-5 Aidan Campbell. The 19-year-old landed a spot on USA’s 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase roster this past summer and is expected to be an important piece of the Otters’ progress.