On the surface, the signing of the defenseman Luka Vidmar doesn’t seem like a huge deal.
I beg to differ.
Vidmar, as Rays head coach Spencer Carbery pointed out, was probably the Rays best two-way defenseman a year ago.
Certainly Kevin Quick is a solid defenseman and the team captain, but he doesn’t have the offensive tools that Vidmar has.
I think everyone saw how valuable Vidmar was when he was out of the lineup during the playoffs.
This signing with pay huge dividends this season.
Still trying to get word on the Rays affiliation situation and if/when they will sign a new assistant coach.
Here’s a release from ECHL Broadcaster of the Year Joey Z, along with a quote from Spencer that I added:
Vidmar, 27, skated in a career-high 62 games with the Stingrays last season and led team defensemen with 27 points (six goals, 21 assists) and was fourth on the team with a plus-minus rating of +11.
“Luka was arguably our best all-around defenseman,” said Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery. “Luka is very responsible in our defensive zone and he’s able to jump up into a play and provide a little bit of offense as well.”
In 123 career ECHL contests over two seasons with South Carolina, Colorado and Las Vegas, the Ljubljana, Slovenia, native registered nine goals and 39 assists for 48 points.
“We had a pretty good second half last year, but I had a bitter taste at the end of the season with the playoff run,” said Vidmar. “We didn’t accomplish what we wanted to, which is obviously winning a championship and the injuries I had at the end of the season I didn’t get a chance to play until the last game of the season. I want to come back and have a good first half right away with the guys we have. I’m really excited about it.”
Prior to turning pro, Vidmar attended the University of Alaska-Anchorage for four seasons totaling 33 points (six goals, 27 assists) in 114 games and was a three-time WCHA All-Academic Team selection.
The 6-foot-1, 192-pound defenseman has also dressed for the Slovenia U-18, U-20 and men’s national team earning bronze medals in 2003 and 2006, a silver medal in 2005 and a gold medal in 2010.