(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes, announced today that forward Cody Ferriero has been traded to the Utah Grizzlies in exchange for a pair of forwards: former Hobey Baker Award Finalist Ryan Walters and Josh MacDonald.
“It was hard to depart with an elite player like Cody, but I saw the opportunity to grab two great players that will help us towards not only our playoff push, but also have two quality players for next season,” said Rush Head Coach, Mark DeSantis. “Walters has AHL experience, can play all three forward positions, and can produce offensively as well. MacDonald is a young, fast player that’s in his first season that has the potential to be an effective point-getter for our team.”
Walters, a 24 year-old native of Rosemount, Minnesota, comes to the Rush after playing in 53 games with the Utah Grizzlies, as well as in one game with the American Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of Utah. In West Valley City, the 5’11”, 190-pound Walters racked up 41 points (19 G, 22 Ast) in 53 games, good enough for the third-best scoring total on the club. A second-year professional, Walters is one game shy of 100 in his ECHL career, where he is just shy of a point-per-game pace (84 Pts in 99 GP), and also has 32 AHL games to his credit with the Gulls, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and the Iowa Wild. Prior to turning pro, Walters spent four seasons in the NCAA at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where he was a teammate to current Rush defensemen Michael Young and Brian O’Rourke. During his junior year at UNO, Walters put together an impressive campaign, finishing off with 52 points in 39 games, finishing as a WCHA First-Team All-Star and scoring champion, an NCAA (West) Second-Team All-American, and was also named as a finalist for college hockey’s highest honor, the Hobey Baker Award, becoming just the third player from his institution to contend for the award.
“The reaction is always tough when you learn you’ve been traded, but I’m very excited to be coming to Rapid City. This year it was my goal to make the playoffs, so playing with a team that’s pushing for a playoff spot adds that much more excitement to my scenario in coming to the Rush,” said Ryan Walters on the trade to Rapid City. “As a player, I love playing offense, and that’s what I hope I can contribute in this critical juncture of the season. Additionally, I hope to bring a strong work ethic and be a great locker room guy. Playing with Mish (Ryan Misiak) in Utah this season, and well as with Younger (Michael Young) and Rourkie (Brian O’Rourke) in college is great for my transition as well. I truly treasure the friendships I’ve made with them and can’t wait to go back to battle with all three of them.”
“Walt is an all-around offensive threat. He loves to throw the puck on net, and with how accurate his shot is, he can score from just about anywhere in the offensive zone,” said Michael Young, current Rush defenseman and four-year teammate of Ryan’s at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. “I’ve seen some pretty unbelievable set-ups from him and am excited to know what he can bring to our team. He’s a great guy, and I think he will fit into our locker room very well even with the already tight-knit group we have.”
MacDonald, a 21 year-old native of London, Ontario, comes to the Rush after participating in 40 ECHL games with the Grizzlies this season. The 5’11”, 190-pound rookie winger has 22 points this season, evenly split between goals and assists (11 each), while also sporting a +7 rating, good enough for a share of third on the Utah roster. Prior to playing professionally, MacDonald played 242 games of major-junior hockey with the OHL’s Barrie Colts and Peterborough Petes across four seasons.
“When I got the news this morning that I had been traded I was pretty excited. Ryan and myself are joining a team that is pushing for a playoff spot, so hopefully the two of us can provide some firepower to our new teammates and loyal fans,” Josh MacDonald remarked on coming to Rapid City. “On the ice, I try to show up and do anything and everything asked of me on any given night. It’s about doing all the little things and what the coach asks of you, so if I’m told to get dirty and block shots, play power play and penalty kill, or crash into bodies, I’ll do it if it means the team will be better off after 60 minutes.”
The Rush are back in action this weekend in a three-game-in-three-night home stand against the Fort Wayne Komets (Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. MST), and the defending Kelly Cup Champion Allen Americans (Sunday at 4:05 p.m. MST).
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