As a rookie in the ECHL last season, forward Nolan Walker of Anchorage experienced a solid – and occasionally weird – introduction to pro hockey.
The solid: Walker put up 15-26—41 totals in 68 games with the Newfoundland Growlers, then added 4-3—7 totals in 15 playoff games.
The weird: Walker, under a one-year contract with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, was called up to the Marlies three times, yet never appeared in a game at the level one step below the NHL.
Walker is playing this season for ECHL Kansas City – the Mavericks are affiliated with Coachella Valley of the AHL and Seattle of the NHL – and he’s off to the kind of start that could merit promotion.
The 25-year-old who played college hockey at St. Cloud State scored a goal Friday in the Mavericks’ 5-3 win at Allen and added another goal in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Allen. He didn’t score when Kansas City wrapped a three-game road sweep with a 4-2 win Sunday. Still, Walker owns 4-6—10 totals and a plus-2 rating in 12 games, which easily makes him the most productive of five Alaska skaters in the ECHL this season.
Meanwhile, goaltender Michael Bullion, who grew up in Anchorage and started playing hockey there before his family moved to Canada, delivered an ECHL shutout Sunday for the Savannah Ghost Pirates in a 2-0 win at Orlando. Bullion, 26, stopped 28 shots to earn his first win of the season and pocket his third pro shutout. He improved to 1-3-0 with a 2.99 goals-against average and .895 save percentage.
Anchorage forwards Drake Glover and Cayden Cahill, meanwhile, continue to flourish in the Southern Professional Hockey League.
Glover, 27, the former UAA skater, scored a goal Friday to help the Birmingham Bulls to a 4-1 win over Macon. He’s tied for 12th in the league in scoring – along with Cahill — with 4-5—9 totals and a plus-5 rating in eight games.
Cahill, 27, furnished the Peoria Rivermen an assist Friday in a 4-1 win over Evansville and scored a goal in Tuesday’s 6-3 matinee win at Evansville to give him 2-7—9 totals and a plus-5 rating in six games – Peoria’s six games played are the fewest on the 10-team circuit. Cahill’s average of 1.50 points per game ranks tied for fifth in the league among guys who have played more than two games.
Cahill has furnished at least one point in all six games. That’s the second-longest point streak of his two-plus seasons as a pro. Last season for Peoria, Cahill ripped off an 11-game point streak in which he generated 3-13—16 totals.