The Cincinnati Cyclones have signed forwards Graham Knott and Patrick Polino to standard player contracts ahead of the 2021-22 ECHL season.
Knott, 24, enters his fifth professional season after splitting the 2020-21 campaign between South Carolina and Greenville. The Etobicoke, Ontario native registered 15 points during the regular season with both the Stingrays and Swamp Rabbits, before having himself a stellar postseason with Greenville, scoring three goals and tallying seven points in eight games. Knott was a second round selection by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 NHL Draft and has gone on to play 137 AHL games, mostly with the Rockford IceHogs.
“I’m very excited about signing with Cincinnati,” said Knott. “I've heard nothing but great things about the organization, the city, and the fans. I’m a big forward that has good speed and skill, plus I like to think I play smart defensively and am not afraid of the dirty areas. Matt (Thomas) and I had a good conversation. We’re both very excited about this year and are ready to win a championship."
Along with Knott comes 26-year-old Patrick Polino. The second year pro is a Buffalo, New York native who spent his rookie season in the Sabres organization playing for the Cyclones AHL affiliate-Rochester Americans. There, Polino collected three goals and seven points in 20 games. Before going pro, Polino played division one hockey at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was an ECAC Hockey All-Academic athlete all four years, including his senior season in which he served as alternate captain.
“I’m definitely excited to get this year going,” said Polino. “It seems like it’s been a long offseason after a weird year last season. I’m excited to play a full season again and continue to prove myself and build a strong resume. Cincinnati is a great place to do that and I’ve heard nothing but great things about Matt Thomas. After we had the chance to talk, I see why everyone thinks so highly of him.”
“We’re in a fortunate position to be able to add talent like this with a pair of young players that have AHL experience,” said Cyclones Head Coach Matt Thomas. “With Graham, we know we’re gaining an individual who can play any role we need him to at this level. He’s a 6-foot-4 power forward who will be tough for our opponents to handle.”
“Polino is someone whose experience in Rochester last year will be valuable to us. He’s got the hands and speed to be effective at distributing the puck and creating scoring chances for our club. His hockey sense makes him a versatile prospect.”
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