The Cyclones announced today that the team has re-signed defenseman Matt Cairns to a standard player contract for the 2023-24 ECHL season. Cairns becomes the fourth blue liner to sign with Cincinnati and the seventh returnee from last year's Central Division Champions team to re-sign with the 'Clones.

"Guys can overlook how important it is to be able to play for the same team multiple years in a row at this level," said Cairns. "That isn't lost one me. I'm very thankful for Coach (Jason) Payne wanting to sign me again. I think the game I play has fit well into his system and how he likes our team's defense to operate. He gives me a lot of trust to play my game and he knows what it takes to get me to the next level. That's my ultimate goal as an individual and Payner knows what I want in that sense."

Since the start of the 2021-22 season, no defenseman has played more games for the Cyclones than Cairns, who now enters his third season with the team. Including playoffs, the 25-year-old has skated in 128 games for Cincinnati, scoring three goals and 20 assists for 23 points. Over the course of two regular seasons, Cairns has posted a +/- 38 rating and has earned two call-ups to the AHL, most recently last season with Milwaukee, where the Mississauga, Ontario native appeared in seven games for the Admirals.

"Matt's maturity and growth at the pro level has been very impressive since coming into the league a couple seasons back," said Payne. "He works hard to constantly evaluate where he is and how he can get stronger in each area on the ice. He's coachable. He wants to learn and wants to show that you can trust in him to not cheat the game and play the right way. We're excited to have him back in the fold for us this season and we will continue to do everything we can as an organization to further his development."

Cairns is a former third-round NHL Draft selection by the Edmonton Oilers back in 2016. From there, he went on to play division one hockey for Cornell University and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. In 2021, Cairns signed an AHL contract with the Rochester Americans, where he spent the bulk of his season with Cincinnati. He signed his first ECHL contract with the 'Clones last summer, before playing in 45 games and posted six points and accrued 50 penalty minutes.