YOUNGSTOWN, OH – The Youngstown Phantoms have announced the acquisition of forward Dalton Messina from the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders in exchange for forward Matthew Thomson and also the additions of forwards Samuel Salonen and Nick Cardelli to the team.
“Dalton Messina is a player we’ve liked and valued for the last few seasons and have a good feel for from previous AAA and USHL hockey viewings,” said Phantoms’ General Manager Jason Koehler. “He played with Tommy Parrottino (current Phantom forward) and for Assistant Coach Nick Peruzzi with the Oakland Grizzlies U18 team so there is a strong familiarity here with him. We felt that Messina is a player and person that will upgrade our forward group in Youngstown and just as important upgrade our locker room as he’s a competitor and leader….someone you go to war with very night and in the playoffs. ”
The 5’11 190 lbs. left shot forward, Messina is from Macomb, Michigan and had a 2-2-4 line in 15 games for Cedar Rapids this year after missing some time with an injury earlier in the season. Messina played last season in Cedar Rapids after being acquired in a trade from Fargo who had selected him in the 2nd round of the 2016 USHL Phase II Draft (23rd overall), is currently uncommitted to a college, and was one of the Rough Riders’ team captains the last two seasons.
Newly acquired forward Samuel Salonen was added by the Phantoms after previously playing for the Sioux City Musketeers this season. Salonen, a 6’3 200 lbs. left shot forward and native of Vantaa, Finland, had seen action in 23 games with his prior team and had a line of 3-4-7 prior to joining the Phantoms and had recently played in the NHL / USHL Top Prospects Game in early January in Kearney, Nebraska along with Phantoms Curtis Hall, Max Ellis, and Ivan Prosvetov.
“Samuel Salonen is a talent and a player we felt could add a scoring touch and threat to our forward group, which has needed a boost of late, said Koehler. “Samuel has size, smarts, and is not afraid to shoot which is something that we felt would be a welcome addition here. We feel once he gets comfortable here, we’ll see a dangerous offensive scoring line threat nightly.”
Finally, forward Nick Cardelli was acquired via a USHL waiver claim trade from the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders. Cardelli, in his first year in the USHL, had a previous line of 4-7-11 in 23 games with Fargo and Cedar Rapids prior to joining the Phantoms and played the previous two seasons in the NAHL junior league for the Brookings Blizzard. The 5’9 175 lbs. right shot forward hails from Chicago, Illinois and is committed to play college hockey at Bemidji State.
“Nick Cardelli is a junior hockey veteran and had a previous relationship with a few of our Chicago based players and we felt that adding a veteran scoring line forward with a high compete level and character was important for the second half of the season, “ said Koehler. “Cardelli was well respected and appreciated with his previous teams and should be a creative playmaking scoring line winger with us and add offense to our forward group moving into the second half.”
To make room for the new forward acquisitions, forwards Matt Thomson and Jagger Joshua are no longer with the team. Thomson was moved to Cedar Rapids in exchange for Dalton Messina and Jagger Joshua was claimed by the Muskegon Lumberjacks in a USHL waiver claim trade.