Nailers Extend Qualifying Offers to Seven

WHEELING – The Wheeling Nailers announced their seven players that have received qualifying offers for the 2012-13 season. Chris Barton, Cody Chupp, Paul Crowder, Cam Fergus, Denver Manderson, Tim Priamo, and Zack Torquato have all received qualifying offers from the Nailers.

Barton, 24, played his first professional season in 2011-12, following a four-year collegiate career at Merrimack College. He wasted little time in making his presence felt with the Nailers, as he scored two goals in his second game with the club Oct. 15 at South Carolina.

Barton finished as the Nailers’ leading scorer with 29 goals and 60 points and was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team.

Chupp, 27, played his second professional season in 2011-12, but his first with the Nailers. Prior to turning pro, Chupp, attended Ferris State for four years from 2006-10, joining the AHL’s Texas Stars at the end of the 2009-10 campaign. He spent the entire 2010-11 season with Texas, before splitting the 2011-12 season between Wheeling and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

In 43 regular-season games with the Nailers, Chupp recorded 17 goals, 17 assists, and 34 points, while also picking up one goal and four assists in 15 AHL games with the Penguins.

Crowder, 27, has played three full seasons of professional hockey, with parts of two of those seasons taking place in Wheeling. Prior to turning pro, Crowder attended the University of Alaska-Anchorage for three years from 2006-09, concluding the 2008-09 season with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. He spent the entire 2009-10 campaign with the Wolf Pack, reaching double digits in goals and assists with 12-14-26 totals in 79 games.

Crowder then joined the Utah Grizzlies at the start of the 2010-11 season, before a trade brought him to the Nailers, where he finished the year with 11 points in 16 games. This past season, Crowder, the team captain, finished second on the team in scoring, posting 23 goals, 27 assists, and 50 points in 57 games, while also playing in five games with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs.

Fergus, 25, made his pro debut at the end of the 2011-12 season, joining the Nailers after a five-year career at St. Mary’s University (Nova Scotia).

The Brantford, ON, native appeared in eight games with Wheeling this past spring, dishing out three assists.

Manderson, 23, played his first season of professional hockey in North America in 2011-12, spending the entire year with the Nailers. After battling his way into the lineup at the start of the season, made his permanent mark with 18 goals, 22 assists, and 40 points in 52 games, while playing on the power play, penalty kill, and even strength.

Priamo, 24, played his first season of professional hockey in 2011-12 with the Nailers, after playing each of the previous five seasons in his home town of Guelph, ON. Priamo’s 2011-12 campaign was limited to 22 games due to injury, but he was able to pick up one goal and four points, including Wheeling’s first goal of the season at WesBanco Arena on Oct. 22 against Elmira.

Torquato, 23, has been playing professional hockey for two full seasons, including the 2011-12 campaign, which he spent entirely with the Nailers. Torquato appeared in 60 games with Wheeling, recording 12 goals, 28 assists, and 40 points, while netting two of the club’s three overtime winning goals.

Players who had already signed a contract by July 1 did not need to receive a qualifying offer.

Each team is entitled to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight qualified players. Of the eight qualified players, no more than four can be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the upcoming 2012-13 season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded. The qualifying offer must remain open for acceptance until August 1st, at which time the qualifying offer becomes null and void and the team may sign the qualified player to any salary or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season.