ESTERO, Fla. — Florida Everblades head coach Brad Ralph announced on Tuesday the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Ben Masella, the first roster addition for the 2019-20 season.
“We’re extremely excited that Ben Masella decided to come back for another season,” Ralph said. “Benny was a positive, encouraging force for our team last year. He was a leader and will be relied upon this year as a big part of our leadership group.”
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Masella was a key piece of Florida’s defensive corps during the 2018-19 season, finishing the campaign with a career-high six goals and netting a total of 18 points.
“I couldn’t be happier coming back to play for the Everblades next season,” Masella said. “I’m excited to get back to work and build on last season and take the next step to reach the Kelly Cup Finals.”
A product of St. Lawrence University, Masella stepped up during the postseason for Florida. He was tied for the team lead among defensemen with 10 points (4g-6a) during the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound blueliner posted the highest scoring game by a ‘Blades player in the playoffs with four points (2g-2a) in a 5-1 win over the Jacksonville Icemen on April 20.
Masella proved himself as a two-way defenseman in his second year as a professional player, according to Ralph.
“Ben took tremendous strides in his game last year, shutting down teams’ top lines and contributing offensively as well,” Ralph said. “We are expecting him to continue to develop and take another step this year.”
Through two full seasons in the ECHL, Masella has logged ice time in 140 career games with nine goals and 31 assists. He tabbed 22 points (3g-19a) in his first full season in the league in 2017-18 with the Worcester Railers.
Prior to turning professional, Masella notched 24 points (4g-20a) in 99 career games at St. Lawrence. He served as an alternate captain for the Saints in his senior season in 2016-17, when he notched eight points (1g-7a) in 37 games.
The Everblades return to Hertz Arena for the 2019-20 home opener on Saturday, Oct. 19 against the Norfolk Admirals.
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