ESTERO, Fla. – General Manager and Head Coach Brad Ralph, announced the club has acquired defenseman Riese Zmolek from the Iowa Heartlanders in exchange for forward Will Calverley.
Zmolek, 26, has played in Iowa for the past two seasons, serving as an assistant captain in his first season and the team’s captain last year. Last season, the Rochester, Minnesota native scored one goal and added seven assists in 33 games with the Heartlanders. Overall, he has five goals and 22 assists in 78 ECHL games. The left-shot defenseman has also spent time in the AHL with the Iowa Wild and Rochester Americans. Zmolek has one goal and three assists in 22 career AHL games.
Before going pro, Zmolek spent four seasons at Minnesota State University-Mankato, finishing as the team’s captain in his senior year. The 6’ 1” 201-pound blueliner helped the Mavericks win four straight WCHA regular season titles and win the WCHA Championship in 2019. He finished his NCAA career with 40 points (seven goals, 33 assists) in 135 collegiate games. Zmolek played junior hockey with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders for two seasons, tallying seven goals and 20 assists in 101 games, along with serving as the club’s captain in his second season and winning the Curt Hammer Award as the USHL Gentleman of the year in 2017.
Zmolek’s father Doug played 467 games from 1992-2000 after being drafted seventh overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1989. Playing the same position as his son, Doug totaled 11 goals and 53 assists for his career with the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, and Chicago Blackhawks. Reise’s younger brother Will was signed to a one-year NHL deal by the Philadelphia Flyers in March. The Flyers signed the defenseman after his fourth season at Bemidji State. Will had 21 points (four goals, 17 assists) in 36 games last season.
Will Calverley departs for Iowa after helping the Florida Everblades win the 2023 Kelly Cup last season. After signing with Florida from Merrimack, Calverley scored one goal and one assist in six regular season games before getting three goals and two assists in 12 playoff games in the Everblades Kelly Cup run. Calverley’s biggest goal came in Game Three of the Kelly Cup Finals, when he scored the only goal in a 1-0 Florida win.
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