On Thursday, the Rapid City Rush announced that forward Keanu Yamamoto will be returning for the 2023-24 ECHL season. On Friday, the Rapid City Rush announced that defenseman Quinn Wichers has been traded to the Wheeling Nailers in exchange for forward Keltie Jeri-Leon.
Keanu Yamamoto Signing
Keanu Yamamoto was signed by the Rush for the 2022-23 ECHL season, his rookie season. Yamamoto played in 71 games for the Rush, where he had 18 goals and 27 assists for 45 points. He had 28 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -15.
My Thoughts on This Signing
I think this is a great signing for the Rush. Yamamoto is not the biggest of players when it comes to size, but he uses his smaller size to his advantage. With his small size, Yamamoto is able to squeeze through small areas, and he is able to use his speed to get past some of the bigger guys.
Quinn Wichers for Keltie Jeri-Leon Trade
Quinn Wichers has been in the ECHL for two seasons, both of which were spent with the Rapid City Rush. In the 2022-23 season, Wichers played in 50 games where he had one goal and nine assists for ten points. He had twenty penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -5. Through both of his ECHL seasons, Wichers has played in 93 ECHL games, with three goals and 17 assists for 20 points. He had 39 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -2.
During both of his professional seasons, Wichers has also spent some time in the AHL with the Tucson Roadrunners and San Diego Gulls. He has played in 26 games where he does not have any points. He has 17 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -8.
Keltie Jeri-Leon has also been in the ECHL for two seasons, spending his time with the Maine Mariners and Wheeling Nailers. In the 2022-23 season, Jeri-Leon played 38 games for the Maine Mariners, where he had eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points. He had six penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +2. He then spent time with the Wheeling Nailers playing in 11 games where he had four goals and zero assists for four points. He had two penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -1. Throughout the 2022-23 season, Jeri-Leon played in 49 games, with 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points. He had eight penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +1. Throughout his whole time in the ECHL, Jeri-Leon has played in 106 games, with 31 goals and 27 assists for 58 points. He has 12 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -8.
Jeri-Leon spent a little bit of time in the AHL with the Providence Bruins and Abbotsford Canucks in the 2021-22 season. He played in six games where he had one goal and zero assists for one point. He had zero penalty minutes and a plus/minus of 0.
My Thoughts on This Trade
As of right now, I am a bit skeptical of this trade as it is a defenseman for a forward. When Wichers played for the Rush, he always played with 100% and was good offensively and defensively. With the Rush having such a problem with always being short defensemen, it is a bit concerning that the team is getting rid of a defenseman for a forward. This trade could go either way. It could end up helping the Rush offense side, or it could end up hurting the Rush on the defense side.