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Gladiators get big boost with signing of Bloodoff

The Gwinnett Gladiators signed former Phoenix draft pick Evan Bloodoff, adding an offensive weapon for the 2013-14 season. (Photo: Amanda Hertel)

The Gwinnett Gladiators signed former Phoenix draft pick Evan Bloodoff, adding an offensive weapon for the 2013-14 season. (Photo: Amanda Hertel)

DULUTH — The Gwinnett Gladiators don’t have many players officially rostered for the 2013-14 season, but they got a big addition today.

The Gladiators signed talented forward Evan Bloodoff, a draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2006 and a 20-goal scorer for Gwinnett last year.

The 22-year-old spent five seasons with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League before making his pro debut with AHL portland in 2011-12. Bloodoff played in 48 games that season and had eight points for the Pirates. He spent most of last season in Gwinnett, but also appeared in nine games with Portland.

Bloodoff proved to be clutch throughout the 2012-13 campaign. He led the Gladiators with five game-winning goals in the regular season. He also had a seven-game point streak from Oct. 28 to Nov. 11, and a five-game goal-scoring streak from Feb. 19 to March 2.

“There are multiple reasons why getting Evan back is so important for us,” said Rick Emmett, who just last week took over the reins as Gwinnett’s head coach.

“He has an American Hockey League pedigree, is motivated to improve, and is a terrific locker room guy.

“Evan is one of the most explosive players in the league. Very few players can be considered game-breakers, but he is one of them.”

In his first full season as a Gladiator in 2012-13, Bloodoff finished third on the team in goals (20) and in points (38). He was second on the team in points in the playoffs with eight (five goals, three assists) in 10 games. The Nelson, B.C., native also scored the winning goal in Game 4 of the Gladiators Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with South Carolina to help complete the sweep.

Bloodoff joins defensemen Devon Krogh and Jonathan Narbonne on Gwinnett’s 2013-14 roster.