Gwinnett Gladiators rookie forward Marshall Everson (3) works against Reading’s Brett Flemming during a game last season. (Photo: Amanda Hertel)
DULUTH — The Gwinnett Gladiators made last year’s leading scorer, Marshall Everson, their first official signing for the 2014-15 season Tuesday.
Also announced was the addition of rookie forward Randy Cameron.
“Marshall is a quality individual that plays an intelligent, hard-working game,” Gwinnett president Steve Chapman said. “He has a great shot and that special ability to pot the big goal.
“He had a solid rookie season with us and we are expecting him to continue to develop both his skill set and his leadership abilities next season. He should be on the radar of a few AHL teams and will be a major contributor to our team goals.”
Everson, 23, anchored an ever-changing Gladiators offense as a rookie and finished with 53 points in 43 games. He was second only to late-season linemate Brendan Walker in goals (21), was fourth in assists (22) and third with a plus-9 rating for Gwinnett.
The Harvard product scored his first goal in his second pro game and was a consistent producer as the Gladiators roster fluctuated around him. He ended up 15th overall in rookie scoring in the ECHL and finished strong with at least a point in 13 of his last 19 games.
“I felt good about my season,” Everson said. “It’s never fun not winning. That’s tough to deal with. You always feel like you should be doing more to help the team.
“But it was great at the end of the season to be on a line with Walker and (Casey Pierro-Zabotel) at the end of the season. We developed a lot of chemistry and I got to play in some important situations. I was happy to get those opportunities.”
Everson is training this summer in his native Minnesota with the goal of expanding his role to include short-handed and 4-on-4 situations.
He’s excited about the team’s chances to carry some of the momentum it gathered at the end of a difficult 2013-14 campaign.
“I talked to Chappy and (head coach Rick Emmett) at the end of last year and I thought we made some good strides, especially when we got some stability in the lineup,” said Everson in discussing his re-signing. “What they said was what I wanted to hear, that they were focused on taking the next steps.
“We were a playoff team down the stretch — it’s just the start was too much to overcome.”
Cameron had 21 points in 28 games as an alternate captain with St. Thomas University in Canada last season. During his four years with the Tommies, the Prince Edward Island native has 66 points in 95 games.
Prior to that, Cameron, 25, played for the Moncton Wildcats in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for four seasons, appearing in 256 games (72 goals, 125 assists, 197 points). He was teammates with former Gwinnett goaltender Louis Domingue on the 2009-10 Moncton QMJHL championship team, and was an alternate captain his final two seasons there.
“Randy Cameron comes highly recommended to us by one of our former players, Justin Bowers, who is now the head coach of the Woodstock Slammers in Junior A,” Chapman said. “That recommendation carries a lot of weight with us. Randy has put up some quality numbers in the CIS and has the potential to make an impact for us at center and in the room.”