Rory Kerins is coming for a regular AHL spot

Photo credit:Candice Ward/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
11 months ago
Rory Kerins entered his first full year as a professional hockey player and standout ECHL star in the 2022-23 season. While some would have liked him as a full-time Wrangler last season, his abilities and spot on the forward depth chart had him better suited to develop in the ECHL. Kerins did get his chances with the Calgary Wranglers but mid-season injuries prevented him from further development. 
Previously, Kerins would join what was formerly the Stockton Heat once his OHL seasons with the Soo Greyhounds came to an end. His first pro game was back in the 2020-21. He played in four games that year and another five the following year for the Heat in the playoffs. His first goal in the AHL ended up being last season on Nov. 8 against the San Jose Barracuda. 
It was an exciting one too. He took his own rebound off the boards, took another shot, grabbed his rebound again and buried the puck on the wraparound.
He only earned one other point in his brief stint with the Wranglers last year and it was an assist on Mitch McLain’s goal just under a month later against the San Diego Gulls. Kerins showed signs of fitting in at this level but didn’t get much of an audition to prove it. 
He was held back by two injuries that took him out of play for most of the second half of the regular season. His last AHL game was on Jan. 8 and by Feb. 1, he was placed on injured reserve. He was reactivated on Mar. 30 and played seven more games in the ECHL before the end of the season. The Rapid City Rush did not qualify for playoffs and while he was available for the Wranglers’ playoff run, he did not make it into any games in either series. 
However, the games he did play with Rapid City really highlighted his abilities. He averaged just shy of a point per game in 38 regular season games. He had 17 goals and 20 assists and still finished in the top eight in all major team-scoring categories. He and the fanbase were denied the opportunity to see how his numbers would look through a full season. However, if things continue as they are, he’ll have quite a few seasons ahead to rack up the points. 
Starting with next year. It seems it is only a matter of time before Kerins makes his way up the affiliation system and finds a more regular spot on the Calgary Wranglers. That timeline might be sooner than you may think. It is not uncommon for rosters to take quite a shuffle in the off-season, especially in the AHL. There already are a few forwards that may graduate up to the NHL on a more regular basis and some that will not return. As the summer goes on, there may be more and more room for cusp players like Kerins. 
Kerins came with a lot of energy to the Flames development camp earlier in July and looked as if he was healthy and ready to get going. He was very enthusiastic and confident in his abilities. While some were making their first on-ice appearance with the Flames organization, Kerins looked like a seasoned pro that fit right in with regular Wranglers players at camp like Yan Kuznetsov and Adam Klapka. 
He spoke with the team media at development camp saying,
I’m the best I’ve ever been right now. I haven’t lost anything so, the good news for me is there are lots of players from the ECHL who have played in the AHL and NHL, and I just want to be part of that statistic.” 
Kerins works hard and has already overcome some adversity early in his career. If there are other players teetering between an AHL and ECHL assignment, Rory Kerins appears to the be guy to beat. 

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