SAVANNAH, GA — The Savannah Ghost Pirates announced Monday that the club has agreed to terms with defensemen Nolan Valleau and Carter Long on ECHL contracts for the 2023-24 season.
Valleau, 30, scored three goals and added 13 assists in 42 games with the Ghost Pirates last year. The Novi, MI, native has appeared in 381 career games (ECHL/AHL) and will enter his ninth professional season starting in October.
Valleau served as an alternate captain for Savannah in 2022-23 and played three games in the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs. The left-handed defenseman joins Darian Skeoch and Brent Pedersen as fellow Savannah returners who wore letters for the club this past year.
"Nolan brings a calming influence to the locker room," Ghost Pirates head coach Rick Bennett said. "That was really helpful last season. We really saw the effects of his leadership in the second half. He's a player who can skate, has good hockey sense, and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He never shortchanged his defense for offense, and that's a good example for the rest of the defensemen."
Long, 25, skated in 12 games with Savannah after joining the team in March, scoring one goal. He turned pro following his fifth season at the University of Vermont, where he played 135 games and notched 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists).
The Ghost Pirates have brought back Elijah Vilio, Brandon Estes, Skeoch, Valleau and Long, forming a familiar core on the blue line from the previous season.
"Having that comfort level from last year helps," Long said. "Most of those guys have played at higher levels, so learning from them and playing with them is only going to make me a better player."
Before attending Vermont, the Yorktown, VA, native played junior hockey with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL, spending two years in Nebraska.
"We're really excited to see his development over the course of a full season because of what he showed in just a short amount of games that he played," Bennett said.
"Carter was very noticeable. His game is defense-first and works outward to offense. He shut down a lot of the top lines that he played against, and that's coming right out of college and being thrown into the fire. He did an excellent job. He showed that he has skill on top of his defensive abilities, and we're looking forward to seeing that progress."
GHOST PIRATES SIGNED TO ECHL CONTRACTS IN 2023-24:
|Cole Stallard (F)
|Darian Skeoch (D)
|Logan Drevitch (F)
|Tyler Drevitch (F)
|Anthony Collins (F)
|Michael Bullion (G)
|Brent Pedersen (F)
|Alex Gilmour (F)
|Brandon Estes (D)
|Elijah Vilio (D)
|Nolan Valleau (D)
|Carter Long (D)