The Rapid City Rush announced Tuesday that forward Brennan Saulnier has signed with the team for the 2019-20 ECHL season.
Saulnier most recently played professional hockey in Europe last season. The 6-foot, 182-pound forward began last season with IFK Munkfors in Division 2 in Sweden, averaging nearly three points-per-game with 14 goals, 16 assists, and 30 points in 11 games, before earning a call-up to Division 1 in Sweden. There, he joined Morrums GolS, and added another 7 points (3g-4ast) in 17 games.
“I decided to sign with Rapid City because it seems like a perfect fit for my first full year of pro hockey in North America," Saulnier said. "Coach (Daniel) Tetrault told me that this team is trying to establish their identity as a hard-working, gritty team that’s tough to play against, and I hope to contribute and make an impact right away to help this team win games. To that point, a gritty game is exactly what I bring. I’m a good skating forward that plays with an edge and loves to play physically.
"I learned so much playing in Sweden, but am excited to get back to the North American game, especially to play with Tyler Poulsen. We were in the same class at (University of Alabama) Huntsville for all four years and developed a special bond on and off the ice. With him, and my new teammates, I hope to bring a championship to a city that he has talked so highly about.”
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Tetrault said he is excited to see what Saulnier brings to the table for the Rush in his first full season in North America.
"He’s coming off of an outstanding campaign in Sweden, crushing Division 2 and finishing strong in Division 1,” he said. “The very first thing that jumped off the film to me on Brennan was his size, and his ability to skate given how big he is. He’s absolutely relentless on the forecheck, and punishes opposing d-men when the puck gets deep in the offensive zone. His willingness to fearlessly take the puck to the net should provide a much needed offensive boost for us up front. He’s excited to come here, and wants to make an immediate impact in our lineup, and I look forward to helping him develop into that role.”
A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Saulnier officially began his professional career in the 2017-18 season as a member of the Atlanta Gladiators, appearing in three games. This came following his college hockey career, that included career totals of 21 goals, 35 assists, and 56 points. Heading into his senior season at UAH, Saulnier was invited to the Montreal Canadiens NHL Development Camp as an undrafted camp invitee.