Cyclones add AHL expertise with Knott, Polino

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CINCINNATI, OH – The Cincinnati Cyclones have signed strikers Graham Knott and Patrick Polino to standard player contracts ahead of the 2021-22 ECHL season.Knott, 24, is entering his fifth professional season after splitting the 2020-21 season between South Carolina and Greenville. The Etobicoke, Ontario native scored 15 points during the regular season with both the Stingrays and Swamp Rabbits before hitting a stellar postseason at Greenville, scoring three goals and scoring seven points in eight games. Knott was a second round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 NHL Draft and has played 137 AHL games, mostly with the Rockford IceHogs.

“I’m very excited to be signing with Cincinnati,” said Knott. “I’ve only heard great things about the organization, the city and the fans. I am a great striker who has good speed and skill and I also think that I play smart defensively and I am not afraid of the dirty areas. Matt (Thomas) and I had a good conversation. We’re both really looking forward to this year and we’re ready to win a championship. “

26-year-old Patrick Polino arrives with Knott. The sophomore is from Buffalo, New York, who spent his rookie season in the Sabers organization playing for Cyclones AHL subsidiary Rochester Americans. There Polino collected three goals and seven points in 20 games. Before turning pro, Polino played Division 1 ice hockey at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was an ECAC Hockey All-Academic Athlete every four years, including his senior season when he served as assistant captain.

“I’m definitely looking forward to getting this year underway,” said Polino. “After a strange year last season, it seems like a long offseason. Looking forward to playing a full season again and continuing to prove myself and build a strong résumé. Cincinnati is a great place to do that, and I’ve only heard great things about Matt Thomas. After we had the opportunity to chat, I understand why everyone thinks so much of him. “

“We are in the fortunate position to be able to add talent like this with two young players with AHL experience,” said Cyclones head coach Matt Thomas. “With Graham we know that we are gaining a person who can play any role we need at this level. He’s a 6-foot-4 power forward that will be difficult for our opponents to handle.

“Polino is someone whose experience in Rochester last year will be valuable to us. He has the hands and the pace to effectively distribute the puck and create scoring opportunities for our club. His sense of ice hockey makes him a versatile candidate. “

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