Ratchuk signs with Nailers

Wheeling Nailers, ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, have signed defenseman Mike Ratchuk for the 2013-14 season.

Ratchuk, 25, will be entering his sixth professional season, after spending parts of each of the previous two years with the Florida Everblades. He joined the Everblades in January of 2012, when he was traded to Florida by the Elmira Jackals. After registering 11 points in 21 games with the Jackals, the blueliner went on to tally 21 points in 26 regular-season games with the Everblades, before turning in six more points in the playoffs, as Florida captured its first ever Kelly Cup title. This past season, Ratchuk returned to Florida, following a 42-game stint in Austria. Once again, his numbers went up, as he compiled 11 points in 42 games with Ljubljana Olimpija HK, before racking up 20 points in 31 games with the Everblades.

During his five previous seasons as a pro, the South Buffalo, N.Y. native has also spent 149 games in the American Hockey League, suiting up with the Philadelphia and Adirondack Phantoms, Syracuse Crunch, Springfield Falcons and Binghamton Senators. His pro career started with the Phantoms in the spring of 2008, after his second year at Michigan State University. Ratchuk’s most successful AHL campaign came as a rookie in 2008-09, when he appeared in 77 games, scoring 17 points (5g-12a).