BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Steelheads have acquired forward Will Merchant from the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in exchange for forward Zach Franko and defenseman Clint Lewis, Steelheads Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Neil Graham announced Tuesday. In a separate transaction, the Texas Stars (AHL) have also assigned forward Spencer Naas to the Steelheads.
Merchant, 25, returns to the Steelheads following 57 games with the Swamp Rabbits this season, tallying 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points with 51 penalty minutes, three power play goals and two shorthanded goals. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward played with the Steelheads for two seasons from 2016 through 2018, boasting 38 goals and 56 assists for 94 points through 139 games. The Eagen, Minn., native sits tied for seventh for most rookie assists by a Steelheads player in the ECHL era. Merchant played 136 games over four seasons with the University of Maine.
Naas, 23, has appeared in 41 games with the Steelheads during the 2018-19 season, posting 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points with two power play points and is third on the team in shots (135). The St. Louis Park, Minn., native made his second AHL stint of the season with the Texas Stars after being recalled on February 11, playing 10 games between both stints. In 22 career AHL games, Naas owns four goals and three assists for seven points between Cleveland and Texas.
Franko, 25, played nine games with the Steelheads, posting one goal and two assists for three points. The Winnipeg, Man., product scored his first professional point on February 20 and first professional goal on February 22. The 5-foot-11, 181-pound forward played four seasons between the University of Manitoba and Acadia University following 280 games in the Western Hockey League (WHL).
Lewis, 24, appeared in 41 games this season, recording two goals and three assists for five points with 54 penalty minutes. The Burnsville, Minn., native scored his first professional goal on October 30 in his seventh professional game. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound defenseman played four seasons between Minnesota State University Mankato and Cornell University, tallying 25 points through 114 games.
The Steelheads return to CenturyLink Arena on Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 7:10 p.m. against the Wichita Thunder.
Single-game tickets and season ticket packages are on sale, with full-season packages starting as low as $300 per seat. Contact the Idaho Steelheads at 208-383-0080 for more information or log on to idahosteelheads.com.