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Thunder Announces Several Transactions

Thursday, November 16th
Thunder Announces Several Transactions

WICHITA, Kan. (Nov. 16) – The Wichita Thunder, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, AHL's San Jose Barracuda and powered by Toyota, announced four separate transactions this afternoon. 

  • The Sharks have reassigned goaltender Eetu Makiniemi from the Barracuda to the Thunder. 
  • Connor MacEachern has been recalled to the Barracuda. 
  • Forward Nick Nardella has been acquired in a trade from the Idaho Steelheads for future considerations. 
  • Forward Andy Willis has been claimed off waivers from Adirondack. 

Makiniemi, 24, is in his third year in North America. A native of Vantaa, Finland, the 6-foot-2, 183-pound netminder was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fourth round (#104 overall) during the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

He appeared in 14 games for the AHL's Chicago Wolves in the 2021-22 season. Makiniemi went 11-2-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. He was acquired by the Sharks as a part of a trade that saw defenseman Brent Burns go to the Hurricanes in 2022. 

Last season, he played in 22 games for the Barracuda while also seeing action in two games for the Sharks. Makiniemi went 8-10-3 with a 2.96 goals-against average and .900 save percentage for the Barracuda. 

Nardella, 24, is in his first full year as a pro. He was signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO) last season with the Cincinnati Cyclones after finishing a three-year collegiate career at Michigan Tech. After being released from his ATO, he signed Standard Player Contract with the Iowa Heartlanders. Nardella recorded a hat trick in the final game of the regular season on April 15 in a 4-2 win over Wheeling. 

During his collegiate career, he recorded 31 points (4g, 27a) in 83 games. Last season, Nardella had his best year statistically, recording 14 points (1g, 13a) in 32 games for the Huskies.

A native of Rosement, Illinois, the 5-foot-10, 174-pound forward is the son of current Chicago Wolves Head Coach Bobby Nardella. 

Willis, 25, is also in his first year as a pro. A native of Ballwin, Missouri, the 6-foot, 185-pound forward finished a four-year collegiate career at Lindenwood University before finishing out last season with the Fort Wayne Komets. In 10 games with Fort Wayne, he tallied six points (1g, 5a). Willis played in three games this season for Adirondack before being placed on waivers. 

He reunites with Ryan Finnegan, who was a teammate of his at Lindenwood. During his senior campaign, Willis was named team captain. He had 23 points (8g, 22a) in 26 games during Lindenwood's inaugural season as an NCAA D1 program. 

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