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April 24, 2014

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Wranglers roster slowly taking shape

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Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Las Vegas Sun

Wranglers veteran Chris Neiszner fired a wrist shot that beats Bakersfield Condors goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji for his second goal of the night during game 7 of the Pacific Division Semifinals at the Orleans Arena on Apr. 22.

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Wranglers forward Dan Riedel (11) carries the puck through center ice while being closely pursued by Ontario Reign winger Bud Holloway during ECHL action at the Orleans Arena on March 20.

Ryan Mougenel is less than one month into his new role as head coach and general manager of the Las Vegas Wranglers, but he is wasting no time signing key components for next year's squad.

The Wranglers are expected to announce Tuesday that they have come to terms with forwards Chris Neiszner and Dan Riedel.

"The whole recruiting game I’m extremely confident in because I’ve done it the past three years and had success, but the dynamic is certainly different this year," Mougenel said. "I'm just trying to find those good, young players that will fit into my system and into the Las Vegas community. I definitely feel a different level of pressure in this position, but it's nothing I'm not used to."

Neiszner, now one of the most veteran Las Vegas players, will return for his fourth season with the Wranglers.

The 25-year-old Craik, Saskatchewan native has recorded 100 points in 179 regular season games with the Wranglers since the 2005-06 season. Neiszner spent the 2007-08 season in France with Morzine-Avoriaz.

In last year's playoffs, Neiszner notched 10 points in 18 games.

Riedel, a 24-year-old Rochester Hills, Mich., native, spent most of last season with the Dayton Bombers. But after joining the Wranglers on Feb. 28, he posted 11 points in 17 regular season games before tearing it up in the playoffs with 14 points in 17 games.

The Wranglers still have pending qualifying offers to Tim Spencer, Brandon Straub, Adam Miller, Jason Dest, Mick Lawrence, Mike Hamilton and Justin Taylor. Mougenel said he expects a majority of those players with qualifying offers to sign by Aug. 1. as well as some newcomers whom newly named director of player development Keith Primeau is helping to recruit.

Mougenel also confirmed that the Wranglers would consider trading Spencer if the hulking forward rejects Las Vegas' qualifying offer. The Wranglers have also pursued bringing back former Wranglers defenseman Jason Krischuk, perhaps to fill a void created by defenseman Dan Spang's departure. Spang, who played a major role in sparking the Wranglers' dormant power play in this past postseason is reportedly heading to Germany to play in the DEL.

The most pressing matter, however, is filling the crease with a solid goalie. Mougenel said he hopes to reach an agreement with an unspecified netminder within the next two weeks.

From there, a slew of signings will take place during August to fill the 24-man roster.

"Were going to be young, which I'm excited about and we’re going to be a team that is going to compete every night and we are going to be fan friendly," Mougenel said. "We need to do a better job getting players out in the community more. There is a great fan base in Las Vegas and we want our players to be accessible to the fans."

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