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By Casey Christie / The Californian
BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
It took a face-to-face meeting and a lot of phone conversations after that, but Condors coach Troy Mann finally got the defenseman he wanted.
The Condors announced on Tuesday that Erik Burgdoerfer, who has played all 202 of his pro games in Bakersfield, has been signed along with his twin brother, Greg, a forward. Also signed was rookie center Travis Ouellette.
Mann said it took "a little loving care over the summer" to get Erik Burgdoerfer to recommit to the Condors.
"Ryan Murphy (assistant coach) and I went back to the (NHL) draft in late June and actually met face-to-face with Erik to kind of sell him our pitch in terms of making changes in the organization and helping his career out," Mann said. "He felt the last couple of years it's gone a little bit stagnant.
"So we had to do a pretty good selling job and it certainly didn't stop there. It went on for a number of weeks. He's convinced now that things are going to change for this upcoming year."
Erik Burgdoerfer, 24, is fifth all-time among defenseman in games played in Bakersfield. He played in all but one game last season, was named team captain in January, and put up 21 points while logging tons of ice time.
Too much ice time, Mann said.
"I think one of the things that went on here last year, he was playing too many minutes and certainly out of his element at times," Mann said. "You can't realistically be playing 35 minutes a night and be anchoring the power play and anchoring the (penalty kill) and be effective on a night-to- night basis."
Mann said his quest is to help Burgdoerfer, who will start the season in an undisclosed American Hockey League team camp, succeed by putting him in situations to be his best.
"We believe our defense will be deep enough this year where we certainly can put him in the role that he needs to be," Mann said. "That probably will not include power play this year, which will help him.
"He can anchor the PK, be the first D-man out along with his partner after a power play on a 5-on-5 shift to realistically play against the other team's top line."
The forward half of the Burgdoerfer twins, Greg, joined the Condors late in 2012-13 after completing a four-year career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, N.Y.), where Erik also played. "I'm looking forward to seeing Greg play," Mann said. "He's in great shape, and we expect him to play a physical, power forward style of game."
Greg Burgdoerfer played three games for Bakersfield last season, scoring two goals in one of those games.
Ouellette, 24, comes to Bakersfield after four years at Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Mich.) where he helped the Bulldogs to the NCAA Frozen Four championship game as a junior. His best year came as a senior, when he finished second in scoring with 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in 35 games.
"Travis was a consistent player in his college career who can play in different situations for us this season," Mann said.