Thursday, May 30, 2019

OMFG - Sean Clouston Has Been Let Go

Sorry for the Title but this is Major Major News for the Tigers.

Tigers Part Ways with Sean Clouston

Major News Conference
A Major announcement is expected for 10 AM on Friday.

Is Willie Desjardins Coming Back?

Desjardins has previously mentioned in a radio broadcast last season that there have been offers from others but it would be difficult to coach anyone in the whl, but the Tigers.

Sean Clouston
Sean's Tenure with the Tigers has had both good and bad moments. He was initially brought in by Willie Desjardins back in the 2003-2004 season. He was an associate/assistant coach under Willie Desjardins for 6 years. He was a big part of the coaching staff on 2 WHL titles in 2004 and 2007

In 2010-2011 Sean took over the reins as the Tigers Head Coach after Willie left to try out the pro ranks and coach with the Dallas Stars. In 2012 Clouston took over the GM role.

In 9 years as the Tigers Head Coach, Clouston has amassed a regular season record of 365-234-0-45. a Career .602 winning percentage. He also holds the record for most wins as a Tigers Head Coach.

During his tenure, the Tigers only missed the playoffs once, but also never advanced passed the 3rd round.  2 first round playoff exits, 4 - 2nd round playoff exits, and 2- 3rd round playoff exits.   They had a couple of very good teams but were unable to find playoff success.

Fan Reputation
Not everything has been fine and dandy under Clouston though. There have been a handful of players to publicly sit out and demand trades. This past season 2 players Henri Rybinski and Gary Haden demanded out and both saw incredible success with their new teams. Both players put up .33ppg early in the season with the Tigers and jumped up to over a ppg pace on their new teams.

Clouston's reputation among the fans has long been soured because of this. If you're a daily/weekly reader here there have been lots of comments about wanting a coaching & GM Change. It's been a constant debate and theme.

Under Clouston, the Tigers have largely kept the same style of team and the past few season attendance has been dwindling. This past season the average attendance was 3121 which is a 19-year-old low. Ref:

Hockey is always changing and coaching is a very volatile job. For what my opinion is worth 2 seasons ago I stated I was giving Clouston until the end of the next season to put up a winning season before I would publicly call out for a change.

Many readers of this blog have been crying out for a 5+ seasons that they need a change and it looks like today it has finally happened.  As a long time follower of the Tigers, I do want to say thanks to Sean Clouston for his work with the Tigers.

I also feel hugely excited about Tigers hockey again. Might be time to pick up seasons tickets again. One thing for sure, this weekend I'll be starting my work on predictions for next season!
Go Tigers Go!

Sean Clouston's Response via Twitter

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Bantam Draft Reviews (2011,2012,2013)

This year's crop Located @ Tigers Website

Too early to tell. They had 6 picks in the top 3 rounds. As long as the scouts did well come 2023-2024 the Tigers should see an upswing season barring trades etc.

Draft Reviews

2013 - Director of Scouting & Assistant General Manager: Brad McEwen

Rnd Pos. Name P H lbs GP PTS
1 10 Quenneville, David RD 5.07 175 251 214
2 32 Shaw, Mason C 5.06 150 162 142
2 35 Jevne, Ryan RW 5.09 175 273 253
3 54 Skapski, Marshall LD 5.08 151 0 0
4 75 McGrath, Austin G 5.11 148 0 0
6 113 Taupert, Jordan C 5.04 125 0 0
6 118 Gerlach, Max C 5.05 130 278 251
6 121 Fantillo, Caleb RW 5.09 162 159 35
8 162 Makar, Cale RD 5.06 125 0 0
10 202 Roberts, Ryan LD 5.10 154 0 0

Avg Height:
Avg Weight: 150 lb
Total GP: 1123
Total Pts: 895

This was an incredible Draft. Their top 3 picks all turned into key players. They also drafted 2 gems in the later rounds. Unfortunately, 1 didn't come to the WHL and will likely be a star defenceman in the NHL. If Makar had come over it would have been a draft for the history books, nonetheless an above average draft with 4 key players and a depth player.

2012 - (GM: Brad McEwen  Head Coach: Sean Clouston)
Rnd. Pos. Name Pos Height Weight GP PTS
1 16 Schultz, Ty RD 5.11 150 187 50
2 38 Bradley, Matthew C/LW 5.09 150 281 247
5 104 Xavier, Jordan C 5.08 134
6 125 Dubuisson, Mendell RW 6 150
6 126 Dyck, Mitchell RD 6 184
7 143 Morris, Riley G 5.1 154
7 148 Young, Justin RW 5.11 152
8 170 Forrest, Brad LD 5.09 135 151 36
9 191 Fletcher, Jake LW 5.09.5 155 1
10 211 Bredo, Todd LD 6.02 170
11 226 Uhrich, Brayden RW 5.09 151 7

Avg Height: 5"10
Avg Weight: 153 lb
Total GP: 627
Total Pts: 333

I feel the Tigers did very well considering their positioning @ 16th overall and no 3rd or 4th round picks. They still found 1 star, 1 core player, and 1 depth player.  If you were to string a couple of these types of drafts back to back, it would pose talent problems with the lineup.

It was a slightly underwhelming draft but they did pretty well-finding talent with lean pick selection.

Rnd. Pos. Name Pos. Height Weight GP PTS
1 18 Penner, Blake LW 5.09 170 165 43
3 62 Butcher, Chad RW 5.05 121 302 260
4 69 Mortlock, Nathyn RD 5.11 160 46 4
4 79 Mowbray, Alex C 5.11 174 213 50
6 124 Robidoux, Zac G 6.02 190 0 0
6 128 Owre, Steven C/RW 5.09 140 283 221
7 150 McEachern, Michael LD 5.09 124 0 0
8 172 McCulloch, Josh C/LW 5.07 155 0 0
9 194 Martens, Nolan LW 5.11 145 0 0
10 213 Normandeau, Patrick LD 5.08 162 0 0
11 223 Donnelly, Matthew RW 5.08 125 0 0

Avg Height: 5.08
Avg Weight: 151 lb
Total GP: 1009
Total Pts: 578

GM: Brad McEwen
Head Coach: Sean Clouston

The Tigers did extremely well because they had a late-round selection and no 2nd round pick. They found 2 whl stars and 2 depth players

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Goats & Hero's

TigerTurf's HeroTeams of the Year
Prince Albert
HM:  Calgary, Moose Jaw

Tiger Turf's Goats of the Year
HM: Brandon

1. Prince Albert

Last season Prince Albert had a lineup who's experience levels was slightly split between forwards and defenceman.  They had a group of defenceman who would be maturing this season. They had a group of forwards who were a year away from peaking and had 3 Import forward OA's who wouldn't be available for this season.

In a nutshell, they built up a very strong defensive group and goaltending group and then supplemented their team with OA scorers. They've done this the last couple years. I'm curious to see if this trend starts becoming more dominant in the WHL as Edmonton did it this season as well and both the teams are in the Eastern Conference Final using that strategy.

Last season P.A made a trade deadline deal last year acquiring a 19yr old scorer Kody McDonald and people went huh? That deal was designed to make the playoffs last season as well as an important OA for this season. McDonald was a big presence for P.A last season. They ended up upgrading him after a slow start and trading away veteran role player Carson Miller for PPG forward Dante Hanoun.

In the off-season they also made a strong move acquiring potential OA Noah Gregor from Victoria. Gregor had a pro contract with San Jose. However, San Jose's system was absolutely packed. I feel that utilized some great vision and hockey knowledge to acquire a player most teams probably wouldn't have looked at.  (I"m not sure what they spent on him as the returns were conditional)

They have a good mix of size in their lineup. Their only big weakness is that they rely heavily on Ian Scott as the starter, so hopefully, he can stay healthy through their playoff run. P.A is my Hero #1 Team because They built from the back end up and turned into a dominant team.

2. Edmonton
I am going to refer to the Previous Post about Edmonton located

Honorable Mention

Calgary - Again had a very disappointing start. They made a big deal that prompted a big push up the standings trading away Tristen Nielson for James Malm.  They were a very tough team to play against and made it to round 2 in a packed central division.

Moose Jaw
They had a very successful year when many including me thought they would have a down season.

1. Kootenay Ice

They tossed the towel in early. Cut/traded all their elder players. The Ice made a big blockbuster with Kootenay trading away 2 of their top veteran players to Red Deer. The players coming back were "fillers"

Kootenay also didn't bother picking up the 3rd Overage after dealing away Dallas Hines.  In January they announced they were moving to Winnipeg. 

After reviewing all their moves I feel it was pretty clear they tanked on purpose. The interesting thing is that some of these moves were made before the official announcement of moving to Winnipeg. To me, that is a clear sign this season was a write-off from the get-go. They are my #1 Goat because I feel it isn't in good faith to field a lesser quality team to spur a move to a new city.

2. Lethbridge Hurricanes

Memorial Cup Woes
I feel sorry for them. I largely feel they are a Regina 2.0. A team with a lot of great assets and talent that was blinded by the Memorial Cup.  They ended up splitting their assets between 2 seasons which diluted their overall power.

In my Pre-season predictions, I would have had them as 1st in the Central if they hadn't stated their intentions to bid on the memorial cup as well as some pre-emptive deals.

If they had drafted a couple older Imports, dropped Merehzko and added another 20, they would have just needed a goaltender and they would have had a very good team. They could have still bolstered if they wanted to. 

Off-Season & Memorial Cup Bid Failure

In the off-season, they tried to get a year younger trading away Zane Franklin who popped in a PPG pace for Kamloops this year.

When the Hurricanes lost the memorial cup bid they tried to change course. Add some salt to the wounds one of their Import picks was 18yr old Goaltender Akira Schmidt. The Hurricanes cut him after the Tigers lit him up in pre-season as well as his first game of the season.

Schmid finished the year as the Top Goalie in the USHL for the Omaha Lancers with a .926 save percentage. Omaha only had a .500 record this season. (The USHL is like the whl for the US.)

The Hurricanes already had a pretty good offense but made some moves to put themselves over the top. They traded away 2 1st round picks, 3 3rd round picks, 19yr old  Jaden Joseph who put up a PPG pace in Vancouver, and Ty Kolle. They received Jake Leschyshyn and Nick Henry.

If you were to summaries those moves, it was very expensive in essence to only gain 1 PPG player, with a slight upgrade to another. I like the player they acquired, but the boost to performance vs the cost was very risky and I didn't like it.

They made a sub-optimal goaltending move trading away Reece Klassen for Liam Hughes. It was a minor upgrade at best because Hughes didn't have a lot of experience. His numbers were very similar to Klassen's.  6 Games later after a Mediocre start with the Canes Hughes left the whl, leaving the reigns to 17-year-old Carl Tetachuk.

I feel like this is the type of season which gets people fired. To Their GM's credit, he has overperformed the last 2 years on last-minute trade deadline deals that has saved his bacon, but a season like this makes me feel like they are just rolling the dice and hoping to get lucky.

Honorable Mention
Brandon Wheat Kings.

Import drafted a goalie and traded away Miskiw for a 5th round pick. Hindsight is 20-20,  Their other Import selection did not come over. Multiple players underperformed. Brandon performed very well at home but had a poor road record. Missing the playoffs when they had high expectations put them here

Neutral - Saskatoon
I wanted to mention them, but I don't categorize them as having a Hero team or Goat.

They definitely improved their team a ton through trades, but it was starting to get a bit expensive.
No 2nd round picks in the next 3 years. No first round pick in 2021.

Made a couple of great deals. Acquiring Brandon Schuldhaus, Gary Haden, Nolan Kneen. The one thing I don't like is that Saskatoon is mostly filled with acquisitions from other teams when they've been in the basement for a number of years. They also added lots in a year where there was a dominant powerhouse in P.A and their team was better suited for the following season

Sunday, April 14, 2019

2018-2019 Predictions Review + Heroes & Goats

I don't know if many will be interested in this, but this is a review on the Predictions I did before Training Camp started. Before overager and import status was known.

Place WHL Standings TigerTurf Predictions Difference
1 Prince Albert Y  Brandon - Y 8
2 Saskatoon  Prince Albert 1
3 Edmonton - Y Saskatoon 1
4 Lethbridge  Medicine Hat Y 3
5 Moose Jaw  Lethbridge 1
6 Calgary  Calgary 0
7 Medicine Hat (W1) Edmonton (W1) 4
8 Red Deer (W2) Kootenay (W2) 3
9 Brandon   Moose Jaw 4
10 Regina Regina 0
11 Kootenay  Red Deer 3
12 Swift  Swift Current 0
Y - denotes division winner
W1,W2 - wildcards winners.

Playoff Predictions
Round One
Brandon Vs Kootenay - Brandon
Prince Albert Vs Saskatoon - Prince Albert

Medicine Hat vs Edmonton - Medicine Hat
Lethbridge Vs Calgary - Lethbridge

Round Two
Brandon vs Prince Albert - Prince Albert
Medicine Hat vs Lethbridge - Medicine Hat

Round Three
Prince Albert Vs Medicine Hat - Prince Albert

East Rep.
Prince Albert


What I got Right.
I got 6 of 12 teams either correct or within 1 place pre-season. But talking about that is boring... I do Hope PA runs the table because I had them as the East Rep.

Neither Right Nor Wrong

I'll start with the team that had a high differential compared to my predictions. A team I felt I didn't get wrong. In short, I feel that their GM made a handful of amazing decisions which changed the course of their season.

Going into the season Edmonton had 4-5 "fillers". Players with limited potential who are largely role players, such as (Kobe Mohr, Nick Bowman, Davis Murray, Brendan Semchuck)
Edmonton made quite a few small moves to ship these guys out and brought in some key players

They picked up 3 Overagers & a starting goaltender, for dirt cheap. 4 Impact players and none of them costed more than a 5th round pick. That is ridiculous. 

I think if we scrutinized the actual deals they may have even gained better picks by shipping their depth veterans out.

Edmonton also added a high quality 17yr old Import forward(Vladimir alistrov). This isn't counting the mini blockbuster they made for 17yr old defenceman Jacson Alexander who was injured most of the season as well as swapping Kemp for Williams.

2 of their Acquired Overagers were PPG players, with another close behind. Miskiw was their starting goaltender with a .914 save percentage. 

In Summary, I don't feel like I got the strength of Edmonton's Roster wrong, I feel their GM Kirt Hill significantly boosted the value of their team and should be a finalist for GM of the year.

Red Deer (Difference:3)

Red Deer got off to a very unexpected hot start. They picked up Jeff De Witt for free. He was scoring at over a PPG pace in the early part of the season. So was 17yr old Import pick Oleg Zaytsev.

Combine that with WHL star Brandon Hagell and 2 elite defencemen in Alexander Alexeyev and Dawson Beartaux, and it created an impressive top line that dominated early.

That hot start didn't last. Zaytsev went cold mid-November. De Witt had 8 points in his last 23 whl games.

I hold my breath when big deals are made in November. It seems like 90% of the time a big deal is designed to halt a losing streak, instead of bolstering a solid team. In the Rebels case, they made a blockbuster trade when their team started to cool and it didn't work out. The good thing for the Rebels is that both those players acquired should be back next season. The rebels did give away some good draft picks, but the vets they traded away were "fillers" from which Kootenay wanted to Tank anyways. More on that in their section...

I feel like if they hadn't had such a hot start, and made that big blockbuster trade, I would have been pretty close. I don't really count this as getting the rebels wrong.

Medicine Hat Tigers ( Difference: 3)
I felt this season would be a transition year.  I felt that with their young talent and having the majority of their roster intact, minus losing Quenneville and Rassell, The Tigers would still be good enough to lead a central division that has had a few down years. They ended up with an almost identical record to last season.

What was unexpected is 2 core players asked to be moved in Rybinski and Haden. The returns saw prospects and a defensive forward.

They also had a transition year in terms of defensive responsibility. Their team shifted away from a 90% offensive style to a more balanced approach.

They also had a few players who had medium-term injuries which took a big toll on their game. Elijah Brown and Hayden Ostir's injuries saw their PPG total regress slightly which I had pegged for good improvements.

I don't think a difference of 3 is a big miss. I don't feel that having them as a central division winner, whereas they finished in the 1st wildcard spot is a big miss either.  3/4 way through the season they were fighting for first place. At one point 4 teams were either tied or had a 1 point difference between 1st and the wildcard.

I did feel the Central division was very scary to predict and it ended up being rightly so.

Kootenay Ice ( Difference: 3)

I expected them to compete for the 8th spot. I kinda feel that they threw in the towel quite early.
November came and the Ice hit a losing streak they never recovered from.

Brendan Semchuck left the team,  their star 16yr old Connor McClennon left for the Under 17's temporarily. The Ice traded away the Taphorn brothers, 19yr old Dman Sam Huston was suspended indefinitely and did not play another game for Kootenay

They filled the roster with a few callups and at the end of November, the Ice made a big blockbuster with Kootenay trading away 2 of their top veteran players to Red Deer. The players coming back were "fillers"

Kootenay also didn't bother picking up a 3rd Overage after dealing away Dallas Hines.  In January they announced they were moving to Winnipeg. It almost feels like this season was a half-assed season as they got rid of all their older players. They weren't expected to do well anyways, but to me this was strategic tanking to gain some draft pick assets for the Move to Winnipeg.

What I Got Wrong
Brandon (Difference 8)

Eek. This one is embarrassing. I don't like being blatantly wrong. I picked them as not only the division winners, but the regular season conference winners and they missed the playoffs.... 
Can't get any more wrong than that. 

I feel there are 3 big reasons why I was completely off from Brandon...

Pre-Season  & Risky Imports Make Pre-Season Decisions Difficult
 I put too much hype on their pre-season Import Euro's.  It can be difficult making a prediction when you don't know the fate of potentially 2 impact players.  Brandon had 2 Euro selections (kaut, Brannstrom) who were 1st round NHL picks, both didn't come over. However, they did have a goaltender come over.

Math Mistake
I have a spreadsheet with an estimated point total increase of each player. This is just one factor I use when determining overall positioning.

I kept Ty Lewis on the spreadsheets, even though I thought he wouldn't come over.  I believe my lines of thinking were between Ty Lewis, Erik Brannstrom, and Martin Kaut, at least 1 of those would come over and I wasn't sure and kept Ty Lewis point totals on the excel sheet. 

 I had him scoring at a 1.81 PPG rate, which never happened because he played in the AHL. None of the other players mentioned came over either. I thought that perhaps with the Kelly McCrimmon connection that Brannstrom might come over as a Las Vegas draft pick, but my logic keeping that 1.81ppg on the spreadsheet was Ill-advised.

I remember going through the offensive totals, and seeing Brandon in Danger of falling to 5th or 6th on my offensive ranking spreadsheet and thought I'd keep Lewis totals...

Then again if somehow Lewis came back and Brannstrom came over perhaps the Wheaties would have made a deal or three to improve their team...I was on the fence and fell to the wrong side. 

Players Who Underperformed
Numerous Wheat Kings missed my projections.

Connor Gutenberg 6 less points than the previous season.
McCorrister 14 less points than the previous season.(some injuries)
Baron Thompson 9 point decrease
Marcus Sekundiak 2 point decrease
Jonny Hooker 2 point decrease
Caiden Daley only 3 point increase

They were down across the board offensively. Are they flattening out as prospects? Or did the previous season and dynamic offensive team hype up their potential a little more than it should have?  Probably a little of both.

In Summary, I expected things to be somewhat positive after last years success. They were also a Dr. Jykyll and Mr. Hyde team when they played at Home compared to the Road.

Moose Jaw. ( Difference 4)
Moose Jaw had similar characteristics to Swift Current the year previous. Very solid goaltending, defense and a stellar top line that fuelled their success.

They had some bad luck early on as Ryan Peckford left the team. However, they had Brayden Tracey come from nowhere. An 86 point season as a first-year 17. Tristan Langan also went from .61 PPG to 1.61 PPG as a 20. Those 2 successes more than made up for their loss of Ryan Peckford.

If you look at their plus-minus they basically had 1 line with an insane plus-minus. The rest of the team was near 0. Their All-star quality top line was enough to fuel them into 3rd place in the division.

I put Moose Jaw lower because of their lack of depth. I learned a couple important lessons though.
A) A very good defense can power a team to regular season success. B) Don't count out a team that has a superstar first line.

I feel like this season was very beneficial and I learned a lot.  I feel like I really only got 2 teams wrong in Moose Jaw and Brandon. The teams I watched the least on the webcast.
I'm raring to go on another prediction forecast for next season!
I'm interested to know your thoughts on teams who surprised or disappointed you?

Next Up
Hero's & Goats

My picks for teams of the year as well as the underperformers of the year.  I will likely post it next week.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Forwards Average Points per Age Group

Average Points Per Age Group (Forwards) 

Note: This is a competitive Average, subtracting all those forwards who are not full-time players. I want to keep doing this so we can get a great feel for the strength of each age group as time progresses. I used a minimum of 28 games for this season for the reduced 68 game season.

2018-2019 (Min 28 games Played)
20 Yr Olds = 0.93 Pts/Game    (1998)
19 Yr Olds = 0.77 Pts/Game    (1999)
18 Yr Olds = 0.44 Pts/Game    (2000)
17 Yr Olds = 0.40 Pts/Game    (2001)
16 Yr Olds = 0.31 Pts/Game    (2002)

2017-2018 (Min 30 Games Played)
20 Yr Olds = 1.02 Pts/Game     (1997)
19 Yr Olds = 0.76 Pts/Game     (1998)
18 Yr Olds = 0.58 Pts/Game     (1999)   
17 Yr Olds = 0.32 Pts/Game     (2000)
16 Yr Olds = 0.30 Pts/Game     (2001)

2016-2017 (Min 30 Games Played)
20 Yr Olds = 0.882 Pts/Game =   (1996)
19 Yr Olds = 0.763 Pts/Game =    (1997)
18 Yr Olds = 0.610 Pts/Game =    (1998)
17 Yr Olds = 0.421 Pts/Game =    (1999)
16 Yr Olds = 0.226 Pts/Game =    (2000)

The forward 2000 group remains a weaker group. The 17's almost outscored the 18yr old group this season. That may lead to some volatility next year as the 2000's will be 19. A Team packed with 19's could potentially be weaker than normal.

Coming Up
I have 2 more blog entries coming up
1. Pre-Season Predictions Review - I will post after the 2nd Round is Completed.
2. Heroes & Goats - Teams that did well, and teams that didn't do so well. Not necessarily based upon standings.)\

After that, it will be quite quiet around here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Next Season Brief Look

Coming Up
I will post an Eastern Conference review based on my Pre-season predictions once the Eastern Conference Finals have played out.

Here is a brief synopsis of next years team and some questions/decisions that come along with that. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments

Potential Over-agers
*Logan Christensen - F
**Tyler Prezusio - F
*****James Hamblin - F
**Hayden Ostir - F
Jordan Hollett - G

I think there are 2 guarantees. Hamblin is a lock and Hollett is likely to be moved unless Sogaard for some reason doesn't come back.

In a potential year where you're gunning for first place, you want your OA's to be Impact players.

Preziuso, Ostir, Christensen
If you're looking for a championship team, everyone besides Hamblin makes me unsure.
There were times in the season I thought Prezusio was on the verge of becoming an impact player, but he pretty much disappeared down the stretch and into the playoffs.

I thought Ostir was poised for a big breakout year but had an exceptionally slow start. For the 2nd year in a row had a big injury and I felt like this season was stagnant because of that.

Christensen has improved quite a bit, but I don't feel he is the ideal fit for a team gunning for first.

OA Direction
The Tigers will likely wait until Training Camp to see who stands out for the rest of their OA group.

As it stands today, in any given year their crop of OA's is fine, but in a year they are gunning for first I only like one of them.  I think a better direction would is to  keep 2 OA Forwards instead of 3 and then swap/acquire a Defenceman with the 3rd OA slot

This would solidify a very impressive Top 4 back-end and let the Tigers use a forward with their Import Selection. This will also let Prezusui and Ostir fight for the last spot which should motivate them to have strong off-seasons. The only caveat is finding that OA Dman

Brown Hamblin Kemp
Sillinger Chyzowski  (Prezusio/Ostir)
Lockner  Hopwo  Import Spot
McCarry Steele Anderson
*only for depth purposes
**If the Tigers keep both Preziuso/Ostir it generates another forward slot.

They should have an above average core with some decent depth. I am largely unsure about their top end depth.  Everyone not named Hamblin was inconsistent points-wise during the season. Spurts where they looked good and spurts where they went through quiet stretches.

If they are gunning for a first place/championship type season, the inconsistencies make me unsure of what to expect.  This makes me feel unsure that their top end depth may not be good enough for a first-place team.

They do have some players that have potential, but that inconsistency is not necessarily a breakout sign. It is not out of the realm of possibility to see big seasons from players such as Chyzowksi, Brown, Sillinger, Kemp and look back on this and laugh. Yet I see the same potential for a flat season that turns into disappointment.

Cole Clayton Dan Baker
Trevor Longo  XXX(3rd OA slot)
Eric Van Impe Damon Agyeman
Aidan Brook
Ryan Watson

Tigers should have a very strong Top 3.  Van Impe as an 18 would be a good option on the 2nd line, but for depth purposes in an up season, I'd like to see him play 3rd line minutes and be a call-up to the 2nd line in case injuries happen.

If they can solidify their top 4, along with stellar goaltending this group could be exceptional
If they don't use a 3rd OA slot or Import selection, I'd say they would be slightly above average, but depthwise a little slender.

Mads Sogaard
Garin Bjorklund
Kaeden Freer-Lane

As long as Mads comes back this group is championship calibre.

Extra Additions
Returns for Jordan Hollett
1 Euro Pick in the first round

(Vasily Podkolzin was a previous import pick, but will likely move up to the AHL/Pro's.) His presence would be a greatly welcomed gift that could bring a huge offensive boost.

In the Import Draft, I could see the Tigers go either way with either a defenceman or forward.  In the scenario I laid out above, the choice would be a forward. However, I could easily see them draft a defenceman for more depth on the back-end and go a different route with their OA's because that works too.

Draft picks
The Tigers also have quite a few extra drafts picks in their cupboard. They have 3 2nd round picks this off-season and an extra 4th round pick. In 2020 they have an extra 1st and 3rd rounder. In 2021 they have an extra 2nd rounder.

Overall Thoughts
I feel like coming into next season I'll be holding my breath. My opinion on whether they should rebalance or "go for it" is walking along a fence line and it largely depends on what they do in the off-season.

Crossing my fingers for a strong return on Hollett, a good Import Pick, and to solidify the backend to make it rock solid. Crossing my fingers that some of these veterans can come out with big breakout seasons next year. If they don't have a good first part of the season, it would be wise to rebalance an ageing roster and build on the extra draft picks.

There have been some big changes to look of the roster. Haden, Williams, Rybinksi are no longer here. Haden's replacement is likely not here as a 20, Rybinski's replacement is a young kid too young to make a big impact. They have acquired Brett Kemp, but still, that's 1 spot down from 3.

A very solid defence can often be a catalyst for breakout seasons offensively. There is a great deal of potential in the Tigers lineup for that. Do they have enough "oomf" in their lineup is the big question?

I'll do a more in-depth look in the off-season when I do an eastern Conference Review.
What are your thoughts for next season?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tigers VS Edmonton Round One

Round One
Game: 1: Sat March 23rd - 7:30 Edmonton
Game: 3: Sun March 24th - 6:00 Edmonton

Game: 3 Tue March 26th - 7:00 Medicine Hat
Game: 4 Wed March 27th - 7:00 Medicine Hat

Game: 5 Fri March 29th - 7:00 PM Edmonton

Game 6: Sun March 31st - 6:00 PM Medicine Hat

Game 7: Tue April 2nd - 7:00 PM Edmonton

 Dylan Myskiw is 11-1 all-time against the Tigers. Myskiw was the goaltender for Brandon last season when the Tigers took a 2-0 playoff series lead but lost the next 4 games.

The Tigers lone victory against him was a 4-3 Shootout win January 16th.

The Good News is that one of Edmonton's Top Scorers against the Tigers now plays with the Tigers. Brett Kemp had 5 points in 2 games when playing for the Oil Kings against the Tigers

Tigers Ready To Embrace Underdog Role
Tigers to Face Edmonton
Edmonton Set To Take Centre Stage
Oil Kings, Tigers to duel in first round

Monday, March 4, 2019

Playoff Push

Playoff Outlook
It's unfortunate the Tigers season took a recent slide. It is now very unlikely that they can grab a divisional playoff seeding, whereas a couple weeks ago they were in a fight for first place.

Divisional Seeding
1st - Not Possible
2nd - Almost Eliminated (2 Lethbridge Points or Tigers loss of points disqualifies from 2nd)
3rd -  Unlikely - 7 points back with 6 games to play. They need to run the table to have a chance.

1st Wildcard - Very Possible
2nd Wildcard - Very Possible
Missing Playoffs - Very Possible

3 Teams for 2 Spots
Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Brandon - These 3 teams are very close in winning percentage. We could very well see a 1 game playoff at the end of the season (total wins)

Remaining Schedules

Medicine Hat ( 4 Home - 2 Road)
Calgary - Home
Lethbridge - Road
Brandon - Home
Red Deer - Home
Kootenay - Road
Lethbridge - Home

Better Home Record Than Road Record.

Red Deer ( 4 Home, 2 Road)
Brandon - Home
Kootenay - Home
Edmonton - Home
Medicine Hat - Road
Lethbridge - Home
Kootenay - Road

Fairly Equal Home & Road Record

Brandon ( 5 Road, 2 Home)
Kootenay - Road
Lethbridge - Road
Red Deer - Road
Medicine Hat - Road
Moose Jaw - Home
Regina - Road
Regina - Home

Very good Home team,  10-14 Road Record

Potential Playoff Opponents
Prince Albert - Very possible
Edmonton Very Possible
Lethbridge - Very Possible
Eliminated - Very possible
Calgary - Possible

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Tigers Trade Josh Williams to Edmonton


Requested A Trade?
Williams is only 17 so this means he must have requested a trade?
(See the comment section this might be incorrect)

So apparently 17's can be traded they just need to drop their no-trade clauses if they have one.

TigerTurf Thoughts
Completely unexpected, but I think I like the return for a couple of reasons...

This is a bit ironic but I was thinking the other day that Williams is falling in the draft rankings. He has been more of an individual perimeter player that is fairly good at protecting the puck but doesn't have enough experience yet to translate that into creating dangerous offensive chances and beating Dmen one on one.

I was thinking he is an "in between"  kind of prospect. Someone who was clearly ahead of the competition when he was younger, but also someone who needs some time for his potential to come out at a higher level. In terms of the NHL draft, I was placing him more of a 3rd/4th round type of prospect.

I do think he will be a really good player and I'm interested to see on what line he will play on in Edmonton.  I could easily see Williams putting up a lot of points and boosting his stock if he can start feeding passes to elite players because he can protect the puck very well.

Why This Could Be Good
With a potential up season next year, I feel the Tigers needed a bit more oomph in terms of goal scoring into their lineup. If Williams is a bit of a slow developer, Kemp will fit the bill coming into his 19yr old year.

 Kemp has shown he can be a goal scorer.  0.51PPG as a 17, and 0.98 PPG as an 18. Kemp was also used on the powerplay in Edmonton. He is also fairly calm and poised around the net. If there is a knock on him it's his consistency in playing hard every night.

Why This is Good For Edmonton
They are not a team to throw trades into the wind at random.  They have done a great job lately at getting long term value for their deals.

They look to be building around their group of 2000's and 2001's. In other words, they should be very strong the year after the Tigers strong season.

Next year they may see a bit of a transition with a lot of offence gone. This helps them retain a good player and build around that age group.

Lost Playing Years
This is a hidden stat that is probably the most under-rated and most overlooked among hockey fans.
This deal, in particular, is the type of deal the Tigers hardly ever make. They gave up a potential playing year as Williams is 1 year younger than Kemp. It means 1 less potential year of production from a good player.

This is why the Tigers usually never have a poor year, because they always keep playing years in mind. Whereas why Lethbridge was soo bad for so many years because they leaked playing years on every deal they made.

Now Williams will likely get drafted, and if he finds his game their is more risk he doesn't come back as a 20. With Brett Kemp, he went undrafted so there is the higher potential that he will be here as a 20.  Things can change of course.

The Tigers Immediately get better. Their powerplay gets better. They get someone who will be able to jump into a top 6 role right away. He will become the 3rd 20 goal scorer the Tigers will have this season.

I am a bit surprised the Tigers didn't go get more forward insurance. Cole Sillinger will likely immediately join the Tigers as soon as his minor league team is finished the season. (End of February) Playoffs go until End of March. I do not know the legislation around calling up 15yr olds should an emergency be required.

I think they could potentially callup Nick McCarry if needed as he is playing in the AJHL.