Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tigers Will Start the Season With a Short Lineup

The Tigers season starts Friday Night in Lethbridge.

Tigers Making NHL Main Camps
Tommy Vannelli - St. Louis
Miles Koules - Washington
Ty Stanton - Detriot
Tyler Lewington - Washington
Marek Langhamer - Arizona


From what I have read it looks like all 5 Tigers players played really well during their respective NHL prospect camps, and have all been invited to NHL Main Camps.  Lewington was mentioned as a standout. Stanton had an amazing +6 stat in 3 games with the Wings.

Injuries
Chad Labelle, and Anthony Ast are recovering from injuries, and Jared Rathjen's status is unknown with last report mentioning something in the pre-season medical came up and he still needs to be cleared by doctors.

The Tigers will start the weekend potentially down 7 regulars(8 players total), and only 1 overager (Kyle Becker) in the lineup.

Goaltenders Current Lineup)
Nick Schneider(17)
Cole Schafer(19) *temp

Defense Current Lineup 
Kyle Becker(20) Matt Staples(19)
Connor Hobbs(17) Scott Allan(18)
David Quenneville(16) Ty Schultz(17)
Brad Forrest(17)


Forwards Current Lineup
Bradley (17) Cox(19)  Sanford(19)
Eisenschmid(19) Owre(18)  Butcher(18)
 Mowbray(18) Penner(18)Shaw(16)
 Rassal (17) Fischer(17)


NHL Camps
Tyler Lewington 20yr old defenseman
Miles Koules - 20 yr old forward
Ty Stanton - 19 yr old defenseman
Marek Langhamer - 20 yr old goaltender
Tommy Vannelli - 19 yr old Defenseman

Injured
Anthony Ast - 19 yr old Forward
Chad Labelle - 19 yr old forward
Jared Rathjen - 20 yr old Goaltender

They will be playing with a very young lineup to start the season with the youngest average age of 17.8 yrs,  combine that with the smallest, and lightest group in the WHL. This will be a perfect opportunity for the young players to step in and make their mark. Right now the Tigers are carrying 27 players(not including Schafer) and will eventually need to get down to 25.  They will potentially start the season short 1 player depending on the availability of Ast, Rathjen, Labelle.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tigers @ NHL Camps

Update: 3:50 PM Wednesday
Tommy Vannelli
Miles Koules
Tyler Lewington
Ty Stanton
Marek Langhamer

Have all made their respective teams main camp and will be not be with the Tigers for the weekend. So they are down their top 3 dman, starting goaltender, and 1st line forward.



Friday September 12th
Tommy Vannelli(Blues) - 1 Goal, 1 Assist, -1 rating, 3 shots.
Ty Stanton(Red Wings) - Did not play

Former Tigers
Jake Doty(Blues) - 1 shot
Curtis Valk(Canucks) - 2 goals
Hunter Shinkaruk(Canucks) - 1 assist, -1 rating, 3 shots, 2 PM
Kale Kessy(EDM) - 1 shot 2 PM


Saturday September 13th
Jake Doty, 1 Goal, +1, 4 shots
Tommy Vannelli - No Stats
Ty Stanton, +1
Kale Kessy 2 Fights, 12 PM's

Sunday September 14th
Curtis Valk 1 Goal, +1, 2 shots
Hunter Shinkaruk 2 goals, 8 shots

Monday September 15th
Tommy Vannelli - 1 shot, 1 slashing penalty
Jake Doty - No Stats
Ty Stanton - 1 assist, +4, 1 shot
Curtis Valk - -2, 1 shot
Hunter Shinkaruk -1, 2 shots

Tuesday September 16th
Tyler Lewington - Was the lone player mentioned in an online article at having solid defensive play.
Interview here http://www.monumentalnetwork.com/videos/rinkside-update-tyler-lewington-8-13-14.    Coaches said they were very impressed by him. 

Marek Langhamer - Played 2 periods, with 1 goal against.
Ty Stanton - 1 assist, +1, 2 shots
Tommy Vannelli - 1 shot, 2 PM's

Wednesday September 17th
Marek Langhamer



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Explaining the New Playoff Format

The WHL has adopted a new Playoff format this year and I haven't really payed attention to it until now.  I personally hate it because of a flaw in a potential unbalanced conference alignment in which we saw last season.

Ultimately you need to beat the best to be the best. Playing a 72 game season then getting thrown into a wolf, or mouse playoff seems unfair.

This years Format is determined by the top 3 in each division + 2 wildcards.
The 2nd and 3rd place team in each division play against in each in the first round. So throw away your thinking about 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, 4 vs 5...

This is how last year would have ended up.

East Division
1 Regina   85 pts --DIVISION WINNER.#2   Plays higher wildcard
2. Swift Current 85 pts  2ND IN DIVISION Plays BELOW
3. Brandon  77 pts        3RD IN DIVISION PLAYS ABOVE
4. Prince Albert 75 pts  WILDCARD #2  (Lesser)
5.  Moose Jaw  51 pts
6. Saskatoon  37 pts

Central Division
1. Edmonton 103 pts  DIVISION WINNER#1    plays lesser wildcard
2. Calgary 103 pts    2ND IN DIVISION PLAYS BELOW
3. Medicine Hat 92 pts  3RD IN DIVISION PLAYS ABOVE
4. Kootenay 83 pts   WILDCARD #1 (higher)
5. Red Deer  75 pts
6. Lethbridge 29 pts

PA defeated the Rebels in a tiebreaker in regular season.

First Round (Seeds are by regular season total points)
Bracket Two
#4 Regina(DIVISION WINNER) Vs #6 Kootenay (Higher wildcard)
#5 Swift Vs  #7Brandon

Bracket One
#1  Edmonton (Division Winner) vs  #8Prince Albert   (Lesser Wildcard)
#2 Calgary Vs #3Medicine Hat  

Second Round - The Winners of each bracket play each other.
Third Round - Bracket One vs Bracket two

The top 3 seeds are all in one bracket, and they will play each other in the first two rounds These should be 3rd and 4th round matchups not 1st and 2nd round matchups.  Meanwhile the #6 seed Kootenay is suddenly enjoying life.

A month before the season ended when Kootenay and the Tigers were neck and neck, really it would be better to loose a few games and drop back, as Kootenay had a much better position in the playoffs than the Tigers.

To me this scenario is complete garbage and I really hope we don't see it.  The weaker teams get rewarded with more potential playoff games and the good teams get penalized.

Equal Balanced Conferences
 How this goes remains to be seen, whether the #1 seeds will take advantage of more weary second round opponents, or whether it will be harder as their opposition will be rivals and more battle tested, it will probably even out.

I think there is a higher chances for upsets playing close rivals, and the path in playoffs is a notch more difficult.

Overall
I think we will see on average more playoff games played per year, less overall travel, and more money generated. The road to the finals will get harder. I really hope we don't see conference imbalances because that could put a damper on a strong season.  It does make divisional games that much more important. If you have a great season you are hoping for teams in your division to be weaker.



Friday, September 5, 2014

Tigers Make A Couple Cuts

Tigers Recent Cuts
Caleb Fantillo (16)
Marshall Skapski (16)
Ryan Jevne


Current Roster (27 players, 2 Over Max, 2 Extra overagers)
October 10th Cut-down Date

Current Forwards(14)
(Just for depth purposes, basic Line Combos, don't read into it)

Sanford(19) Cox(19)  Koules(20)
Eisenschmid(19) Ast(19)  Butcher(18)
Penner(18)  Owre(18) Bradley (17)
Labelle(19) Mowbray(18) Shaw(16)

Fischer(17)
Rassal (17)

Miles Koules is headed to the Washington Camp.

Forward Cuts Left: 0
It is unlikely they make another cut up front unless they bring in someone in through trades.

Current Defense(10)
(Just for depth purposes, basic Line Combos, don't read into it)

Kyle Becker(20)* Matt Staples(19)
Connor Hobbs(17) Scott Allan(18)
David Quenneville(16) Ty Schultz(17)
Brad Forrest(17)

Tyler Lewington(20) (At Camp)  *Estimate a last minute addition to be back to start season
Ty Stanton(19) (At Camp)       * Estimate to be back to start season
Tommy Vannelli(19) (At Camp)  *Unknown return

Defensive Cuts Left:  2-3
They have 3 dman away at camps, so its possible we don't see another cut until these guys return, as another cut would leave them short. Eventually one defensive overager is highly likely to be gone.
 It's likely the Tigers hold on to the overagers until who is coming back is known, unless another team ramps up a bid on a guy like Becker.

Tommy Vannelli -Most likely will not be back to start the season. They will probably give him a long look and the Tigers season starts near when AHL camps begin. If he comes back it is likely after the season started as I doubt they assign him directly back to the Tigers but instead to the AHL first.

Tyler Lewington -  We should put an asterisk beside him. It is unusual that a player will decline an offer. My best guess is that he was offered the league minimum and Washington has 8 guys under a 1 way contract in the NHL and another 9 guys signed in the minors and if he accepted he would be automatically buried in their farm team with limited ice-time if Washington moved him up.(8 guys on the last year of their deal) so he could probably get a much better overall deal waiting a year and signing the next.)  Without a contract I think it is likely that he will be assigned to the Tigers instead of the AHL and be back to start the season.

Goaltenders(3)
Jared Rathjen(20)
Nick Schneider(17)

Mark Langhamer 20)

I think Langhamer will be back based on how many goalies Arizona has after their NHL camp is done. If he gets sent down to the AHL to compete for a job it may take a few weeks after the season started before he is back, but they have 5 goalies competing for AHL spots, including Langhamer. With Langhamer's contract eligible to slide it just makes sense if they send him back down to junior so he can be the #1 and get 60 games in rather, than getting 5-12 games in the ECHL, or even a 3rd tiered league like the CHL (not canada's CHL).

Pre-Season Prediction

In both cases overall their forwards are quite small and its hard to estimate on what type of impact this will have on game flow if at all.  Their forwards have an average size of 5'9.85  176.6 lb.

Compared to last years league average size of  6.05 inches and 187 lbs.

I did an incredibly rough conservative player to player estimate projection  on how many goals each player can/should get and I peg them to score roughly the same amount of goals  as a team as they did last year. Bump them down a notch do to their small size up front but bump them back up if Vannelli and his skating returns. They could definitely use a solid big bodied player to score some garbage goals.

Predictions pre-season are a crapshoot

If Vannelli and Langhamer are gone
Goaltending is average, defense is above average but youthful. I would estimate a 4th-7th regular season finish.

Vannelli and Langhamer Back
Their defense and goaltending will be near if not the class of the league. I estimate a 2nd-6th place reg season finish.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pre-Season

Tigers played back to back games as exhibition season got underway Friday and Saturday Night, facing Saskatoon and Prince George Respectively.

Tigers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Blades, and Defeated Prince George 6-5 in overtime. The Tigers heavily outshot both teams.

Saskatoon Game
Saskatoon Vets: 9 Vets dressed
Tiger Vets: 8 Vets dressed

Prince George Game
PG Vets: 7 Vets
Tigers Vets: 8 Vets

(For this I will call a veteran as someone who has played more than 10 games) Tigers had Schnieder and Rathjen each play half a game, (both counted as vets)

Looking at the stats Veteran Import Markus Eisenschmid led the way with 4 points in 2 games. Rookie Mason Shaw had 4 assists in the game against Prince George.

Mathew Bradley who hasn't seen action in the regular season but dressed for 10 playoff games last year scored 3 goals during the 2 games.

Defenceman Scott Allan popped in 2 very quick goals in the 3rd period to help the Tigers tie the game late against Prince George in the 3rd period.

Defenceman Ty Schultz had 2 points and a + 3 rating after 2 games.

I Imagine after these two games in Edmonton there will be a cut or two. With at least 4 players going to NHL camps next week we probably won't see that many cuts this weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

TigerTurf Is Back Online

TigerTurf is back from Holidays and Ready For Tiger Season!!!!!!

Developments

Jerrid Sauer hired as an assistant Coach (August 20th)
Back on August 20th the Tigers officially Hired Jared Sauer as their new assistant coach. That makes 2 ex Tigers coaching the team. Sauer completed a Kinesiology degree in calgary. From his days as a Tiger he was one of the more conditioned athletes on the team and he should have a wealth of knowledge in terms of the conditioning and strength part of the game.   I would assume Joey Fraser would receive somewhat of a  promotion now taking over the defensive line changes.

Brad McEwen Headed to the Flames (August 23rd)
The Tigers Head Scout and Assistant General Manager has been hired on as a scout to the Calgary Flames. McEwen has been a big part of bringing in some good talent here the last few years.

Tiger Rookie camp
I wasn't able to attend any Rookie Camp scrimmages or games, but from what various forum commentators have mentioned it sounds like another very impressive camp from the young prospects.

Tigers Make A Trade (August 22nd)
The Tigers sent Goaltender Zac Robidoux to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a 3rd round Bantam Draft pick in 2015, as well as a conditional 4th round Bantam Draft Pick in 2017.

Robidoux (18) was a very late cut last year as the Tigers choose to go a different route. They picked up a great return for him.

Updated Roster List (Info taken from Small Thoughts At Large) + Tommy Vannelli Addition
Updated August 31st

Forwards(16)
Anthony Ast (95), Matthew Bradley (97),  Chad Butcher (96), Trevor Cox (95), Markus Eisenschmid (95), Caleb Fantillo (98), Zach Fischer (97), Ryan Jevne (98), Miles Koules (94), Chad Labelle (95), Alex Mowbray (96), Steven Owre (96), Blake Penner (96), Mark Rassell (97), Cole Sanford (95), Mason Shaw (98)

Defense(11)
 Scott Allan (96), Kyle Becker (94), Brad Forrest (97), Connor Hobbs (97), Tyler Lewington (94), David Quenneville (98), Ty Schultz (97), Marshall Skapski (98), Ty Stanton (95), Matt Staples (95), Tommy Vanelli(95)

Goaltenders(3)
Marek Langhamer (94), Jared Rathjen (94), Nick Schneider (97)

Estimated Cuts Left: (Min 5 cuts Needed, 2 extra over-agers)
1 or 2 Forwards 
3-4 Defenseman
1 Goaltender
2 extra over-agers on the roster.
5 - 16 yr olds ( Max of 4)

NHL Prospect Camps Open Soon
Ty Stanton - Red Wings   (New)
Tommy Vannelli - St. Louis
Tyler Lewington - Washington
Marek Langhamer - Arizona



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Import Draft + Goaltending Situation

Tigers Trade For A Goalie
The Tigers traded for overage Goaltender Jared Rathjen from vancouver, for a 5th round conditional Pick.

Rathjen has 74 Games played over his whl career. 

What This Means

What this move means. It means that the Tigers are now unsure if Marek Langhamer is coming back....They traded away 18yr old goaltender Daniel  Wapple last season with reasons stating they had strong indications marek would be playing here in his 20 yr old season.....This trade would make it seem that this is insurance in case he doesn't come back

Arizona Signings

The Arizona coyotes just signed Devan Dubnyk to a 1 yr deal. Dubnyk should backup Mike Smith in the NHL. They also Signed Mike McKenna to a 1 yr 2 way deal.

So they have 4 other goalies in their system under contract for 1 year left.
Mark Visentin (AHL)
Mike Lee (Injured most of last season, probably ECHL)
Louis Domingue (AHL )
Mike McKenna (AHL )

4 Goalies who will be competing for jobs in the AHL.  One that was injured all of last season but should be back.

As Tiger fans we will have to keep an eye on if Phoenix makes any moves regarding their goaltenders, but Based on their recent signings and Marek's Contract is eligible to slide, I feel quite a bit more safer that he will return.   It doesn't make sense to stuff him in the ECHL as a 3rd string goaltender. If Arizona wants Marek to play in the ECHL/AHL it didn't make sense for Arizona to sign Mike McKenna unless they plan to make a trade with one of their other tenders, but we don't know what their plan is.

CHL Import Draft
Goes today.

Eisenschmid is eligible to be back next season. Marek is a bit up in the air as of yet (but I think he will return).....We could see the Tigers possibly make one pick

Tigers Select Michael Spacek with the 45th overall pick. Spcek is projected to be one of the top prospects coming from the Czech Republic for next years NHL Draft. 5'10 181 lbs.
http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=199564

-----------------
Tigers Making NHL Camps
Dylan Bredo - Edmonton
Curtis Valk - Vancouver
Jake Doty - St. Louis

Tyler Lewington - Washington
Tammy Vannelli - St. Louis
Marek Langhamer - Arizona
Miles Koules- Washington

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Langhamer Signs with Phoenix, Kruger Promoted

The Medicine Hat Tigers are pleased to announce that 19 year old goaltender Marek Langhamer has signed an entry level contract with the NHL Phoenix Coyotes. The Czech born Langhamer was drafted by the Coyotes in 2012, 184th overall.

Marek was in the Tigers office on Wednesday to put pen to paper on his new deal, tweeting a photo out while saying "I’m really excited to become a part of Phoenix Coyotes organization. Also wanna thank @tigershockey and my family." 

Langhamer put up impressive numbers during the second half of the season but his best work came representing his country at the IIHF World Junior Championships. Langhamer and his Czech Republic teammates defeated Team Canada in a shootout, with Marek stopping 25 saves plus 2 in the shootout. It was the Czech Republic's first win against Canada in 15 games. 

The confidence Langhamer gained from the World Juniors followed him to Medicine Hat and into the final months of his WHL season. He finished with a 2.58 goals against average and .913 save percentage, both among the top 10 in the league.

Langhamer said about his hard work "“It doesn’t happen every day. It was a great feeling. It’s hard to put into words; it’s a dream come true for me.”

Marek will head to Phoenix for their camp next fall and has the eligibility to return as a 20 year old to the Tigers. Fans are hoping to see the Czech in the pipes for next season! 

http://www.tigershockey.com/article/langhamer-inks-with-desert-dogs
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Great Job Marek!!

He was instrumental in the Tigers success during the stretch run and playoffs. He has improved sooooo much over his tenure here. 
Very athletic and can move side to side very well. He had issues on medium to long range shots in the early to mid-season, but it seemed like he flicked a switch and it wasn't an issue.  signing a contract means Phoenix can put him in the pro's next season, however their has been strong indiciations that he will return to the Tigers as an overage 20yr old goaltender....the last of the Euro 'Tenders
---------

Darren Kruger Promoted!
http://www.tigershockey.com/article/kruger-gets-promotion.

Medicine Hat Tigers announce this afternoon the promotion of Darren Kruger to the position of Senior Director, Player Development effective immediately.



Thursday, May 1, 2014

WHL Bantam Draft Day

It is Bantam Draft Day!!
- Will be updated every couple hours. The WHL Site is live.

Link : http://whl.ca/draft/fullDraft/2014

1st Round (17th overall)
James Hamblin Centre- Edmonton, AB - 5'8 135 lbs  SSAC 1999-04-27
https://twitter.com/HamblinJames10


2nd Round (39th Overall)
Rilan Rommelaere -  Goaltender -  Boissevain, MB -  5'11 154 lbs -  1999-05-14

3rd Round (56th Overall)
Nicholas Doyle -  Defence -  Winnipeg MB -  5'11.5 157 lbs -  POE AAA-1 - 1999-05-24

3rd Round (61st Overall)
Tyler Preziuso - Right Wing - Burnaby, BC - 5'10 150 lbs -  BWC A1-T1 -  1999-01-19
https://twitter.com/TPreziuso

4th Round (72nd overall)
Cameron Lockard - Right Wing - Whitecourt, Alberta - 5'11 170lbs PAC Saints - 1999-12-02

5th Round
No Picks

6th Round (118th overall)
Dylan Cassie - Defence Winnipeg MB, 5'10 168 lbs - Monarchs 1999-04-17

7th Round (149th overall)
Sammy Walker - Centre - Edina MN, 5'5 123 lbs, 1999-06-07

8th Round (158th overall)
Jack Harris - Defence, Prior Lake MN, 6' 165 lbs 1999-06-13

8th Round (171st overall)
Kyle Kaufmann Centre, West Vancouver, 5'10 140lb, Hollyburn A1-T1 1999-04-23

9th Round
NO Picks