Friday, August 17, 2018

2018-2019 Prince Albert Raiders

Prince Albert

Offense

Cole Fonstad(18)(1.01)Kody McDonald(20)(.86)Brett leason(19)(.5)
Justin Nachbaur(18)(.58)Kelly Parker (19)(.86)Spencer Moe(18)(.31)
Carson Miller(18)(.12)Sean Montgomery(20)(.5)Nikit Krivokrasoc(18)(.09)
Ozzy Wiesblatt(16)Eric pearce(17)(.12)Connor saleski(16)
Aliaksei Protas(17) I
Jakob Brook(16)
Noah Gregor(20)

Notes:
Slightly deceiving. Their core is a year away from peaking, however, they have some dangerous players this season, with a bundle of developing 18's who could provide a boost in offense. I think PA really wants next season to be their season and they made moves last year already making an expensive purchase for Kody McDonald.

Not including Noah Gregor I have them with 3 forwards earning over 1 ppg. 5 more forward between the .5ppg and .7 ppg mark. That means their roster has a group that will also score by committee and be difficult to shutdown. Basically 1 top line and 2 checking/scoring lines.

If Gregor comes over, make that 4 forwards earning over a PPG. They also still have another OA slot they could compliment that further.



Noah Gregor
They acquired his rights from Victoria. Gregor is signed and drafted with San Jose. Looking at San Jose's system, it is absolutely stuffed full of forwards. They have 14 spots signed in the AHL, not including 2-20yr olds (Gregor and Portlands Joachim Blichfield). It brings their total AHL players to 16 and theare is only 12 spots)

PA made a very good bet with Victoria is acquiring his rights depending on what the Conditional Compensation turns out to be.


Defence

Max Martin(19)(.44)Brayden Pachel(19)(.38)
Sergei Sapego(19)(.41)Zack Hayes(19)(.24)
Jeremy Masella(19)(.2)Konrad Belcourt(18)(.15)
Kaiden Guhle(16) 1st overall in 2017

Notes: 
This group is an old and veteran group that peaks this season.Kaiden Guhle is also likely to make a big impression as he was the 1st overall pick in 2017.  This group should be above average. They also have an OA slot open to use as OA defenceman. They might look for a stud #1 guy.

Imports
Sergei Sapego(19)(.41)
Aliaksei Protas(17) F

Goalies

Ian Scott(19)(.897) NHL 4th Rounder
Brett Balas(17) 

Notes

Very strong starter, but not much depth for the backup position.

Other OA &  Player Notes
Goalie Curtis Meger(20) - I expect he won't be kept. if gregor comes over they still have an open OA slot. If he doesn't come over they likely have 2 slots.


Drafting Outlook
Draft PositioningAgePicksPosition
2013201,3,4,5middle
2014191,3,4,59th
2015181,1,2,3,55th
2016171,2,2,3,3,4Middle
2017161,1,2,2,3,3,4,41st overall + 3rd position in other rounds
2018151,2,3,4,53rd overall/Early-Mid

Notes: Suggests that they could have an above average roster, as well as some impressive youth coming up.


Last Season
.535 Winning Percentage

Offensive Raw Strength
266-235 + 1 OA slot

Prognosis
Prince Albert is on the upswing and I expect them to compete for a Home ice playoff spot. Their forwards are coming of age, and their defense and goaltending are all 19.  They should have a very exciting crop of 16's and 15's. They may be on the verge of an above average next few seasons as long as they don't pull off a swift current.

I am curious about their offensive potential. They might need another big punch or two into their lineup. If Noah Gregor returns that would indeed be a very big punch.

They could have very high defensive turnover next season if they keep all their 19 yr old defenceman and goaltenders.  That could lead to next year being a transition year.

Prince Albert will be a very tough team to play against. I think teams will have difficulties scoring goals against them. I also think they will be difficult to shutdown. I have them in contention for 1st in the East with Brandon. They still have an open OA slot in addition to Gregor to work with.

Next Up
Red Deer Rebels

Thursday, August 16, 2018

2018-2019 Moose Jaw Warriors

Moose Jaw Warriors

Offense

Tristan Langan(20)(.6)Justin Almeida(19)(1.36)Ryan Peckford(19)(.67)
Nick Bowman(18)(.21)Tate Popple(18)(0.31)Brecon Wood(18)(.15)
Tristyn DeRoose(19)(.15)Chance Petruic(19)(.07)Tyler Smithies(18)(.22)
Brayden Tracey(17)Yegor Buyalski(17)Danill Stepanov(17)

*Barrett Sheen(20)(.35)
*Branden Klatt(20)(.22) Playing Junoir A

Notes:
Up front, they will be a 1 line team. Almeida and Peckford is still a pretty good combo. Langan made a big point increase last season.  After that they have a lot of fillers and depth players filling out the roster. 

A Lack of depth suggests that Moose Jaw may have troubles scoring goals next season. If they don't keep an overage goaltender I expect them to keep Barrett Sheen.

Defence

Josh Brook(19)(.71)Jett Woo(18)(.57)
Brandon Schuldaus(20)(.42)Matthew Benson(18)(.22)
Daemon Hunt(16)Brenden Kwiatkowski(18)(.05)


Notes:
Their defence looks to be very strong. Woo, Brook and Schauldaus are a powerhouse combination on the back-end.


Other OA &Player Notes
Kale Clague, Brett Howden are signed, drafted and expected to play pro
Defenceman Dmitri Zaitsev and Oleg Sosunov are both eligible to be back as 20yr old Imports. It is hard to see them returning as they are strong defensively and need forward depth. Moose Jaw has also signed 2 Import picks from last draft and are coming over.

That leaves them with Sheen, Langan, Schuldhaus, Wilms fighting for 3 spots.


Imports
Danill Stepanov(17) *Signed
Yegor Buyalski(17) *Signed
Dmitri Zaitsev(20)
Oleg Sosunov(20)

Goalies
Brody Wilms(20)
Adam Evanoff(18)
Ethan Fitzgerald(17)

Notes:
Not sure if their plan is to keep Wilms or not. If they don't keep him they have an extra OA to potentially use up front. Goaltending appears to be slightly above average. if Wilms doesn't return it may drop to about average because Evanoff is only 18 with 20 games experience but seems capable.


Drafting Outlook


Draft PositioningAgePicksPosition
2013201,4,4,55th
2014191,2,3,5,54th
2015181,1,2,3,4,54th
2016171,3,5,5,5Late
2017161,3,5,5MidLate
2018151,4,5Last

Notes: Suggests this year should be strong and there will be 3 tough years ahead; however, their run from last season has changed that outlook.


Last Season
.757 Winning Percentage

Offensive Strength
240-205


Prognosis
Their defense and goaltending could be very strong. it is difficult to read their forward group. They have numerous depth players that will be forced up into the lineup. Their defence and goaltending could be strong enough, along with a good top line and veteran depth to vault them into competitive territory.

My initial instincts have them as likely a favorite for the 1st wildcard spot. They should be behind Saskatoon, PA, Brandon. They could become prime sellers come deadline time as they have some very intriguing pieces.

Up next:
Prince Albert Raiders Tomorow

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

2018-2019 Medicine Hat Tigers

Medicine Hat Tigers

Offense
Ryan Chyzowski(18)(.72/.23) James Hamblin(19)(.91/.68/.06) Ryan Jevne(20)(.68/.39/.15)
Hayden Ostir(19)(.63/.37/.06)Elijah Brown(18)(.6/.2) Josh Williams(17)(.43)
Tyler Preziuso(19)(.5/.31/.17)Gary Haden(19)(.6/.25) Bryan Lockner(18)(.38/.21)
Baxter Anderson(18)(.11)Henry Rybinski(17)(.19)Dawson Heathcote(18)(.19)
*Vasily Podkolzin(17)
Jaeger White (20)
Mason Shaw(20)

Notes:
Not including Mason Shaw I count 8 players capable of hitting close to the .8PPG mark or above (Hayden Ostir, James Hamblin, Ryan Jevne, Elijah Brown, Ryan Chyzowski, Gary Haden, Josh Williams).

It gives the Tigers very solid depth and injury protection up front. The Tigers have a scoring by committee approach.

If Highly touted prospect Vasili Podkolzin comes over, and Mason Shaw is sent back their offense could be the most dangerous in the East division. Unfortunately, the fates of those 2 players are out of the Tigers hands.

Vasili Podkolzin is a potential Top 10 pick in next years NHL draft. His Russian rights were recently traded. It is largely unknown if he will come over to Medicine Hat.


Mason Shaw
Mason Shaw - Minnesota has 26 signed forwards at the pro level (plus 1 19y r old). There are 24 Pro spots in the NHL+AHL.   1 of those 26 signed is ECHL caliber and 1 of those is a rare enforcer. If Minnesota is completely healthy it means 2 players not getting ice-time or sent to the ECHL.

Being completely healthy is a rarity and some teams keep an extra player or two while some AHL teams sign their own players independent of their affiliation to the NHL.

If we look at Minnesota players most likely to get cut (20yr olds).  1 of them came from the NCAA and will be playing AHL/NHL. The other comes from Russia.

Shaw is right on the cusp of staying there. I think Minnesota will largely see how training camp plays out and Shaw can play his way on to the team. If their organization as a whole remains healthy, there could be a chance he gets sent back in late October/November.

 There was recently a news article that suggests Minnesota has him pegged for the AHL next season. That article goes along with my thoughts that he will be given a shot to make the AHL Club.  The Tigers should expect life without him and if he gets sent back it will be a big bonus.


Defence
Dylan MacPherson(20)(.33/.18) David Quenneville(20)(1.1/1.2/.86/.3)
Cole Clayton(18)(.13) Daniel Baker(17)(NA) 
Joel Craven(18)(.21) Trevor Longo(18) (.18)
Eric Van Impe(17((N/A)

Dalton Gally(20)
Linus Nassen(20)

Notes:
My line of thinking is that they will keep 2 veteran defenceman to play 1st line minutes and have their abundance of depth fight it out for the 2nd and 3rd pairing. The recent trade of Jaeger White seems to re-affirm that.

They will largely have to wait and see on what happens with David Quenneville. They have a 20yr old Import in Linus Nassen that could very well be sent back from Florida.

If that happens it would pose a logjam of 20's and likely a move being made.

David Quenneville
The Islanders have 8 signed guys in their AHL system. There just isn't room for him up there. He would be playing in the ECHL getting called up for injury replacements. I don't know if the Islanders would choose that path for him or not, it could be possible, but it seems like a poor idea to let a contract sit in the ECHL, when it could slide for another year in junior.

Linus Nassen, and Dylan Macpherson are the other 2 OA's.

Outside their top Line, the Tigers defence has a strong core of youth coming. Last season they all played fewer minutes on the 3rd line/healthy scratched and it was really only Cole Clayton that put up a big respectable and consistent step forward in his game.

Joel Craven and Daniel Baker look like they will take big steps, but they don't have that consistency yet that we saw from Clayton last season. That leaves an opening on their 2nd pairing. (Baker/Craven)

The rest Trevor Longo, Eric Van Impe, Ryden Fedyck, Ryan Watson, among other prospects will fight it out for 3rd pairing and depth minutes.

If I was judging this defence like they were on a team I was unfamiliar with, I'd say they have a strong top line and developing depth. Therefore they should be average to a slight notch above average because of their depth.

Imports
Mads Sogaard G (18)
Vasili Podkolzin F (17) - Top prospect for the 2019 draft
Linus Nassen(20)


Goalies
Jordan Hollett(19)
Mads Sogaard(18)
Gavin Bjorklund (16) 1st round pick in 2017
Kaeden Lane(17)

This is an interesting scenario. Hollett looks to be the starter but there may be up to 3 that are capable for the backup role. The Tigers selection of an Import goaltender looks to be protection for next year having a veteran goalie in case Hollett moves to the pros as a 20. It seems likely that he is in the plans of being the backup goaltender. 

Nonetheless goaltending looks to be a strong point.

Other OA& Player Notes
Dalton Gally(20)
Linus Nassen(20) Import
Jaegar White(20)(.5)


Drafting Outlook
2013201,2,2,3,410th
2014191,2,3,3,4,17tth
2015181,2,3,4,5,517th
2016171,2,2,3,3,4,55th
2017161,2,3,4,52nd Last
2018151,2,3,3,4,511th

Notes:
Suggests they should be below average with late selections, with a strong 17yr old age group.
However, they have made significant trades boost their 18yr old age group. It would make sense that they are a year off from peaking.

Last Season
.556 Winning Percentage

Offensive Strength Index
262-241  (Without Shaw, Podkolzin, includes Quenneville)


Prognosis
Strong goaltending and strong developing depth. Suggests the Tigers should be on the cusp of making a lot of noise. Looking at the rest of the division I think they have potential to compete for the Division crown with Lethbridge.

Should they get Shaw and Podkolzin into their lineup, they might leapfrog into the favorite role.
If those 2 don't return I'd say they are capable of winning a Home ice Playoff Spot and get 2-3 rounds into the playoffs.

Next Up
Moose Jaw Warriors August 16th.

Monday, August 6, 2018

2018-2019 Lethbridge Hurricanes

Lethbridge has announced their intentions on bidding to host the 2020 memorial cup and have already made pre-season moves in favour of the 2020 season. They traded away 19yr old Zane Franklin(19)(.57/.22) for 18yr old Jackson Shepard(.31/.29). They have also drafted younger CHL Imports.

Lethbridge Hurricanes 

Offense
Jordy Bellerive(19)(1.3)Jadon Joseph(19)(.6)Jake Elmer(20)(.53)
Taylor Ross(20)(.78)Logan Barlage(17)(.39)Dylan Cozens(17)(.93)
Jackson Shepard(18)(.31)Owen Blocker(18)(.12)Keltie Jeri-Leon(18)(.29)
Shawn Harke(18)(.04)Zachary Cox(19)(.1)Brendan Stafford(18)(.17)
Ryan Vandervlis(20)(1.0)
Jacob Boucher(16)
Noah Boyko(16) 16th overall 2017

Notes: 
Lethbridge should have a very strong Top 6 with 4 players that could hit the PPG mark.(Taylor Ross, Jordy Bellerive, Jadon Joseph, Dylan Cozens)   A couple more squeaking close by (Jake Elmer, Logan Barlage). 

They have a veteran roster with a bundle of depth 18's looking for ice-time on the 3rd and 4th lines.
It may be unlikely that overage Ryan Vandervlis returns to the Hurricanes. He suffered a devasting off-ice accident involving fire. They may look to acquire another Overage Player if he isn't quite ready to return.


Defense
Ty Prefontaine(19)(.35)Calen Addison(18)(.96)
Koletrane Wilson(19)(.19)Matthew Stanley(20)(.24)
Nolan Jones(17)(.11)Danila Palivko(17)
Alex Cotton(17)
Igor Merezhko(20)(.46)

Notes:
Merezhko's status is uncertain being an OA import.  I've left him off, but he is eligible to return. If he comes back the canes will have to drop an import as well as an OA (likely Matthew Stanley)


 Their top 4 has veteran experience, supplemented with some younger players looking to crack the team.

Addison, a 2nd round NHL draft pick, is a great puck mover who sees the ice very well. He can put up some points on the back-end, but was one of the lowest +/- guys on their team.  Prefontaine saw 1st line minutes with Merezhko last season.

Stanley and Wilson were 3rd pairing guys who had more ice-time than your typical 3rd line pairing in the regular season.

I see this defence as veteranly average. Similar to the Tigers defence from last season. (older veteran guys with experience that can hold their own, but beatable by Top Line players)

 They don't have the strength or defensive depth they have had the last couple seasons. They do have a potential 3rd OA spot they can use, that could bump this group into the above average category.

Imports
Akira Schmid(18) G - Signed
Danila Palivko(17) D - Signed
Igor Merezhko D  (20) - OA


Goalies
Reece Klassen(19)(.887) (23 games experience)
Akira Schmid(18) 5th round NHL New Jersey Selection
Bryan Thomson(16) WHL 2nd rounder in 2017

Notes:
I'm going to put their goaltending at average with a big question mark??? Akira Schmid, their 20th overall Import selection is relatively unknown. The scouting reports I read on him says he has a lot of potential, but is still a little raw. He put up excellent showings at international events but played for poor teams back home. He will likely compete for Switzerland at the world juniors as he was their 3rd string goaltender last season. This spot seems volatile.


Other OA& Player Notes
Ryan Vandervlis(20)(1.00) -  Suffered a Serious and unfortunate accident over the off-season. He spent a few weeks in the ICU with burns over half his body. He has undergone 5 surgeries and will need a few more. His family says they expect him to make a full recovery. I have no idea on if he will be able to play this season.


Drafting Outlook
Draft PositioningAgePicksPosition
2013201,2,3,4,4Late
2014191,2,2,2,4,4,42nd
2015181,2,32nd
2016171,2,3,4,5Late
2017161,2,2,4,4Late
2018151,2,4,5early Mid, late

Note: Suggests this year should be their "peak up-cycle" with their strong 2014/2015 drafts. Late positions in their 16 and 17yr old class suggest they may not have high-end depth in those age groups, however..........

They managed to draft an exceptional player in Dylan Cozens. He is a potential Top 3 NHL pick for next years NHL entry draft. Lethbridge also traded for the 4th overall WHL pick in the 2016 draft in Logan Barlage.


Memorial Cup 2020

I feel that this bid according to their drafting outlook seems very risky. There is pretty high potential that Jordy Bellerive will not be back as an overage (signed with the Penguins last season). It could be possible that Dylan Cozens may be playing in the NHL next season. Their other 18yr olds are underwhelming with their later positions in the draft.

IMO Lethbridge should have drafted 2 older Imports, beefed up their overage crop and looked to make some noise for this season. I worry about their depth for 2020. As of now they are too thin for 2020 and will need to make some moves to beef up. As Regina found out a couple seasons ago it is very expensive to acquire 18yr olds.. I fear Lethbridge might be on a path that leads to the same mistake and the new trade rules will make it more difficult for them.

I feel that is why they traded Zane Franklin(19) away for an 18yr old. I expect more moves to be made especially on defence as it is nowhere near championship calibre for 2020.

I take a big breath and go. "It could work" but I feel the chances of them failing are higher than their chances at succeeding. Nonetheless, I fully expect them to considerably alter their path for this season, or I'd rate their bid potentially behind other candidates in terms of having a competitive team.

 They have excelled at making deals which has bolstered their positions in the standings the last couple seasons. I think their path this season is very interesting because they should be tempted to bolster for this year, but may very likely try to push it back to next season.


Last Season
.500 Winning Percentage

Offensive Strength
251-248

Prognosis
The strength of this team the last couple seasons has been with their defensive gameplay and goaltending. Combined with a couple elite forwards it has catapulted them far into the playoffs. This season their roster is a bit different.

Their offence looks stronger with solid depth and scoring. Their goaltending is unknown and their defence might not be as strong as the past couple seasons.  Their current goaltending group only has a combined 23 games of experience. If their Import goaltender is a little bit raw, it could be an area of concern.

If they intend to host the Memorial Cup in 2020, I feel like this season will be "very tempting". I also feel like they need more oomf for next year if they want to host the memorial cup as mentioned above.

I personally feel it is a mistake to gear up for 2020 and they would be better served gearing up for this season. I see them finishing anywhere from 1st to 3rd, depending on what route they take.

Canes Fans, let me know your thoughts!

Next Up
Medicine Hat Tigers ( Won't be put up for about a week)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

2018-2019 Kootenay Ice

Kootenay Ice

Offence

 Gillian Kohler(18)(.35)Brett Davis(19)(.81)Cameron Hausinger(19)(.61)
Brad Ginnell(18)(.31) Peyton Krebs(17)(.8)Keenan Taphorn(18)(.34)
Davis Murray(19)(.11)Cole Muir(17)(.12)Gunnar Wegleitner20(0.33)
Connor McClennon(16)Kaeden Taphorn(18)(.21)Blake Allan(17)(NA)
Jakin Smallwood(17)
Eli Lieffers(18)
Holden Kodak(17)
Michael King(18)(.27) Traded

Notes:
 Kootenay has a developing forward core. They are still fairly young/inexperienced up front. While their numbers may not be as powerful as other teams, their previous rosters full of "filler" type players are slowly decreasing in favour of better talent.

Cameron Hausinger came from nowhere last season and had a big breakout year. Hausinger along with Brett Davis and Peyton Krebs will flirt with and exceed the PPG Mark, giving them a very solid Top 3.


They also have a trio of 18's,  hoping to break into a top 6 role. (Taphorn, Ginnell, Kohler).  They will be joined by 2nd overall pick in 2017 in Connor McClennon.


Kootenay has recognized that their veteran depth up front was hurting with the graduation of 3 overage forwards from last year. They acquired cheap help with Gunnar Wegleitner and Davis Murray to fill in their Top 9. I could easily see them tinkering with those spots should they not work out as both players have been depth players on their previous hockey clubs.


Overall I feel they are still too young an inexperienced to make a lot of noise, but they should be able to float above the basement dwellers.  There is a medium amount of volatility with numerous developing younger forwards.  They also have another OA spot potentially open.


Defense
Dallas Hines(20)(.32)Jonathan Smart(19)(.49)
Patrick Zachary(17)(.14)Sam Huston(19)(.18)
Valtteri Kakkonen(18)Loeden Schaufler(18)(.19)
Nolan Orzeck(17)(.13)
Anson McMaster(16)
Jordan Chudley(17)(0)
Martin Bodak(20)**

Notes: 
Most of their core returns. Martin Bodak is uncertain. Kootenay has said they expect him to go pro, but aren't counting him out.

 I see this group as average. Hines isn't flashy but steady-eddy on the back-end. Smart while not the best defensively, is a good puck mover. Kakkonen's scouting report says he is a great skater, and I like Patrick Zachary's mobility/instincts as a 16 yr old.

Nothing outstanding, but their core is all a year older from last season. I'd rate them as a slight notch below average to average depending on the strength of their new Import. Bodak's return would vault them well into the average to maybe a slight notch above average territory. 

Imports
Valtteri Kakkonen(18)(NA) - Signed
Martin Bodak(20) D - Pro??
Gillian Kohler(18)*(.35)

Goalies
Duncan McGovern(18)
Matt Berlin(20)
Bailey Brkin(19)
Gage Alexander(16)
Jesse Makaj(17)

Notes: 
They acquired Matt Berlin last deadline for a 5th round pick, but it could be unlikely they keep him as a 20. I'd rate their overall core as a slight notch below average to average. 


Other OA & Player Notes
Ryan Pouliot - Fringe 20yr old defenceman **dropped and picked up by the Broncos*
Traded 18yr old Forward Michael King for a 5th round pick.
Traded 18yr old Bobby Russell for a 5th round pick.
Martin Bodak(I)  -  Do they keep Martin Bodak as a 20yr old Overage? Their GM Mentioned they expect him to play pro, but leaving the door open

Drafting Outlook
Draft PositioningAgePicksPosition
2013201,2,3,4,5,5,5,5Early Mid
2014191,2,4,5Mid, late Mid
2015182,3,4,6,6Mid-Late
2016171,2,3,4,4,41st
2017161,2,3,4,4,5,52nd
2018151,2,2,5,62nd

Note: Poor Picks in their 18/19 drafts suggest Kootenay will lack depth in their veteran players. They have early picks in their younger age groups so it suggests strength in their younger players

Last Season
.424 Winning percentage

Offensive Strength Adjusted
Kootenay 221-217Goal Scoring
* Maybe boosted by a potential open OA slot.



Prognosis
I think Kootenays' dip towards the end of last season was a sign they are not done recovering yet. They are still too young and I feel they don't have enough veteran oomf in their lineup to make substantial noise.

I feel in order for my predictions to be wrong they need their entire younger core to outperform expectations. They need .75ppg+ seasons from Cole Muir, Gillian Kohler, Brad Ginnell, Connor McClennon, Connor Weigleitner, Davis Murray. They would need at least 4-5 of those players to hit .75ppg plus, which seems unlikely.


To me, their lineup says a slight notch below average to average capabilities, with potential for a small increase with an added 3rd overager. I have them in the underdog role competing with Edmonton & Calgary for a wildcard spot.

Next Up:
Lethbridge Hurricanes