Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tigers Goaltender Injured for the Year

Their are rumours going around that overage goaltender Austin Lotz has received an injury that requires surgery and will be out for 4 months.

Lotz last played Friday November 6th the full game against the Kootenay Ice which Kootenay won in overtime 4-3. Nick Schnedier played the Saturday game where the Tigers lost 5-2. It seems a cruel joke that this happened right after the overage deadline as the Tigers are now in a pickle.

The Tigers acquired Lotz in the overage waiver draft for free. They are now short a backup goaltender as Schneider likely resumes the #1 role.

Their is a Ton of Tiger Hockey on schedule as the next 3 weekends we will see friday and saturday night games.

Tri-Cities and Kootenay are in town this weekend

Tigers Aquire Mack Shields
Medicine Hat, AB – The Medicine Hat Tigers announced Thursday morning they have struck a deal with the Prince George Cougars to acquire 95 born goaltender Mack Shields in exchange for a 2017 7th Round Bantam Draft Pick.

The Cougars had 3 goaltenders on their roster acquiring disgruntled Prince Albert Goaltender Nick McBride last week. Shields was the goaltender for the Calgary Hitmen last season when they eliminated the Tigers in the second round of last years playoffs 4 games to 1.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Imports, Trades & Other Stuff

Some of this is old news by now, this was written last week, but made a few changes with the recent trade, callups and injuries. Some of it is still outdated which I will edit later.

Tamas Laday
Tamas Laday has been waived. The Hungarian import was acquired from the Spokane Chief's in the off-season for an 8th round pick. He started out the season in the top 4 but was replaced fairly quickly into the bottom pairing. He was making some mistakes that maybe typical of a young 16-17 yr old defender, but not what you want to see from a veteran 19 yr old. Simple mistakes like rushing forward with an oncoming forward and consistently making the first move that was widely avoidable.

Alexei Platanov
According to Bob Ridley Alexei was sent back home to Russia. Alexei was the Tigers Import Selection last draft. I found from another source that Alexei was having difficulties blending into the Canadian culture with the language barrier and it was a mutual decision to be granted a release.

Jevne Suspended 4 Games
Ryan Jevne was suspended 4 games for a hit on Evan Polei of the Red Deer Rebels. Polei wasn't in the lineup for Red Deer Friday night. An aftergame interview by Sutter suggested he had some initial symptoms and they were following the concussions protocol but thought he would be back soon. Polei was listed day to day on the WHL injury report.

Jevne has served 2 of his 4 game suspension.

I Couldn't get a good replay of the hit. It looked like an open ice hit coming from the blindside where he clipped Polei. A suspension of 2 Games has been the standard for most hits to the head.

David Quenneville
Took a high hit last Saturday against Saskatoon and didn't return to the game. The WHL weekly report lists him out for 1-2 weeks as an "upper body" injury.

James Hamblin
Hamblin is off to the World Under 17's challenge.  The tournament  kicks off Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.

Spokane Wednesday and 15 yr Old Callups
Spokane just got last year's leading scorer Adam Helewka back from San Jose's farm team. The Tigers had 2 15 yr old callups dressed in Josh Mcneil, and Baxter Anderson. They both played a regular 4th line shift alongside Zach Fischer where they received ample playing time. The young guys stepped up big time pulling an even plus/minus.

16-17 Crop
Wedmesday night we saw flashes into the future. Fantillo, Gerlach, Preziuso Shaw, the young guns led the way as they all had 2 and 3 point nights. Schneider was in the net for the first time since the trade acquisition of Austin Lotz. He had a tough start but turned aside 23 of 25 shots.

Trevor  Cox traded to Vancouver
Trevor Cox was traded to the Vancouver Giants. He became expendable after goaltending and defense issues prompted movement and an additional overage player. It is not very often you hear about a 100 pont player becoming expendable. The Tigers got a veteran defenceman who most likely will be here as a 20 to help out the inexperienced group.

The Tigers received a 2nd round pick in 2018, as well as 19 yr old defenceman Clayton Kirichenko.

Vancouver article on the trade:

Thoughts on the future.(This was written before the trade)

Breaking down the Roster 

The older the age group the more critical the criteria for skill. The 17's and below are judge more on skill and reachable potential, while the older players are more judge on current skill.

Josh Mcneil (15)
Ryan Chyzowski (15)
Baxter Anderson(15)

Too early to say the strength of this group. If these players can turn into core players, this age-group has the making for something above average, but judging strictly on potential is dangerous.

1999 (16's)
James Hamblin, Tyler Preziuso,  Rylan Rommelaere
This class is on par for average, but has potential to become above average and excellent with future additions. It is too early to judge.

1998 (17's)
 (Quenneville, Shaw, Gerlach, Fantillo, Jevne)

I would say this group right now sits at a half notch above average,. This group looks to be the best age group on the tigers in terms of skill\depth\reachable potential but their is still a lot of development needed.  I'm hoping that while they are young everyone shows marked improvement in the second half of this season.

1997 (18's)
Bradley, Fischer,. Rassall, Forrest, Heid, Schultz, Schneider

Right now the group is average calibre.  Their is some development here needed to bounce that into above average territory which can be reached.

Fischer is falling behind on the depth charts.

Rassall, Bradley, Schultz - I'm putting them all at a slight notch below core status. Rassall with his inspired play is  tracking to be there by mid-season if he can keep playing well consistently. Bradley I think needs to be pushed a little. He had a tough start to the season with his surgery. I am hoping that with the loss of Cox, and Sanford he steps his game up and takes over the leadership role in terms of scoring. Schultz is getting a ton of ice-time he will be leaned upon next season to be the Shutdown guy.

1996 (19's)
Owre, Butcher, Mowbray, Clouston

I'd say this group is average, perhaps a slight notch below just because they have less depth than most teams.

Sanford, Cox, Stanton, Lotz

This group is in the excellent category, even with the deletion of one overage.

Next Season
Forwards )
Owre(20) Bradley(19) Butcher(20)
 Rassal(19)  Shaw(18)  Max Gerlach(18)
Jevne(18) James Hamblin(17) Fantillo(18) 
Fischer(19) Tyler Preziuso(17) Ryan Chyzowski(16)
Josh Mcneil(16)

*This is pretty much the roster they are playing with right now with the injuries they had to cox/sanford. What we have seen over the past week and the next is what we will see next season.

Ty Schultz(19)   David Quenneville(18)
Brad Forrest(19) Connor Clouston(20)

Nick Schneider(19)
Rylan Rommelaere(17)

Season After
 Rassal(20)  Shaw(19)  Max Gerlach(19) 
Jevne(19) James Hamblin(18) Fantillo(19) 
 Josh Mcneil (17)Tyler Preziuso(18) Ryan Chyzowski(17)
Prospect Prospect Prospect

Ty Schultz(20)   David Quenneville(19)
Rylan Rommelaere(18)

Typical Championship team
They have a very strong ( at least 5 core/key guys) in each 18,19 year old age group supplemented by good quality 20's, which are generally found cheaper on the trade market. 

The Tigers generally like a consistent approach to all of their age groups, where eventually a couple above average crops comes along and they have an above average year. They really strive for balance so the down years are never terrible. 

Next " Peak Up Cycle"
The next "up cycle" appears to be in 2 seasons when the young forward/defensive core "matures" to the 18/19 yr old age group.  I should say that a lot can happen between now and then and this cycle may shift depending on the development of these players and the moves that are made.  I think it's a blessing in disguise with the injuries to Cox/Sanford as these young guys are forced into ice-time.

The Tigers also have room to add 2 imports, which could easily change the dynamic of the team depending on their skill.  It might be beneficial next season to look for 2 18 yr old imports( or 1-17, 1-18) so they both have a year to develop before the " up cycle"

The Tigers also have an extra 2nd and 3rd round pick in the 2018 draft, which could be used to bolster this group as well. The defense is potentially looking a bit lean in 2 years but their is potential for a strong base. In my opinion they need to add to this.

Schneider is debatable. He is signed so I'm unsure if he will be here as a 20, but with how his development is going it maybe wise for the flames to keep him in Junior for his 20yr old season. You could say he is tracking on a similar path to Langhamer of last season.

The weaknesses are size up front, defensive depth, perhaps goaltending depending on Schneider's status. Always wonder about scoring, but that is difficult to judge young players on.
 I really hope by the end of the season we have 3 or 4 of these young forwards starting to become semi-dangerous where they are winning the majority of battles regardless of if they are getting points or not. We are starting to see that with the young 17 yr old line of gerlach, shaw, fantillo.

What direction to go
The off-season defensive acquisitions fell flat which obviously didn't help the tigers.  Perhaps it's a good thing but the Central Division appears weaker than normal this year.

If I'm the Tigers I'm looking at bolstering the 15,16,17 year old age group as much as possible, with maintaining the ability still be a playoff team. The young guys will have good games and poor games

Bolstering the 18/19 yr age group is a short-term fix in a down year, which in the long-term strips value away from the team, however if they could look at getting a cheap solution if they do indeed trade one of their overage forwards as long as it is not the main piece in the deal and more of a throw-in.

Playoff Question
 I see a situation down the road where the Tigers are in the thick of making the playoffs, yet also have teams knocking on their door about players like sanford/Cox/Owre/Butcher. I could also see players such as Fischer, Mowbray, Forrest available but that would warrant young players in return. Still their could be another move made if a whl team is looking to add to their 18yr old group, and it could benefit the Tigers to add to their 17 or 16 group.

Best case scenario they make the playoffs and add to the young core. Next season they should be better than this year.   Mark down 2017/2018 as their talent projects to be at a "peak up cycle" barring massive unforeseen circumstances which no-one can predict.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tigers Acquire Defenceman

The Medicine Hat Tigers and Portland Winterhawks struck a deal on Friday with the Tigers acquiring 97 born defenceman and Fridley, Minnesota native, Nick Heid in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2017 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

With the deal, the Tigers are sending back the pick they acquired last season for Miles Koules.

As a 16 year old, Heid put up 27 points in 20 games patrolling the Ohama “AAA” Lancers blueline prior to coming over to the WHL.

My Thoughts

Heid stands 6'4 195 lbs. He is on the NHL Central Scoutings "players to watch" listed with a C rating.
Seems like a very nice pickup that didn't cost a lot for a good young defenceman. Portland had 8 Dman on the roster including 3 16's, so they had room to move. I watched a few of his videos and he shows a physical presence.

We'll wait to see him play but my initial thoughts are: If he is worth of the C rating I really like this move. This puts the Tigers roster at 8 DMan. This move opens up some defensive flexibility.

Before this trade happened, and regardless of their decisions on the Overage front they needed to bring in another good young defenceman because their cupboards were pretty lean. Their next "up cycle" is in 2 or 3 years. So bringing in this player will greatly help boost that "up cycle"  if he turns out to be a solid player.

What Happens Next
If the Tigers are going to sell an overage forward I would expect they would want another forward in return. They now have the  manpower depth on the back-end to cut/move a Dman. Whether that Dman is Stanton we will wait and see however I think they will still be hurting big-time on the back-end if they do. I'd be more of a fan of moving Laday out,  but the import status makes that harder to do.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tigers Acquire OA Goaltender Austin Lotz

Calgary, AB – The Western Hockey League completed its 20-year-old cut-down draft on Thursday afternoon.
 The Medicine Hat Tigers added 1995-born goaltender Austin Lotz who was released by the Everett Silvertips. The St. Adolphe, MB product has posted a 73-61-7-8 record in four seasons with Everett to go along with a 2.95 goals against average and a .902 career save percentage.
 The Spokane Chiefs have added 20-year-old forward Luke Harrison who was released by the Kamloops Blazers. The native of West Kelowna, BC is in his fifth WHL season and has amassed 30 points (17g-13a) in 183 games played.
 WHL teams had until 10:00 a.m. MT on Thursday to reduce the number of 20-year-old players on their roster to the maximum of three.
 All other 20-year-olds who were available but not selected in the cut-down draft now become free agents.
What this means
The Tigers placed Cox on the IR. They will have 2 weeks to make a decision on who to keep after Cox comes off the IR.
Picking up an OA is the smart thing to do. They will still have a question on what direction to go after Cox is back from injury. Is Lotz just a couple month rental or can he force himself to be a keeper? If so who else goes? Do the Tigers make trades in other areas that will change the dynamic of the team? 

Lotz likely supplants himself temporarily as the #1 starter. Schneider as the backup, Johnson as the 3rd string. If the Tigers cut Johnson its a sign that other moves are imminent, but I think they will hold onto him for now.
Their defensive game is still an issue, but we will see how they perform with a veteran goalie behind them. 
I have a big post coming up after this weekend.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tigers Win First Ever Game @ The Canalta Center

First Impressions 
This was my first Canalta Experience.  The lineup in the front of the building was massive, so I headed to the back for a lineup that was half the size and fast moving.

 I think it was a poor decision to not let people in until 50ish minutes before game-time, it led to massive lineups in front of the building. I don't expect this place to sell-out continuously, therefore lineups will be shorter, but with sellouts in winter and cold temperatures, these lines will need to shorten and I'd highly suggest opening the doors earlier to help alleviate that. I think with more experience under their belt the staff will also be able to move people quicker as well.

I arrived 45 minutes early and the parking lot was jam packed. I did my pre-scouting and had a good spot that allowed a quick exit so I'm not going to give out my secret:P but I"ll give you a hint that the back way had virtually no lineup to get out and was likely faster heading to the #1 and avoiding the mass of cars going down the box springs road.

I was absolutely blown away. The rink has a professional feel. The clashing of sticks and pucks even sounded like an NHL arena. The sound perhaps could have been a half notch louder, but not having the exact same songs play that the old arena had, was refreshing.

The glass along the boards had a lot of give compared to the old arena so hopefully that will reduce some injuries.  The open floor concept was neat. The arena was brightly lit, and had an NHL calibre jumbotron. Replays after highlight reel plays. A video tribute to Bob Ridley, Kisscam, the works. Shaw was broadcasting the event, so I wonder if "The works" and replays will still be there on non televised days.

 I think in the first intermission virtually everyone was out to explore. It was very difficult to move around. People standing in the middle. No real flow.  Concessions had long lineups, it was difficult to maneuver past the 50-50 booths. The 2nd floor was neat, you could look down on the hoards of people struggling to get past each other on the main concourse.

 The second intermission had a little better flow, but I guess one can expect the lineups to be longer when 6000 people are in this building. The official attendance was 5947. 1941 more fans than the 4006 old arena could hold. It will be interesting to see if the new Arena consistently breaks the 4006 mark.

The Game
The Tigers roared out the gate. Scoring 4 goals when the game was only 10 minutes old, they cemented the win before the seats were even warm. Max Gerlach scored the first goal with a beautiful setup from Butcher and Schultz on the powerplay.

After those 4 goals I'd give the edge in terms of gameplay to the Hurricanes.  The Hurricanes shut the Tigers down in the second period changing up their forecheck. The Tigers appeared to be sleeping and just playing with the lead. In the third the Tigers adapted and had more scoring chances, but the canes managed to pot a couple goals late to make things interesting.

It was hard to concentrate on the hockey with the new building. Their powerplay was real good with the cross crease pass connecting twice. They had some troubles in the second period with the 2 man forecheck the canes pressed on them. What did you think of the new arena?

Up Next: The Tigers take a 2 game road trip to Saskatoon and Prince Albert. They are back in town Oct 6 (next tuesday) when Kelowna Visits.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dryden Hunt Traded To Moose Jaw|Schneider Signs with Flames

Two Big Pieces of New today.

Schneider Signs with the Flames
Massive accomplishment for a goaltender who was a free agent invite and hasn't performed as a full season starter yet. Congratulations to Schneider!

The Tigers expect him back in the lineup for Friday.

Hunt Traded to Moose Jaw
Due to the overage numbers it was expected.

 The Tigers received a 2nd in 2016, and a 3rd in 2018. For the glut of overagers this season, those returns are pretty good.  The Tigers recovered the picks sent away in the Hobbs >Hunt/Burroughs deal last season.

Current Tigers Away At Camp
Markus Eisenschmid (Montreal Main Camp)
Nick Schneider (Flames Main Camp)

Trevor Cox was returned to the Tigers today.

Eisenschmid is looking for a contract in montreal. and could be a late returnee, if he does not get signed. Also Rylan Rommelare, and Marshall Skapski are no longer listed on the Tigers Season Roster. Their roster appears to be set.

Forwards   (Depth Purposes Just threw names together)
Sanford(20) Owre(19) Cox(20)
Mowbray(19)  Bradley(18) Butcher(19)
Rassal(18)  Shaw(17)  Fischer(18)
Jevne(17) James Hamblin(16) Fantillo(17) 

Max Gerlach(17)
Tyler Preziuso(16)
Markus Eisenschmid(20)

Ty Stanton(20) OA Tamas Laday(19)
Ty Schultz(18)   David Quenneville(17)
Brad Forrest(18) Connor Clouston(19)
Alexei Platonov (17)

Nick Schneider(18)
Evan Johnson(19)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

NHL Camps

Last Edit: Sept 21st

Current Tigers Away At Camp
Trevor Cox (Washington Main Camp)
Matthew Bradley (Surgery for Benign Tumour)
Markus Eisenschmid (Montreal Main Camp)
Dryden Hunt (Returned to MH)
Ty Stanton (Released From Detriot)
Cole Sanford (Returned to MH)
Nick Schneider (Flames Main Camp)

3 Tigers still in Main Camps. The Flames have split squad games today with the Oilers, but Schneider is not slated to be dressed.

Markus Eisenschmid last known status was injured in Montreal. Not much at all in Washington about Trevor Cox. Washington opens their pre-season today, but Cox is not dressed on their initial roster.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tigers Aquire Clouston

Connor Clouston that is....

Medicine Hat, AB -- The Medicine Hat Tigers have acquired 6'3" defenceman Connor Clouston from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a 2016 5th Round Bantam Draft pick.

Clouston is entering his third WHL season and split time with the Kamloops Blazers and Warriors last season collecting 2 assists in 47 games. Overall in 102 WHL games, Clouston has 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points and 128 penalty minutes.

The Tigers are continuing their preseason against Clouston's former team this weekend as they start a home and home with the Warriors beginning Friday evening in Ralston and continuing Saturday at Mosaic Place.

Clouston is a big defenceman with a bit of a mean streak. This gives the Tigers more options to run with and room to make a cut. Connor is the son of GM Sean Clouston.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Pre-Season Outlook

I had the chance to view the Tigers in Swift Current on the weekend. Let's go through what the roster looks like this season.

The First number is total players still on the Roster, The second number is the actual number after ineligible players are removed. (using the 2 Forward, 1 Dman Overage ratio)

Forwards  (16)(15)   (Depth Purposes Just threw names together)
Sanford(20) Owre(19) Hunt(20)/Cox(20)
Mowbray(19)  Bradley(18) Butcher(19)
Rassal(18)  Shaw(17)  Fischer(18)
Jevne(17) James Hamblin(16) Fantillo(17) 

Max Gerlach(17)
Tyler Preziuso(16)
Markus Eisenschmid(20)

The Tigers really only have 1 more cut to make here, minus the 15's, and 20's, barring trades. They very well may decide to keep them all if no one falters or lags behind. Eisenschmid is still on the roster.

Defence (9)(8)
Ty Stanton(20) OA Ty Schultz(18)  
Tamas Laday(19) David Quenneville(17)
 Brad Forrest(18) Connor Clouston
Alexei Platonov (17)
Marshall Skapski(17)
Matt Staples(20) Overager*

The Tigers have 0 expected cuts to make minus the 15's and overagers, barring trades. The inexperience is quite high, but that is to be expected with their top 4 Dmen moving on.

Nick Schneider(18)
Evan Johnson(19)
Rylan Rommelaere (16)

One cut to make with the Goalies.

Unusual Numbers
This is highly unusual for the Tigers this year. Going into their first exhibition game cutswise they don't have many decisions to make minus the 15's and overagers. 0-1 Forward Cut, 0 defensive cuts, 1 Goalie Cut. Their roster is very close to being set minus the OA and 15 yr old cuts.

One wonders about the quality of camp this season or if they just decided to make more decisions earlier or invite less players.

Pre-Season Viewings

I was impressed with David Quenneville, Brad Forrest, Chad Butcher, Nick Schneider, Mason Shaw All 5 stood out in their play and looked like they were playing among prospects. 

New Guys
Tomas LadayLaday looked like an intimidating presence. He wasn't afraid to stand up for teammates, in my first viewing he reminded me of former Tiger Matt McCue, tall and lanky not afraid to get physical but sometimes takes an extra half a second to get control of the puck.

Alexei Platonov - Looks like he will need some seasoning as he appeared quite raw. He was quite passive  and stayed away from play along the boards. He did display a smart and quick first pass out of the zone. He did finally show some aggression after he got hit in the corner. I'm expecting him to be a 3rd line/depth player this season.

James Hamblin - 1st rounder last season had exceptional speed. He was pushed around/off-balance quite a bit but his speed definitely stood out. When he grows into that speed he could be a very fun player to watch.

Ryan Jevne - We saw some of him last season,  his shot stood out beating bronco goaltender top shelf stick side from the half wing.

The Defense has changed significantly from last season with lots of veteran experience graduating to the pro's. Right now the Tigers stand at 6 defenceman not including overagers. If you plug in 1 Defensive overage that puts them at 7 men which makes it appear to look like they are going to go with the 1 OA defense option.  If they do happen to move both defensive OA's, it is highly likely that a move will need to acquire another defenseman for depth purposes.

Their are 4 big question marks with the Defense. The 2 Euro's. Laday was a 2nd-3rd line guy from Spokane. Standing 6'6 the Tigers will need him to provide a top 4 presence and help take care of the smaller lineup. Platonov stands 6'5 after watching him I think he is more of a 3rd line/depth defenseman for this season.

Another big 2 questions will be how much has Schultz/Quenneville improved.  Those 2 have huge opportunities this season to make big splashes in the lineup. This appears to be a  group that has "potential", Sometimes potential flattens out, sometimes it performs better than expectations. Quenneville impressed me in his pre-season play in Swift, and I expect to see some real good things with schultz as well.

In regards to Defensive skill they have 1 bonda-fida top line defenceman, and a bunch of guys that are 2nd pairing/3rd pairing guys. I want to say that their  top end depth won't be as good as the top teams in the league, however I am almost expecting Schultz and Quenneville to have breakout years.  Still the variables on defense are unproven. I'm on the fence putting this group as slightly below average with potential but that is my first instinct until proven otherwise.

 Arguably the best 1st line in the CHL, The 2nd line has potential to be very good as well with Butcher, Bradley, and possibly Shaw. They are 1 player away from having a solid top 6 so one of the new guys (shaw/mowbray?) will have to fill that role. They will need Matt Bradley and Chad Butcher to step up and provide some solid secondary scoring.

After that it is a bunch of unproven players with a good deal of potential looking to make their mark. I don't believe the Tigers will have trouble scoring goals purely because their top line is likely to score almost every night.  The question will be whether their depth can step up and take some pressure of the top 2 lines and coach so the first line doesn't have to be solely relied on.

 Is this group is a one line team? or will some of the rookies/last year's 4th liners step up and make this more of an all-around offense? I really we see some players breakout because looking to next season with the loss of sanford/cox/hunt they really need a couple rookies to hit 40 points.

Even with the Off-season acquisition,  I think Schneider will probably get the majority of the starts. In my viewings I give Schneider the #1 spot, and Johnson/Rommelaere are fighting for the backup spot.

With my viewing of Johnson he was solid but put out of position very quickly which is a sign of inexperience or maybe over-eagerness. Pre-season is much different than regular season in regards to shot strenght watching the zip from the veterans to the knuckleballs of the rookies. The Tigers aren't crunched for numbers this year so they have time to make the goalie decision if needed.

Trevor Cox - Washington
Cole Sanford - Edmonton
Dryden Hunt - Montreal
Ty Stanton - Detroit
Matt Staples - ??
Markus Eisenschmid - Montreal

The Roster is shaping up with 2 forwards and 1 defenceman. It would be very hard to breakup the dynamic duo of Cole Sanford/Trevor Cox. Those 2 led the league in points for the majority of the season. Likewise if someone offered up an arm and a leg for both the Tigers would still have 2 very capable forwards in Markus Eisenschmid and Dryden Hunt.

In terms of size I would very much like to see Hunt on the roster, but again breaking up something that works is not a good thing either.

Moose Jaw had one import but their Russian just got approved to come over. Swift  has room for an import, and could possibly be open to upgrading their 20's

Probability of an OA getting snapped up
One of the things I like doing is looking at the depth of the NHL/AHL teams and guestimating the possibility of who is coming back. It is a combination of roster numbers, talent, and room that determines where a player will end up.

Ty Stanton - Detroit has 7 signed NHL and AHL guys. If Stanton gets signed I think he is still likely to come back. Not a whole lot of room in their system.

Trevor Cox - Washington could use a couple more signed guys in their system. It is almost unheard of for unsigned/undrafted undersized players to get signed and make the jump.  He is more of a playmaker so if he can continually set guys up he could warrant a long look. I think he is likely to be sent back even if signed.

Cole Sanford - I do not like the way the Oilers have handled their prospects. They continually risk pulling them up too fast for teams that have been in the basement. Not only does that risk ruining them, but they also burn a year of their ELC in a down year.

Oilers have 25 signed forwards and 24 spots. Thier might be a sliver of space available. I wouldn't be surprised to see some movement with their new guys in office. I'm not as confident in saying he will be back if signed, but I think it would be the right thing to do for his development. If he gets signed and the Oilers make a few trades with their prospects he is less likely to be headed back.

Dryden Hunt - Montreal has some room for 1-2 forwards in their system. I expect they are looking for a prospect or two to sign and put in their system.
Markus Eisenschmid - Same as above

Dryden Hunt is a very montrealish sounding name. I almost want to make a waaay off prediction and say he gets plucked up just for that. If either gets signed I'm unsure on their path back.

NHL Rookie Camps
NHL Rookie Camps open up this weekend. As usual I will scour the forums/twitterverse and keep you up to date on whatever I can find.

Note - Former Tender Tyler Bunz was not re-signed with Edmonton and is currently a free agent.

Their are a lot of new players or last years 4th line players looking to provide more of an impact this season.  In the game against Swift even without their top line their speed was too quick for the broncos to handle which is a very good sign considering swift was playing their top line, and the Tigers were not.

I don't really know what to expect from them this season. Their are quite a few variables. The rebels will make moves as they are hosting the memorial Cup. Calgary still retains a good deal of defensive talent. Edmonton Kootenay are looking at rebuilding years, and lethbridge is ripe for having their parents push them out of the basement.

 I think a safe prediction would be that we could expect them to fight for the #3 spot in the division, depending on their variables I could see them as high as #2, as low as 4.