Sort of a wall of text. Some basic thoughts. Read if you wish!
Ryan Holfeld: He started off the season really inconsistent. He was hot one game then cold the next. Lately he has played fairly solidly and has stolen a few games by himself. If the tigers want to make any sort of noise in the playoffs their gonna need to rely on Holfeld a little too much than what a team should.
Tyler Bunz: The rookie has done pretty well for himself. A 2.58 GAA and .909 save percentage is remarkable for a 16 yr old. He plays bigger than his frame and looks pretty focused in the net. A perfect learning environment for the Tigers goaltender of the future.
Mark Isherwood: This guy has a canon for a shot and likes to use it. He is the quarterback on the powerplay, and has a very good offensive skill set. Isherwood has been a streaky player this year. He will play phenomenal some games, but then other games he coughs up the puck all game long.
His defensive awareness needs work. Their are some situations where Isherwood appears completely disinterested in defending after he looses a battle, and that attitude has got to change. He is also one to take retaliation penalties, which hurts the team. He is a very emotional player and I think he needs to take a couple chill pills before game time so he doesn't get so frustrated or angry at times. You cant win every battle. Him along with Wacey Hamilton seem to do most of the trash talking.
Jayce Coyle: Came into the season relatively unknown after getting traded here in the off season. He quietly climbed the ladder and has ended up on the number 1 defensive line, after steadily winning battles in the corners game after game. Isherwood and Coyle have worked well together. The last couple games prior to their road swing it seemed like Coyle was in a bit of a slump.
Cody Carlson: Before getting injured he had showed great improvement. He used to shoot the puck up the boards and get rid of it instantly. He now shows great poise in looking for a good opening. He is the best passer on the team, Very quick and hard along the ice every time. There was a 6-7 game stretch in November where he was the best defenceman on the ice every night. Since then his game has took a bit of a slide. He plays better when he gets more icetime. Sometimes when he's used on the 3rd unit he doesn't play as well as he could for some reason. I believe he had also been playing hurt for a few games before they took him out of the lineup with the concussion injury.
Matt Mcue: He has brought an element of toughness and intimidation that has been lacking through the last 3-4 years. His goal is to win the smash of the night every night, and he has done a tremendous job sticking up for someone after a questionable hit. However, their are some situations where his puck control vanishes, and he panics. He has a tendency to throw the puck away when under pressure, something that cant happen in a playoff time environment.
Note*After the tigers brought him in, their road record has improved 500%.
Tomas Kundratek: He had a very late start after recovering from a hand injury suffered in Preseason play. The Czech has strong skating skills and is getting better every game. The scouting report on him said he liked to throw the body in the corners. I haven't really seen to much of that yet. I believe he's destined for a strong 2nd half. I'll keep an eye on him during the wjc tournament.
Mathew Konan: I thought his speed has improved alot over last year. I think this kid has some good hidden potential in him. He is big, and reminds me of Alex plant of the hitmen. He could still easily add a good 20 pounds to his frame. If he develops any kind of offensive awareness and a shot, he could develop into a monster.
Thomas Carr: Started the season on the first and second defensive pairing but it soon became evident he was not ready for it. Currently he is being used in a utility role, playing forward and defense when injuries happen. He is a strong depth player, and I like his physical work ethic along the boards when he plays forward.
Brennan Bosch: Possibly the smallest captain in the league. He has been split up from Tyler ennis this year playing along side Travis Dunstall. For as many points as he has had, I find it weird that his plus/minus is near the bottom of the team. Lately he has been quietly putting up points. This is the third year in a row where he has played a part of the year sort of under the radar. I don't know how to explain it, he hasn't played bad, yet sometimes I expect a little more.
Tyler Ennis: A slow start was very disappointing, but he has come alive since. He has trouble 1on1 vs good defenceman. However put him in the corner against that same defenceman and he can walk by anybody. I am very Excited that he made the WJC tourney. It would make us tiger fans proud to see him score some big goals.
Zdenek Okal: A pleasant surprise. He works his tail off every game, and has gotten used to the North American style game. He is racking up the points, with 31 in 33 games played.. At the beginning of the year a solid hit would take him out, and he wouldn't be noticed for the rest of the game. That has changed dramatically, and he now looks for spots to lay surprisingly effective hits. He has developed a feisty side to him which is admirable watching him play.
Josh Koper: Another utility player. When everyone is healthy he will be sitting. He is fairly small, and I'm sort of surprised the tigers have decided to keep him. When he does get the opportunity for a shift it almost seems like he's trying to hard, and sometimes that has resulted in an inopportune penalty. He does posses allot of speed, and likes to hit. He's got to utilize those 2 skills while limiting taking unnecessary penalties.
Colton Grant: The only one that comes close to his work ethic is Zdenek Okal/bretton Cameron. He may not get allot of points but IMO he has done a damn good job on the checking unit. One of the better penalty killers, he steadily has good games, other players should take note and watch how hard he plays. I also like his defensive hockey sense.
John Stampohar: I thought he started the year off an a bad note. The opposition was walking around him and he looked like a pylon some games. Then he started taking on the enforcer role and was doing an excellent job protecting his line-mates. An unfortunate hand injury set him back. His height kind of hides the fact that he is still only 17 and if he continues his physical play he will be one of the top heavyweights in the whl.
Linden Vey: One of the tigers players of the future is really lighting the lamp this season. He has improved tenfold on protecting the puck in the corners, and that has allowed the tigers more possession time in the offensive zone. IMO I would compare him to former tiger Stefan Myer but with a tad more offensive upside.
Joey Frazer: it is sort of rare for a 5'6 18 year old to make a whl hockey team. The way he hits reminds me of Chris st. Jacques, using excellent feet position and using full body weight to make an impact. Quickness is one of his strengths, and he has been used allot on the penalty kill.
Sean Ringrose: Him and Brennan Bosch are sort of in the same boat with me. They are quietly rackin up points, yet you almost expect something more out of them. Watching him individually on the ice he is displaying alot of effort. Sometimes it appears he is just a foot away from where he needs to be to takeaway a puck or create a chance. I think he has played well these last few games.
Tristan King: This guy has a lot of talent. Yet one knock on him is that he doesnt play as gritty as some of his teammates. He has a lot more to show and has developed into one of the tigers go-to guys on the shootout. He will have a better second half if he can keep the injury bug away
Travis Dunstall: He plays a steady type game. He has a quick shot, with no long windups. He has the capability to score from longer ranges. It seems like sometimes he plays a little too relaxed on the ice.
Taylor Gal: Similar player to Dunstall. He has showed decent body position. Currently playing on the third and fourth lines. Him and his linemates need to throw a few more points up.
Bretton Cameron - An injury shortened season has been unfortunate for one of the hardest working tigers. HE competes hard in the trenches every game. HE will score the garbage goals and he needs to, to be an effective player.
Wacey Hamilton - I have been a little disappointed with his play this year. He seems more interested in mixing things and trash talking. Unfortunately has also been a victim to the injury bug. When he comes back I would like to see him stick to worrying more about the puck than the player who has it.
All in all the tigers have had a pretty good first half. They have dealt with quite a few injuries for almost the entire first half. This season seems like a carbon copy of last year. They are a good regular season team. The tigers have gotten some good goaltending lately. When everybody comes back from the world Juniors they will need more timely scoring, improved special teams play. As well as a more consistent defense.
I think getting to the second round of the playoffs would be considered a successful season. I dont see the tigers advancing past that at this moment. However (my out clause in case they tear it up)
The tigers have alot of players with potential to improve.(Wacey Hamilton, triston king, isherwood,coyle,bosch,carlson,kundratek,konan) If they get everyone playing at the top of thier game consistently and have everyone healthy the tigers go from an above average team to breaking into the top 4. I just PRAY that we don't have to face Kootenay in any round!
Right now Calgary and Vancouver are out of everyones league.
Tri-city and saskatoon are in the next tier.
Followed by spokane, Medicine Hat, lethbridge, brandon, swift Current, Kelowna
Lets see if and how that changed by the end of the season!