Last Edit: 2:50 mtn (Added Kale Kessy)
Well It's time to ramp up and get this blog going again as Tigers Camp starts with their retreat into Cypress Hills.
This upcoming season should be an exciting one to watch as the Tigers have quite a few draft eligible guys on the roster this season highlighted by Hunter Shinkaruk who is projected to be a first round pick as well as a potential candidate for the world juniors.
It is starting to feel like the beginning of the NHL season will not start on time. Recently Don Cherry among others have said they expect at least a 2 month lockout into the season. While I hope that doesn't happen, this could be the wrong year for a lockout to benefit the Tigers.
Tyler Bunz - Neither Dubnyk or Khabibulin are on 2 way contracts, which means they won't be sent down in case of a lockout. If their is a lockout their would still be a goalie slot open in Edmonton's System.
I think the ECHL would be a better than usual training ground, and I think the Oilers would want to put him in pro hockey for his development. I doubt he comes back.
Edit: Kale Kessy
I think lockout or no lockout he will be returned by phoenix. He had a disappointing season last year, plagued with suspensions and injuries. I expect to see the same work ethic this year as he brought in the first round of the playoffs against saskatoon, and help instill that confidence in the younger players.
I'm quite certain the Ducks will want him playing in the AHL. The ducks have a lot of forwards on 2 way contracts, and some unsigned guys from the previous season, so they will have a lot of depth in case of a lockout in the AHL.
Even though Anaheim's Farm Team (Syracuse) forward depth is packed, Etem is good enough that he will be on that team........The ducks however did send Etem back early 2 seasons in a row..... I think their is a really good chance he does not return either.
I would put Bunz as 95% not coming back, and Etem at 90% not coming back. Their is still always a chance if something funky happens with this looming NHL lockout.
The forward group will be slightly different to the group that ended last season. Less top heavy with the loss of Emerson Etem, but the core young guys are one year older and offense should be spread a little more evenly.
The potential loss of Etem will be a big hole. However the emergence of Curtis Valk and Boston Leier in the second half of last season and the acquisition of Miles Koules should really help spread out the goal scoring depth.
The Tigers should have an extremely dangerous top line, followed by a lot of depth and speed at forward. I expect Leier, Hart, Koules, Valk, Shinkaruk, Cox, to reach at least the 20 goal mark with maybe Dieno, Labelle, possibly Kessy sniffing close to that area as well barring big injuries.
To think that all of them are eligible to come back next year(minus kessy) is absolutely mouth watering. Cross your fingers now that the forward core will all be back after (next season 2013-2014 ) as the Tigers have potential to dress one of their strongest groups at forward since the memorial cup days next season.
Depth Purposes Only
Shinkaruk Bredo Koules
Hart Valk Leier
Kessy Cox Dieno
Doty Labelle Broadhead
Losing Matt Konan, James Bettauer, Patrik Parkkonen...that's 3 important players in which their experience will be hard to replace. Fortunately the young crop of D-men looks like they will be a pretty talented group in 2-3 years, but that could mean slumps and tough times depending on how fast this group adapts.
Depth Purposes Only
The D group is mildly inexperienced with Theriau out of the lineup...but every single guy shows really good potential...They could start the season with Busenius and Lewington as the number 1 pair (with theriau's status unknown) and those 2 were sort of the #3 pairing at season end. These guys may takes some lumps early in the season if they don't adapt quickly and defense could be an issue if Theriau is out for a long time.
Import Pick Daniel Hanson skill level is unknown, and for predictions sake you gotta put him on a similar path to Patrik Parkkonen where the first year was a bit rough.
The explosiveness and speed the Tigers have up front should hopefully help them have greater success at getting the puck out of their zone once their forwards have puck possession.
I don't really expect goaltending to be a concern even with the loss of Bunz. If Langhamer does indeed come over the Tigers will have 2-#1 goalies this year and that will make it hard for the young Zac Robidoux, and Dawson MacAuley to crack this team. Nonetheless the job for the goalie spot will be highly competitive and extremely interesting.
I love the mobility of the roster this year.
I think this team could be very competitive right off the bat and in the later half of the season, but their will be bumps and bruises along the way. They are a bit younger this year than usual, so hopefully they don't get too cocky, or too down when things get tough.
Their is competition in every position and they still have room to add a 20 year old with Mckay going to school. They may look at bringing in a Dman with the forward group already quite packed.
With the mobility the Tigers have I'm certain their will be some tinkering. They may offload a prospect, they may offload a 19 year old. They may offload a goaltender. They may bring in a defense-man/overager. Their are a lot of options they could go with.
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