My thoughts as of Christmas on the Tigers Team this year. Wanted to get this out earlier but got lazy.
Some Player Thoughts
I begin with the most talked about player.
I've been disappointed in his play this season, not just because he has had a slow start, or unfortunate injury but because I don't see a whole lot of improvement in his overall game and I saw an increased number of bad habits that crept into his game.
Things I don't like
His defense game is at a bantam level. When I see him on the penalty kill I cringe because I see positioning mistakes that a defensive coach should not tolerate
I feel that Shinkaruk has always been faster than his opponents by using his burst speed to the outside. It has since come up that he has been playing with a Hip Injury and that is why his production has faltered. I feel that he did not make the world juniors because the European ice is a lot wider and a strict north/south game is not as effective on a wider ice surface, combine that with his hip injury where his north/south game is not as strong and he was a long shot to make the team.
I believe that Shinkaruk is missing a big portion of the game that could make him an elite player. The Tigers systems is a north/south quick transition game. Shinkaruk fits that to a tee. One on One he has had trouble against the first line defenseman from the other team, because all he knows how to do is his "foot dance" to try and make the defender hesitate, then blow past him wide. ( I do want to point out that on the powerplay or when he has the puck at a near standstill in the offensive zone, he is a lot better at his lateral offensive game, but this disappears when he is skating)
At the next level always going wide won't work, and since he doesn't have that defensive center of balance instinct, he will have trouble at the next level until he develops a lateral offensive game. His time at the junior level has run out and I feel that this will be harder to learn at the AHL level.
The coaches should give him a rule that when he is on the defensive zone he is not allowed to swing wide and every-time he fails to stop and start he misses a powerplay shift. This is a tell-tale sign if a player is cheating his defensive responsibilities, by not stopping and starting, and yes skilled players often get away with this in Junior hockey.
Occasionally If you have a very good chance at going the other way it may make sense to take a risk, but this cheating is a constant repertoire in Shinkaruk's game that has become a habbit instead of a calculated risk. If he doesn't come away with the puck it leaves his team not necessarily in an odd man scenario but in very bad positioning where a quick pass or two makes it into an odd man scenario.
A guy as skilled as Shinkaruk doesn't have to cheat offensively to get a step as he should be able to create an extra step by himself, however I see him having a very hard time at creating space because he is a pure north/south player off the rush. Opposing coaches are telling their defenceman that Shinkaruk will try and beat you wide 99% of the time, so they are waiting for his burst of speed to the outside. A good smart defenseman doesn't need his coach to tell him that, and Shinkaruk is an easy stop off the rush.
When times are tough you cheat to the strongest muscle. It is a natural reaction that everybody has, but if you don't learn to use your other muscles your potential taps out early. Shinkaruk's strongest muscle is skating to the outside, using his footwork to cause a hesitation. This is widely known in the whl and instead of him getting better at it, the opposition is recognizing patterns, it will become harder at the next level.
I feel that Shinkaruk thinks offense all the time and I feel that he has the wrong mindset. He is trying to stop the player by looking for ways to knock the puck in the offensive direction and gain a step on the player to go the other way...I think somewhere along the way he didn't really learn the defensive basics and used the same tricks because he is naturally faster, and more skilled than a lot of peers his age. Up to this point it has been good enough to rack up points at the WHL, and he will probably get a few at the NHL as well because he is good at it.
Offensively off the rush he has no lateral game and is predictable. If your always going wide you cut off 50% of the ice. The defenseman is further able to anticipate your direction by instead waiting for your burst of speed to pass on the outside making things almost too easy for a good defenseman.
When Shinkaruk is on the rush instead of right away heading for the side boards I want to see him do what Etem started doing in his last year here.
More of a swooping curve to the middle where he comes from the side boards and his direction has him pointed a bit off the far post coming in at an angle....where a sudden speed/direction change the other way has more of an impact, and going wide on the far side has more space, and creates cross-ice confusion between more than 1 defender, it gives him more than 1 option of going wide, and makes his speed burst more harder to predict.
Don't be afraid to slow down his north/south game and provide more east/west movement mix it up once crossing the blueline....Its going to be much harder to learn at the next level. Shinkaruk has good burst speed, but he is not using it very effectively off the rush. I think if he is able to learn to do this, his offensive game will open up to another level to what he can achieve. When i say I am disappointed he hasn't improved much I'm talking about this, because this aspect of the game the understanding of how offense works, you recognize after learning how to defend one on one. A lot of players understand this but they are not skilled enough to pull it off. I believe Shinkaruk is skilled enough, I don't believe he is smart enough.... yet
This is why I think he fell in the first round and a good option for a team with 2 first round picks to take a chance on a player who has some skill offensively. You may hear High Risk/High reward from a variety of nhl scouts.
If Shinkaruk cannot improve his lateral game I feel that his game-play right now is near his max potential. If he cannot develop a lateral game he will not see 1st line ice at the NHL, and I think understanding the North/South with the East/West game trait is closely related to understanding how to create space, and how the basic defensive game works.
If he cannot learn this trait as for his overall potential I'd say he will become more of a powerplay specialist/3rd line type player, who may one day look at playing overseas. If he can learn this trait he will be a 1st line player one day.
I am a big Medicine Hat Tiger fan I am not trying to rag on him here, but he is a player with bottled potential that I think may take a while before understanding he'll need a pipe wrench to get it out, if it comes out at all.
I thought last year he was the best of the young guys and the hardest worker but was snakebit on a lot of his chances on the 4th line. This year he has been given an opportunity for a lot more ice-time and he has run with it......Only 17 years old, and he has been thrust into the top 6 role with the departure of Boston Leier. I think he has had a ton of scoring chances he hasn't quite converted on which is a result of his inexperience and perhaps lack of size. He will get there eventually....but he is still young.
I think his game is quite sneaky. You don't really notice him until he is johnny on the spot for a pass or rebound.
I would like to see him be a little more consistent in his overall game. I feel he can be fairly conservative turning on the jets and would like to see him dictate the play more often.
A 5'9 161 lbs he gets pushed off the puck easily. It is his draft year this year, scouts are going to look at his size and unless he is potting 40+ goals they are going to pass on him. I think by his overage year he is going to garner some next level interest because his burst speed potential is really high, although he is not as slippery as some other 5'9 players.
His acceleration is off the charts. I want to see him use his burst speed more often when he has control of the puck. He has the tools to one day score 50+ goals in this league he is just not quite their yet, but because he is so young he still has LOTS of time to improve upon his game.
I felt like Broadhead has had a slow start to the season, but over time his game is now back to that Hard Work-Horse type mentality. At 5'11 184 lbs he has a power forward type aspect to his game. He is good at protecting the puck in the corners and is capable at bullying bigger sized player off the puck with force.
I see a little bit of Boston Leier in his early whl days in him, with his bulldog type mentality. He is starting to drive to the net and I am liking what I see in that. Broadhead does a lot of the work and has a very good ability of digging the puck out of the corners.
It's that transition from getting puck possession to creating space that he needs to work on, as his hard work isn't necessarily creating offensive chances. Broadhead has a lot of speed that I would like to see him be more effective with using his burst speed. Don't make the move at the players feet but started making the moves out of the defenders reach. Its gets them thinking and moving side to side to open up small gaps.
I don't see the NHL calling him. I do think he is great along the boards, and would be a good player to use on the penalty kill. He has excellent speed, He plays bigger than his size. He has a set of tools that when mixed together could be very effective. I think he is almost at a level where the points will begin to come. I am hoping by the end of the season and into next year He can become more of a scoring threat rather than the 4th line grinder he is right now.
Another one with a slow start. I would like to see Koules shoot more often. I feel that his shot can be deceptive and accurate. Since initially writing about him he has put another step into his game. He is getting a lot better at using his body to protect the puck.
A deceptive shot I would like to see him shoot whenever he is in the slot. You can tell when Koules is on his game by how he carries the puck. When he is on his game he forces the play, when he is not on his game he stops moving his feet. I could see him possibly earning an AHL invite after his overage season on his current path. I think their is another level he can reach at the whl level, instead of a secondary scoring type player, to turn into a primary guy. Right now he is a secondary scoring guy, and with the loss of Shinkaruk the Tigers need him to step up his offense.
I see a feisty side starting to come up which I like. It means he expects to be at a certain level and when it doesn't work out he is mad, which wasn't there last season. He needs to be a leader on this team because he is an older guy that is similar to the younger core and when he is always moving his feet the younger guys will take notice.
It took this guy 22 games to find his rhythm again. I thought he wasn't playing up to par but was still leading the team in points. Now that he has gotten his game back I think he is the Tigers most dangerous offensive player. One trait I like about Valk compared to Shinkaruk is that he understands the lateral game. Even though he is smaller in stature he is very good in his own zone and won't cheat defensively.
The only thing that holds him back from a pro contract is his size. If he was 6'4 he would be a player that was highly coveted among every NHL team. The only thing I can say is to continue to learn how to bounce of a player with control of the puck, keep finding ways to get a defender moving side to side.
Sometimes he doesn't keep his feet moving and doesn't have that little extra jump in his game. He is a player that when on his game understand how to get a defenseman off his center of balance by constantly shifting his position. When he stops doing this he doesn't have a good game. He is the Tigers go-to-guy now and he is talented enough where I don't see his production stalling, unless he stops moving his feet. He is the leader of this team. The younger smaller kids look up to him. He was once a 4th liner with limited ice. He is now one of the most dangerous 2 way forwards in the whl.
He could be a player that thrives over in Europe. I think with his size its an ongoing hurdle that will never disappear. You could say kinda similar to a past Tiger in Chris St. Jaques. Unless he can get a pro contract that is more than 1 year I would like to see him play CIS hockey, or go to europe. Light up the CIS then perhaps after 4 years with a solid education give the pro game a try like former Tiger Daine Todd. He has a lot of talent and a good 2 way game and I think it sucks that he may not get a pro offer because of his size. When he first came into the league I thought he looked out of place but I learned a lot from watching him about the development of smaller players.
Markus is slowly gaining more and more ice-time and he gets more comfortable with the league. We are starting to see a smooth layer to his game. He seems to be a nice compliment to whoever he plays with. He is not afraid to take a hit and I think next season his goal scoring should be a little more consistent. I would like to see him get physically stronger. I see Eisenscmid as more of a playmaker/sniper. He is too raw to garner pro interest.
Has been hit the last couple season with un-lucky injury bugs. Before his injury I thought he was a player that was getting very close to becoming a breakout player. I think out of all the younger players he is the better 2 way forward. He had double the points this season in 1/3rd of the games, and is more defensively reliable. He works at winning the small battles along the corners and is good at doing so. Because of the injury bug he may not get much notice from NHL scouts but the way he plays the game I could perhaps see interest by the time he is 20.
I think he will become a very good 2 way player who could play in the top 6 as early as next season, if he can shake off the injury bug. Over the next couple season we will see him on the ice late in the game because he is defensively reliable.
I see McVeigh as a good checking 3rd line centreman. He is not offensive enough to be a top 6 guy, but has been given top 6 icetime. I don't notice him on the ice enough which is both good and bad.
In October I thought he was a player that was probably a year away from stepping it up and becoming more of an offensive threat. In November I thought Butcher picked up his game a lot and was one of the best Tigers on the Ice consistently. Then he is back to how he was playing in October.
I would like to see him keep bringing that 110% work ethic, he was bringing in November. I want to see him keep pushing himself. He is one of those smaller players that has had success with the cycle in the corners. He needs to keep winning those offensive zone battles. He will probably be a PPG player by the time he is 19, but I think sometimes he lets off the gas a little. He should be a player like Gavin Broadhead who always keeps his feet moving no matter where he is on the ice. Force himself to improve instead of sitting back sometimes. I see some small things in his game which most 17 year olds are unable to do. Ridley mentioned on the radio once, that perhaps he is a player like Cole Sanford, where all of a sudden he will break out, and I agree with that completely.
Feel a little sorry for this kid only dressing for a handful games with limited ice-time. Sometimes the Tigers have been short offensively, but they have dressed a 7th defenceman in place of Mowbray. I haven't really gotten a very good look at him to see what he could do. The Tigers probably kept him because he is a 17 and isn't required to dress for the min of 40 games as the 16's do. He doesn't look out of place on the ice, and being a late bloomer hopefully tries to gain as much experience as he can and comes into camp next year as a big surprise.
You get what you see with Doty. His speed is a little to slow to be an effective power forward, and his reaction times aren't as quick but he knows as much. Saying that, he is one of the smartest enforcers I have ever seen at this level as he won't take many unnecessary penalties. I think he has dropped a bit of weight this season as he looks a tad smaller, and a little bit faster on the ice.
We are seeing him getting better at maintaining puck possession. I would like to see him work on his defensive play along the boards when he receives a pass. I find he sometimes has a difficult time making quick decision getting the puck out of his end, or throws the puck out randomly into the middle of the ice with no Tigers forwards near. I'd like to see him work on his reaction times and anticipation to help overcome the below average speed.
He has got an NHL contract but that is because of his physical toughness and fighting skills.. He will have to greatly work on his footspeed if he wants to one day be in the NHL. I think because of his footspeed he is destined for a minor league enforcer type role.
The Doty experiment while it hasn't bombed hasn't completely worked out the way the Tigers probably wished it could over keeping Boston Leier. He has some intangibles that the Tigers are lacking but because his speed is rather below average, he is unable to be more effective playing anything more than third line minutes. Opposition Teams are getting motivated/inspired in fights because Doty is one of the league heavyweights and anyone that stands up to him gets props from their teammates.
I think Trevor Cox has been much improved this season. I would say he is tied with Staples for most improved on this years Tiger team so far. Just his poise and ability to wait/hesitate and create room for himself when he is one of the smallest players on the ice is impressive.
At 5'8 157 lb he should be a player that gets easily pushed around, but he has developed a 6th sense for knowing where to go, where to be, and he is a player that can get under the opponents skin, and if your not aware can throw a good hit.
He has a ton more poise on the ice. If their isn't a good opportunity or space on the ice he is getting a lot better at creating his own ice, or opportunities. He has shown that as small as he is, he deserves icetime on the penalty kill as well because he is very effective at standing his ground knocking away loose pucks, and getting pucks out of his own end. He has developed a really strong quick wrist shot that 6'2 200 lb players would be jealous of.
As for his pro potential their will be a lot of teams that won't even look at him because of his size. He won't be drafted his 2nd go round, but the good news is that he has lots of time to work on his game. He could be one of the best overagers the Tigers will see 2 years down the road, and by that time he may garner interest even at a pro level despite his size disadvantage if he continues to improve like he has this season, but it is still a bit of a longshot.
Such a treat to watch Vanelli. He didn't take long at all to make an impression. He is so smart with the puck, and able to anticipate the play. He isn't as aggressive defending as some defenceman but his smarts enable to keep him in good body position and get a stick on the puck when the opposing forward is ready to try and make a play. Kinda like the Linden Vey of defense. He is above average in all aspects of the game and his smarts/anticipation is what makes him an elite player. He may need to work on his shot strength but saying that, his shot is a little deceptive.
At the next level he will need to greatly work on his strength and I would like to see him be a little more aggressive at times, but since he east up so many minutes at the whl level I am fine with him having a looser gap control because his smarts and anticipation strike off most opposition chances.
Itt is possible the Tigers could loose him as early to the pro's , because he was drafted out of the US and not the CHL there is a possibility that he might move up to the AHL next season. After watching his play this season I would expect that he will move on, but I hope he comes back another season.
He hasn't improved as much as I thought he could this season. He is a big guy with some speed, but isn't winning as many one on one battles as I'd like to see from an 18 yr old vet. I think sometimes he tries to reach around players for the puck, then gets caught slightly out of position. I think he would benefit alot from a coach that knows the inns and outs of the defensive game.
A good forward can get him going from side to side and lose his center of balance. He seemed to lack motivation and I think with him leaving the team and asking to be traded that confirmed my suspicions.
As an 18 year old defenseman with size and speed, he should be a welcomed asset to a lot of whl teams. I hope the Tigers can retain good value for him. He is not a bad player, I would recommend him to teams looking for a 4th/5th defenceman. If he can learn what I like to call the defensive "center of balance" his speed, size, reach and mobility could turn him into a top line Defenceman, but he still needs some work to get there.
It's just a matter of time before this kid breaks out. He has all the tools to be an NHL defenceman. He is big, he is quick, he is smart, its just a matter of putting everything together consistently everyday. At 6'4 176 he is pretty lean, and I hope over the summer he can put on a good 15-20 pounds of muscle. If he can put on a consistent show every night the NHL scouts will come calling.
He is a late bloomer, and has been in the shadows of the Tigers depth, but has been receiving a lot more ice time as of late. If their is one knack on his game is that sometimes he doesn't come to compete every night, as he has lazy tenancies. Their are some games where he doesn't have any oomf or second efforts, and should be put on the 3rd D Unit, but when he is at his best he is a first line defenceman. He needs to improve that or he won't be looked at. He has potential to be drafted a 2nd go-round but only if his effort improves.
I thought Staples has improved leaps and bounds this season. At the beginning of the season I thought he would be the odd man out depth wise. Now I'm realistically putting him on par with Spenser Jensen, perhaps a slight notch ahead. His one on one play and mobility has improved tenfold. He is winning more one on one battles in position and doing a good job at making the first pass. He has improved so much since coming to the team as a player who probably should have been playing in a lower league. His plus/minus is 3rd best among Tiger Dman and he will be good enough to be a solid 2nd line pairing guy next season.
His size creates a lot of space for himself. One of those player with a big arse like Jaromir Jagr that creates space just being there. He is very good at knocking the smaller players off the puck without looking like he rammed into them from behind. He is very capable of breaking up the cycle down low. Becker has a laid back style that sometimes gets him into trouble, which I sometimes don't like.
I would like to see a more consistent effort on a daily basis. Spend some extra effort to get a pass off quicker, a little more oomf into his game. I think he may get too cocky with his game sometimes. For a big guy he is good in scrums and has an aggressive side but has yet to be involved in a whl scrap which is quite unique. Anaheim gave him an extended look in camp. If he can get quicker, but keep that poise he may become a sleeper pick for the next level. I think he is a bit too slow for the nhl so he will need to work on that if he has NHL dreams. I do like how he is jumping into the rush more often.
He is a bit of a unique player. He wins a ton of the small battles. He is very good at protecting the puck. He has great mobility and speed, but I think if you tallied up all his shots on goal they would be less than a chad butcher or cole sanford in (1.5 year players.) I like Bredo as he creates positive chances for other players. Seeing him play up front I'm thinking the Tigers may actually be looking for a defenseman instead of a forward with size. He is a smart player and I think he has a better shot at the pro game as a defenseman than forward. Honestly I'd like to see him go to the CIS route. He has earned a 5 year scholorship, and I don't know if he quite has what it takes to be an NHL defenceman. He will have to turn up his game even more and show an offensive upside in the second half to garner a chance at a 3 year ELC NHL contract.
I think he could easily acquire an AHL one year deal, but unless his game can really take off and he shows more of an offensive upside, for his long-term future I might rather see him get a 4 year degree, then take a stab afterwards if the fire still burns. I'm still on the fence on weather he should try for an AHL contract or go CIS. His game play as of late has been very good.
I'm not sold on him on an NHL level. I haven't been too impressed with his play lately. I think he coughs up the puck too much, and his reaction time for getting off a pass could be better. He is a big strong physical player and I like his aggressiveness. If he wants to be an NHL player one day he needs to be able to anticipate the play better. I think he is a solid 2nd line paring guy in the WHL.
Very Feisty, and hard working player. I'd like to see this guy on the penalty kill because he would take a bone crushing hit just to create a positive play. His work ethic is always top notch, and despite his aggressiveness he doesn't take bad penalties. Not quite NHL material but he is a workhorse and a player who produces more positive chances than negative ones.
Watching him a lot lately. I wish the Tigers would have used him more earlier. He has spark in his game, sometimes he is so energetic it puts him in bad spots. He is 6'6 and if you look on the bench his stick is a foot bigger than any other player. His reach and pokechecking skills is already very good. One thing that he will need to work on is his poise. He is very quick to get rid of the puck, and when he holds onto it, he holds onto it too long. For such a tall guy he is very mobile, very bouwmeester like. I feel like this is a guy the Tigers should have been giving regular ice-time to early in the season. He is very raw, but once he develops that poise he will become a very good player. In the off-season I want to see him put on 10 pounds of muscle because 198 is very lean for someone 6'6'. Occasionally he puts pucks in areas that are borderline dangerous, high risk/high reward areas, and a bit of coaching will help solve that. He is one player I am looking very forward to watching in the next couple years. Right now he is very raw, but I think once he gains experience he has potential to be a very good player.
His positioning has improve tenfold since he got here. I remember watching his first intrasquad game thinking oh crap this goalie is extremely raw. I think he benefited a lot from the goalie coach, and watching cam Langigan play. His positioning is 100% better now, and his puck handling skills has improved tremendously. I think his weakness is following the puck through traffic. He seems to loose where the puck is and has quite a few PP goals scored against him there. He is great in close, but I think his mental focus wanders a bit on long shots from the top of the faceoff circle and out. If he can improve on that aspect he is a very solid #1 goalie. I'm not great at predicting goalies at the next level, but I think he has some tools to get there, but is not there yet. My thoughts are that he would become a very good backup in the AHL. Probably better suited for a backup position, and possibly a starter role after a bit of time over in europe.
A lot of Tiger fans like this guy, and he has been a stellar pickup. He got a lot of playing time with Langhamer off to the world juniors and its unfortunate he got sick, but I think he really needed the rest. its imperative that he plays his angles well. Sometimes he is not quite set when he lets in the goals but that could have been fatigue from starting quite a few games in a row. Wapple is probably going to be the starter next season, but with his condition may need a solid backup.
I wrote this in early december and is now outdated, but everything I mentioned here the Tigers have worked on.
Their powerplay I find is inefficient and could be utilized much better. PUCK Movement. Watch the Tigers the next game. One pass, hesitate for one 2 seconds. Another pass hesitate for one two seconds, another pass.....Each pass they give the opposition time to set. Quick Puck movement creates gaps and opens up passing lanes. I feel that they should work on a couple set plays or drills, passing a couple times through the perimeter or give and go quick tap passes that opens up space for a cross ice pass. Then continue to modify and add options as needed.
The backbone of their offense is the young 17/18 yr olds. When they aren't paying well the Tigers aren't as dangerous. With Shinkaruk out I think they would greatly benefit from a scoring forward with size or someone who is able to better finish their chances. We see a lot of close chances where they don't quite connect or are off balance, which is a result of their youth, and small size.
For the first time in years I actually like their defense. They are big and mobile, and jump into the play acting as the 4th passing option when needed.
East Is Weakish
The East is up for grabs. Kootenay, Swift, PA, Edmonton have all made moves to bolster their lineup. Their is no bonda fida #1, or #2 team. I could see Swift, Edmonton, Calgary, MH, possibly PA, Possibly even brandon get into a grove and become very good teams. Kootenay didn't look very good tonight, but are generally a 2nd half team and could be a big pain when they get everything rolling. Calgary, swift, Edmonton, and Brandon are making big pushes, while the Tigers slowly fall behind. The eastern Conference is ripe for the picking.
As it stand right now the Tigers aren't good enough to be championship contenders. If you look at their record playing teams above .600 their record is 4-9-1-0. They have been for the most part close games, but they are losing those close games. We haven't seen one team yet that talent-wise is above and beyond the Tigers level in a 7 game series. However as of right now their are a bundle of teams I think that are better than the Tigers at this point in the season. The Tigers seem to generally play at the level of the opposition.
I think its safe to say the Doty experiment hasn't been as successful as the Tigers would like. It seems to give the other team a spark when he fights due to his reputation as being one of the toughest customers in the league. A guy with size playing on the bottom 6 ain't the same thing as a guy playing in the top 6 with speed. I can see why they made this move, but I think their are better options out there. He is slowly getting better, and I really like in the Kootenay game how they put the Labelle, Doty, Broadhead line out 4 times in the first 5 minutes.
Shinkaruk being lost for the season is a big blow. He wasn't necessarily scoring, but was soaking up a lot of time from the oppositions top checkers. The Tigers defense core is very good. Their forwards are undersized and bit young.
Daniel Wapple is a great backup and Marek Langhamer is a solid goalie, but a notch below where I would like to see a #1 tender at, but a trade seems very expensive and not effective for what the cost would be, so I am satisfied in what the Tigers have. Hopefully langhamer comes back with a heap of confidence. He looked really confident in net taking over the Czech teams starter role.
The Tigers scoring is too young for a WHL championship team. Guys like Sanford and McVeigh should be on a scoring/checking 3rd line rather than the top 6 on a championship team.
They would need probably 2 forwards who can score with size in their top 6 to push everyone down in the depth charts, which would make a couple of the depth players expendable. I would like to see Doty upgraded for a power forward if there is one out their that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, unless they can find another couple big forwards who can score, and keep doty on a 4th line checking role.
It's too late now, but I had previously wrote I would have liked to see the Tigers acquire one of the blades sized overager players who could score in exchange for doty, and likely a prospect or pick. It would have been cheap and provided a lot of value.
The Tigers have been soo good at drafting that players like Hobbs, Bradley, have been cut to make room for an older lineup, while younger guys like Broadhead, Labelle, are playing 4th line minutes. I think this is a slight under-utilization of resources. They have a lot of good prospects and losing one or two probably won't make much of a dent with their ability to find talent. Their weakness is their size, and ability to finish around the net and I hope they can address this at the deadline. Jensen requesting a trade should provide a lot of value as well, lots of teams are looking for a quality Dman with potential. I would prefer to see Bredo on Defense.
I think the East is wide open, and ripe for the picking. ( I think thats why we have seen a lot of teams make moves to bolster their lineup)
The Tigers have enough assets with their young core of 17's and prospects that they will still be decent next season. Pulling the Trigger on a deal will not guarantee anything and they could still have a 2nd round playoff exit. I think they have been so good at drafting lately that making a move now won't hurt their future that much if at all. Kinda hoping they bolster their lineup, but if they don't I understand it will probably be because the cost was too high.