Monday, April 28, 2014

Tigers Season Comes to an End

The Tigers season officially came to an end Saturday night in Edmonton as they lost a 4-3 decision to the Oil Kings. The Oil Kings Take the Series 3-1.

Graduating Overagers
Congratulations to Dylan Bredo who on Saturday night played in his 400th career WHL Game. (including playoffs, all with the Tigers)

Congratulations to Curtis Valk who played in his 319th Career WHL game, again all with the Tigers. Watching the transition this kid made from getting stapled in the corner every game, to someone who could turn  signed WHL defenseman inside out and  put up massive points. It's probably the biggest improvement I have seen from a player in the whl with the Tigers.

Congratulations to Jake Doty who scored his first career playoff goal in his last playoff game, and put up big improvements in his last two years here as a Tiger.

Player Highlights
Cole Sanford - Went from 11 points to 73. He also led the Tigers in scoring during the playoffs.
Tommy Vannelli - The Tigers unexpectedly received a star 2nd round defenseman after he decided to not go the NCAA route.
Marek Langhamer - had a bit of an up and down season early, but turned into a star goalie and was a HUGE factor on why the Tigers made it to the 3rd round of the WHL playoffs.

Hunter Shinkaruk - Despite a season ending injury mid-season from Shinkaruk, the team was able to come together and play better overall.

Year in Review
This might not be a popular opinion but I thought that with the tools the Tigers had to work with this season it is a little bitter sweet. With how the season played off the Tigers had a good year with the roster they had making it to the 3rd round.

I thought they had the pieces to be a WHL contender. With the injury to shinkaruk, and the decision to keep Doty instead of Leier, those two players in the lineup could have given the Tigers a potent top two scoring lines instead of just one, and they probably didn't add players based on what they had.
It's just a little bittersweet knowing that the Tigers could have been more of a threat had the season played out differently.

Players To Watch For Next Season
Chad Butcher - Has last years Cole Sanford written on him. 3 Game Winners in the swift series, the 5'9 forward has been able to to win quite a few battles in the corners and could be a key cog in next years top 6.

Blake Penner - Every-time this kid gets on a roll he seemed to get injured. If he can stay healthy he is one of the Tigers better 2 way forwards. Like Butcher he wins a lot of the small battles. He should be able to play in a bigger role next season

Connor Hobbs - He looked like a veteran when he was called up at the end of the season. He threw a big hit every game, and his smarts looked like he had played a full season up here.

Trevor Cox - He doubled his point totals last season and scored 8 playoff goals. He will be looked on to provide a lot of offense next season

Cole Sanford - 11 points to 73 points. I thought Sanford missed about 4 chances for every chance he scored on. He is sneaky and smart. His 11 goals in the playoff tells us that he can put up big numbers again next season.

Next Season

100% Gone
Dylan Bredo - Graduated
Jake Doty - Graduated
Curtis Valk - Graduated
Hunter Shinkaruk - Pro's - Even though I don't think he is 100% ready for the next level, it is likely the Canucks will have him in their system for next season.

Tommy Vannelli - He quickly showed why he was a 2nd round draft pick, but over the course of the season showed a little wear and tear and became apparent that physically he is not ready for the next level. The Blues have signed him to an ELC contract. Since he was drafted out of high school he will be eligible to play in the AHL at 19. Its up to the blues on where they want to put him. They have a lot of Dman in their system, so I'd put the odds at a 50-50 chance he is back next season.

Tyler Lewington - I thought Lewington's game took off in the playoffs. He was consistently one of the top blue-liners every night. The intense physical nature of the playoffs seemed to spark his game up a notch. Prior to the playoffs I thought he was a candidate to back next season. We will have to see what Washington wants to do with him for next year they will still have to sign him.

Competing for Next Year's Overager's
Miles Koules - Likely to come back for his overage season.
Tyler Lewington - Questionable - He is not signed yet, but if he does sign he could play pro next season.
Kyle Becker -  Probable to be back
Marek Langhamer - Phoenix has already said it is likely he plays in the WHL as an overager. Based on his performance in the playoffs he is a lock.

Barring trades I think the top 3 are: Koules,Lewington,Langhamer, if Lewington doesnt return Becker is in there. (there is also an outside chance Koules could get picked up in the off-season)

Depth Charts (not estimated line combos)
Cox(19)  Sanford(19) Koules(20)
Ast(19) Owre(18) Butcher(18)
Penner(18) Eisenschmid(19) Broadhead(19)
Labelle(19) Mowbray(18) Bradley(17)


Vanelli(19)* Lewington(20)*
Stanton(19) Staples(19)
Hobbs(17) Queneville(16)
Schultz(17) Allan(18)

Marek Langhamer(20)
Nick Schneider(17)

Looking at the roster for next year a big factor will be the return of their experienced blue-liners.  Missing your #1, and #2 guy could be a big blow to the back-end if both move on to play pro's. If both (lewington/vannelli come back the Tigers defense with their goal-tending will be a strongpoint. It is looking like their will be a logjam back there.

Next year it will be Cox and Sanford who will be the guys who are targeted on offensively. It seems at first glance that they will have a similar Calibre team next year to this year if their blue-liners return, although they will miss a game-breaker like Curtis Valk, hopefully sanford, and cox can prove to be game-breakers next season.


Anonymous said...

Do you think it is likely that Broadhead is returning. I heard he was having problems still with his injury. It has to be considered he may be done hockey. Also, he will be 19, he does not do much for points, is he worth keeping or pulling up Jevne or Shaw? Or getting a player through trade.
The way Hobbs and Queniville play, I think we will be fine on the back end. I don't think Lewington is going anywhere based on his playoffs. He was such a low draft pick it seems likely he will be back.

Anonymous said...

The tigers are losing 2 forwards in Doty and Hunter, yet you only added 1 new forward, are we likely to see a young guy added to the forward list?

TigerTurf said...

Those are known callups, who likely have the inside edge here this season.

For incoming Prospects
Forwards: 2 - 5 open spots
Defense: 0-1 Open spots
Goaltenders: No open spots

It sucks that Broadhead is having problems. I remember his first concussion that took him out for a long time at the end of last season. Some players take longer to come back than others.

The Tigers very well may look at cutting down on 1 or 2 of their 19's. It is likely that Cox/Sanford have big advantages for the overager's the following season. Stanton/Ast for the other.

I think next season the Tigers should be able to fight for home Ice. I think the year after they will hit a peak of sorts, and could fight for more than that.

TigerTurf said...

The Tigers will likely get Eisenschmid and Langhamer back next season so their euro pick might be tradable.

However the season after they will be looking for 2 brand new imports..

Hopefully they can trade their 1st round import pick for a 1st round import pick next season.

longtimefan said...

Don't think Becker will be back and most certainly won't be if Lewington returns. Also think Gavin Broadhead will be calling it a career as I believe he's had three concussions with the last one being more severe than the previous two. Could be some movement on the backend as both Hobbs and Quennville will most likely be locks next year and along with the youngster from BC (sorry can't rember his name) the defence will be somewhat inexperienced. Some good building blocks in place for next season. I also wonder if there won't be a change as far as the coaching staff is concerned. Heard from a source who I believe would be 100% correct that the ownership had received enough complaints about Shaun Clouston and the way he not only treats players but also the day to day staff that the owners had interviewed several people to find out the exact nature of the complaints.

Anonymous said...

IMO its time to move one of Broadhead/Labelle. They are basically same the player and one of those spots would be better suited for someone like a Shaw.

Anonymous said...

Tigerturf, I hope you keep this blog going next year!!!!

Anonymous said...

Any word on what pick the Tigers will receive from the Hawks from the Haar trade in tomorrows bantam draft? My guess would be one of their two fourth round picks.

Anonymous said...

Labelle over Broadhead. But like it has been said, Broadhead might be done due to injury. Which is terrible. Real good kid and good hockey player, never given that chance to shine with all his injuries.

TigerTurf said...

Gaar was certainly coming over so I wonder if the conditional item was performance based, rather than "if he reports" based. But I have no idea what the conditional pick is.

He had a really good year, so I hope it was performance based.

TigerTurf said...

Initially It was probably a year the Tigers were gonna go for it. That's why they kept some older players, and sent down the younger 16's.

But it didn't turn out that way.

They might as well have kept the 16's. Bradley ended up playing most of the playoffs.

Could have Traded Staples, (he had good value) 1 of Broadhead/labelle, For resources to help them 2 yrs down the road.

Could have played Bradley/hobbs or at least dressed Mowbray more often. I thought they were going to for it, so I was a fan of keeping the 17's at the time.

Their plan or way things turned out was a bit backwards to me, One probable cause by Shinkaruk choosing the WJC route, instead of the Tiger playoff route.

Anonymous said...

I would hope we traded Gaar for more then a 4th rounder. He has performed so well for them, worth more then a 4th.
Is there a list of projected players and what order they will go in the 1st round? Is there any idea who the Tigers will take? Hoping for a forward, last 3 years have been defencemen and would like to see a power forward come our way.

Anonymous said...

I did not see Mowbray play much but was not sure of his talent. Is he a keeper or likely to be traded? I wonder about Allen too, he is older and his talent does not equal Hobbs or Queninville. Not sure he is worth keeping. Maybe trade him and Becker for a good defence man.

Anonymous said...

Would like to see a lot of the new guys play defence next year. Hobbs was awesome, looked like a vet. Queninville in practice moved the puck real well and looks like a Russell in the making. Dont know about Schultz heard he is good tho. Would like to see them all play to push for a real good team the next year with guys who are young and with experience.

Anonymous said...

wapple, McVeigh, and spenser Jensen don't need to be on tiger twitter anymore .