Sunday, April 19, 2015

Next Year's Brief Outlook (Edit May 4th)

100% Gone to Gradation.
Kyle Becker
Marek Langhamer
Tyler Lewington

Overagers Likely Moving  to Pro's
Kyle Burroughs *signed
Tommy Vannelli * signed

The Blues have a lot of defensive contracts expiring. Their will be room for Vannelli in their system. The Islanders have some depth on Defense in their system, but I think Burroughs would probably fit in nicely as a 3rd pairing guy in the AHL for next season. Their is a small chance Burroughs may get returned but I still think at this point it is unlikely.

Potential Overagers
Cole Sanford
Dryden Hunt
Trevor Cox
Ty Stanton

I think its likely all these guys will be back. Hunt/Stanton have been to NHL Camps. Hunt is also ranked on the draft lists. They will probably all get camp invites somewhere, but I think its likely they all get returned.

It is possible that any one of them gets drafted and signed. I think even if any 4 of them do, they are still very good candidates to finish their years in junior. Since they are still slightly questionable its likely a decision won't be made until they are all confirmed to be back. If they do indeed get them all back they should all demand a pretty good price.

Overages likely moved/traded/released
Markus Eisenschmid - Euro Overage (There is just not enough room even if he came back)
Anthony Ast
Chad Labelle
Matt Staples

I don't think their will be much of a market for any of the above. The Tigers will be lucky to get any sort of pick back on any of them.

Next Year's Roster  ( 2 OA forwards, 1 defense)

Forwards  (Depth purposes, don't put too much stock into line combos I just threw them together)
Sanford(20) Owre(19) Hunt(20)/Cox(20)
Penner(19)  Bradley(18) Butcher(19)
Rassal(18)  Shaw(17)  Mowbray(19)
Jevne(17) Fantillo(17) Fischer(18)
James Hamblin(16)
Michael Spacek???


Ty Stanton(20) Ty Schultz(18)  
 David Quenneville(17) Brad Forrest(18)

Nick Schneider((18) - Starter
Backup - Open

Michael Spacek(18) Forward

Last years import selection is a highly touted prospect. ranked as the 5th overall european skater. It is unknown whether he plans to come over this season. Hopefully whoever drafts him encourages him to come over to North America.

The Tigers have some options they can run with. They can go with 2 OA forwards, and 1 defense, or 3 OA forwards. If they go with 3 OA forwards their defense becomes bone dry with only 2 returning players, however their top 6 becomes pretty impressive, but will have a high turnover the following year.

I think it is possible that they ask Blake Penner to move back to the point for next season. If they do that it might be possible to keep the 3 O/A forwards if incoming defensive prospects are decent, or they can snag 2 good defenceman in the import draft. However in terms of value Hunt/Cox would demand a higher price than that of Stanton.

In terms of balance I would favor the 2 OA Forwads, and 1 Defense, but final decisions likely won't be made until they can get a look at training camp next season and see what they have.(unless a good deal is offered in the off-season)

Known Prospects

The Tigers will have one of the most potent 1st lines in the league. Nick Schneider should be a pretty good option in net. The Tigers have a couple good young prospect goalies that will be fighting for the backup spot.

Unfortunately their forwards will still be tiny, and the massive size they had on Defense are gone so their defenceman will be tiny as well. Lack of size will be a big issue. The 18/19 yr old forwards could be used as trade bait in grabbing a defenceman, as their forward depth seems quite high.

EDIT: Removed

 IF the import Michael Spacek comes over the Tigers could have a pretty balanced attack up front. I think they will have more goal scoring depth. Their defense will be a question mark. If they can grab another key import defenceman they could potentially surprise with up and comers schultz/quenneville getting key experience this season, and could have a decent top 4. However with a lot of turnover their may be a few bumps for next season.

Their goaltending should be OK. It is way to early for predictions, but they probably won't be contending for a title, likewise they should still be good enough to compete for a playoff spot. They have potential for both a surprising dark horse year, as well as a down year. Their are a lot of unknowns with some of the incoming prospects and higher than normal turnover rate.

CHL Import Draft
The Tigers may look at drafting in 2 defenceman to recover some of the depth they lost. Michael Spacek is last years euro pick. He is a highly touted prospect from the Czech league. It is unknown if he comes over or not. Last season he played in the Czech Extraliga ( A professional men's hockey league putting up 12 points in 40 games as a 17 yr old. He also potted 1 assist in 5 games at the world juniors)

Summer Highlights

WHL Bantam Draft (Thursday May 7th)
NHL Entry Level Draft (June 26/27)
CHL Import Draft ( Tuesday June 30th)

Season Tickets
Has anybody heard anything on season Tickets?  No lease has been signed yet, 

Future (modified thoughts from above)
The Tigers will be in an interesting position next year. They should contain a huge offensive punch up front. Their goaltending will be good with Nick Schneider taking the helm. Their defense will be ravaged. Schultz, Quenneville, Stanton will likely be a fairly decent top 3, albeit a little inexperienced. If you add penner to the mix, and a potential euro Defenceman, their defense could be anywhere from poor to above average. If they could somehow snag the next Poporov/Honka (unlikely) their defense could actually be very good, and they could be a massive darkhorse that lays a serious challenge.  All dreaming aside, right now we could project their defensive as a notch below average with the inexperience.

They could be in a similar position to last year, except reverse the defense and forwards. Their age groups are fairly balanced.

It will be a see-how-it-goes type of season. Their is potential for a sell-off to bolster the 16/17 age group. Their is potential for adding some depth on the back-end to challenge Red Deer/Brandon. Right now they look like a team that is continually poised for above average years, but nothing that stands out yet. 


Anonymous said...

Is Michael Spacek a potential Euro for next year?

TigerTurf said...

Forgot about him, doing some research

TigerTurf said...

Michael put up respectable numbers in the Czech Extraliga ( a pro league playing older players.)

He is ranked as the 5th overall european skater, likely taken in the first 3 rounds.

As of right now I'd say his status is highly uncertain. When he gets drafted his NHL team will have some say as to where they want him to go. If he comes over it would only be likely as a 1 year player.

He could very well be earning a decent salary in Pro's in the Czech league, vs earning peanuts in junior. So he is a question mark.

Anonymous said...

For the Overage Debate if none of the players get picked off, I would trade Trevor Cox and Keep Sanford, Hunt, Stanton. He can put up points but his lazy play as a leader is not good for the young kids. A new team would kickstart his play and give him better odds at getting looked at for the next level. The Tigers could demand a 1st rounder as well. Keeping Hunt would keep a guy who can score goals and play tougher hockey.

TigerTurf said...

Their is one person who likes to leave profanity filled messages so I will elaborate.

This is my opinion only.

I think Trevor Cox is a very good junior player, I don't think his game will translate well to the next level. He is too soft, and lazy to make a career at the NHL level. His sportsmanship towards other players is lacking, and multiple times during the season he had other players stand up for him while he ran his mouth on the ice, not to mention he was a frequent diver and made the Tigers look bad.

I thought their were multiple times where he should have been benched for his lazy play.

A guy like Valk took multiple lickings then undressed the opposition to make his point, He was ten times the leader, and ten times the player. He also didn't make the Tigers till he was 17.

I'm not a fan of lazy. I'm a fan of hard work and smarts.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm I wonder who the person who leaves profanity is?? True story TT Valk would definitely go into the gritty area and dig the puck out and turn it up when heated up! Hope they get a good trade for 100 plus point man TC!!!!

TigerTurf said...

After a bit of thinking I've decided to leave that post up, but I feel a little bad that it was only negative aspects, so I'm going to post more thoughts about his overall game.

Trevor has great vision on the ice, and knows how to create a bit of extra time when there is none. He created a lot of space for Sanford to get his shot off, and I think that is something that is overlooked by a lot of people.

His shot is underrated and he needs to use it more, but I also feel that with his shot selection he is predictable and always tried to ring his shot top corner just under the bar,(misses too much) or go five-hole on dekes.

Those tried and true methods are fine, he just needs to expand that to become a better complete player, at the next level his tendencies will be picked apart.

When he was 17/18 I have in my notes that he excelled at breaking out along the boards in his own zone for his size, I think he has become a bit prone to hearing footsteps and hesitant about taking a hit to make a play.

He has an NHL level ability on short, flip passes.

The top line was played heavily and when your role is offense I can easily see how other parts of the game are overlooked.

I don't hate him I think Cox is an asset to the Tigers. I think any team in this league would take him in a heartbeat. I think he can push himself more to become a better overall player, and that's where that previous posts frustration came out.

In other news SHinkaruk looks to be racking up some points lately in Utica. He had put together an impressive 8 game goal streak. Would be interested to watch him play and see what has changed in his game.

04Forever said...

Yikes Stanton as top Dman? It must be a Tigers philosophy to have one horrible desicion making Dman. I think the scary part is that team is smaller than this years team, maybe getting hammered by the Hitmen will wake up Clouston to actually have some sort of toughness and size.

Anonymous said...

I was never a Stanton fan, he is ok. I agree that Cox can be lazy but he is also an over 100 point man. I think it will be interesting to see come regular season. If the tigers think they have a team they can go to playoffs with, keep Cox and get euro Dmen and a defence trade for a prospect/pick. If not, trade Cox and get picks. Also, Cox may be a trade deadline deal, would get a lot from Red Deer for him at that time.

longtimefan said...

While Stanton won't remind anyone of Kris Russell or Jay Boumeester I thought he made huge strides with his game this year. Personally I think he was one of the most improved players this season.

A thought on the overage issue and Trevor Cox being traded. Traditionally overage players don't get first round picks or star players in return. The norm for 20 year olds is usually a 3rd to 5th pick in the bantam draft however with the WHL being the host for next years Memorial cup the ante could go up somewhat. Don't think people should expect a first rounder coming back this way if they do decide to move him.

Anonymous said...

The norm in the dub is that little players dont make it to the mem cup!!!

Anonymous said...

Rob Dimaio, Tyler Ennis and Brennan Bosch. Three small players who made it to the Memorial Cup.

Now if you're talking a whole team of small forwards I would agree.

TigerTurf said...

This is based on physics and my opinion but I am a fan of mixing the teams size up, as it creates another dimension and more possible advantages and disadvantages, which with proper coaching and watchful adaptation of strategy can turn into an advantage.

The thing with smaller players is that they NEED to be faster or more elusive than the bigger body players, otherwise the bigger player wins with physicality, body positioning, and reach. I think a few smaller players can be advantageous if utilized properly.

Willie's Time with the Tigers, well he was one of the first coaches to realize that the game will get faster with the deletion of the red-line, and more penalties towards stickwork. His timing with these rules created huge advantages, as the league was slow to adapt with the traditional approach.

This change of philosophy has sped the game up, and has meant more rules to protect the players when violent collision occurs. (Head shots, blindside etc) and fighting restrictions have been put in place to help prevent concussions which have been a major concern since the game has sped up.

Society in general is also moving towards being safer. (fences around schools, big fines and jail times for workplace safety violations, higher spending on military and police, rules that are starting to restrict freedom of choice vs common sense, warning on every type of food/beverage container)

Those that like the old style didn't like the low scoring, almost soccer like hockey games. So an unintended consequence of speeding the game up has been restricting and penalizing the physical aspect of the game, but seeing as society as a whole is headed that direction, I highly doubt we will ever see a return to the old way, as hockey has been evolving the past decade.

Now if body checking was taken out completely IMO I think it would wreck the game. The game would speed up even more, and the game would kinda turn basketbally, unless other rules were introduced to slow the game down.

I'm getting off topic here, but trying to say smaller players have a place in the game, but they better be faster than the guy half a foot bigger than them.

Anonymous said...

Rob Dimaio, Tyler Ennis and Brennan Bosch were three players who could take it to the net and were not dump it in types!!! Nor Curtis Valk.

Anonymous said...

Hello April 22 @ 6:27 am Butcher,Sanford, Cox, Labelle, Shaw, Ast, Quenville 7 small players???? any questions some play with more heart than others and some are up and comers but its not just 1 or 2 count em =7!!lol ;)

Anonymous said...

Lost all respect for him? Hobbs could care less what you think. Hobbs was much better than Quenneville, Schultz and Becker and much more polished than Stanton. He was mad that playing time was given to guys based on age rather than skill and he asked for a trade and became Pats top Dman and never lost his position, his draft stock went up and his play is as good as everyone thought it would be.

He is a very smart man to realize Medicine Hat would not help him grow his potential and asking for a trade would get him in a situation where it could help him more. Bravo to him to think of HIS career first.

(mod edited)

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:40 - not following your comment. I don't care what Hobbs thinks of my comment, never asked him, don't care. Was giving my opinion and I have lost all respect. We was a year older then Queninville so I would hope that he showed better at the time. However, I like both Schultz and Quen better.
His ability however was not part of my lack of respect at all. I lose respect for a guy who leaves a team in a manner such that he did. I never think running away because you don't like it is how to approach a situation. Prove yourself and earn time. Quitters are not guys I would want on my team regardless of talent. And I don't care what they think of my comment

Anonymous said...

I am still a fan of Mr. Hobbs I watched it unfold and dont blame Hobbs 1 bit....They played 16 year old Quenville on the PP early and sidelined Hobbs, I think Hobbs is a phenom and should have been given more ice time, but if he popped off to the coach maybe thats why he sat..too bad imho!!!Future Team Canada D man good luck to him!!!

Anonymous said...

Are there any small players touted to go in the first round or second this year???

TigerTurf said...

Valk knew how to take a hit. He took a beating his first 2 years in the league.

For such a small player his commitment to defense was incredibly outstanding as he didn't slack off one bit to gain an edge offensively.

I would take him on my team anyday, as not only did he have a wicked shot and could score, but he took care of his own end first.

In regards to Hobbs 99% of Tiger fans are biased on him wanting to leave, as well as judging his potential on his last 10-15 un-inspired games as a Tiger.

The Tigers are all about speed/transition and all other types of players would thrive better in a different environment. Hobbs had a very high Hockey IQ. Schultz was initially looking like a potential 3/4th round NHL pick at the start of the season and Hobbs looked nervous and uninspired.

a lot of people have mentioned that clouston plays favorites, and it appears that Hobbs wasnt one of them, so I find it ahrd to blame him that he wanted out.

Hobbs will be a #1 Dman in this league. I didn't watch him closely enough with the pats but if he gets drafted that would be a pretty good sign that his choice (albeit risky) helped him. It will be interesting to see how he turns out.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you actually identify yourself like all the other legitimate WHL blogs. Until then you are just a forum that edits what he wants posted and doesn't want posted.

Anonymous said...

back again, how are the Tigers doing with rental agreement for new arena. I'm sure a lot of season ticket like myself are waiting patiently to see how much of an increase there will be over last year for season tickets. Think we're in top one third price for tickets in league last year which means prices can't go much higher unless Tiger owners take less profit

TigerTurf said...

I don't see a point of identifying myself. Nothing would change.

I've come to terms that this blog/forum is basically an outlet for fans to vent. I think sometimes though it is good for players to read to get an outside perspective.

If those players get angry, they won't make it far in the pro's where your career goes on to life/death mode pretty quickly, and fans are 10x more intense. (just read the Vancouver forums, they were getting very harsh on Willie even though that team largely over-performed) Some of their comments were down right comical like wanting to fire a coach because they didn't play a guy who spent most of the year in the AHL, and giving 2-3 less minutes to the sedins in a playoff game. I think it's sad that the people who call themselves fans don't see that.

I don't need stalkers either, and I like watching the strategy of the game and seeing what either coach is doing differently, or how they combat a disadvantage.

All the other blogs are either WHL/Radio owned or often Fans looking to get their name out there in the hockey world, their are some exceptions like Alan's blog, but I have no intention on doing anything different than how things run now.

With social Media I do expect the blog to slowly die, more-so if the Tigers ever come out with a blog of their own that allows comments that show positive and negative aspects of players/coaches in a positive way, as that is really the only niche this blog provides, that the other forms of social media do not.

Anonymous said...

Your doing a great job TT love your insight of the Tigers systems and play> I like the fact that you get it! If others dont like it they can feel free to start their own blog!!!!

Anonymous said...

Like the blog don't change a thing, the fact that you don't allow the coaches or furthermore the players who are "kids" get tore up I think is great. Criticism yes, ignorance in the way of comments keep them. I know that most the players/kids goals for their play are to go out on a nightly basis and lay an egg...Not! On a hockey note I am curious on the goaltending, what you think will happen with the prospects and Schneider? Will it be easy to actively move some of the 19's in the offseason to bolster the defense and or get some true size and toughness in the bottom 6 of the line up?

longtimefan said...

I had heard that they were going to seat people in roughly the same areas as they were in the old building and then it would be up to the seat holder to decide if they want to move to a different location. Not sure how that will work though, because there are no seats in the east end of the new building.

Not sure if I have mentioned this before but it is my understanding that the Tigers will be footing the bill for there dressing room facilities and with no lease there is no movement as far as the building of those facilities. Perhaps the boys will be sitting on Apple crates to start with.

I've also heard that the company running the building is growing very frustrated with the negotiations on the lease. Apparently they haven't had to deal with anyone like the Tiger organization before.

With the draft coming on Thursday let's hope that with Darren Kruger now in charge of player development they start drafting some size. Can't continue taking guys 5'8 on a consistent basis.