Monday, November 13, 2017

Is the WHL becoming More Offensive?

Is The WHL Game Changing?
Bob Ridley has stated in the past, he feels the game tends to change every 5 years or so.
This season and last, I feel that offence has been rising and I'm curious to see if the numbers back it up.


Key Rules Changes
2014-2015 - The last WHL Import Goaltender played in the 2014-2015 season(Marek Langhamer)
2015-2016 - 3v3 overtime introduced before the shootout (previously 4x4)
2016-2017 - Kicking the Puck in the Net is allowed(as long as the player is not in the crease)

Before the 3v3 OT rule was in place, the whl was seeing close to a 50-50 split in terms of games being won in OT or a shootout.  Last season 92 were solved in OT, and only 38 went to a shootout.


Total Goals Scored (Shootout goals not counted)

Year
Goals Scored
Powerplay Goals
17-18
5529 (Projection)
1539
16-17
5340
1389
15-16
5101
1311
14-15
5177
1286
13-14
5218
1397
12-13
5019
1305

Note: There was a goal boom in 2016-2017, and it looks to be increasing for this season at a very similar rate to powerplay goals.


Goaltender Save Percentage.

Years
Total Shots
Total Saves
Total Save Percentage
17-18
510975(projection)
45754
.895
16-17
51285
46109
.889
15-16
50149
45216
.902
14-15
50035
45045
.900
13-14
51862
46805
.902
12-13
50123
45247
.903

Note1: A statistically significant substantial decrease of .13 points in 2016-2017
Notes2: Although Shots are at a high point they aren't above the high of the last 6 seasons.


Powerplay Goals

Year
Total PP’s
Total Goals
Total SHG
Percentage
17-18 (Projection)
6787
1539
197
22.7%
16-17
6560
1389
199
21.2%
15-16
6209
1311
197
21.1%
14-15
6268
1286
190
20.5%
13-14
6540
1397
202
21.4%
12-13
6601
1305
200
19.8%

Note:   Total Powerplay chances and conversions seem to be an all time high, but the goal boom of 2016-2017 doesn't seem to show a big increase.
Note2:  This season total PP's and conversion are at a high, but we will see if that continues to the end of the season.


Summary
We don't have enough data to make a 100% conclusion; However, goal scoring appears to be on the rise in the WHL and goaltending has taken a hit.

Previously .900 was a basic figure a team would classify as "competitively average". With the recent offensive outburst, .900 save percentage is now above average.

What is the main cause? Probably a combination of more goals being scored in OT, a few extra goals being allowed via kicking them in outside the crease, as well as a slight decrease in goaltending talent with the removal of Import Goaltenders.

I would also argue that more teams are adapting to an offensive style of hockey as wanted by their fans. An Example of a defensive casualty would be Kevin Constantine with the Everett Silvertips. The Tips made the 2nd round with impressive records in each of the last 3 seasons, but was let go (likely because of his defensive style of hockey)

We will have to keep an eye on things, but it appears that the hockey world (at least in the WHL) might be starting to enter a golden age in goal scoring.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Reviewing the Tigers

Blog Comments
The comments exploded on here after Fischer announced he was leaving the team. I took a few days to write this review because I was quite angry and writing comments in anger are usually poorly thought out. This is a long post, but hopefully, you find it interesting.

Topics (But not necessarily in the following order)
1. Season Start & The Central Division
2. Junior Hockey Cycle and how the Tigers play into it.
3. Clouston & Desjardins talk
4. Players who have left the Organization
5. The Future of the Tigers

Summary
I'm giving Clouston a B grade Read on to find out why...

Unfortunate Season Start A Blessing in Disguise
I was disappointed in how this season has started with Shaw getting hurt and Fischer requesting a trade. While one was unfortunate, the other might have been prevented.

It has forced the Tigers to play all their players and the young guys are shining through! Darren Kruger  Kids such as Ryan Chyzowksi, Dawson Heathcote, Josh Williams, Henry Rybinksi all look like they will be highlight impact players once they reach 18/19. The new Acquisition Hayden Ostir looks like the type of player the Tigers will create massive value from since he has 1-2 more years after this season. The Tigers acquired more points than they gave up, so the Fischer deal despite unfortunate circumstances is a win.

Central Division
This season in the central division no-one stands out.   1st in the central and a banner is up for grabs. I felt the Tigers had a "favorite" shot at that pre-season, but we will wait and see how the loss of Fischer and Shaw impact that. Tigers may still be favorites, just.... in an underdog position compared to the Eastern Division which is exceptionally strong.

The East is so strong that there is a weird weird possibility.....  Finishing first in the division might mean playing a team in the East who finished with more points in the regular season. I think in the long-term is it unlikely, but that would be interesting...

The Canes have built up their defensive game as a counter to the Tigers offensive game. Red Deer should also grow stronger as the season progresses.

You could make an argument that this isn't the Tigers year they don't have the team. They have a bunch of younger players, build around them. That question in itself is what most teams dream of. A shot at 1st in the central and potential to be very good in a couple years.

The Junior Hockey Cycle
I think most of you are well aware of the cycle, but for those that don't...

A WHL team drafts players after their 14yr old hockey season. Which means that most players don't make the team for another 2 or 3 years. When they are 18-19 a few years later they turn into impact players. See the chart below for a look at how many points the average WHL Forward earns in their career.

2016-2017
Average Points Per Age Group (Forwards) (Min 30 games played)
16 Yr Olds = 0.226 Pts/Game = 16.2 Pts
17 Yr Olds = 0.421 Pts/Game = 30.3 Pts
18 Yr Olds = 0.610 Pts/Game =  44 Pts
19 Yr Olds = 0.763 Pts/Game =  54.9 Pts
20 Yr Olds = 0.882 Pts/Game =  63.5 Pts
Note: This is the Competitive Average as having a 30 game minimum takes away most players who were cut/released. Last season saw a higher number of points generated. The Total points is based on 72 games played.

The table above shows you, how much an "average" forward will improve points-wise  An averagely skilled 16yr old improves 400% by the time he is an OA.

Improvement Curve & The Cycle
The Junior hockey cycle takes 4 years to rebuild( In some cases 5 with traded draft picks).

Championship teams usually have a very strong core of 18 and 19's.  In essence 2 very strong drafts/recruitment's back to back.  When that core matures at 18/19 they are supplemented with Overagers, Import Draft selections and ideally a few young "up and comers"  that are the depth 4th liners.

 A year or two after the strong season, most of the stronger players graduate and the team is now full of younger players. As a result, they end up with poor seasons and strong drafts...and the cycle resets.

Now the cycle has changed a little in some organizations. The Tigers are a prime example. Usually, in down or mediocre years, teams strive for balanced age groups so that there isn't a high degree of turn-over every year.  The Tigers tend to do this and hope that every couple years they pull out a strong draft and have stronger teams.

Examples of Successful Cycles In the WHL
I could go over many examples. Take the Edmonton Oil Kings of 2011-2012 to 2013-2014. 3 straight WHL Finals appearances can be attributed to 3 very strong drafts in their inauguration years of 08 to 2010. They missed the playoffs in 2 of 3 of those years. Bob Green was at the helm (He was a big part of the Tigers organization and scouting networks when Willie Desjardins was here)

The cycle doesn't guarantee top teams, as you are competing with other teams in the same stages of their own cycles. A team that cycles the right way will have a competitive advantage over teams that have spent a couple bantam draft picks in previous years balancing out their age groups, or adding assets to win an extra playoff round.  Great scouting gives you strong teams and the building blocks to develop a winner.

Examples of "The Down Cycle"
Take the current Saskatoon blades as a prime example.  They had some sustained success for a lot of years and eventually, they drained the cupboards for the Memorial Cup run in 2013. Regina is currently going through that process of draining the cupboards for this season.

Now Saskatoon has had a few years of poor seasons since.   In reality, they are just taking the long road to recovery. Drafting at 14, then waiting until those players mature takes some time.  IMO they screwed up their recovery by trying a statistical value trading approach, and it may take an extra couple seasons before a contender is built, but I won't get into it any further here.

Rick Carrier  Willie Desjardins, & The Revamp of the Tigers Organization
There was a really good article that appeared on the Tigers website 5 years ago. They interviewed Rick Carrier who with Willie Desjardins were the founders of the Revamp of the Tigers organization. ( Could add Bob Green in their as well)

In the article Carrier stated he wanted to "blow the team up" but the Masers were some of the folks who reminded him to stay the course. http://tigershockey.com/rick-carriere-joins-edmonton-oilers/

The bad thing about a down cycle. The bad press, the fans are not happy. Winning solves everything, and many shortcuts are taken to achieve that, which wrecks teams championship chances in the long run.

 In the Tigers case, they had been in a down cycle for 6 years, so they were not recovering appropriately until Rick Carrier changed things and Willie Desjardins instituted his successful long term vision. Today Sean Clouston has taken over and continued that role.

The "Tigers Cycle"
The Tigers are well aware of the Cycle. When Willie Desjardins was here he had an advantageous situation taking over a team with multiple higher round picks. As such he was able to very quickly turn those cupboards full of China and create a wonderful dining room setup.. hah! His vision and work ethic molded a team that was having difficulties generating a winning culture.

Sean Clouston was a big part of that and took over the reigns as head coach in 2010, and soon after the GM role.

With Willie and Clouston they understand that buying an asset is expensive. They understand that shortcuts hurt a team in the long-run. For an Impact player generally, you need to give up 3 pieces...A good young player, a high draft pick, and a 2nd tier prospect at a minimum.

A lot of the teams in this league buy and sell. There are big pros and cons. If done right this helps their up years by receiving better players, helps their down years being less skilled and a higher draft pick position When unlucky or done wrong, it is disastrous.

The Tigers generally don't take those risks. They have added strong pieces, but only after players have demanded trades, and the long-term cost is minimal. They like their cycle to be an above average line with occasional "up blips".


Adding at the Deadline
2006-2007 
One of Willie's best Moves was acquiring Michael Sauer from the Portland Winterhawks. The Tigers were close to championship caliber, but Michael Sauer paired with Russell gave the Tigers a premier 1st line pairing....both made the NHL. The Tigers gave up Patrick Wiercoich and Lee Morrow. Wiercoich went the NCAA route and Morrow only played in 20 games with Portland. A #1/2 Dman for nothing.

To Add or Not To Add
There are 22 teams in the league so it is natural to have multiple teams competing at the same point in their "up cycle" seasons.  The Tigers in the last 15 years have not sought out the for 3 type deals with one exception....

Tigers  2015 Season
The Tigers did add in 2015, but only because Hobbs demanded a trade. The Tigers acquired Hunt, Burroughs for Hobbs, a 2nd, and 3rd round picks. The Tigers later shipped Hunt for a 2nd and 3rd round pick. The Tigers basically lost 2.5 years of Hobbs for a half season of Hunt+Burroughs, which is significantly much smaller than a 1 for 3 or 2 for 6 deal. We can also add that Hobbs was a throw in to a previous deal with P.A

The Tigers weakness was an inconsistent and small offence and while they did acquire some help Butcher's production went down and their offence stayed the same. That downside was that the Tigers got beat by the Hitman in 5 games in Round 2 against a team they owned during the regular season. The Tigers also had insane turnover on the back-end and missed the playoffs the following year. It was a relatively smaller risk that failed, but because of that run they ended up with the #6 pick and Josh Williams

WHL Buyers That Failed
There are many cases of buying that end up failing.

2017 - Prince George
2016 - Red Deer Rebels
2015 - Medicine Hat Tigers
2014- Victoria Royals
2013 - Saskatoon Blades, Kootenay Ice
2010 - Brandon Wheat Kings

Buyers That Worked (Won the WHL)
2015 - Kelowna Rockets
2012 - Edmonton Oil Kings
2011 - Kootenay Ice

Neutral
2017- Seattle
2016 - Brandon
2014- Oil Kings
2013 - Portland
2010 - Calgary
* Made small deals/tinkered in their winning years

Past Memorial Cup Champions
2007 Vancouver Giants
2004 Kelowna Rockets

2007 - Vancouver bought  Kendal McArdle
2004 - I don't remember, but I don't think the Rockets bought in 2004, I could be wrong.

Note: I define buyer as a team that made a significant deal in the winning year that impacted their future. Giving up something more than a 2nd round pick.

Competitive Advantage
This is just in the last 8 years, but the list of buyers that have failed is long. The list of buyers that worked is short. In short, buying can work, but it is very risky....

Clouston Vs Desjardins
Everybody has a different way of doing things. 
One Difference Between Clouston and Desjardins
Willie gave a depth player a chance to perform and if they weren't capable he gave them a renewed chance on another team and recovered a draft pick. Example players like Brad Forrest, Gary Haden, Tyler Prezuiso might have been moved, for 4th and 5th round picks.

Sean Clouston
Clouston became the Head Coach after Willie Desjardins landed a pro job in 2010. This is Clouston's 8th season as head coach. (Willie D left after his 8th season)

Clouston came in and modified things. Clouston holds onto his depth players. They are the healthy scratches and receive spot duty and lesser ice-time on the 4th lines. The top lines and older players are played much more heavily. Same thing with goaltenders and that could be a big reason why the Tigers have been poor at developing goaltenders lately.

Clouston also preaches his systems pretty heavily, and he keeps commenting on the radio that they demand their players to play a certain way. Players with a high degree of defensive smarts, but not necessarily high mobility and players who play with an edge and high physicality are players that the Tigers don't target.

The Tigers that play a strong north/south game from blueline to blue-line, and the guys who are east/west or physical players sometimes feel it difficult to adapt.

Nonetheless, Clouston recognizes that older players generate more offence.

Why any Owner Would Love The Current System
This is not intent of being anything bad, 
The junior hockey cycle....When you have a good team, you have good attendance which means more money. When you have poor teams you get poor attendance which means less money. Business owners hate losing money, they like stable investments. Hockey is cyclical and volatile
Clouston has been a head coach for 7 years,(this is his 8th season). Under Willie & Clouston the Tigers have failed to make the 2nd round of the playoffs only once. That is actually a pretty phenomenal achievement to have a system in place that can provide continual results. The owners also love the stable revenue.
The Masers have owned the team a long time, the Tigers have had good years, they have had bad years.They have lost money, they have made good money. If your a business guy and someone gives you consistent results, consistent attendance, consistent revenue...there is little chance of them altering that pattern as it doesn't make sense to do so. The only danger is not failing to adapt to changing market conditions and the game-changing, which even Bob Ridley mentioned the game seems to change every 5 years.

What the NHL Wants
 They want people who know how to win. All one needs to do is look at the coaches who won in the WHL Finals, and realize that every coach who won in the last 5 years( I haven't looked beyond that) left the following year for a pro job.

 (Seattle's' Steve Konowalchuk, Brandon's' Kelly McCrimmon, Kelowna Dan Lambert, Edmonton Ryan Huska) There are more, you get the point.

Clouston & Desjardins Coaching Record
The True .500
.500 Winning Percentage or 72 points is a benchmark that a lot of people use for an average team. However, with the introduction of a point for an overtime loss inflation has occurred. If we take the total amount of points and games into account the true average fluctuates very close to .550 depending on the Amount of OT games in a season.

Clouston's Regular Season Record
294-179-17-14 = .614 Winning percentage.
Plus .064

Clouston's Playoffs
His record is 37 wins, 33 losses = .529.
.029 above the average.

His playoff success is above the average, but half as successful as his regular season play

Compared to Willie Desjardins
Note: Willie coached 3 seasons with no extra OT point.
Regular Season
Wins-L-T-OTL-SOL
333-182-15-28-18 = .631 winning percentage
.100 points above the average
(.531 is the combined estimated .500 with 3 seasons in which there were no points for an OT loss

Playoffs
65-43 = .602 record
.102 points above average.

Willie Desjardins
Just going through that data, it makes you appreciate what we had in Medicine Hat when Desjardins was here. I listened to his radio interview last weekend with Bob Ridley and he mentioned he had some offers to coach in the WHL, but it would be difficult to go anywhere else than the Tigers.

Sean Clouston
These stats show that Clouston has been successful during the regular season and mildly successful in the playoffs. We also see he rides his top line older talent over developing players. So is his coaching creating extra success? or is he just knowledgeable of how to take advantage of the WHL system?

At this point, nothing leads me to believe there is anything special in his coaching, but his long-term vision has led to moderate success in his GM role.

Clouston's Improvements
I have seen improvements over the years. 3-4 years ago the Tigers started activating their 2nd defenceman into the rush. (He took a while to implement that).

The last few years we have seen players behind on the depth charts traded instead of 4th line scratches that may have otherwise ended up demanding trades (McGovern, Fantillo)

Their penalty kills used to be quite passive. Now they are passively aggressive (which is better) Passive kill only works best when you are severely out-skilled. Although Bobby Fox was taken credit for this.

David Quenneville - A little inconsistent at times in the early going, but somebody taught him to be more aware of his defensive surroundings. I would guess that could have come from the Islanders or Fox.

The last 2 seasons the Tigers are playing  3 line combos with spot duty to the 4th line. In years previous there was a heavy emphasis on the top 2 lines.


Clouston's Grade & Overall Ranking
I'm giving him a flat B.  He was part of the system for developing consistent winning years and that is awesome. It would be wrong to give him anything less than a B for that.

I cannot give him a higher grade due to players continually leaving the organization and mild success in the playoffs. If we take out the players leaving the organization I would have given him a B+.

It is almost a given in Junior hockey that players asked to be moved. ( I'm sure Willie had players asking for deals as well) The bad thing is that Clouston has overlooked this for a while, and now he has a reputation of someone who has an attitude behind closed doors. Us fans are starting to be highly concerned about what happens in the dressings rooms and every player that now leaves will cause more scrutinization.

He hasn't been able to make a WHL Finals appearance, and his regular season success hasn't yet equaled playoff success. IMO he is weak on teaching defensive skill; however, he excels at teaching North/South mobility, as well as a very solid vision of how to achieve above average teams.


Players leaving & Organizational Issues
The List of players Who have publicly Sat out and Demanded Trades
Jayden Hart - December 2013
Connor Hobbs - November 2014
Spencer Jensen - January 2014
Cole Sanford January 2016
Zach Fischer October 2017

I think it takes a lot for a player to just abandon the team.  The first couple players us fans were quite perturbed about players wanting to leave, as we were still used to the Willie Desjardins era.

After the last couple has left, we automatically assume it was the coach.... Junior hockey you need coaches that can connect with the players. It is disturbing that players would rather sit out than chase their dream with the Tigers.

We don't know what goes on in the dressing room. We want medicine hat to hold a high reputation. All we know is that issues are happening.

Winning has a tendency to solve everything, and the Tigers have a high degree of talent coming in. Clouston has a big opportunity for his career if he aspires for a pro job.

Clouston's' Grade

If I would compare Clouston to a hockey player in the pro ranks. I would give him a 1-year AHL deal to see if he is worthy. I'm not ready to offer him a long-term thing because I think he is just a little above average.

He understands how the system works, and his systems work well in the regular season.  I'm not ready to call for his firing, I think for the success he has brought here he deserves a couple years to bring this team together but the grip on my leash is a little tighter.

The Future
Lets' leave this on a good note. The Cycle.The roster in 2 years.

In 2 Years
While it is still early I think in 2 years the forward group will be exceptional and goal scoring won't be an issue.

Defensive is still volatile, as there are no new players playing significant roles as of yet. However, they do have a ton of depth and youth. Joel Craven, Trevor Longo, Cole Clayton, Daniel Baker, and Eric Van Impe. The law of odds say at least a couple if not most of them should turn out well, they just need some experience.

Goal-tending is tougher to judge, but they have 2 younger kids in Kaeden Lane, and 1st round pick Garin Brojklund looking to crack the backup job behind Jordan Hollett next season. These 2 will still be relatively young and the Tigers have historically had a tough time developing goalies. I really hope next year that whoever wins the backup role will be given ample time to develop.

Overall the forward group will be ok, defensively we will wait and see how they progress.

Forwards
Rybisnki(18)Chyzowski(19) Heathcote(19)
Ositr(20) Hamblin(20) Williams(18)
Anderson(19) Steele(19) Price(18)
Hopwo(18) McCarry(18) xxx

Defence
Clayton(19) Craven(19)
Longo(19) Baker(18)
Fedyck(18)

Goaltending
Hollet(20)
Lane(18)
Bjorklund(17)

Add 2 imports, and anything else they find in the next 2 years.
Feel free to give me feedback if this was a difficult read or too boring.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Tigers Trade Duncan McGovern + Fischer Deal

Duncan McGovern
The Medicine Hat Tigers announced on Monday that they have traded 2000 born goaltender Duncan McGovern to the Kootenay ICE in exchange for a 5th round selection in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.

http://tigershockey.com/article/tigers-deal-mcgovern
-------------

Thoughts
McGovern was likely a victim of coming through at the wrong time; however, the Tigers have been very poor at developing their own goalies. It is one of the positions they continually struggle with.

Bullion, Schneider, Shields, Lotz, Langhammer, Wapple, Lanigan. are all examples of players coming from other teams. (Langhamer was an NHL drafted goaltender before being picked in the Import draft, so that doesn't really count)

Tyler Bunz who was drafted under Willie Desjardins rule and his last season in 2011-2012 was the last Tiger Goaltender that was drafted or recruited as a Tiger and made it to the starters role.

This move is basically a sign that Bullion is here to stay for this season. Crazy to think that at one point he was likely a day or two away from being released before the Fischer incident happened.

Kootenay Ice
They have a 19yr old and an 18yr old who have put up some mediocre numbers so far this season. In the off-season they acquired Everett's Backup Overage Goaltender. He didn't work out so they picked up Kurtis Chapman from Regina, and Bailey Brkin from swift for conditional 6th round picks.
-----------------------------

Zach Fischer Fischer Deal
The Spokane Chiefs made a splash on the trade front Thursday, acquiring Calgary Flames prospect Zach Fischer from the Medicine Hat Tigers in a multi-player trade.
Headed to the Tigers are a trio of assets, including 18-year-old right wing Hayden Ostir and 16-year-old defensive prospect Eric Van Impe. The Tigers also received a second-round pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft to complete the trade.


A 2nd Round pick in 2019
Might be a mid round to later round pick

18yr old year old Hayden Ostir
Have to wait and see him play, but if we look at the average whl forward and how they progress, he is on pace for a 35-45 point season if he plays all 72 games in his 18 year old year. The Tigers may be able to bump that up, but lets see what he is capable of first. It looks like his level of improvement from 16 to 17 was quite high, so hopefully he can be a near point per game player at 19&20.

16yr old Defenceman Eric Van Impe
He was a 2nd round bantam pick and putting up great numbers in Midget AAA. Potential core player for the future. The Tigers defensive group has a lot of young 16-17 yr old depth now with (Clayton,Longo,Craven,Baker, and now Eric Van Impe)

Spokane
I don't follow Spokane much, but this was Spokane dumping assets.  They had extra players on their roster with an exceptionally strong 17yr old age class. They were looking for a veteran player to help provide experience to their younger up and coming group of players.

With the addition of Fischer, and IF Kailer Yamamoto comes back from the Oilers, Spokane will have a much better balanced team with a lot of youth; however, their goal-tending is still very young.

With this deal spokane had to release a 20 year old, so this was an acquire 1, and give up 4 type deal for them. They gave up a lot for someone who will not help them when their 17yr old age class matures.

I don't follow them close enough to make a good opinion, but giving up that many assets for a 1 year rental player with a younger roster is something I'm not fond of, but then again sometimes too much depth creates issues like what the Tigers have seen with players wanting out.


Overall Returns
The returns on Fischer are pretty impressive.  It sounds like their were multiple teams in on the Fischer sweepstakes, which may have gone in the Tigers favor. They followed their usual strategy of balance. A little bit for this year and assets for the future.
-----------

I'm going to do a review on the Tigers Organization the last few years. I'm just compiling some stats and it will be a bigger piece.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Early Season Thoughts

Early Season Thoughts

Overage Deadline
The overage deadline is October 10th which is almost here. The Tigers need to be under the limit of 3 Overagers and 25 players.  Decisions will need to be made SOON. They still  have 28 players and 4 overagers

Dalton Gally & Defenceman
I noticed his weight has dropped 10-12 lbs from last season.(depending on what site you get your stats from.

 Last year I half wrote him off as a guy I wasn't keen on. A "defensive filler" so-to-say, but his work ethic has completely changed. He is a lot leaner physically and looks way more mobile on the ice.  So far he has my vote as the most improved player.

Gally has been behind the veteran defenceman on the depth charts. He is being given 3rd line minutes as expected with other veterans ahead of him. As a 19yr old with limited offensive numbers in his whl career, his trade value is low, but he is giving the Tigers great experience and value on the 3rd line.

In an ideal situation you'd want your 3rd unit to be younger up and coming guys, unless you plan on an "up" season and wish to maintain a veteran presence.(Which is what we want this year to be)

Going forward the Tigers will be answering the question on what to do with their younger defenceman and Gally's improvements has made that decision tougher. They still have 10 defenceman on the roster.

Current Combo's
Quenneville Nassen
Rubins Macpherson
Gally  Clayton/Macphee

Moving Gally means more regular ice-time for Clayton/Macphee, and being able to keep another guy such as Joel Craven, Daniel Baker, or Trevor Longo.

IF we look at turnover for next year the Tigers assuredly loose 2 of their top 4, with potentially a 3rd in David Quenneville.

IF the Tigers want to "go for it" keeping Gally is probably a better option. IF they are unsure about how good they will be(which I am)  going with some younger defenceman is probably a better route. as those younger defenceman will need to play 2nd line minutes next season, and exposing them to a regular 3rd pairing would do more for their development.

The Tigers have been guilty of having last years depth guys takeing icetime away from newer players.

So this decision on defenceman is quite important going forward for next season and this season.

Mark Rassell -
6 goals in 6 games. He has been the Tigers most dangerous threat on the ice. He is the type of player that has a lot of 1v1 skill, and can create chances for himself rather than relying on a systematic "overwhelm with speed" approach the Tigers have been known for the last dozen years.

Tyler Preziuso & Gary Haden
Last season I was disappointed in the improvement paths of both players. The Tigers only dressed Haden for a paltry 32 games and he didn't see a lot of ice-time.

Both players are playing better, but I fear that their age and their value are in danger of becoming mis-aligned. As 18 yr olds they need to become impact players with hopes that next season they turn into top 6 forwards. I don't see that from either of them yet.

The Tigers need those two to play top 6 minutes next year, and right now that is  a scary thought because they need to find big improvements in their game. Both are behind schedule so they need to step their games up.

Josh Williams
He was good in the pre-season. He shows potential for very high 1v1 skill. He is still learning the ropes and adjusting to faster play. I'll give you a little tip when it comes to recognizing who the next breakout player will be.

The direct sign before a point breakout is consistently winning the small battles that may or may not translate into points. Coming up with puck possession on  50-50 scenarios, skating past a guy standing still, stealing/stripping pucks away from veteran players. Central 1v1 positioning and only taking off after receiving puck possession and not before.

 These are the types of small battles that don't necessarily generate points by themselves, but are the starting blocks to something more

Williams is on the step before that.

 He isn't yet consistently winning the small battles outright, but he is coming out in advantageous positions.  I feel that it may take some games for things to click, but when it does it may click quickly. He has a lot of skill for a 16yr old.

Jordan Hollett
Still need to see more from him, but I'm getting a Dawson MacAuley vibe, but a little more mobile. A big goaltender who stops the first shot and his size will prevent lots of second shots.

The Tigers are great at training mobility and stick-handling puck control with their goaltenders, and those are two areas Hollett will look to improve upon.

Their is a reason why most goaltenders in the NHL are 6"2 or taller.  I have a feeling that fans may not see Hollett as talented as other goaltenders because he isn't as mobile as what the Tigers have seen in the past. While that may or may not be true, he needs to work on his mobility and likely will have some up and down games.

The reason you don't see small goaltenders in the NHL is that shots are now much faster than what a goalie can react too. A smaller goalie simply needs to react to a longer distance.

It is too early to judge Hollett's potential, but so far his showing has been decent.

Linus Nassen
The first couple games he played really well. I  expected maybe a slight bit more  from a 3rd round NHL Pick. He isn't a bad player, but he needs some time to get used to the North American game. I understand why Florida wanted him to play Junior, as he needs some seasoning and a little more aggressiveness/drive to his game. I notice he is becoming a little hesitant in high traffic areas, and they need to nip that in the bud before it becomes a bigger issue.


Dislikes - Overall chemistry
With Mason Shaw out for the majority of the season, the Tigers don't have a legit 2nd line centreman and are using a player who shouldn't be in the top 6.  They have (Hamblin, Chyzowski, Haden, White) as their centremen, and Hamblin is the only one who should be in the top 6.

The lack of a 2nd line centreman and trying to keep the roster balanced, has seen production dips from Zach Fischer and James Hamblin.

Will they re-balance their lines and put a winger at Centre? or will they continue to try and force what they have and hope something changes? Receiving a 2nd line centre in return for Gally is too much to ask for and would need more going back, and I haven't seen the Tigers trade a key youngster unless they demand a trade.

Rookies & Sophomores.
I like the group of newer players the Tigers have. Ryan Chyzowski is leading the way and has shown a noticeable improvement. The Tigers next season could be a little lean up front and someone like Chyzowski will be looked to provide a scoring presence. As the season goes on I expect to see Chyzowski, Rybisnki, Heathcote  become more noticeable.

I would like more time to watch Heathcote and Rybisnki they both look strong on the puck and look to have solid 1v1 potential.

Ryan Jevne
He is showing big improvements in his skating & work ethic.  We know from last year he has a very good shot. If he can connect the dots between his skating and his shot by improving his puck handling ability,  points will rise. He is better slotted into the 3rd line, but I'm hoping to see those dots start connecting.


Defence

The Tigers have been ok. Not great, but not terrible. 3 of the 6 games their shots against has been pretty low, which is great!! I think their is a lot of room for improvement here.

I see some communication issues and getting used to new players/roles.

An Example:

Their was a battle for the PUCK inside P.A's blueline. Macpherson took a slightly risky line change, just as P.A gained puck possession and fed the puck up the ice.

Now if Quenneville noticed this, he could have been more aware of the approaching P.A raider, but he was not aware, and was caught flat footed at center.  Now this play is not entirely Quenneville's fault, but a combination of a communication fault, with Macpherson making a slightly risky late change and Quenneville not being aware of it.

Quenneville has been a lot better defensively so far, but this is one play where 2 veterans misplayed the situation with poor communication.

Rubins
Looked amazing in his first game back, not so much in his second game, but then again their whole group looked flat against P.A

Overall
An average start to the season which was almost expected with some late returnees and injuries. It is good to finally see everyone healthy minus Mason Shaw.

 The Shaw injury completely changed things. Him being out has diluted the skill, and it may take the Tigers a few games to work out solutions.

The good thing is that I don't expect Fischer and Hamblin to be held off the scoresheet forever. Once they start scoring the Tigers should start rising from .500.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tigers Start Season 1-1

WHL & More Statistics
I was pleasantly surprised that the whl is now publicly keeping track of more statistics. Shots on goal are now tracked. Also faceoff wins/losses are now tracked on the game box-scores.

Through the first 2 games the Tigers dominated the faceoff circle. Canes Giorgio Estephan took almost half of the Lethbridge faceoffs, but the Canes other centremen Jadon Joseph and Dylan Cozens were a combined 6/29 Saturday night.

Scratches
Tigers were without Jordan Hollett, Zach Fischer, Mason Shaw, Kristians Rubins.  David Quenneville returned in time for the 2nd game in Medicine Hat. The Tigers only dressed 2 OA's for the opening games due to their injury situation.


Thoughts
I felt like the Tigers were pretty rusty in their first game in Lethbridge. They played ok, but ran into some penalty troubles which really hurt them. They looked a bit uncoordinated at times, but that is to be expected with so many new faces in the lineup.

New Faces Playing Their First WHL Games
Linus Nassen, Daniel Baker,Trevor Longo, Mick Kohler, Henry Rybinksi  all played their first WHL Games.

Newcomers Cole Clayton, Baxter Anderson, Dawson Heathcote, Josh Williams all saw some action last season filling in for injuries.

Roster Players Who didn't Dress
Joel Craven(17), Nick McCary(16), Jaxon Steele(17)
The Tigers dressed 7 Defenceman for the 2nd game.

Linus Nassen
What a boost getting him into the lineup. He logged a ton of ice-time through both games.  The scouting report says he needs to improve his defensive game but he looks to have a pretty active stick and skates pretty well. Reminds me of former Tiger Import Tomas Kundratek. He was used as their #1 Dman through the first couple games

Josh Williams
We are going to love this guy. He looks like an 18 year vet ready for a breakout season. Extremely quick for a 16 yr old. 16 yr olds don't usually contribute a whole lot in their first season, but Williams took a place on the top line for both weekend games and did not look out of place scoring his first WHL regular season goal

Cameron MacPhee
He was very physical throughout the opening games. He will probably become a fan favorite.

James Hamblin
Continued his strong play from last season. He only had 1 assist, but looked dangerous and was a catalyst for a lot of chances.

Dalton Gally
I think he knows coming into the season with a lot of new faces that he has to push his game to another level. Their is a lot of good young talent on the back-end that want his ice-time and Gally played well and needs to keep pushing his game.

Import Debate
I really liked what I saw from both Imports. Kohler is a big body that protects the puck. Nassen was the #1 dman on the ice.

The Tigers have 2 different options here:
1)  Release Rubins and either keep Bullion or get another overage player.
2) Release or trade Kohler and keep Rubins & Nassen.

Kohler is the type of forward the Tigers need as a bigger body on the ice, but the Tigers won't be able to replace the minutes that Rubins and Nassen will eat on the back-end.

I think in this case it makes more sense to keep both Rubins & Nassen because of the reason above as well as they give up assets to gain an overage, and they will gain assets to trade Kohler.

Tricky Situation
That leads to a tricky temporary situation when Rubins&Fischer return, and Hollett isn't quite ready to go. It means either McGovern may be relied on for a weekend or two, or they will want Rubins+Fischer to take their time recovering until Hollett is ready to go.


Players in Danger
Tyler Prezusio - I feel like he is in danger of falling behind the new talent on the roster. I didn't really like his opening games. If his production dips between now and November his ice-time may fall. He will have to take his game to another level to ensure the rookies don't take his ice-time away.

Michael Bullion - It's because of his OA status.  Unless something unexpected happens his stay may only be for a few more weeks.

Baker(16), Longo(17), Craven(17) - these 3 are fighting for the 8th defensive spot. I could easily see the Tigers keeping 8dmen this year due to the talent in the lineup. Also Nassen might play for Sweden at the world juniors.

Overage Deadline
I'm not sure when this is, but it is usually the 2nd week in October, which means it is a couple weeks away.

By this deadline the Tigers need to decide on their Overagers, Imports and be under the 25 player limit.  IF a player is injured past this date the Tigers then have just over a week to release a player.

Once the Injured players returns the dominoes should fall as expected, unless of course something unexpected happens like a blockbuster trade or injury.



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Linus Nassen Reportedly Headed to the Hat

Edit: Linus Nassen is now listed on the Tigers Roster page




I also found this Swedish news article that confirms his home club in Sweden confirming the move.
http://www.luleahockey.se/artikel/1ofraj7rm-30c4d/linus-nassen-lanas-ut


It appears that despite the bad luck and rash of injuries, some good luck is finally happening;, however this now makes the overage/Euro Situation a little tricky and may prompt some moves to be made.

Fischer & Rassell Return
The Medicine Hat News & Calgary Flames are reporting that Zach Fischer & Mark Rassell have been sent back to the Tigers

http://medicinehatnews.com/sports/local-sports/2017/09/19/flames-send-tigers-fischer-rassell-back-to-medicine-hat/

https://www.nhl.com/flames/news/flames-reduce-roster-by-21/c-291172766?tid=282300716


Overager Situation
It appears(not confirmed) that Brad Forrest had been released as he is no longer listed on the Tigers roster sheet. Someone also commented last post that he was released.

The Tigers have 3 Imports
Kristian Rubins
Linus Nassen
Mick Kohler

With 4 Overagers
Kristians Rubins
Mark Rassell
Zach Fischer
Michael Bullion

This begs the question on if Kristians Rubins would be the odd guy out or will they drop/trade Mick Kohler?


Edited: 5:00PM

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Schultz Not Returning Confirmed

Medicine Hat News
The Medicine Hat News has answered our questions about the unconfirmed rumors of Ty Schultz not returning to the Tigers and potentially going to china.  You can read the full article on their website.
http://medicinehatnews.com/sports/local-sports/2017/09/07/schultz-wont-be-returning-to-tigers/


Rumors
Rumors started cropping up after he wasn't listed on the Tigers pre-season roster.
One poster brought forward an article from NBC. It shed light that shultz was potentially looking to play for Team China as well as being injured. Another commentor mentioned that he was going to go over and play in the KHL.


Ty Schultz Injury
The article goes on to mention that despite recovering from a broken leg, he was battling a nagging groin issue the rest of the season and well into the off-season. He estimated it will take a few more months for his injuries to heal.

-----------

The Overage Situation 

Remaining OA
Kristians Rubins
Zach Fischer
Mark Rassell
---
Michael Bullion
Brad Forrest

Couple Questions Remain
Their are still a few questions. Uncertainty remains in their goal-tending situation with Michael Bullion's overage status and whether the Tigers will use Hollett as the starter to keep an extra OA at forward/defence

Their is also uncertainty on  the availability of Zach Fischer should the flames decide to keep him in the AHL.  Linus Nassen looks doubtful he will come to camp, since the Tigers haven't heard anything from him at the start of camp. That means that Rubins would be a lock to stay. He played already in a pre-season game so it appears he has fully recovered from his off-season recuperation. If Nassen suddenly decided to show up that could make things  interesting.
---

Tigers At Camp
Lots of NHL Rookie Camps are set to get underway this weekend
NHL  is live-streaming a lot of prospect games
https://www.nhl.com/video/live-san-jose-vs-colorado/t-281013894/c-52155910

Young Stars Classic Sept 8th - 11th
Flames Facebook Page is live streaming their games: https://www.facebook.com/NHLFlames
Zach Fischer - Calgary Flames
Mark Rassell - Calgary Flames


Traverse City Prospects Tournament Sept 8-12th
Mason Shaw - Minnesota Wild

Buffalo Prospect Challenge Sept 7th -11th
James Hamblin - Boston Bruins

Toronto Rookie Tournament Sept 8-10th
Jordan Hollett - Ottawa

Arizona Coyotes

Max Gerlach

Ottawa Senators
Jordan Hollett - Not attending due to sickness.





Friday, August 18, 2017

Darren Kruger Joins Calgary Flames

Edit: Training Camp Update
http://tigershockey.com/article/2017-training-camp-schedule-and-rosters


---------------------

http://chatnewstoday.ca/article/523546/kruger-accepts-scouting-position-calgary-flames

Kruger Headed to the Flames
Wow, The Tigers lost a big piece of their Head Office today. Senior Director of Player Development Darren Kruger, has joined the Calgary Flames as an NHL scout with a focus on the Eastern Conference.

Congrats to Darren Kruger. He's had a profound effect on the Tigers success the last 12 years. He will be greatly missed.
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Training Camp
I've had a few people ask about training camp. While nothing has been officially announced as of yet, typically they have opened camp up next Friday (Aug 25th). They usually announce something in the early stages of next week. If they do announce something I will edit this section.

Tigers Off-season.
Their has been some OA movement this off-season as expected so lets go through a quick recap.

May 22nd
Tigers Traded: Matt Bradley, 2nd round (2018), 3rd round( 2018 conditional), 5th round(2019), for Regina's Jordan Hollett(goaltender, 5th round NHL draft pick).

May 24th
Tigers traded Nick Schneider to the Calgary Hitmen for a 4th round 2019 conditional pick.

June 28th
Selected Mich Kohler 19 - F Committed to come over
Selected Linus Nassen 19 D - Status unknown

August 1st
Tigers traded Jordan Henderson to Kootenay for a 6th round 2019 conditional pick

Current Overage Crop

Ty Schultz ***
Zach Fisher ***
Mark Rassell ***
Brad Forrest *
Kristians Rubins **
Michael Bullion **

Ideal Situation 
To maximize the potential for their lineup next season I feel the optimum route would be
Zach Fischer
Mark Rassell
Ty Schultz

If you're asking,  Hey, where is Kristian Rubins?....... Well in this scenario Linus Nassen one of their Import picks would replace him in the lineup and it would let the Tigers keep an extra veteran defenceman...essentially keeping 2 vets instead of 1. This up coming season they may have another very good year so it would make sense to keep the extra veterans.

However....

Their are 3 events that need to happen for that to take place
#1 Zach Fischer comes back from the Flames Training Camp
#2 Recently Acquired Jordan Hollett can prove to be a #1 starter
#3 Linus Nassen ( Import defenceman 3rd round 2016 NHL draft pick) reports to the Tigers so they free up an overage spot over Rubins

IF any of those scenarios don't happen it changes the whole ballgame.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Eastern Conference 2017-2018 Pre-Season Preview

Eastern Conference 2017-2018 Pre-Season Preview
My first attempt at doing this. These rosters are "current snapshots" with 1st round 2016 WHL Bantam draft picks and imports.

Rosters are guaranteed to change.

Golden Rule: It is never about what a team losses. Sure a high turnover generally means a younger roster, and less experienced group, but what a team retains and improves upon on is a much bigger deciding factor.

How to Read the Numbers
Example: Ty Lewis(19)(.97/.48)
-Ty Lewis will be going into his 19yr old and 3rd WHL season.  he put up .97  .48 PPG respectively


The Following ARE NOT LINE COMBOS, they are loose depth charts. Players will be in wrong positions, it is just a basic look at depth. 

Brandon Wheat Kings

Question Marks
  • Nolan Patrick -  NHL
    • Top picks  have great track records of playing in the NHL the following season. It is almost a guarantee that he starts the season in Philly and that is why I am not including him in Brandon's Lineup. 
  • James Shearer (overage)
    •  He is out with a torn Achilles tendon and will be out for 4-6 months which means he will miss the start of the season. He is an overage.

Offense

Ty Lewis(19)(.97/.48)  Stelio Mattheos(18) (0.88/.6)  Tanner Kaspick(19)(0.92/.57/.34)
Connor Gutenberg(19)(0.56/.23) Caiden Daley(17)(0.17)  Martin Kaut(I)(18)
Cole Reinhardt(17)(0.11) Linden McCorrister(19) (0.21/.18)  Baron Thompson(18)(0.15)
Zach Russell(18)(0.13)  Tak Anholt(19) (0.13) Rylan Bettens(17)(0.08)
  • Very potent top line
  •  Their secondary scoring may be a little inconsistent at times.  Ideally you want a solid top 6, and Brandon will need Guttenberg+ their new import have good seasons for a top 5. Currently their offense has some volatility. 
  • I would not be surprised to see them add or upgrade an overage forward to provide more depth up front.
  •  They have some players I would describe as "fillers"  Where newer prospects may be able to push them out for ice time.
  • No word yet if Martin Kaut will be reporting.

Defence

Kale Clague (19)(0.83/.61/.65)) Higson Schael(19)(.28/.15/.12)
Daniel Bukac(I)(18)(0.24)  Kade Jensen((20) D
Garrett Sambrook(17)(0.13) Zach Wyntinck(18)(.03)
Braden Schneider(16)(1st round 2016 pick)
INJ - James Shearer(20)(0.48)
  • Clague is a 2nd round NHL draft pick, Bukac is a 7th rounder.
  • Their 12th overall pick from 2016 will likely have room to make the team 
  • They have a good mix of ages and this group appears solid. Defense could be a strength for Brandon
  • Do they keep Kade Jensen, Shearer and Clague? It will be a cause for high turnover next season

Goaltending

Logan Thompson(20)(.908/.898)
New Player
  • Thompson will be their go to guy because they have no one else. As an overage, their goal-tending should be solid as long as injuries don't force their hand. An injury will post risks to their Goals Against Totals.

Other Overagers

Not Included in Depth Charts
Meyer Nell F - Depth forward
  • With the injury to James Shearer Mayer Nell could likely start the season in Brandon.
  • They have some room to tinker.  Based on their roster I feel like they may look to bolster their forward group.

Imports: 2

Daniel Bukac(18)(0.24)
Martin Kaut(I)(18) - Unknown if reporting.

Age Index(Not including all new prospects)

18.33

Drafting Outlook 

2016-16's: Mid position no 3rd
2015-17's: Last position
2014-18's:  Early mid+ 1st overall
2013-19's: Early + 2 1sts
2012-20's Mid
  • Suggests that Brandon should have a very strong team this year.(may not be the case) The potential loss of Nolan Patrick could negates that.
  •  Their incoming prospects has potential to be on the weaker side due to later positioning in the 15/16 drafts. Their 16's next season may be higher quality.

Intangibles

  • Nolan Patrick's Return
  • How does their 2nd euro perform
  • Overage Situation - Do they upgrade their offense?
  • I felt last season Brandon was unlucky 

TigerTurf's Projected Goal Scoring:

 225 Goals 
  • A forward OA  will boost this.
Potential to Increase in Value
Depends on their euro reporting, Nolan Patrick's Return, as well as filling in a 3rd overage with a scorer.  I think it will be hard for them to push past MJ, or Regina. If  Patrick returns and they get an OA forward up front, their value significantly increases to the point where I would bump them up a whole tier, because their defense looks solid.

Potential to Decrease in Value
If their euro doesn't report, if they decide not to bolster their forward group they are hurting for secondary scoring and could be at risk of missing the playoffs. Any long term injury to a top line player will eliminate secondary scoring. Their is just as much potential for them to drop behind, as rising forward.  If they do drop behind I would not be surprised to see them sell as they have some very attractive assets.

Prognosis
My initial instincts... This is a roster that is at best average right now. I see too many "if's in regards to having a stronger roster, but that doesn't mean their isn't potential.

I see Moose Jaw and Regina being barriers that will be tough for them to cross unless some of those "If's do indeed fill out. Patricks return and an OS upgrade could turn this roster into an above average roster, where I would bump them up into competing for a Home Ice spot. Most likely a successful season would be a 3rd place in the division. A disappointing season would be missing the playoffs with an elder lineup.

After doing evaluation on all Eastern Division teams 3rd place in the division will be no easy task.

Calgary Hitmen

Questions Marks

  • Jake Bean -  Either NHL or Juniors for Bean. He was the 13th overall pick in the 2016 Entry Draft. Carolina has 6 signed guys; however, they have a very inexpensive blueline and their is room for Bean to play his way onto the team. He will likely be given a very long look and If he is sent back it may not be until late. Since he is 19 and drafted out of the CHL he is ineligible for the AHL. Losing bean early would be a massive blow
  • Overage battle between Stukel & Reagan.The Stukel vs Regan may be a closer battle than it appears largely because their defence may be a weak point in comparison with their offense...more about this below.

Offense

Beck Malenstyn(19)(0.80/.36/.24) M. Gennaro(20)(1.16/.6/.43/.25) Jakob Stukel(20)(0.76/.87/.37)
Jake Kryski(19)(0.78/0.58/0.37)   Mark Kastelic(18)(0.52/.17)  Andrei Grishakov(18)(0.50)
Luke Coleman(19)(0.47/.41)  Andrew Fyten(19)(0.19/.13) Lucas Cullen (18)(0.22)
Matt Dorsey(18)(0.18) Justyn Gurney(17)(0.13) Murphy Stratton(18)(.09)

  • This group is largely intact from last season. It is a now veteran group with a great deal of potential. They have a very formidable top 6 IF Stukel is kept
  • Their bottom 6 depth is a little weak initially, however we may see some newer prospects give this group more competition for roster spots.

Defence

Jake Bean(19)(1.05) Vladislav Yeryomenko(18)(0.40)
Jakib LaPoint(19)(0.15/0.10) Jameson Murray(18)(.09)
Drea Esposoiti(17)(0.06) Jackson Van de Leest(2016 16th overall  pick)

  • Bean is a 13th overall NHL selection
  • Their defense was a big weak point last season., and they have a medium amount of turnover 
  • This season they are top heavy with little experience on positions 3-6.
  • I feel like they are  below average. If Bean gets plucked off to the NHL they will have a big gap. Bean will likely be gone at the start of the season so defensively they may struggle out of the gate.
  • They may need some extra oomf and suddenly keeping Reagan looks like a much more attractive deal. This is the type of decision though that fans don't like.

Goaltending

Nick Schneider(20)

  • They should be solid, but their is some volatility here. Schneider lost the starters job 2 years in a row in the hat. He should provide a lot more presence in net that what the Hitman have received the last couple years.

Other Overagers

Brady Reagan D
  • Reagan could very well end up on the blueline. Stukel likely had a lot of value, and the hitman need some D help. 

Imports:2

Andrei Grishakov(18)(0.50)
Vladislav Yeryomenko(18)(0.40)
The Hitman did not re-draft a euro. Their euro's put up great numbers last season as 17's. They will both look to have impact years.

Age Index(Not including all new prospects)

18.45

Drafting Outlook

2016-16's: Late ( 2-2nds, no 4th)
2015-17's:  Late (no 3rd, 4-4ths)
2014-18's:  Late (no 1st, 3 4th's)
2013-19's: Late ( 2 5ths)
2012-20's: Late (no 3rd, 2 4ths)
  •  Their later drafting  position and lack of 1st rounder in 2014 suggests they should have a weaker team.  However their drafting prowess looks like they have at least recovered offensively.

Intangibles

  • Stukel vs Reagan - More than likely their could be a decent market for stukel. If they could get a decent return for him it could make a lot of sense to keep Reagan. That way they would have a solid top 4 with a defensive defenceman rounding up a solid top 4.
  • New coach and GM - Their new GM comes from Kootenay which has a long history on smart intelligent defensively aware systems. 

Potential to Increase in value
If they can shore up their back-end depth, while still dressing a competitive top 6. I'd say they would be able to compete for 2nd in the division. I feel right now if they keep stukel they need 2 key defenceman to challenge for a higher spot. IF they keep Reagan, they'll need 1 defenceman and 1 forward.

Potential To Decrease in value
Loosing bean their MVP defenceman would deal a significant enough blow to their back-end where they could be fighting for the 8th wildcard spot.

TigerTurf's Projected Goal Scoring:

252-276
  • I might be overestimating them here

Prognosis

Almost their entire offensive core returns. As a result they look to have an above average group up front. Defensively their is potential for concern and that is likely why they choose to go with the band-aid of acquiring an OA goalie.

I feel the Hitman have a tough choice of being good offensively and below average defensively. Or being average defensively and average offensively.

They could be anywhere from 2nd in the division to missing the playoffs as their defensive situation is concern-able. I am putting them into the average Tier
--------------------------
--------------------------

Edmonton Oil Kings

Offense

Davis Koch(19)(0.97/.40/.48) Trey Fix-Wolansky(18)(.77)Colton Kehler(20)(.49/.39)
Kobe Mohr(18)(0.35/.24)) Nick Bowman(17)(0.23) Brett Kemp(17)(0.37)
Ty Gerla(18)(0.26) Murray Davis(18)(0.21) Tyson Gruninger(19)(0.24/.16/.18)
Andrei Pavlenko(17) Liam Keeler(16*)(.29) Brian Harris(18*)(.20)
  • Their vets are underwhelming.
  • This is a developing year. They are pretty young

Defence

Connor McDonald(18)(0.45/.08) Will Warm(18)(0.36)
Brayden Gorda(18)(.29/0.20)  Anatolii Elizarov(I)(19)(.19/.14)
Ethan Cap(17)(0.16) Wyatt McLeod(17)(0.15)
Jordan Dawson(19)(0.07/.12)
Matthew Robertson(16*)(0.14)
Jayden Platz(17*)(0)
  • Younger group that should get better as the season progresses.

Goal-tending

Travis Childs(20)
Liam Hughes(18)(.895)
Josh Dechaine(18)(.876)
  • Acquired an overage goalie in the off-season to shore up goaltending.

Other Overagers

Adam Berg F
Jesse Roach F
  •  none are trade-able here. They have room to upgrade an O/A spot. 

Imports:2

Anatolii Elizarov(I)(19)(.19)
Andrei Pavlenko(17) NEW unknown report status

They know they aren't "going for it" so they went with a younger Import to develop with their 12th overall Import selection. Their 17yr old age group has potential to be well above average

Age Index
17.9

Drafting Outlook
2016-16's: Early ( 2 - 1sts, no 2,3, 2 -4ths)
2015-17's: Mid 
2014-18's:  Late ( no 2nd)
2013-19's: Late ( no 1st, 5th)
2012-20's: Last ( no 3rd)
  • Their championship seasons of the past have caught up with them. Their drafting position suggests a weaker year, where next season this group will look to be back into the average territory.

Intangibles

Potential to Increase in value
They have a number of younger players that could potentially be poised to start breaking out. If they do get a bunch of them to breakout, it could be a "where the hell did this team come from type scenario"

Potential To Decrease in value
A younger developing group. Their youth and inexperience could be too much. If their prospects flatten out it would lead to a delay in recovery.


TigerTurf's Projected Goal Scoring:

225 Goals


Prognosis

They won't be a top tier team looking to win a championship,  however. This is the type of roster where everyone could predict them finishing last, and surprise, surprise, they end up making a push in the 2nd half. I think they are still too young to make legitimate noise, but I don't know the inn's and outs of their roster.

This is a pure developing roster, as such their is a lot of volatility on how much "developing" they will do. As teams make playoff pushes Edmonton should also get a lot better in terms of their players gaining experience.

I think making the playoffs will count as a huge success, but I don't expect them to make it. 3rd/wildcard would be considered a good season.
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----------------------

Kootenay Ice

Offense

Colton Kroeker(20)(1.1/.42/.12)  Vince Loschiavo(19)(0.84/.16/.16)  Brett Davis(18)(0.56/.17)
  Peyton Krebs(16*)(1) Gillian Kohler(17)  Jake Elmer(18)(0.35)(0)
Noah Philp(19)(.29)(.33)  Barrett Sheen(19)(.33)(.26)  Max Patterson(18)(.24/.16)
Keenan Taphorn(17)(.13) Michael King(17)(.14)  Kaeden Taphorn(17)(.17)
Tanner Sidaway(18)(.12)  Cameron Hausinger(18)(.24/.19) Reed Morison(19)(.11)

  • They have 2 big newcomers Their 1st overall pick in 2015, as well as their 3rd overall pick in the last Import draft. Both are very young, but will be impacts in Kootenays lineup.
  • Their isn't enough meat to be a contender &  They will have a "developing roster"
  • They have struggled the last couple seasons filling out a roster with  filler type players. 
  •  Their will be some pruning to do, they have a number of players

Defence

Cale Fleury(19)(0.54/.41/.19) Jordan Henderson(20)
Dallas Hines(19)(0.34/.17) Jordan Henderson(20)
Fedor Rudakov(19)(.14) Ryan Pouliot(19)(.24)(.14)
 Martin Bodak(19) Sam Huston(18)(.11)
  • Veteran and older group. This group gave up a league high 335 last season
  • 6 players 19yrs an older. They should make moves to change this.

Goal-tending

Jakob Walker(18)(.868)
Mario Petit(20)(.896)
  • Career backup will be their starter.

Imports

Gillian Kohler(17) F- confirmed to report
Martin Bodak(19) D

Age Index
18.4

Other Overagers

Kurtis Rutledge D(20)(.12/.12)
Austin Wellsby F(20)(.3/.25/.03)

Drafting Outlook
2016-16's: 1st ( 3 4ths)
2015-17's:  Mid (no first, no 5th, 2 6th)
2014-18's:  Mid ( no 3rd)
2013-19's: mid ( 4 5ths)
2012-20's: mid ( no 5th, 2 6ths)
  • Suggests an average roster.

Intangibles

  • Do they keep an older roster, or do they make moves to balance it out for next season.
  • Their defence age wise, is very old. 6 players that are 19 and older suggests a huge amount of turnover next season. I think they will want to balance this out.
  • I could be  wrong with this team, because they are an older group
Potential to Increase in value
If their 19yr old age group have huge seasons.  If their 1st overall pick from 2015, and their 3rd overall selection at the Import Draft prove to big big contributors, they could push the ice up to the average tier.

Potential To Decrease in value
Can't get much lower than last season. If they aren't looking great at the deadline they may have a forward and 2 defenceman who may be quite valuable in trade.

TigerTurf's Projected Goal Scoring:
210 Goals

Prognosis

Their drafting positions suggest they should be mid pack. They have one of the older rosters in the division with lesser scoring potential, similar to Saskatoon.

This is a lineup that I see a lot of potential to tinker with. Having a veteran roster that misses the playoffs is not a good thing to have.

Their defence is a bit concerning age-wise It is an older group that gave up a league high last season. If they don't make changes they will have a lot of turnover.

Due to their age/experience A successful season would be getting a wildcard spot.
-------------------------
-------------------------

Lethbridge Hurricanes

Question Marks
  • 1. Do they keep an Overage Import in Babenko or go with Alec Baer?
  • 2. Will Estephan be back? He went unsigned. He is in camp with the wild

Offense

Giorgio Estephan(20)(1.3/1.25/.8/.4) Jordy Bellerive(18)(.8/.55)  Ryan Bowen(19) (.67/.21)
 Ryan Vandervlis(19)(.42/.30/.21) Tanner Nagel(19)(.22/.03)  Alec Baer(20)(.56/.57/.42/.3)
Jadon Joseph(18)(.22) Dylan Cozens(16*)(.6) Zane Franklin(18)(.22)
Yegor Zudilov(17)F Josh Tarzwell(17)(.14)

  • Missing their top 2 guns from last season
  • Core is a year older
  • Overall scoring depth is quite a bit lower than most teams in the East.

Defence

Brennan Menell(20)(1/.77/.37) Calen Addison(17)(.52)
Igor Merezhko(19) (.29/.18) Brady Pouteau(19)(.25/.16)
Kyle Yewchuk(19)(.19/.11) Ty Prefontaine(18)(.08)
  • Veteran experienced group, all key players return
  • Should generate a lot of offense from their D

Goal-tending

Stuart Skinner(19)(.905/.920/.909)
Ryan Gilchrist(19)(.890)
Adam Swan(17)(.860)
  • Skinner is a 3rd round NHL pick

Imports

Igor Merezhko(19)D (.29/.18)
Yegor Zudilov(17)F - unknown if reporting

  • They have a choice between an older veteran player or a younger player.
Age Index
18.5

Other Overagers

Brennan Riddle(20)(.26/0.08/.1)

Drafting Outlook

2016-16's:  Late
2015-17's:  2nd ( no 4th,5th)
2014-18's:  2nd ( 3 2nds, no 3rd, 3 4th, 2 5th)
2013-19's: Early ( no 4th, 2 5th)
2012-20's:  Early ( 2 1sts, 2-6ths)
  • Suggests that the Canes should have a strong year

Intangibles

  • I always wonder how much of Tyler Wongs' influence had on the canes.
  • Will their 2nd and 3rd lines step up with a scoring by commitee approach to improve their Scoring depth?  
  • Defence and ability to keep the puck out of their net will be a strong point. Will they have enough offensive power?
Potential to Increase in value
They have championship experience with a veteran roster. If come the trade deadline they are near the top they may be looking to acquire some more meat in their top 6.

Potential To Decrease in value
I think their potential to decrease in value is higher than their potential to increase. Their scoring depth up front might be a little shallow, which could lead to scoring inconsistencies. They didn't need it last season, but a key injury could really set them back. Did they play too much over their head last season? 

TigerTurf's Projected Goal Scoring:

220 Goals

Prognosis

I feel like last season they played way over their heads. However they came very close to the WHL Finals. If I were to avoid their accomplishments from last season I would say they are slightly above average.  However almost everyone returns minus their overagers, and I put more weight behind that.

I look at their roster, and it makes me think that if  they can can be that good based on what they have, I am underestimating everyone else, or their coach will get promoted to the pro's.

Young Calen Addison will be a player to watch. .5PPG as a defenceman in a 16yr old year is quite impressive.

The Hurricanes  keep their defensive and goaltending core last year that brought them into the Eastern Conference Final.  Their forward core is a year older up front. Their goaltending is solid with skinner in net. It is hard to see this team not competing for 1st or 2nd in the division as long s they don't run into long-term injuries which could easily derail them.

Their offense has a very impressive top line, and the rest should score by committee. They seem like a team with a very solid roster. They should be an above average  team in the central competing for 2nd in the division. I think they will need to boost their roster and if they do so up front, they will compete for the division.
---------------------------
----------------------------

Medicine Hat

Questions:
  • Will Fischer get plucked to the pro's? 
  • How will Mick Kohler perform?
  • Will they keep Rubins over the 2 other Imports the Tigers drafted.
  • Goaltending - will their starter be an overage or the 18yr old Hollett
  • In an ideal world both new Imports come over and Hollett can be a starter. If that doesn't happen they will need an extra aquision to shore up offense or defence.

Forwards

Max Gerlach(19)(.86/.63)  Mason Shaw(19)(1.32/0.9/0.39) Zach Fischer(20)(1.02/0.37/.19)
 Mark Rassell(20)(.85/.39/.21) James Hamblin(18)(.68/.06)  Mick Kohler(19)
Tyler Preziuso(18)(.31/.17) Josh Williams(16)   Ryan Jevne(19) (.39/.15)
Ryan Chyzowski(17)(.23) Gary Haden (18)(.25)

  • Deadly top 6, the Tigers won't have scoring issues
  • Great bottom 6 depth. Jevne/Prezuiso's will be looking to become impact players

Defence

Kristians Rubins(20)(.49) Dylan Macpherson(19)(.18)
David Quenneville(19)(1.2/.86/.3) Dalton Gally(19)(.16)
Cameron MacPhee(18)(.06)



  • Veteran group 
  • Premier powerplay quarterback
  • If Nassen reports and Hollet can be the #1 and Fischer comes back. Add nassed to Rubins spot, and Add Schultz(20) or Henderson(20) to their D core 
Jordan Hollett(18)(.901/.887)
McGovern(18)
Michael Bullion(20)(.901/.867/.900)
  • Will Hollett become the starter which makes Bullion expendable? The Tigers have a few options.

Imports(3)

Kristians Rubins(20) - likely injured to start the year.
Mick Kohler(19) - Unsure if reporting
Linus Nassen(19) - Unsure if reporting

Age Index


18.5

Other Overagers
Brad Forrest
Ty Schultz
Michael Bullion(20)(.901/.867/.900)
  • If Nassen reports and the Tigers don't choose Rubins, and the Tigers don't go with overage Bullion it opens up a spot for Schultz

Drafting Outlook
2016-16's:   Early ( 2 2nds)
2015-17's:  Late ( 2 5ths)
2014-18's:  Late ( 2 3rds, no 5th)
2013-19's: Mid ( 2 2nds, no 5th, 2 6th)
2012-20's: middle-late ( no 3rd/4th) 


  • Mid and late positions with extra early picks suggests an above average roster.

TigerTurf's Projected Goal Scoring:


310 


Intangibles

  • The Tigers could have a potential championship team without needing to acquire anyone if the pieces of the puzzle regarding Imports & overagers fall into play.
  • If those puzzle pieces don't fall correctly, they may need to look at aquiring a veteran defenceman

Potential to Increase in value
If Nassen reports, Hollet retains the starters job it opens up an extra slot for a veteran defenceman. The Tigers will be exceptionally strong.

Potential To Decrease in value
If Fischer gets plucked to the Pro's, Nassen doesnt report, Hollett can't control the starters job. the Tigers will simply be above average. Most likely still in contention, but their are more holes that need to be filled.

Prognosis

The Tigers Maintain a wicked top 2 lines. Gerlach, Shaw, Rassell, Fischer all have the potential to reach the 40 goal plateau. Defenceman David Quenneville, and James Hamblin may also be knocking close by.

Offence for the 2nd straight year will not be a problem. This will be a high scoring team. Their question mark or unknown factor is how strong their defensive game will be.  If the pieces as mentioned above fall into place I will expect them to have a dominant team. If they don't fall into place they will have a run and gun, football type scoring games.
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-----------------

Moose Jaw Warriors

Offense

B. Burke(20)(1.34/1.51/0.83) Jayden Halbgewachs(20)(1.42/.59/.14)  Brett Howden(19)(1.4/.94/.68)
Noah Gregor(19)(1.17/1) Tanner Jeannot(20)(0.73/.46/.1) Justin Almeida(18)(0.45/.13)
Luka Burzan(17)(.41)  Branden Klatt(19)(0.3/.19) Tristan Langan(19)(.26/.32)
Chance Petruic(18)(.07) Brecon Wood(17)(.04)  Brayden Tracey(16)
  • Exceptionally strong top 6
  • Great overall depth
  • Next year their will be a lot of turnover

Defence

Josh Brooke(18)(0.58/.33) Dmitri Zaitsev(19)(.29)  
Jeff Woo(17)(.34)  Colin Paradis(19)(.14/.1)
Oleg Sosunov (19) Brandon Armstrong(18)(.06)

  • I'm very unfamiliar with them, but they appear to be solid. They may need a little more experience to fill out their top 4.& I have suspicions that they may look to shore this area up
  • They got a huge 6'8 russian in the import draft, but scouting reports say he is more of a physical take care of your own end defenceman.
  • Massive size
  • If I'm very picky they might be missing a PP quarterback, but I'm guessing their top 6 forwards may play apart in that department

Goaltending

Brody Willms(19)(.907/.906/.886)
Adam Evanoff(17)
  • Williams looks more than capable of becoming a starter.

Imports

Dmitri Zaitsev D(19)(.29)
Oleg Sosunov D (19) - 6th round NHL pick+signed

Age Index


18.4

Other Overagers
Spencer Bast(20)(0.3/.26)

Draft History
2016-16 :Late (no 2nd/4th)
2015-17 Early (2 1sts)
2014-18 Early no 4th
2013-19: Early (no 2/3rd/ 2-4ths
2012-20: mid No first
  • Suggests they should have an above average roster

TigerTurf's Projected Goal Scoring:

293


Intangibles

They unexpected loss of Goalie Zach Zawchenko might be a blessing in disguise. It allows MJ to keep one of their high scoring forwards.

Potential to Increase in value
If their defence is a lot stronger and shows a lot of improvement

Potential To Decrease in value
Is their defensive group experienced enough?  I am unfamiliar with them, but most of them are a year older. If their Russian Dman can lead the way it will ease my concerns about their lesser experience. Their are some questions about their top guys who's scoring dried up in the playoffs

Prognosis

Their drafting position suggests they should have a strong core.  Moose Jaw has an impressive top 6. I think this is their year to make some noise.  I don't have a good read on their defensive group.

They unexpectedly lost a star goaltender, but it might be a blessing in disguise, so they don't need to keep an OA goaltender.

I think their lineup has a lot of potential in it. Their is a lot of top talent and depth. 1st or 2nd in the East division.
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------------------

Prince Albert Raiders

Questions
  • Does Dominik Bokk(17) report? That single question changes the outlook of the team

Offense

 Kelly Parker(18)(0.6/.28) Curtis Miske (20)(.7/.46/.21)Jordy Stallard(20)(.92/.72/.45)
 Cole Fonstad(17)(.38) Carson Miller(17)(.41) Dominik Bokk(17)
 Sean Montgomery(19)(.33/.29/.18) D-Jay Jerome(18)(.35/.25)  Spencer Moe(17)(.23)
Adam Kadlec(18)(.23) Drew Warkentine(19)(.19/.09) Kolby Johnson(19)(.05/.11)


  • Developing roster
  • 4 17's that will be in prime developing years
  • They have some 19's that may loose their jobs

Defence

Max Martin(18)(0.47) Vojtech Budik(19)(.46/.23)
Brayden Pachal(18)(.23/.15) Zach Hayes(18)(.17)
Cody Paivarinta(19)(.12/.08) Austin Crossley(18)(.07)
Rhett Rhinehart(16)
  • Mid-experienced group.

Goaltending

Ian Scott(18)(.895/.892)
Nicholas Sanders(19)(.892/.901)
  • Ian scott is a 4th round NHL selection
Imports
Simon Stransky(I)(20)(0.84/1.0/.6)
Vojtech Budik(19)(.46/.23)
Dominik Bokk(17)
  • I think they want to go with a youth movement
Age Index
18.2

Other Overagers
Nick Heid(20)(.19/.08)**might be released

  • P.A has room to add another overage player


Draft History
2017- early 2 sts, 2 2nd
2016-16 : mid (2 2nd/2-3rd) no5th
2015-17:  Mid-early (2 1st) no 4th
2014-18: Mid-early (no 2nd)
2013-19: Mid no 2nd
2012-20: Early 2 -2nd
  • Suggests they should be mid-pack with some good younger players.

TigerTurf's Projected Goal Scoring:
234 Goals

Intangibles

  • 20yr old import (stransky)vs 17yr old import (bokk)
  • Developing roster 
  • Their 19 yr old group is substandard which gives them a disadvantage
  • They have a roster that suggests when drafting one year they concentrate on Defence, the next forward which may bring imbalances
Potential to Increase in value
They have  younger talent that may be primed to start becoming impact players and a more veteran defensive group with solid goal-tending. If they can adapt a defensive play-style they may be able to push for a wildcard spot. IF their 17's can become impact players they could be a minor surprise.

Potential to Decrease  in value
If it is too early for their youngsters to develop. I feel like they will be a lot better than last season.

Prognosis

I initially had them as a dark-horse team, but the more I look at other roster the more I think P.A will be behind the others. Their draft positions and extra picks in the 2017/2016/2015  suggests that PA has a roster that is near the middle of the pack,. Their defence may "peak" next season, but their offence may be 2 years away. That suggests that a defensive play style may benefit them and that they are still too young.

Their 19yr old age group is substandard so this year will be a developing year. They may look to infuse their lineup with some younger players in favor of a few "fillers". I think a wildcard position is what they are competing for.
----------------
-----------------

Red Deer Rebels

Questions: 
Michael Spacek - Does he come back or not? Manitoba Moose has room available. 
Adam Musil - Looks like he may be plucked to the pro's. Put up 5 points in 6 games in the AHL playoffs, I think it is very likely he has an AHL spot, their are 9 forward including him signed for the AHL affiliate Chicago
Overages- They essentially have 2 spots they can fill as it is doubtfull they go with campese and peterson

Offense

Brandon Hagel(19)(1.09/.65) Lane Zablocki(19)(0.84/.51) Grayson Pawlenchuk(20)(.47/.54/.36/.43) Austin Pratt(18)(.49/.21) Akash Bains(18)(.32)  Kristian Reichel(19)
Jordan Roy(19)(.17/.09) Dawson martin(19)(.25/.15)   Brandon Cutler(17)(.08)
Chris Douglas(17)(.08) 

  • They have some top quality talent leaving, however they are almost equally replaceable with the development of Hagel, Pratt, Bains Zablocki, Pawlenchuk who was injured for most of last year, along with their newest import selection. 
  • I expect their offense to be above average with a scoring by committee approach
  • They may add an OA to bolster this group if Spacek is not back.

Defence

Jared Freadrich(19)(.47/.34) Alexander Alexeyev(18)(.51)
Carson Sass(18)(.25)  Brandon Schuldhaus(19)(.26/.11)
Ethan Sakowich(18)(.11) Jacob Herauf(17)(.14)
Dawson Barteaux(17)(.09) 

  • Alexeyev was lost halfway through the season, but was one of the rebels key defenceman
  • Their core are all a year older
  • The fans of the rebels believe this group should be a strongpoint for their team and they could also add an overage if they don't add 2 forwards

Goaltending

Riley Lamb(19)(.899)
Byron Fancy(16)

  • Lamb was their guy in the playoffs, I would expect him to take the spot over a potential 20yr old in Peterson.

Imports

Alexander Alexeyev(18)
Michael Spacek(20)
Kristian Reichel(19) (New) - undrafted

Age Index
18.2-18.4

Other Overagers
Matthew Campese(20)(.14/.21)
Lasse Petersen(20) (.896/.879)

  • I believe they will go different routes, but these players may start the season with the Rebels.
  • They have room to add 2 overagers with could significantly boost their strength.


Draft History
2016-16 : Early ( no 1st, 2 3rds)
2015-17: Late ( no 5th)
2014-18:   early (late 2nd, 2 3rds)
2013-19:  Mid ( no 3rd, no 5th, 2 6th)
2012-20: early ( 2 4ths)
  • Suggests an above average roster

TigerTurf's Projected Goal Scoring:
247 Goals  
  • However this will for surely rise when Overages get added

Intangibles

  • Overagers - The rebels could be in the market for as many as 2 overagers.
  • Should they get an unexpected boost of Musil or Spacek it would significantly boost their offense. If not they are hoping their new euro selection fills out a solid top 6.
Potential to Increase in value
They have room to acquire 2 overagers. I would expect 1 forward and 1 defenceman. If they can get 2 solid players, and have their new import put up strong numbers I think the rebels are the dark horse of the central and have potential to compete for 1st/2nd in the division.

Potential to Decrease  in value
They seem to be injury prone the last couple seasons. If they can't find solid 20's and if their Import doesn't provide a boost they could fall to the 3rd/wildcard spots.

Prognosis

They have a "sneaky" forward core this season.  Their losses are significant, but their potential improvements are also higher than average.  The acquisition of Zablocki combined with the emergence of Brandon Hagel, development of youngster Austin Pratt and a return to the lineup from Grayson Pawlenchuk who was injured most of last year, should more than make up for their losses last season.

Defensively they loose Bobyk but their young core all returns. I mark them to be a better team than last season, but potential to become the Dark Horse of the central. I think they have the guts to compete for a Home Ice playoff Spot in round 1.  If the Tigers don't get their peices of the puzzle to fall correctly the rebels, lethbridge and tigers could be close in strength.

Regina Pats

Questions:
  • Does Sam Steel make the NHL? He was the 30th pick in the 2016 entry draft and put up an insane 2 PPG during last season.  The Ducks have a lot of contracts and may risk losing an NHL player to waivers if he makes the team.
  • They have 3 OA players primed for the Pro's. Do they receive anyone back unexpectedly knowing that Regina is going to the memorial Cup? (hobbs, Wagner, Zborovskiy)
  • They have the rights to Tyson Jost. He played 6 games for the Avalanche after he finished his first year of university. It is highly unlikely he plays in Regina. He will likely start the season in the NHL, or AHL.
  • Nick Henry is out with off-season shoulder surgery and expected to miss most of the first half
  • Emil Oksanen - Their new import selection. Last season he was going to play in the USHL, but at the last second changed his mind and went back to Finland. The reason was because playing in the USHL means he would be ineligible for university hockey in Finland. Their are rumblings that his men's team in Finland might go bankrupt and players have been asked to find other teams. This was a flyer pick. Finland's pre-season starts in late July.

Offense

Sam Steel(19)  Matt Bradley(20)(1.1/.75/.56) Nick Henry(18)(1.13)
Jake Leschyshyn(18)(.85/.24) Wyatt Sloboshan(20)(.46/.67/.63)   Emil Oksanen(19)
Brayden Buziak(19)(.27) George King(19*)  Jeff de Witt(19)(.24/.33/.2)
Bryan Lockner(17)(.21) Robbie Holmes(18)(.17)    Koby Morriseau(17)(.09)
Duncan Pierce(17)(.06)
  • They recently picked up some depth with King and Morriseau
  • They may look at  upgrading sloboshan


Defence

Josh Mahura(19)(.72/INJ/.16) Dawson Davidson(19)(.35/.66/.27)
Jonathan Smart(18)(.42/.16)  Liam Schioler(19)(.14/.17)
Yegor Zmula D(17)

  • Great top line, 
  • Need more depth
  • They could use another top 4 dman.

Goaltending

Tyler Brown(20)(.911/.909/.896)
Max Paddock(17)(.902)

  • Seem solid, but not ideal with an overage tender They were forced to give up Hollett because they needed some offensive depth.

Imports

Yegor Zmula D(17)
Emil Oksanen F (19) * Pats might be lucky to get him to report

  • I'm a bit suprised the pats didn't try and select 2 19's. They did have a very late position but reading the comments in their paper it sounded like they were frustrated with the process. Still they needed some depth.
Age Index
18.4


Other Overagers
Connor Hobbs - Washington has 7 signed guys
Austin Wagner - L.A has 12 forwards  including 2 junior overages
Zborovskiy, Sergey(I) - Rangers have 7 signed guys. (8 last season)


These players will likely all look to make their pro teams, however their are outside possibilities of them being sent back.  AHL starts their season 3 weeks after the WHL, and a couple days before the WHL OA deadline. With the depth of their respective minor league teams it almost feel likely that they may be beneficiaries of an unexpected late gift.


Draft Outlook
2016-16 : Mid ( no 1st, no 3rd, 2 4ths, no 6th)
2015-17: Mid ( no 2nd, 2 3rds, no 4th, no 5th)
2014-18:   Mid ( no 3rd or 4th)
2013-19:  2nd ( 2 4ths)
2012-20:  no 1st ( 2 5ths)
  • Suggests they should be above average with fewer incoming prospects. 

TigerTurf's Projected Goal Scoring:
288

Intangibles

  • It is a guarantee that the pats will add to their lineup.
Potential to Increase in value
Best case scenario is if their  Import Emil Oksaned reports. and they get lucky and one of hobbs/wagner gets sent back. Also we expect them to add  an impact player or two

Potential to Decrease in value
If Sam steel get plucked to the pro's it would be devastating. They need more top end depth to be a championship team.

Prognosis


Last Year the high scoring Pats shipped off a lot of depth for Sloboshan/Mahura/Davidson/Smart/De Witt.

In terms of production. Sloboshan, Dewitt, Davidson,Mahura all lost  production switching teams.   Smart was the only one who gained production but the defenceman also saw time at forward.

Players traded away (zablocki/woods/Hilsendager/Pouteau all increased their production on other teams. If we look at their results they made a lot of moves and in terms of expectations vs where they ended up, It didn't do anything for them last season.

They were unfortunate victims of the injury bug and those moves they made were intended for a dual purpose "Get better last year, while also having those players for this season. Trading for multiple top end talent for the following season is very expensive and very seldom done.

This season...It's the Pats 100th Anniversary Season & They are hosting the Memorial Cup

They have All-star top end talent, but they do need a little more meat & depth to their roster, and I expect that they will shore that area up in a go-for-it at all costs scenario.

Right now on paper they have a  similar team to Moose Jaw, but on paper right now Moose jaw's roster looks better.

They are probably hoping like hell their Import Selection in Emil Oksanen comes to play for them.  Their draft boards cupboards took a chunk last season.  Their lack of picks in the the last few drafts are an indication that they may struggle for the next 4-6 years.

1st or 2nd in the division. 1st-3rd in the conference.


Saskatoon Blades 


Questions: 

They have a number of OA's still on their roster. Do they keep 3 OA forwards, or try to recoup some value? Hebig missed all of last season. He previously put up some really good numbers as a 18.

Offense

Braylon Shmyr(20)(1.00/.58/.62/.26) C. Hebig(20) (1.15/0/.55/.38) Josh Paterson(18)(.51/.26)
 Kirby Dach(16)(.53) Michael Farren(17)(.48)  Chase Wouters(17)(.39)
Gage Ramsay(19)(.22/.08)  Cole Johnson(19)(.29/.11) Logan Christensen(18)(.38/.26)
 Luus MacKenzie(18)(.15/.23) Dryden Michaud(19)(.03) Caleb Fantillo(19)(.18/.19)
Arjun Atwal(18)(.14)
  • Too many "filler" 19's for my liking, but their overall depth greatly improved.
  • Their secondary scoring will be dependent on their development of their 17/18's & scoring by committee approach
  • They have excellent crop of 16 & 17's  that will look to become impact players

Defence

Libor Hajek(19)(.4/.38) Mark Rubinchik(18)(.37)
Jake Kustra(19)(.13/.12) Jackson Caller(18)(.06)
Jantzen Leslie(18)(.03) Seth Bafaro(17)(.04)
  • Core all returns
  • They have a choice to inject a 20yr old overage, but it will be at the expense of a pretty good forward.

Goal-tending 

Logan Flodell(20)(.912/.904)
Joel Grybowski(18)
  • Solid starter
Imports
Libor Hajek D(19)(.4/.38)
Mark Rubinchik D(18)

Hajek was drafted in the 2nd round. Noted as not a point getter but a physicaal and strong defensive player. I think by getting him they decided to forego Fiala as an overage.

Age Index
18.4

Other Overagers
Evan Fiala(20)(.27/.33/.18)
Brock Hamm G(20)(.877/.885/.902)
M. McCarty(20)(.82/.44/.45)
  • They have 3 good quality overage forwards. Do they keep them all or do they try and recoup some value. Do they keep an OA defenceman and sell 2 OA forwards?

Draft History
2017-:15  early 2 1sts, 3 2nd, no 3rd or 4th, 2 5ths
2016-16 :  Early (no 4th)
2015-17:   Mid (2 later 1sts, early 3rd, no 4th)
2014-18:  No first (3-2nds, 2-3rds, no 5th)
2013-19:  No first( 2 late 2nds, no 3rd, no 5th)
2012-20:   (only 3rd/4th5th round)


  • This season is their last "flush year" due to past memorial cup runs
  • In accordance with the natural whl cycle their first draft of prime players group should be 18, which means that the blades should be jumping into average territory, and next season becoming stronger...however....
  • They attempted to do a ton of "value trading" and their 18's are rather weak. IMO they have delayed their overall recovery by a year in attempt to get better a year sooner.
  • Their 15/16/17 age groups look to be solid.
  • In 2019-2020 they should  have a strong team.

TigerTurf Projected Goal Scoring
256


Intangibles

  • The Blades have an older roster. A couple good overages, with a lot of depth players, supplemented with a good core of young 17's.
  •  Come trade deadline time they may have a 19 or 2 that another team may like as a 3rd line player.
  • I have read in the paper that they expect to be strong for this season, but I have troubles seeing it. At best they are in position to compete for 3rd/wildcard
  • They should consider flushing a few of their older bottom liners out in favor of younger guys to balance their roster. 
  • This should be their last "flush year"
  • I feel like they may fall into the trap of trying to make the playoffs this season, which will just transfer assets from a potential up year in 2 years to this season, when this season making 3rd/wildcard is pointless.

Potential to Increase in value

They have a trio of youngsters where if they can become impact players they will launch the blades from average to above average. I feel like the strength of their forward group will rely on their youngsters. If those guys can give them some good scoring depth, the blades could very well be above average and compete for a wildcard spot.

Potential to Decrease in value
If they decide to stay older and it fails.  

Prognosis


The Blades have an older lineup.  They've essentially "wheeled and dealed" the last couple years to  stay competitive as well as put some dishes back into the cupboards. Their last "down year" as a result of their 2013 memorial cup will be this year.

They have 3 very talented  youngsters in Michael Farren,Kirby Dach and Chase Wouters as players to keep an eye on. They have a bundle of 19's that aren't anything to be excited about.

They have a choice on whether to remain older and chase 3rd in the division/wildcard or go with a flush of youth. Most likely they will do a combo of both to try and get that spot, while not being to old.

 I expect them to be a slight notch better than last season. However so are a lot of other teams in their division.They will likely be fighting for 3rd in the division/ wildcard spot.

Swift Current Broncos

Offense

Tyler Steenburg(19)(1.25/.69) Aleksi Heponiemi(18)(1.19) Glenn Gawdin(20)(1.13/1/.75/.33)
Kaden Elder(19)(.4/.09/.06) Riley Stotts(17)(.31) Kole Gable(19)(.3/.21)
MacKenzie Wight(18)(.06)  Tanner Mole(18)(.03) Owen Blocker(17)(.02)
Logan Barlage(16)(4th overall 2015 pick)
  • Insane top line, but afterwards depth takes a huge hit which is a common theme within the Eastern Conference
  • If they don't get lucky and an overage forward returns I Imagine they will go out and bolster their lineup with an OA forward. If that is the case I expect them to dress a very competitive top 2 lines 

Defence

Artyom Minulin(19)(.71/.46) Colby Sissons(19)(.44/.31)
Sahvan Khaira(19)(.24/.16/.07) Dom Schmiemann(18)(.11)
Jake Hobson(18)(.06/.07) Matthew Stanley(19)(.02)
Alexander Jacson(16)
  • Lots of experience and an older back-end so it should be an above average group
  • They may make moves to get younger

Goal-tending

Taz Burman(20)(.907/.891/.890/.884)
  • May not be an all star, but should be solid in net

Imports

Aleksi Heponiemi(18)(1.19)
Artyom Minulin(19)(.71/.46)
  • Best combo of imports in the league. Swift excels at the Import Draft
Age Index
18.2

Other Overagers(Pro?)
Lane Pederson(1.05/.76/.32)
Max Lajoie(20)(.62/..6/.57)
Miller, Arthur
Chaulk, Conner
Arnold, Brandan

  • I think their are decent chances that at least 1 of the  Pederson/Lajoie ( NHL signed OA's) could return.
  •  Swift won't go get an OA until these players fates are decided.  They have some fringe guys to play until that happens.

Draft History
2017-15: mid-late ( 2 1sts, no 4th/5th)
2016-16 :  Early ( 2 1sts, no 5th)
2015-17:    Mid (no 4th, 2 5th)
2014-18:  Mid ( no 2nd,3rd,4th, 2-5th)
2013-19:  Mid ( no 4th)
2012-20:  Early ( 2 3rd)

  • Suggests they should have a weak 18yr old group, with the picks they gave up
TigerTurf Projected Goal Scoring
260

Intangibles

  • Do they get an OA back? Getting Pederson back would fit into their overall picture quite nicely. However their depth up front is lacking unless they are able to dress a lot of younger players to fill out their bottoms lines.
Potential to Increase in value
Their 2nd line. If they get an unexpected return with an OA player or acquire a solid overage that will compliment their up and coming younger group, they should be able to dress a very good quality top 6.
They need their incoming 16's/17's to be above average in strength to give much needed depth to the bottom 6.
Potential to Decrease in value
Their secondary scoring. I feel that the strength of this line will either catapult them up, or drop them back depending on their performance. A big or long-term injury to their top 6 could be enough to drop them back to average territory.

Prognosis

The broncos have the best Import Drafting in the WHL and those Imports will fuel this team from average to above average.

The Broncos may have some depth issues, however in their 2016, & 2017 drafts they  had an extra 1st round pick, which should give them a good group of younsters.

Their 2014 draft they were missing a lot of high picks, and their 18yr old group is sub-par. That will probably hurt them for next season, but how will that affect them this season?

I predict the Broncos have the best chance at getting 3rd in the division.



Prediction Time

Eastern Division

Top Tier (Strong)
Moose Jaw   Age:18.4    GF:293
Regina         Age: 18.4   GF:288  

  • These 2 rivals should have an amazing battle. I feel MJ may be better on paper right now, but once Regina adds that may change. Regina has strong top line but depth issues.  Moose jaw has strong depth up front, but a younger back-end that might be taken advantage of.
Above Average
Swift Current   Age:18.2     GF:260

  • Dark Horse I see potential in them to surprise if they can improve their depth


Average
Brandon            Age:18.33   GF:225

  • Volatile, Could have great assets to trade at the deadline. I have had thoughts of bumping them to both above average and below average

Saskatoon         Age:18.4     GF:256

  • Like Kootenay an older roster of lesser skilled talent. If they have chemistry they could rise, if they don't they might try for a rebuild.
Prince Albert   Age:18.2      GF:234  
  • Prince Albert is a semi-Dark Horse they have a roster where their youngsters should be better sooner than their opponents. Their roster is pretty young; However, they were a lot better team missing some vets late in the year, and that is why I am not putting them into below average territory.

Central Division

I felt the Central division was weak last season.

Top Tier
Medicine Hat Age: 18.5 GF:310

  • Will their defensive game be too much of a hamper? This is dependent on the pieces of the puzzle falling into place. If the puzzle pieces don't fall I would put them into the tier below

Above Average Tier
 Red Deer Age:18.3  GF: 247
  •  I would consider Red Deer as a "dark horse" Their is potential for them to push up

 Lethbridge Age:18.5  GF:220 *
  • They have potential with a strong playoff push last season with numerous injuries, but their depth may push them into average territory


Average Tier
Calgary Age: 18.45 GF: 270
  •  Volatile roster..They have some scoring potential, but could slip with volatility on defensive game. I'm not sure where to put them, this is a "safe spot". 
Kootenay Age:18.4 GF: 210
  •  lesser skill but experienced, similar to Saskatoon
Edmonton Oil Kings Age:17.9 GF:225

  • The Oil Kings look like a team that could defy the norm. They are very young, but their lineup up and down has  "great potential". They are likely a little too young and inexperienced to make significant noise this season however as the year goes on they will get better and better, and could grab a 3rd/wildcard spot. 
  •  I will be watching them closely because their progression will determine if they could have a strong roster next season, or if it will take 2 seasons.


Overall

Top teams 
MJ, Regina, MH.

My picks for Dark Horses:
Swift, Red Deer,

Teams with volatile rosters that could miss the playoffs or could push for 2nd in the division Brandon, P.A Calgary.

Unique Teams
Saskatoon - Older roster that attempted to get better in their last "flush year" through value trading. They also have a trio of 17's that good really improve a lot.



Team in the toughest "unluckiest spot"
Saskatoon - They tried to get better a year earlier in their rebuild. MJ and Regina look to have pretty strong teams. They might have a much better team, and may be tempted to bolster when they should supplement their 16/17's.

Kootenay - Similar to saskatoon, an older roster with lesser experience. They have had a couple big trades catch up with them. The Cody Eakin deal in 2011, as well as the Tim Bozon deal a few seasons ago. All those picks and players ravaged their depth.
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Other Notes

Regina - Their cupboards will be empty after this season. They could very well take a long time to recover after this season.