Key Off-Season Events
May 4th - WHL Bantam Draft
June 1st - NHL deadline to Sign 2015 Draft Picks
June 21st Golden Knights Expansion Draft
June 23/24 - NHL Entry Draft
June 28ish CHL Import Draft (Can't find an exact date)
New NHL Team
This season their will potentially be 50 more contract spaces(most likely less) available with a new NHL team. At this point the Vegas team doesn't have an affiliate AHL team, but their GM has said mentioned that they are only looking for spaces for 6-8 players with an affiliate.
John Dahlstrom(I) -Drafted unsigned
Matt Bradley -Drafted unsigned
Nick Schneider - Signed
June 1st is NHL signing deadline for Dahlstrom/Bradley
John Dahlstrom - While he is eligible to come back, and could be sent back. Chicago has a lot of room in their minor league system. Also with the Tigers heavy OA roster, it makes sense to spend that OA spot on an equally good offensive player while re-drafting the Import spot. For that reason I feel Dahlstrom is unlikely to be a Tiger next season, even if he does get sent back.
Matt Bradley - He is drafted, Will he be signed or re-enter the draft? If he is signed, will he be back? If he comes back will the Tigers keep him? So Many questions.....
Montreal has a busy off-season with their AHL prospects. They tend to pump their AHL and ECHL affiliates with players and this season 11 contracts are expiring. I'm not really sure what will happen to him. My first instinct is that he may be back; However we will wait and see if Montreal will sign him, as that could change his story.
Nick Schneider - He is signed and he is talented, but I feel like he lost his focus entirely this past season. He has had an NHL contract for 2 years in a row, and played in a bundle of AHL games. He knows he can play at the next level. I almost wonder if he met a girl and combined that with an NHL contract in his pocket, meant that he wasn't really as focused as he could have been.
He hasn't been able to prove he is a WHL starter material because he hasn't been able to play a full season as a starter. He is a guy that I think would benefit from a change of scenery because the Tigers have given him the starters role 2 years in a row, and 2 years in a row the Tigers had to acquire goal-tending help.When he is on top of his game he is a really good goaltender,
The Flames have some strong AHL goaltending depth that are RFA's at the end of the season; however, their top 4 tenders are not signed as of yet for next season. The flames also just signed World Junior goaltender for Team USA in Tyler Parsons who likely leapfrogged over Schneider on their depth charts.
My initial instincts are that Schneider will be sent back. I feel that if he is sent back to the whl he will be traded.
Likely To Be Back, Potential for NHL Interest
I'm slightly nervous with these 3. I feel that all 3 will be good enough to get NHL entry Level Contracts by the time they graduate the WHL. I feel that all 3 players would benefit playing 1 more year of junior before going pro.
Zach Fischers' situation is also unique.. I would consider him a "newAge" prospect. He wasn't even a consideration for the NHL in his draft year with injuries (35 games played with 13 pts). He sprung up into a physical power forward. For that reason he may generate substantial interest.
I think their is good potential he gets drafted in his 2nd year of eligibility. I also want to toot my own horn because last summer I kinda predicted a big point increase. http://tigerturf.blogspot.ca/2016/04/next-season.html
Mark Rassell - I think he will get a camp invite this summer and a few teams will be keeping an eye on him. I think if he has another strong season(40+ goals) he will earn an entry level deal following his overage season. I think most NHL would want to wait and see how he performs. If one team comes along and loves his game, their is an outside chance something could happen, but I expect he will be back and look to have a standout year.
Kristians Rubins - He suffered a shoulder injury just before christmas and played through the season. I felt he wasn't as good in the second half, and his shoulder could be a very good reason why. He is having off-season surgery and may be out for the start of next the season. For that reason if the Tigers decided to keep him he will be back.
I kinda feel that all 3 should be back with more uncertainty towards Fischer.
Other OA Eligible To Come Back.
Forrest/Schultz/Henderson - Man next year could be stressful for these 3. Their may not even be a spot for them to compete for with the Tigers. If the Tigers get unlucky and have a few guys plucked out they are very strong backup depth options.
If the Tigers decide to make any early off-season moves it may involving 1 or 2 of these 3.
Watching Schneider getting pulled quickly and often towards the end of the year, if the Tigers give the goaltender an AO spot I feel it would be bullion.
Estimated Depth Charts (Bullion, Rubins, (Br,RaFi)
I'm going to call the 3rd OA spot BrRaFi because of the difficulty and uncertainty of Bradley, Rassell, Fischer.
More on the Overage Debate further down.
Kristians Rubins(20) Dylan Macpherson(19)
David Quenneville(19) Dalton Gally(19)
Ryden Fedyck (16)
I feel that the strength of this group will depend on Rubins or an equivalent #1 Dman. If Rubins doesn't return, the depth and experience is average. If Rubins or equivalent does come back I think this group has potential to be above average.
Rubins and Macpherson should be a solid #1 pairing. They also have a deadly PP Quarterback with Quenneville. Macphee and Gally bring physical presences. I don't think it is quite championship material but it is a decent mix.
Max Gerlach(19 Mason Shaw(19) BrRaFI(20)
Josh Williams(16) James Hamblin(18) Import(18/19?)
Tyler Preziuso(18) Gary Haden (18) Ryan Jevne(19)
Jalen Price (16)
Henry Rybinski (16)
The Tigers will have a very solid Top 4. (Shaw,Gerlach,brRaFi, Hamblin). Knowing the Tigers, they probably want to dress an impressive Top 6. Their are multiple ways to do that but It will be tricky.
Jevne/Preziuso to anchor the 3rd line, fill in Haded/Chyzowski/Williams and it gives a very solid 3rd line and start of their 4th lines.
Offense First (Find a Top 5&6 to fill the Top 2 lines)
This scenario won't work if more than 1 of the BrRaFI combo don't come back.
5th Spot (Re-Draft Dahlstrom's Spot)
If they can find another Dahlstrom that would give them a Top 5. Easier said than done
Their are multiple ways to do this, but they are tricky. It would also involve keeping 2 OA forwards
1) Finding a new non OA starting goaltender. (2F,1D overagers)
2) re-draft the Euro D spot. (1G,2F overagers)
3) Aquire one through the trading of their extra O/A players
4) Go with a Top 5 and then hope that a forward like Prezusio stands out.
Since both current Tiger Imports are 20, the Tigers will be eligible to draft 2 new Imports. They may go into the year with an attempt to draft 2 very strong imports and just seeing what they can get and going from there.
Who knows maybe they draft 2 forwards in anticipation that they keep rubins, and have 2 forwards battle for 1 spot. Or maybe they go with 1D, and 1F and just see what training camp brings.
Summary of Thoughts For Next Season
I feel that next season the Tigers won't have a down year, but how well they do will really depend on how their off-season plays out. Right now their is potential from 3rd in the division to an unexpected Dark-Horse.
Brief Look at the Central
Calgary I need more time on their roster. First glance they look pretty average. Great top line depth
Red Deer if they loose Musil, and Spacek they will have offensive issues. I feel that they will have a down year if they loose both.
Lethbridge is interesting. They will have a very similar team to what they are dressing in the playoffs, minus Tyler Wong, potentially estephan. Their defensive core may be the same. If Estephan comes back one would expect they will have a real solid team.
Edmonton is still quite young and need some more time to develop some more depth/experience to their roster.
Tiger Extra O'A
They could very well have a short time to deal some very quality OA's next season. But we will see what they do at the CHL Import draft.