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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Early look at the Roster... Defense edition

Ok... back today with a look at the defense. I think we all have a lot of concerns about this unit, but I actually think this unit might have a decent chance at being good. Obviously there is no Hickey in this group and there probably isn't even any Scott Jackson's unless Warg makes a leap forward but what this unit might lack in top end talent they might have the depth to be pretty decent with some player improvements.

Top Pairing: Jeremy Schappert - Stefan Warg

Schappert was the winner of the team's Most Improved Award last season and should continue to improve into this season provided that he can stay healthy, which has been a problem in the past. If Schappert plays 65+ games this season I think you would have to consider it a huge success. Warg returns for his second season... check out the monthly progression last year.

September/October - 13 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, 8 PIMS, -7 Rating
November - 13 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, 19 PIMs, -1 Rating
December - 10 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 10 PIMs, +1 Rating
January - 15 games, 0 goals, 4 assists, 22 PIMs, -5 Rating
February - 11 games, 0 goals, 4 assists, 13 PIMs, +7 Rating
March - 8 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 6 PIMs, +7 Rating

Outside of a slight hiccup in January... this just screams of a kid who had started to figure it out by the end of the season. I expect Warg to be the Tbirds most dynamic defender who can throw the body around, move the puck and stay at home solidly. I expect him to be picking up the ~25 minutes per game that Hickey was playing.

Pairing #2: Brad Haber - Brenden Dillon

I've heard that the coaches love Haber and at times the scouts have loved Dillon. This is a big year for both of these guys as they are both 19 and will need to establish themselves to have a shot at staying around for their overage seasons. These two could really go either way, but if they have both improved in the off-season the Tbirds could find themselves with two pretty solid pairings at the top.

Pairing #3: Erik Fleming/Mitch Berg/Steve Chaffin/Jared Crema

You could call this the former first round pick bunch, but in reality... you can probably lump Haber and Dillon into these 4 guys and it will likely be 6 guys gunning for 4 spots. Statistically Fleming played the best of this bunch and will be looking to make his mark here in his 17 year old year. Mitch Berg is also a former first rounder who Seattle listed at the end of last season and was listed last season at 6'3" and 203. For Berg it all comes down to skating ability as his size is certainly not a problem. Chaffin joins the other former first rounders looking for a spot here and will need to improve on his -12 Rating. Interesting to note that Evander Kane might be getting ready to start this season in the NHL and both of these guys were selected before him in the 2006 Bantam Draft. The interesting wild-card in the bunch is Jared Crema who was listed last season at 6'4" and 190 lbs. Crema played last season for the North Island Silvertips and I don't know 100% that he is coming to Seattle but he did attend the off-season "camp" several weeks ago which seems to me like an indication that he is coming to Seattle.

Others - Others that will be in the mix looking for a roster spot possibly? Ryan Armbruster, Tanner Muth, Kaydon Trumbley, and Zach Walker.


I won't bother doing a separate post on the goaltenders as there won't be any mystery there. Jacob DeSerres and Calvin Pickard will be going into the season and goaltenders 1A and 1B and the Tbirds appear ready to let them split time and go with the hot goaltender.

I know there is a ton of speculation out there that DeSerres should be traded but I don't know what Seattle could get back for a 19 year old goaltender coming off a tough year and an injury. I feel like this is a situation where his actual value to Seattle is far greater than his trade value. It isn't a horrible thing to have two quality goaltenders around and if the defense winds up being poor and giving up 30-40 shots a night, you're going to need two goaltenders to handle the load.

For your weekend teaser... I have an exclusive coming on Monday or Tuesday.

1 comment :

Mr Tell13 said...

this is I guess a continuity of my previous post I guess....
As far as the warg stats, I think they are flawed in one way, the plus months (Feb and March) were when he was playing with Hickey(unless someoen can tell me that on the road in the first half he paired with Hickey also that case bad), so I don't know if they tell the whole story. I think I made it clear in previous post that I am not a huge fan of the player,but he does play with confidence ...and really that is half of it at this level
Schap is going to be schap, solid position defense, decent 1st pass. If he can b more effective from the point , he will have a great season, and hopefully he will be playing every games.

for Haber and Chaffin, if they could borrow from Warg's confidence a little (I guess more Chaffin ) we would be in decent shape. Dills and Fleming are going to (hopefully ) have breakthru seasons

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