I'll save the roster breakdown for another day but there are arguably only 2 or 3 spots open on this roster unless Russ gets creative and makes some trades before the season started.
I counted 7 defencemen who are locks or near locks to make the roster and the team will likely carry only around 8 or maybe 9. I counted 11 forwards who will likely make the roster and once you count Noebels who hasnt skated yet and the "yet to be traded for 20 year old player" that Seattle will no doubt acquire you have 13 forwards who are likely on the roster and they will probably only carry around 14.
As such... most of the players in camp know they are already making the team and that creates a mostly boring game.
That said... here are the few mental notes that I made to myself yesterday.
- I love watching Colin Jacobs play. He is the kind of player I love having on my team. He always plays hard, always. As I stated earlier, these games really don't mean anything and a handful of players are playing like it doesn't matter... but Jacobs isn't one of them. He's playing like he has something to prove on each shift and I can appreciate a player like that.
- In my opinion, one of those roster battles is going to be the 8th and final defensive position and that battle will likely come down to Austin Frank, Zach Walker, Evan Wardley and Austin Baecker. Each brings something slightly different to the table and to various degrees I like all of them. I'd probably lean towards Wardley being the guy.
- Smooth transition... Wardley is a 16 year old. Look for the Tbirds to keep only 2 or maybe 3 players from the '94 class on the roster this year. Troock is a no-brainer with my pick for the 2nd spot being Wardley. I think Jetlan Houcher is making it difficult for them to send him home.
- Goaltending depth beyond Calvin Pickard and Michael Salmon is looking quite thin. I haven't seen anything impressive from the other goaltenders. That doesn't mean they've been bad... they just aren't standing out.
- One final note. In the closing minutes of the scrimmage Silvester fore-checked hard and went in a little high on Scott Ramsay knocking him to the ice (no small feat). Ramsay didn't care for it and went after Silvester and they had a very brief fight that was more of a wrestling match than anything else. Two points here. I've been saying for a while that if Silvester can stay healthy that he might be in for a big year. 60-70 points big? Probably not. The ultimate sparkplug who can skate, hit and score a little? Maybe. Second point. I like the fact that Ramsay isn't going to take shit from anyone even if it is just a training camp scrimmage.
- The one player I wanted to watch more than anyone was Connor Sanvido. The 2008 1st round bantam selection must make this roster to have any future with the Thunderbirds. Thus far I just haven't seen enough out of him. To his credit he was skating hard and did have an assist on the first goal that came off a rebound from his shot... but I just don't think he is a slam dunk to make this roster. Frustrating for the fans and probably Sanvido himself.
Armed with the knowledge that I wouldn't be able to attend I asked a fan that I trust to take some notes. Without further ado... here they are.
The headline of tonight’s scrimmage should be
“Vets return to the ice for the first time, and it looked like it”
The vets were back on the ice, but only a few really stood out.
Overall, you could tell it was the vets first time on the ice in a game situation.
Not a lot of great passing and flow.
Lots of them just blended in, and did nothing to make me take notice.
By rough count, this is the breakdown by age
15 – 12
16 – 11
17 – 9
18 – 12
19 – 5
20 – 1
One notable missing was (Ryan) Armbruster.
3rd round pick in 2008.
New additions (older new players)
Thomas Stuart-Dant (forward - 91) (Winnipeg boy that played last season NCAA Minot State, listed as 6’0, 180)
Looks like he played at Lake Superior State before that
Matt Krahn (goalie, and no relation to Brent - 91)
Met him last night, big broad shoulder kid)
Cody Brown (defense – 93)
Was in PG’s camp last season
Connor Sanvido (forward - 93)
Zach Walker (defense – 93)
New additions (older players not really with team last season)
Jacob Doty (forward – 93)
Frank Austin (defense – 93)
Dave Sutter (defense – 92)
Austin Baecker (defense – 92)
Marcel Noebels (shoulder)
Branden Troock (migraine headache)
Returnees that looked good
Colin Jacobs – constant hustle, nice goal, hitting people
Brenden Dillon – not afraid to rush the puck, got back to play defence, laid out a couple nice hits
Burke Gallimore – all over the ice, flying, worked hard, skated hard
Returnees that were ok
Chance Lund – hustled a lot, used size, found the net once, but all other shots were wide, just like last year
Charles Wells – had one good show of his speed, but that was about all
Brendan Rouse – good passing, and generally hustled and hit
Luke Lockhart – Showed some speed and a great shot. Passed well
Returnees I had to check my paper to see if they were on the ice
Tyler Alos – huge, easy to find on the ice, but that was about it
Ryan Aasman – had one rush that made me take note
Ask and you shall receive. This is the nighttime coverage map for KKNW 1150 AM and the coverage map for KFNK 104.9 The Monkey. It looks like the reception should be pretty good but might be a little weak in parts of the east hill. It will almost certainly be better for most people with the exception of some people to the South and East of the Kent area.
Getting some games on a much bigger network is a huge move for the Tbirds and the added mention of the games by the on air hosts should be a boost as well.
EDIT: The Monkey is out. After TWO seasons on 104.9 the Monkey the Tbirds will be moving back to 1150 KKNW for most (52) of their games.
ESPN 710 AM will broadcast 20 regular season games and the other 52 will return to KKNW 1150 AM.
Official Press Release is here.
My request was rejected.
So instead... Yesterday the team announced that you can tune in to Thom Beuning and Ian Henry doing a live blog by visiting the website here.
The Tbirds announced yesterday that Glen Goodall will return for the Opening Night festivities.
I can't begin to explain to you how excited I am to see this happen. I'm probably one of only a few die hard Tbird fans remaining who saw Goodall play and it will be a real treat to see him back in Seattle with the team.
Goodall has been playing professionally in Germany for the past 10 seasons.
You could make a pretty strong argument that Goodall wasn't the best player in franchise history. Fan sentiment seems to lean towards Patrick Marleau as the winner of that honor but nobody can argue that Goodall had the greatest impact on the franchise.
To recap... Goodall holds the WHL record for regular season games played at 399 and most goals scored at 262. He played 59 games and had 26 points for the Breakers at the age of 14 and "only" 41 points the following year as a 15 year old before busting out for 63 goals and 112 points as a 16 year old.
His biggest season came as a 19 year old playing with sidekick Victor Gervais he notched 76 goals and 163 points leading the Thunderbirds to a 52-17-3 record with a home record of 33-2-1 at Mercer Arena. Shockingly good for only 2nd in the conference behind those damn Kamloops Blazers. Unfortunately, he appeared in only 10 of the Tbirds 13 playoff games notching 14 points and the Tbirds lost in the 2nd round of the playoffs 5 games to 1 to the Blazers.
(Quick side note... for those who haven't been following the team that far back. The rivalry with Kamloops was as strong as any rivalry. Portland of course... but Kamloops was at least a close 2nd due unfortunately to the fact that Kamloops always seemed to eliminate Seattle in the playoffs each year.)
At 5'8" and 170 pounds he was always my favorite player for being so good while being such a relatively small player (I'm only 5'8" as well). Many fans have slightly dismissed his WHL records pointing to his involvement as a 14 and 15 year old but many fail to admit that while he did have 67 points in those two seasons he did not play in the league as a 20 year old and a vast majority of his points were still accumulated between his 16-19 year old seasons.
It will be with pride and excitement that I wear my customized Goodall jersey to Opening Night to welcome back number 10.
- Kent City Counsil voted 6-0 to spend a cool 225k to build a video board that will sit outside of ShoWare Center. This is awesome news and should help the building promote the Thunderbirds and their other events.
- Spokane Chiefs announced yesterday that they will hold an outdoor game against Kootenay. I personally think the outdoor game concept is starting to get worn out but I still think this is pretty cool. Dave Trimmer has the story on the game.
- Portland is thinking about where they are going to play after the 2013 season and people are already speculating about the possibility of them moving to Victoria should a plan to improve the Memorial Coliseum fail. Let's all hope that doesn't happen.
Here are the times. All skates will be held at ShoWare unless specifically specified.
Thursday, August 26th: 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Friday, August 27th: 8:00am - 10:00am AND
Friday, August 27th: 4:30pm - 6:30pm at Kent Valley Ice Centre
Saturday, August 28th: 10:00am - 12:00 noon
Saturday, August 28th: 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Sunday, August 29th: 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Monday, August 30th: 6:00pm - 8:30pm
This leaves the Thunderbirds with the ability to add two 20 year old players to the roster.... if they want.
One thing I see as a very real possibility is the Tbirds carrying only two 20 year olds on the roster instead of the maximum allowed three.
Why would Seattle do this? Quite simply, playing time. Take one look at this roster and you'll see a roster loaded with young players. Seattle already has 6 defensemen returning from last season that saw significant playing time in the form of Dillon, Bonsor, Fleming, Aasman, Ramsay and Muth. If you include Austin Frank and newly acquired import Dave Sutter in that mix you'd have 8.
Up front you have 10 likely returners in Troock, Rouse, Silvester, Gallimore, Lund, Wells, Jacobs, Lockhart, Elliot and Alos. Add to that Noebels and possibly Sanvido and that number grows to 12 forwards and 20 total players.
I don't have much doubt that any 20 year old player acquired would likely be an upgrade over the players at the bottom of this roster. Adding a quality player would most certainly improve this team in the short term. The real question lies in how that acquired player would possibly adversely affect the playing time and development of a younger player.
Put it this way...
Let's say this team is still 4th or 5th in what looks like a very tough U.S. Division. Wouldn't you rather see Alos, Elliot and Troock on your 1st or 2nd Power Play unit instead of a 20 year old player that won't be around for what appears to be a pivotal 2011-12 season?
Given that, I still believe that Seattle will go get one 20 year old. I just wouldn't hold your breath waiting for Russ Farwell to go out and get two of them.
Let's take a look at what might be out there.
Brandon: Darren Bestland, Jordan Hale, Mark Schneider, David Toews and Shayne Wiebe.
Brandon has a ton of 20 year olds and they have more than I have even bothered to list here. Jacob DeSerres and Andrew Hayes are also 20, but neither are coming to Seattle. Bestland and Schneider are defensemen and I don't think Seattle is going in that direction. This leaves Shayne Wiebe, Jordan Hale and David Toews as possibilities. My guess would be that Brandon keeps Toews, making Hale and Wiebe available... with Wiebe carrying a higher price tag than Hale.
Everett might have someone like Daniel Iwanski available but trades within the division are always tough so I wouldn't look for any deal like that to happen.
Medicine Hat will also likely have several forwards available as they will probably only keep one of a group that includes Joey Frazer, Taylor Gal, Tristin King and Matt MacKay. You could pick a name out of a hat... I'm not sure any of the 4 would specifically appeal to Seattle. King is the tallest of the bunch at 6'0" so I'll say maybe they would have the highest interest in him.
Moose Jaw will have a few players available including former Tbird Spencer Edwards, along with Thomas Frazee and Dylan Hood. Moose Jaw could do any number of things, but in a situation where they would keep Bosch and Rowinski they would only keep either Frazee or Hood. Frazee is 6'4" and had 55 points last year. Gee... you think they might be interested in a 6'4" Center who had 55 points last season. I'm thinking they do... but they could also go after Hood as well.
Prince Albert could have Colin Redden or Jordan Hickmott available.
Red Deer... you're looking at maybe Brett Ferguson.
Saskatoon has several choices... including Sena Acolatse and Jeremy Boyer who might find themselves looking for a job. They also have Randy McNaught (6'5") and Travis Toomey (6'4") who are big tough forwards.
Don't get too attached to this very loose "breakdown" of the 20 year old situation as things are pretty fluid and they are changing all the time.
UPDATE: I don't think this changes Seattle's situation at all but to show just how fluid the situation really is... Kelowna just acquired Brendon Wall reducing their number to 4. Reddin or Hickmott could still conceivably be a target.