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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Season Wrap

As I'm sure all of you know... Seattle's season came to an end on Sunday evening but their playoff hopes came to an end on Saturday night in a one goal loss to Portland. That was followed on Sunday by a tough one goal loss to Tri-City who owned the Tbirds all season long.

Seattle was competitive to the end... but their demise came during a stretch in January and February after newly acquired Ryan Button and 20 year old D-man Travis Bobbee both went out with injuries. Seattle went 0-6 in the 6 games that Button missed. Go 2-4 in those 6 games and Seattle winds up in the 8th spot in the playoffs.

Quick wrap on the Seattle end of the season awards:

Shutouts: Calvin Pickard (1)
Hat Tricks: Brendan Rouse, Luke Lockhart, Colin Jacobs, Burke Gallimore, Marcel Noebels (4 goals)
Fan Favorite: Calvin Pickard
Most 3 Stars: Calvin Pickard
Graduates: Travis Toomey, Travis Bobbee, Brenden Dillon, Burke Gallimore (likely back), Erik Bonsor (maybe back), Ryan Button (maybe back)
Humanitarian of the Year: Travis Toomey
Scholastic Player of the Year: Mitch Elliot (2nd year in a row)
Most Improved: Brenden Dillon
Most Dedicated: Austin Frank and Michael Salmon
Rookie of the Year: Marcel Noebels
Defensive Player of the Year: Brenden Dillon
Top Scorer: Burke Gallimore
Most Valuable Player(s): Calvin Pickard and Brenden Dillon

Right here you can find my season preview. Let's see what I got right and what I got wrong.

First off I projected the team to score 195 goals and the team scored... 195 goals. Holy shit I'm good.

I also thought the team couldn't possibly be worse on defense than they were in 2009-2010 and called for 225 goals against. Whoops. Seattle gave up 264 goals, 9 more than they gave up in 09-10. Yikes

Using those projections I thought Seattle would have 61.77 points and they wound up with 64 points. Pretty good there.

I thought at best they would be as high as 6th and they were 10 points off that pace and at worst they would be 9th and technically they would be tied for 9th.

What I didn't count on... was the defense being as bad or worse than it was the year before. Mitch Elliot has a team worst -27 followed closely by Burke Gallimore at -26 and Brenden Dillon at -25.

Notables... yeesh not many. Marcel Noebels being 3rd on the team in scoring and only -11 was probably the best overall performance. Dillon winding up with 51 assists was fantastic but that plus/minus is glaring. Gallimore led the team with 34 goals and 70 points. Erik Fleming was -20 in just 50 games and Justin Hickman was -20 in just 46 games.

I still believe Travis Bobbee is a pretty good hockey player but I have to admit that his injury filled 14 point, -11 campaign was pretty much a disaster. I truly hope his shoulder is ok and he finds hockey somewhere and has a better season next year.

What do I think this team will look like next year??

Here goes...

Disclaimer: I don't ever, ever talk to Russ Farwell or Rob Sumner. I don't bother them. So these opinions have no inside knowledge and this is strictly what I would do with the team.

20 year olds: I think Gallimore is back and I'm optimistic that Button is back because someone mentioned to me that they didn't think Boston had enough spots for him in Providence next season. We'll see. Despite the fact that the defense might be scary next season I wouldn't bring back Bonsor and I would trade for a better 3rd 20 year old.

Back next season: Noebels, Lockhart, Jacobs, Rouse, Alos, Sutter, Doty, Hickman, Frank and Elliot. In my mind these guys are definitely on the team next year.

Guys I'm not sure about:

Sanvido - Sanvido has shown that he has elite scoring ability but very little ability to be a good enough skater to allow those skills to translate to the Major Junior level. I think he'll be once again fighting for his roster spot but considering that he is a shootout weapon and Seattle doesn't have many of those... I would expect him to make the team.

Lund - In my mind this was another lost season for Lund. He was -15 and most of his 13 points came conveniently around the trade deadline in a 9 game stretch. In my mind he needs to really come ready to play next year because if you can't do a lot better than that as a 19 year old I worry about your spot on the team.

Fleming - The former 1st round pick... I just can't see him on this team next year. For his own sake he would probably be better off going back to Junior A where he can play and be a solid contributor and have fun with the last couple years of his Junior Hockey.

Spooner - No idea what happens to Spooner. He didn't really show a lot but he didn't really play a lot either. I will say this though... as you will see below there is probably a defensive spot to be had for a guy like Spooner if he steps up and improves in the off-season.

So where does that leave us...

Defense -

Button (hopefully)
3rd 20 or Bonsor

Forwards -

Alex Kerfoot?
James Neil
Maybe 1 of: Wray, Edwardh, LeLievre, Houcher, Ness... etc.

The back end of the forwards should have a lot of competition.

Goaltenders -

Pickard obviously for one more glorious season. Beyond that... I have no idea. If I was Michael Salmon I would be begging to get out of here. Playing that little could not have been fun and if I were him I wouldn't see the point in sticking around another season. Now whether that means getting traded or going back to Junior A... I have no idea.

What to expect??

I think we're going to see Seattle finally get themselves back into the playoffs but I'm not expecting big things. I think this team might be able to crack the 200 goal mark again but I'm not very optimistic about the defense being improved by a ton. I think the best we can hope for is something like 200+ goals and a reduction in goals against down to the 220's and you might be able to get 75 points and get back into the playoffs.


Playoff predictions. Spokane over Portland in the West Finals, Red Deer over Saskatoon in the East and Red Deer over Spokane for the WHL Championship.


Kodi said...

I don't know why and it's not because of any inside info but I can easily see this team doing a bunch of small "change of scenery" deals. I don't know if it will be before the season starts or after but I do see it happening.

Anonymous said...

I think you left out Lockhart in your list of forwards.

Mr Tell13 said...

Hey Tyler, great post. Do you know if Seth Ambroze is still listed?

Thunnex said...

Fixed... Thanks.

Thunnex said...

He is still listed... I would probably give it a 25% chance he winds up here but you never know.

If the school situation doesn't look right to him and he gets drafted by a team that would rather him play in the CHL.... we may just see him here.

Anonymous said...

You really think they go with three 16-yr old d-men? Lund should be back. He may not score, but he hits like a ton of bricks. They'll need that against Portland next season. I would expect a different, younger backup goalie. They'll need to groom someone to replace Pickard, actaully maybe two since Picks will miss a month at World Juniors. Maybe one of their recent draft picks or Daniel Cotton who came up for a few games and saw a few minutes of ice time. I've heard Kerfoot is college bound and that's why he was available in the late rounds of the draft. I also heard they listed a couple of 17 yr old forwards who had good seasons at lower levels.

Jay said...

Lund's size is key, but he just doesn't have the skating ability and is always in the wrong position, if he improves on that then yeah he should have a spot. As for the defense lets hope we can bring in help there, i agree that Bonsor should not be back. And Fleming is in the same boat as Spooner just first round busts, who aren't cut for the WHL.

Anonymous said...

Gee Tyler, I think I could have predicted your playoff predictions. You're factoring goaltending in quite heavily and you're liking Darcy Kuemper...
We'll see...

Thunnex said...

I think that potential Red Deer - Saskatoon series would be epic. Dynamic offense against the best combination of defense and goaltending in the league.

Saskatoon is loaded with talent though... wouldn't surprise me one bit to see them take it but I'm gonna stick with defense and goaltending on that one.

In the West... I just think despite the fact that Portland was able to edge Spokane for the top spot... the Chiefs are overall just a better team. They score and they play better team defense. Plus... despite the fact that Coach Don Nachbaur has done a fantastic job with the Chiefs this year... let's not act like the Chiefs are completely devoid of talent. Tyler Johnson is, in my opinion, the most valuable player in the league and was probably the most valuable in the West last year and Jared Cowen is a heck of an anchor on the back end. Koper is a nice player and Brenden Kichton was +55. They had 8 - 20 goal scorers and nearly had 9 with Cowen scoring 18 times. They are a really good team.

Anonymous said...

what about connor honey listed

or jason ness draft

or jetlan houcther

any chance of making the team next year whats trooks status

Anonymous said...

what about jetlan houcher and connor honey

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