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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Jon's look at the roster, with a huge surprise thought

I am going to do something a little different then Tyler did for the roster.
This is mainly due to the fact that I know Seattle has made some player movements (players sent back home), so it wouldn't be fair.

What this season means

I think (and most everyone I talk to agrees) that last season was a stepping stone year.
One to build on, get your feet wet, see what the playoffs are like.

This season is supposed to be a building block.
Move up the standings, get home ice in the first round, make it to the second round, compete every night.

And next season is the season you make a big run.
Compete for first overall, deep run into the playoffs, should win most nights.

This years Roster

I will use the roster Tyler gave, and look at it by age
It is basically the exact same that I had, with two differences (Folk instead of of Pederson, and I added Osterman)

20 year olds (2): Elliot (20), Swenson (20)19 year olds (6): Lipsbergs (19), Hickman (19), Delnov (19), Honey (19), Sheen (19), Troock (19)
18 year olds (0):
17 year olds (2): Holub (17), Eansor (17)
16 year olds (3): Kolesar (16), Pederson (16), Barzal (16)

20 year olds (1): Forsberg (20)
19 year olds (1): Wardley (19)
18 year olds (4): Smith (18), Foulk (18), Hauf (18), Theodore (18)
17 year olds (2): Wolf (17), Douglas (17)
16 year olds (1): Bear (16)

20 year olds (0):
19 year olds (1): Fordyce (19)
18 year olds (1): Myles (18)
17 year olds (1): Mumaugh (17)
16 year olds (0):

The single biggest thing I notice is NO 18 year old forwards.
The forward group is top heavy in older players, where the defense is top heavy right in the middle.

Does this roster support what the season means

If this season is a building block, then to me, no it doesn't.
This roster has eight 19 and 20 year old forwards, two 19 and 20 year old defensemen, and one 19 year old goalie.
I am going to argue that because both Hauf and Theodore played so much as 16's, that they might actually be counted in the 19 year old range, because of experience.
By doing that, the roster goes to eight 19 and 20 year old forwards, four 19 and 20 year old defensemen, and one 19 year old goalie.
That is 13 players that are 19 or 20 years old.
That is a team that is built to make a run this season, not next.
Those are roughly the same number of players that both Portland and Edmonton used last season.

The future

If next season is the make a run season, then lets take this roster, and move it out a year
I have filled in a couple of players that we said don't make the team, and a couple 16's just to make the numbers fit

20 year olds (6): Lipsbergs, Hickman, Delnov, Honey, Sheen, Troock
19 year olds (0):
18 year olds (2): Holub, Eansor, Folk
17 year olds (3): Kolesar, Pederson, Barzal
16 year olds (2): Volcan, Elder

20 year olds (1): Wardley
19 year olds (4): Smith, Foulk, Hauf , Theodore
18 year olds (2): Wolf, Douglas
17 year olds (1): Bear, Osterman
16 year olds (2): Khaira, Fabbro

20 year olds (1): Fordyce
19 year olds (1): Myles
18 year olds (1): Mumaugh
17 year olds (1): Flodell
16 year olds (0):

But, there are still eight 20 year olds, and we only get three, so lets pair them down.
Lipsbergs and Delnov both gone because they are also Euro's.
I will argue that Fordyce is not kept, because Myles or Mumaugh will be a 2 year backup, and ready to take over.
Lets say Troock stays healthy all season, and moves up to the AHL.
That still leaves four: Hickman, Honey, Sheen, Wardley.
Probably not going to keep all three forwards, so lets just for argument say Honey makes it to the AHL.
So that leaves the roster looking like

20 year olds (2): Hickman, Sheen
19 year olds (0):
18 year olds (2): Holub, Eansor, Folk
17 year olds (3): Kolesar, Pederson, Barzal
16 year olds (2): Volcan, Elder

20 year olds (1): Wardley
19 year olds (4): Smith, Foulk, Hauf , Theodore
18 year olds (2): Wolf, Douglas
17 year olds (2): Bear, Osterman
16 year olds (2): Khaira, Fabbro

20 year olds (0):
19 year olds (1): Myles
18 year olds (1): Mumaugh
17 year olds (1): Flodell
16 year olds (0):

So does that line up scream WHL championship quality.
Anyone, Anyone, Anyone?
Bueller, Bueller, Bueller? (movie reference for anyone that doesn't understand it)
That looks to me like a team that can keep the puck out of the net.
But counting on a bunch of forwards that are basically 17 years old, or 18 with not much experience to score.
Obviously, there would be two new euro forwards (assuming the CHL doesn't change the rules again that makes it so Seattle gets screwed <g>).

So where do we go from here

I did all this to prove a point to Tyler and someone else in email.
The point was that we were overall in good shape for this season, thinking that it was a building block year.
When I wrote all this out, and looked at next years roster, I actually used the argument to convince myself of something completely different.

Seattle should add high end talent now, and try and make a run this season

Go out and get a true veteran goaltender for this season.
Go out and add two very good 18 year old forwards (note, I didn't say amazing high end studs).

What do you have to trade

Obviously, you have to give talent to get talent.
The days of GM's taking your garbage, and giving up their talent doesnt happen any longer.

Trade one of the goalies you don't keep, because Flodell (or one of the other goalies at camp) looked good.
Trade one of the younger defenders, because looking at this, next season would have 10 defenders, and we know we cant keep that many.
Because you have had four 1st round picks in the last two years (compliments of Marcel Noebels <g>), you can get away with offering up a higher end pick.
If you have to, you had some good 16's forwards that didn't make it, offer them up.

I don't get a top end 18 year old unless the price is right.  A great one, would probably be too expensive.
And, I know a few are going to say go get Alex Forsberg from PG.  The price might be right because he is known to have, shall we say some head issues (notice no NHL teams even used an 8th round pick to take a chance, that should tell you something), but there is no way I bring that into the locker room.

I make these moves earlier in the season if I can.
I want to put distance on other teams early, so you are not playing catch up further into the season.  I would much rather have a 5 point lead with 18 games to go, then be 5 points back.

One other reason to take this approach for this season

Here is how I view the US division and Western Conference overall.

Start with the US division.  Portland should have the best returning talent, and most I see are predicting them to win the division, and possible the conference again.  I think everyone else (including Seattle), have about the same level of talent right now.  Spokane maybe has a little more.  Tri-City has good talent and a great goalie.  Everett has lots of new talent, and a new coach, but does all that mesh?

Then move to the Western Conference.  I think Kelowna should be good and compete against Portland. Kamloops was built for last season, PG should be better, Vancouver will be better, but still young.  Victoria, heck, there on an island and think they are royal, so who knows how they will turn out.

But basically, I see a couple high end teams, and everyone else right around the same level.  So by making the moves, you easily could put yourself up into 3rd in the conference, and if things work out well, you can make a very deep run.

So there you go, have fun telling me I am a complete idiot for thinking this way


Unknown said...

You sir, are an idiot! j/k

Nice write up and the format you used really illustrated the hole at 18 yo forward. When you said trade one of the younger defencemen, do you mean the 18yo group? I think all those 18yo are pretty good. If you are really high on Bear and think Bear/Wolf/Douglas can hold their own on a third pairing then you might be able to trade two of the 18yo defensemen. I could see trading for A. Forsberg this year with his brother here to reign him in, but the price would have to be pretty good in case he has issues here too. Do you have any specific names of who you would like to see the T-birds target? I'm not generally familiar with other teams rosters.

I'm not sure if this is done with the import draft, but could they pick up a 19yo forward in it next year? Perhaps with the second round pick. Maybe find a guy who has been drafted in his 18 yo season due to development or late birthday and has a desire to get a year in in North America. I see the T-birds as eventually wanting to get it so they are just using their first round pick each year in the import draft so they don't have euros that are the same age on the team.

Jon said...

By younger Dmen, I am referring to a 16 (or 17) one. I wouldnt move any of the 18 dmen at all.

Personally, I would never trade for A. Forsberg, even if his brother is here to keep him in line. Way to many chances that even his brother couldn't. Heck, from what I have heard, he couldn't do that when he was in PG (just hearsay, no real knowledge).

Jon said...

As far as I know,you can draft any import player in the draft. Never seen it done, but I suppose you could draft a 20 year old. So they could pick up a 19 one year wonder, exactly like you mentioned. And if they don't address the whole with forwards now, I would fully expect them to do something like that.

Unknown said...

If you keep all your 18 dmen you are really keeping that logjam in place for one more year.

You have 2 15, 16, and 17 yo dmen that seem to be on everyone's radar. It seems to be a big chance to trade one of the 16 or 17s if the other doesn't pan out like you think it would. I think the ultimate goal is to have 1-2 defensemen in each age group. Meanwhile you have 5 19+ dmen next year, still not much playing time for the younger guys and you probably have 3 20s going into the year after that (I don't think Theodore would be here as a 20), you probably keep 1 or 2 of the 20 dmen and all of a sudden you have a lot of spots for guys who have little playing time in the league. I don't really want to go through relying on inexperienced dmen again like we did a few years ago with Theodore and Hauf. I also think the 18yo would carry more value, a team knows what they are going to get.

I'll cede to your superior wisdom on A. Forsberg :)

It'll be exciting to see what moves, if any are made and how this hole is filled. It'll be nice to watch a preseason game tomorrow and see how they look against another team.

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