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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Thoughts on Schuldhaus and Wolf

If you've followed on twitter or talked to most of the people that have been to the scrimmages and main camp and you bring up the name Brandon Schuldhaus, you get an answer that might go something like "Wow, that kid sure has looked impressive.  I would keep him on my team for sure, possibly even replacing a couple veteran players we have"

But lets look at the options he has for the upcoming, and look at it from his side of things.  I think he has two options (or more, who knows).

Option 1:
Play in Seattle as the #6-7-8 defender, sit half the games, and get some ice time in the others, probably not play on PP or PK, and learn the ropes.

Option 2:
Last season he played for Shattuck Saint Mary's prep academy.  It is arguable one of the top 5 prep schools for hockey in the world.  Its alumni include the likes of Crosby, Toews, Kessel, etc.  Not only is it a great hockey school, it is also a very good educational school.  The team plays roughly 50 games a season, and Schuldhaus would most likely be a #1-2 defender, and play on the PK and PP.

So which would you choose as the player or the players family?

As bad as this sounds being a Seattle fan, I know my choice would be to go back to Shattuck for another year, work hard, get better at all aspects of the game, and come back to Seattle as a 17 year old and look to become a #4-5-6 player that plays every game.  This is why I feel he will not be on the team this season.

If the situation was a little different, and Schuldhaus was looking at going back to Midget and his team played 30 games against lower talent, my answer would be totally different, but it is not.

The next player that seem to be in people's discussion list is Kevin Wolf".  He is the player that most fans think is competing with Schuldhaus for a defensive spot.  So if you tell them that Schuldhaus is not on the team, they say, well then Wolf can be.  He can play half the games, sit out the rest, be ready in case of an injury, and when that happens, become the #6 defender, play a little, and that is all.

So I ask all those fans to look at it from Wolf's side of things and would you be happy with that situation.  I will remind you that is the situation he did as a 16 and 17 year old.  So the answer is of course "No way would I do that again if I was him", which usually leads to silence while they try to figure out where to go next.

So all of a sudden, if you look at the situations from the players side of things, you now have two players that are not playing on the team, and one open spot.

Do I have an answer for who will fill in the spot.  Well, no, not really, but I do have an idea.  This is going to sound really odd and almost counter intuitive.  Everyone knows Seattle is deep of defense, and needs some offense, but why not trade Wolf to a team that is not deep on defensive, needs an 18 year old, and in return, take a younger 16 year old defender that is willing to fit the role of learning this season.

Don't be surprised if you see neither Schuldhaus nor Wolf on the roster this season.


Anonymous said...

Wardley isn't listed on the White vs Blue roster. Trade forthcoming? Injury?

Anonymous said...

Injury I believe. He sat out all weekend as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Wolf is a "nice kid", but he (in my opinion) just isn't quite good enough to play at this level. Unfortunately, I believe Spencer might be in the same category. Go ahead, beat me up for voicing my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Correct! If he were to be traded it wouldn't be until after he gets back from NHL/AHL/ECHL camp if he's even returned.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what Spencer you've been watching but Calvin Spencer has been having a great camp. You can't base it on last season. He joined the team in December from high school back in Minnesota where they don't play that many games and was seldom used on a veteran team.

Anonymous said...

Agree on Wolf, he just doesn't have the chops to play here. I also thought Spencer was having a very strong camp. More than once tonight I checked my roster for 22 blue.

Unknown said...

I am only putting this comment here because this is the newest post and there aren't any other posts which talk about this (that I am aware of).

One of the biggest things I would like to see from Barzal this season (which I think we will) is consistency. Now I am not talking about consistency in terms of ability... I think we all know how capable he is. What I am talking about is consistency in terms of putting the puck in the net.

Yes I think it is funny (and downright awesome) to be talking about more consistency from a 17 year old who put up almost a point per game (54 points in 59 games) in his 16 year old rookie season, but hear me out.

On the surface, it looks superb (because it is)... But when you actually look into the numbers, slight (and I emphasize slight) cracks start to form.

First off, in the 59 games that Barzal played in, he failed to register a point in 26 of them. If you take this into consideration, that means that Barzal score 54 points in 33 games (meaning he averaged 1.63 goals per game when he (or someone else he helped) put the puck into the net at least once).

I know until this point this post might sound a bit negative which is ridiculous considering the numbers I am throwing up (FOR A 16 YEAR OLD NONE THE LESS), but I do not mean to have this post be for that reason.

Actually the real reason I bring this up is BECAUSE I am expecting to see more of this consistency for multiple reasons.

1) For the obvious reason that he is one year older and has one year of experience under his belt

2) After finding his chemistry with Gropp and Hickman in the second half of last season, this transition period of learning if there is or can be any chemistry will be skipped. I believe that from game number one of the season until game number 72 (pending any tournaments and injury) we will see Barzal, Hickman, and Gropp together as our #1 line. I don't think that the importance of this can be stated enough, especially for a team's #1 line. Chemistry is also important for a player like Barzal who gets most of his points (40 out of 54 last season) from assists. It is very helpful for a playmaker to be able to know and anticipate where their linemates are going. I won't be surprised if we end up seeing a couple of blind passes for goals throughout the season because Barzal just knows that Hickman or Gropp will be there... And that is a HUGE advantage for Barzal.

3) He's Mathew Barzal.

I'm curious to know what people's opinions are on this.

Anonymous said...

Schuldhaus is on way back home. No longer with Tbirds. Im assuming Tbirds couldn't assure him of making the team so he wanted to keep NCAA eligabilty in tact. Exhibition games are up next so there will be a ton of players leaving their WHL teams in order to keep NCAA possibility alive

Anonymous said...

T. Smith,

I agree with you that Barzal needs to and will pick up his point total from last year. I bet he improves on his assist total from last year now that he will be consistently on the top line with players that he knows. Also, I think he is a very competitive personality and probably doesn't like that there are five plus players ranked higher than him in his draft year. Having said that, I think he will really bloom this year as a goal scorer.

Last year Merkley secured his rookie of the year award because he scored more. Barzal is the better overall player however, and while I don't see Merkley scoring 40 goals or 80 points, I think we will see Barzal accomplish at least one of those milestones as a seventeen year old. Now 40 goals is not by itself all that special, but if Barzal can bury thirty goals and top 80+ points, I think the fortunes of the team will follow.

From here the question becomes what will Theodore, Gropp and Hickman do as a supporting cast. Based on what we lost last year, I think Gropp needs to hit the 30 goal mark, Hickman needs to net 25, Theo needs to match last year's totals.

Even with that, we will need guys like Kolesar, Spencer, Pederson, Bear and many others to step it up offensively as well.

My point is this: I expect more out of Barzal because the kid has a wicked kind of magic waiting to be unleashed. Was last year the best he is capable of? No, but it wasn't disappointing either. Will this year be the year that makes or breaks his career? NO! But it will absolutely be the most important year of his career thus far. Will he lead the league in scoring? Probably not. But I expect him to find the kind of consistency you talk about. The kind of consistency a top level player is capable of.

One player cannot make or break a team, but as goes Barzal (IMO) goes the fortunes of the team.

Good god I can't wait for this season to start.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have thoughts on what the lineup may, should or could look like after all the cuts? Which rookies will make the team and which 20 year olds had the best camp?

Thunnex said...

Yes... working on it and should be up a little later.

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