My season preview for the Vancouver Giants - going to be some terrific hockey in the WHL this season. I can't wait to get a look at Seth Jones (2013 1st overall pick candidate, playing for Portland).
Below are the final 60 names for this year's Entry Tier of the DobberHockey Roto League Invitational. As well, there are five games on the "reserve" list who could very well get the call if we need them. If you are one of these names, expect an email within a week or two (the lockout is making us take our time with this, unfortunately).
An interview with OKC Barons (AHL affiliate of the Oilers) head coach regarding the season... some interesting stuff on potential line combos, and more.
I have put the finishing touches on my Top 50 NHL Trade Value Rankings. I’m sure some of you will disagree with the order in a few places, but I hope you all enjoy reading it. It was a lot of fun to compile.
Some of my recent work - a look at Matej Stransky, the Dallas prospect and Saskatoon Blades star. From Hockey Prospectus:
Stransky had a big second WHL season, adding over 50 points to last year's total. He's a skilled big man with above-average hands and vision who can be a handful for defenders to deal with. In the WHL, he showed the ability to protect the puck well with his big frame, but aside from a good power game, Stransky also has the ability to deke in tight spaces and set his teammates up well.
Looking forward to getting the draft going for the DobberHockey Experts league. As always, the competition is going to be really intense for this one. The draft will be analyzed once completed – we are aiming for early October. Even with no season on the horizon for a few months, it gives us something to write about. And I haven’t drafted in any of my other one-year leagues yet, so I am getting a little itchy for a draft…
The OHL has implemented a 10-fight limit for its players (10-15 fights leads to a suspension, and more than 15 fights is a more serious suspension).
In theory, this seems like a good idea, but it will be interesting to see how it actually impacts the hockey this year. Do players with nine fights change how they play? You would think other teams would look to goad players with eight or nine fights into another fight, and this may lead to distractions for one of/both teams.
Not a fantasy situation, but one I wanted to touch on – the divorce between the Leafs and former goaltending coach Francois Allaire is messy with a capital M. Brian Burke, only a few months ago, said he was confident in Allaire, referring to him as the “best goaltending coach in the world.”
What happened over the last few months? Well, more details are starting to emerge.
Allaire continues to work with Ben Scrivens, but many in Toronto think his methods hurt both Jonas Gustavsson and James Reimer. While not being a goaltending expert, I wouldn’t say there is a right or a wrong way.
Stopping pucks is the best measurement, and Toronto’s goaltenders haven’t been doing that in recent years. But is that Allaire’s fault? I guess we will find out. He doesn’t sound like the easiest guy to work with.
Which brings us to today’s report in the Toronto Star, in which we learn (via Burke, presumably) that Allaire had bickered with the Leafs’ coaching staff for much of the season and had finally been presented with an ultimatum by head coach Randy Carlyle. Allaire could either agree to the terms of it, or he wouldn’t be back in 2012-13.
The list included: working a maximum 17 days a month, including six with the Marlies, rather than being around the team every day; apologizing to the coaches on staff he had offended; and a commitment to teaching a more aggressive goaltending style.
I am looking forward to covering a lot of WHL and AHL hockey this fall. The Giants play pretty close to where I live, and the Heat are about an hour or so away.
Some great talent will be coming through the WHL this year, including Ty Rattie and Seth Jones (Portland), Ryan Murray (Everett), and many, many more (Morgan Rielly, Griffin Reinhart, to name a few).
The Giants have a few intriguing prospects, most notably Slovak winger and Detroit prospect Marek Tvrdon. It will be nice to get a firsthand look at a lot of these guys.
Gone are top line center Jordin Martinook (Phoenix, he turned pro) and winger Brendan Gallagher (who also turned pro, and is a Montreal draft pick). Gallagher is going to be a very good NHLer one day.
More on the WHL – Cam Charron previews the Western Conference, where the Kamloops Blazers are expected to rise to the top.
Forward Tim Bozon (Montreal) is the player on Kamloops to watch.
And with regards to the AHL, there will be a ton of talent coming through Abbotsford, too. Sven Bartschi is the most notable Heat player, and there will be some great players to come through Abbotsford. Zack Kassian, Chris Tanev, and Kevin Connauton will be rolling through in mid to late October. I am hoping to get press credentialed for the Heat this year.
Ken Holland is quite high on prospect Gustav Nyqvist:
“I told him at the end of the year we're going to give him an opportunity to play with our higher-end players in training camp and in preseason,'' Holland said. “A lot of things he does you can't teach – the patience with the puck, the ability to find people in the offensive zone. He plays hard. He does a lot of things Pav and Z do, where he strips the puck and all of a sudden you're looking for something to happen. He's got some gifts.''
And as if the Lakers weren’t already stacked enough for 2012-13, they added Jason Spezza, too. No word on whether he replaces Metta World Peace at small forward or not.
If you didn’t catch my lame attempt at cross-sport humor, Spezza signed with the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers of the toop Swiss league.
The NHL.com website recently ranked the top 10 playmakers of all-time. Gretzky one, Orr two. No surprises there. The rest of the list is solid too. However, there is one glaring omission. Ron Francis has to be on there somewhere.
Braden Holtby will be playing in the AHL, while Michal Neuvrith will play in the Czech Republic. Flip a coin for who is starting next season.
Here are the 60 names in the Entry, in alphabetical order (by first name) and the five reserves. Please note that we had someone on here twice yesterday, so a name was added to the 60 that was not there yesterday (Chris Nicholas), bringing the total to EIGHT fellas named "Chris" (wow)...
|HC Dangles (please contact Dobber with your real name)|
A solid NHL Lockout song. And I am a closet Taylor Swift fan... so bonus points for this one: