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).

 

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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).

 

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An interview with OKC Barons (AHL affiliate of the Oilers) head coach regarding the season... some interesting stuff on potential line combos, and more.

 

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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.


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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.


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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…


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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.


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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.


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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.

 

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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.''


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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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)...

 

Aaron Stevenson
Adam Aldred
Austin Wallace
Ben Burns
Brandon Cheung
Brandon Nihmey
Brian Boake
Chris Clarke
Chris Dunn
Chris Fair
Chris Goodall
Chris Hamm
Chris Nicholas
Chris Robillard
Chris Rougeau
Cory Kulchycki
Darren McCool
Dave Hunchak
Dave Parker
Ed Cunningham
Evan Cook
Fraser Young
Gregg Krentz
HC Dangles (please contact Dobber with your real name)
Hugo Twigg
jake koten
Jarret Leason
Jason Peasley
Jeremy Campbell
Jim Quire
Jon Lafontaine
Jonathan Benatar
Jonathon Munn
Justin Ciavarella
Kjell Ekdahl
Les Khan
Marcus Schalle
Mark Perkins
Matt Poirier
Meelis Anton
Michael Bird
Michael Shewchuk
Michael Verhoeven
Mick Murphy
Nick Aumont 
Nick Williamson
Nicolas Roy
Patrick Boutin
Paul Wood
Philippe Gauthier
Ralph Vos
Rex Doty 
Rob Harold
Rob Johner
Rob Myatt
Ryan Reichl
Scott Prokop
Shaun Marsh
Simon Castonguay
Travis Landry
RESERVE
Sebastien Duval
Mike Mann
Hrvoje Bezjak
Jason Gagnon
Daryl McNabb

 


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A solid NHL Lockout song. And I am a closet Taylor Swift fan... so bonus points for this one:

 


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Comments (6)add comment

Rad64 said:

Rad64
... Leafs goaltending..Reimer put up decent totals in 2010-11 - .921 save percentage is keeping pucks out of the net (especially with the Leafs defense in front of him). Wasn't the same after getting hurt, though. Add in sophmore blues...
September 20, 2012
Votes: +0

angus said:

angus
... Thanks for the feedback, David. Same to you, Ross.
September 20, 2012
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Great List Great list, Safari crashed for me so I didn't get to read the top 2, but I can deduct, at least partially, what was written.

Love the volume and hard work put into a single piece.
September 20, 2012
Votes: +0

davidgoodburn said:

davidgoodburn
Top 50 HI Jeff,

The top 50 was a great read. A few controversial picks for me but a good overall analysis.

The biggest surprise for me: Doughty at 13 ahead of the likes of Pietrangelo Karlsson and Letang.

Thought you nailed Kopitar at number 10 (even though its probably a bit high for most people) and the analysis of his draft day fall was quite interesting.

Thought the analysis of Crosby vs Malkin was a bit of a cop out on the injury front. I dont disagree with the rankings but to say Malkin is #2 bc of games missed when he's played far more games than Sid over the last two years seemed hollow. Wish you would have said what you really probably think that Crosby is just a better more complete player than Malkin
September 20, 2012
Votes: +0

angus said:

angus
... It is a bizarre situation, dp.
September 20, 2012
Votes: +0

donpaulo said:

donpaulo
... Allaire is out eh ? This gaijin sees 3 Stanley Cups 1986, 1993 & 2007 plus a 2003 Conn Smythe. 何ですか?

Just musing here as I often don't read articles fully and love to jump to conclusions, but could it be the state of the Leafs blueline and the relative ineffectiveness of the backchecking in limiting opposing chances that are to blame perhaps ?

Further, making a rather huge assumption could one say that his brother coaches a similar style ? I would say that Henrik has done a relatively mediocre job of playing nets under his stewardship wouldn't you ? At least he hasn't been too terrible... unlike the leafs netminding of late.

Then again I live in Japan and don't watch a ton of hockey like many loyal dobber fans do, so I could be out to lunch on this one. 頑張って Leafs

Maybe someone more knowledgeable can flame me for this one neh ?
September 20, 2012
Votes: +0
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