Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Playoff Chances Slipping Away

Losing Skid & Playoff Chances
Tigers have only managed 2 wins in their past 8 games and that has put them in a tough spot to make the playoffs.

Regina & Edmonton Estimation
If we estimate Edmonton and Regina playing .500 hockey the rest of the way. They would both end up with 71 points each. I think this is a very fair estimate.  Their current records are .490. (Edmonton playing strong, Regina with a lot of Home Games.)

Regina has been slipping lately, but edmonton has been playing pretty strong. Realistically Regina is tracking more towards the 67-68 point range.

Tigers Situation
The Tigers sit at 44 points currently. The First Tiebreaker is wins except the last playoff spot is a tiebreaker 1 game take all so we will add a point as insurance.

Math
 72-44 = 28 points Needed
20 games left = 28/40 = .700 Winning Percentage or
14 wins in next 20 games ( Assuming REG,EDM win at .500)

If Edmonton or Regina falters at a .350 rate.
65-44=  21/40
10.5 wins in next 20 games


Friday Night in Regina
This is a must-win game for the Tigers.  A loss will put them on the brink of not returning. A loss means they need 30 points in 19 games or a .789 Winning percentage providing regina or Edmonton stays at a .500 rate.

Conclusion
The Tigers are entering territory of relying on another team to falter to make the playoffs which is dangerous territory.  If Regina or Edmonton doesn't falter the Tigers need to win @ a .700 rate. which is essentially pulling a rabbit out of the net at this point in the season.

The Tigers have made the playoffs for 13 consecutive years. Failing to make it out of the first round only once.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Scoreboard Watching

Edit: Changed at 3:00 PM Sunday the whl website was inaccurate Saturday night when making this post.


Big 4 Points
Tigers Defeat Kootenay and Edmonton this weekend and gained a big valuable 4 points. The Tigers are now 1 point back of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Bob Ridley mentioned that David Quenneville has a lower body injury after the hit by Edmonton's Brandon Baddock in Friday's game in Medicine Hat. Baddock was suspended for the hit and his suspension is TBD.

Tough Schedule Coming Up
The Tigers go on a 4 game road trip out into BC. They'll have a very tough schedule the next 4 games as they take on Kelowna, Victoria, Prince George, and Vancouver. A good trip would be coming out with 4/8 points.

3/4 of those teams all have impressive records and vancouver has been the Tigers out of conference Rival. Former Tiger Trevor Cox has 27 points in 23 games with the Giants since being traded earlier in the season.

Scoreboard Watching
Regina
They are on a US division Road Trip. Cole Sanford scored a game winner against Everett in his first game as a pat. Regina lost friday night against seattle. Saturday they gained 1 point in a SO loss against Tri-City. Sanford picked up a goal and has 2 points in 4 games.

The Tigers sit 5 points back with 2 games in hand. Regina has been having a tough time lately and Edmonton/Tigers have slowly been gaining ground.  It is not un-reasonable to think that all 3 teams will be in a tight race for the 7th/8th playoff spot, with once missing the cut. Saskatoon is also close behind as well.

While Regina is on their US trip, this is a rare year where the Tigers do not take a US road trip.

Edmonton Oil Kings
They lost both of their weekend games, but improved in the standings with the shootout loss against the Tigers, and an overtime loss against the Calgary Hitman. As a result the Tigers gained 2 points on them.

 Edmonton plays Kamloops on Sunday. Both teams will be playing their 3rd game in 3 nights. Both games without captain Brandon Baddock out with the TBD suspension.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tigers Defeat Blazers Pull off 5-1 Comeback with 6-5 SO Win

The first game without their previous captain in Cole Sanford turned out to be the most exciting games of the season.  Their was a game at the old Arena 3-4 years ago where the Tigers were up 5-1 and ended up losing, tonight was some revenge for that one.

Blazers Take Advantage Early & Chad Butcher
Chad Butcher had an early wakeup call when his line was victim to some poor defensive play for the Blazers first goal. He turned into a machine for the rest the game. His performance tonight was pretty incredible to watch.

The Tigers had quite a few off-sides but were juggling their lines up.

Shields Down
The Tigers Mack Shields didn't have his best game and was pulled after the Blazers went up 4-1. He probably would have liked 2 or 3 of those goals back.

After Two Periods 4-1 Blazer Lead
At this point I felt the Tigers deserved a much better fate. Shots were near even, I thought the Tigers had the better scoring chances, but they couldn't beat Connor Ingram. The blazers seemed to have the puck luck going their way. It wasn't a 4-1 game, if anything I thought the Tigers probably should have been leading.

The Comeback
The Blazers luck continued early in the third with a quick goal. The Tigers didn't quit an kept pushing. They scored 4 unanswered goals in the next 15 minutes, as well as hitting 3 posts. If the third period was another 2 minutes longer, the Tigers probably would have won it outright.

Overtime
Nail Biter. Both teams had some chances. The Tigers Chad Butcher had a last second breakaway, but couldn't beat Ingram.

ShootOut
It took 6 rounds, and 5 consecutive stops by Nick Schneider to stop the door.

Playoff Watch
Edmonton, Saskatoon both lost and Regina is trailing by the time of this post. Tigers are 3 points back with 1 game in hand. The Tigers face their biggest game of the year Friday against the Oil Kings. It will be their 5th game in just over 1 month.The Tigers are 4-0 against the Kings this season.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sanford Traded To Regina

http://reginapats.com/article/pats-acquire-cole-sanford-from-medicine-hat
http://tigershockey.com/article/tigers-make-deadline-deal-acquire-package-players-picks To Regina
Cole Sanford


To Medicine Hat
 In exchange the Pats send to Medicine Hat: forward Brian Williams (’95), prospect forward Gary Haden (’99), the Pats’ 2018 2nd round, 2017 5th round, and Lethbridge’s 2016 3rd round WHL Bantam Draft pick..


Brian Williams
Brian Williams was just picked up from the Pats last thursday. Williams is 5'8 178lbs. He has 20 points in 31 games, and had a 36 goal season 2 seasons ago. He could be the type of player to flourish in the Tigers systems. I think in terms of a replacement for Sanford Williams could be a very good pickup. Williams is recovienr from a fractured foot, and wont be available untill next week at the earliest.
-----------------------

Gary Haden
Old Video Interview from Regina: http://www.reginapats.com/video/38996
Centreman

5'10 161 lbs. 9th Round selection in 2014.

Scouting Report
He's been one to put up lots of points. A couple interviews I've watched said he needs to work on his strength and speed. He see's the ice well, and has some quick hands. Their was a MAC's Midget AAA Tournament that just ended in calgary so the Tigers had probably recently seen him play firsthand.
------------

Thoughts
The Tigers aquired a 99 so that bolsters their 16 yr old class up front.  Williams should be able to step into the top 6. He is a speedster, that has shown he can score goals in the past.

The Tigers now have an extra 2nd rounder, and 3rd rounder this season, as well as 3 2nds in 2018. In 2 or 3 years when the Shaw/Gerlach/Preziuso/Hamblin/Haden/Quennvill group matures they have some tinkering room in terms of draft picks.

Haden recorded 5 points in 5 exhibition games this season. He was one of the last cuts from Regina, where he was told to work on his speed and strength.

It looks like this is a solid deal giving the short time window they had. Best of Luck to Sanford in Regina.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Trade Deadline Thread

Tigers have played much better hockey starting with their back to back to back wins against the OilKings before Christmas. They remain 4 points out of the last playoff spot, and slowly gaining ground. Regina has hit a wall suddenly and the Tigers are catching ground on 7th place as well.


Trade Deadline is on January 10th
Cole Sanford has come out and demanded a trade after rumours point to him asking for one earlier in the season.  He did not dress over the Tigers important 3-1 victory over saskatoon. Sanford has 21 goals in 33 games and his scoring presence will be greatly missed.

It is a bit concering that player demands have started becoming a more regular occurance. Hobbs last year, Jensen the year before, sanford this season. I think their will always be players in situations they don't like, but having players come out publicly 3 years in a row is concerning.

 The Tigers should be building for the future, as well as trying to get into that last playoff spot. Him demanding a trade could be a good thing IF the Tigers actually get a decent return for him. It could easily be a bad thing if the return doesn't align with their long-term goals and scoring becomes an issue.

Demanding a trade so close to the deadline is risky, as he is essentially showcasing himself for a possible pro career. It would be harder to do when he is not playing as his first half has been up and down, however his past reputation should speak for itself in terms of being a goal scorer.

We don't know what goes on in the dressing room but rumors are being leaked out about more and more dysfunction. Whether they are true or not it's hard to say, but nonetheless as a long time Tigers Fan it's tough to hear.

Possible Destinations For Sanford
If we look at some of the Teams that may be looking for an overage scorer: Victoria, PG, Seattle are possible destinations. I wonder if a team like Moose Jaw might make a pitch. Their could be elements of a multi player deal there.

Other possible Trade Bait: Fischer and Forrest could potentially be swung over in deals as they are 18's behind the others on the depth charts. However their defense is a bit lean so Forrest may not be available.

The Tigers 17's are starting to show how great a group they have. Gerlach, Shaw and Quenneville will all become good core players.  I think the Tigers should really try to supplement this 16/17 yr old age group if they can, although with other teams no trade clauses it may be difficult to do.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Breaking Down The Goals Vs Victoria 3-1

First Goal (Jack Walker(8) From Tyler Soy)

Their are a bunch of minor mistakes that lead makes it easier for Jack Walker to blow past the Tigers defense.

This play starts in the Royal own zone with the Tigers out of position. The Tigers have 2 forwards in deep, (Jevne, Sanford) and their 3rd forward went off on a change.  

3 Man Forecheck
The system the Tigers use, either the third Tiger Forward is playing high (empty red circle, I should have positioned it higher) and anticipating a breakout pass while the player in green is bustling his ass to get back up the ice. The player in green went chasing behind the net (which is rarely a good play) He is ten feet behind where he should be positioned, he is lazy coming back.

Or

1 Man Forecheck
Only 1 forward enters the zone with 2 forwards playing back. 

What Happens
The Tigers utilize the 3 man forecheck, however the third man went off for a change, rendering the forecheck  useless.

What should have happened
If a player went off for the change their should have been some communication going on where the forwards fall back and utilize the 1 man forecheck.


Entering the Zone



Now Jack Walker has a full head of steam. The faster an opposing forward is skating, the more difficult it is to slow him down.

To some it may look like it was Brad Forrest's mistake in letting Jack Walker blow by him, but I would put equal blame on the poor decisions of the forwards up front, utilizing incorrect systems play.  Brad Forrests mistake is that he is too deep in his zone, and Jack Walker has a full head of steam.

This means that forrest is unable to match the speed of Walker coming at him. Ideally we want forrest skating backwards a slight notch below the speed of walker. Walker is travelling at nearly twice the speed, and it means that Walker can gain lateral seperation twice as fast.

Matt Bradley, fails to see that Forrest is about to be overpowered. Schultz has to stay back because their is a side winger that could be an incoming threat.


4th Mistake: I won't picture here to save space but Schneider is playing too deep in his net. He is a foot off the goal-line giving up clear shooting lanes. 

Conclusion: No defensive awareness from the fowards playing the correct systems to slow down walker.   Tigers Brad Forrest was skating too slowly and playing too deep in his zone making it very difficult to play the body. Schneider was deep in his net.
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Second Goal (Matthew Phillips(15) from Ryan Gangon, and Alex Forsberg)
This is virtually a carbon copy of Brandon's second goal on saturday.



Schultz is out of position(mistake one) but the Tigers are maintaining decent recovery coverage here. Forrest has an active stick at the net. Gerlach has the guy in the slot. Shaw is covering the guy out front. Butcher is at the circle, athough at this point he should be warry of the defenceman at the point on the near side.

The danger is in Shaw not being able to tie up the guy in front of the net, as well as a pinch by a defenceman at the Red X.

What Happens
The Royals pass the puck out front, and the Tigers do a good job and cover their men. Except look at Schultz and Shaw in the next picture. The threat has turned into a rebound threat and their are 2 royals down low ready to overpower the single defenceman.

Schultz/Shaw are too far away from the rebound threat in front. Schultz should be lower in the zone, and Shaw should be anticipating a pass to the the 5th royal at the bottom of the blueline.


What Happens
Matthew Phillips is left uncovered in the slot, and scores on the rebound.

Third Goal (Chaz Reddekopp(4) from Joe Hicketts) PP

Their was previously a shot from the point and the Tigers are now battling for possesion. Sanford does a good job to rush in to the puck, however he fails to get good wood on his shot, and he ends up passing the puck to the Royals defenceman up high. He is now OUT OF POSITION

 

Matt Bradley charges forward (red circle) Lets take a look at the next picture to see how much open ice it creates. Cole Sanford FAILS to move his feet and switch over to the other side. Instead he lazily glides to the middle of the ice. He could have prevented this goal by moving his feet, and taking Bradley's guy, now that Bradley has switched over and taken his, to cover Sanford's failure to clear.



What Happens
Chaz Reddekopp the far defenceman has all day to walk in and tee up a shot.

Their are quite a few positioning and recovery mistakes here.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Breaking Down the Goals Vs Brandon

Let's break down the Goals Brandon scored against the Tigers. I'm going to do this every once in a while.

1st Goal (Jayce Hawryluk From Ivan Provorov, Tim McGauley)

Scenario: Ty Schultz loses the puck by the blueline and the Tigers need to defend a 2 on 4 with players out of their proper positioning.

In this scenario the danger is having players cover each other and then communicating when to switch to proper positioning when the threat is neutralized.

Tigers in Play
Matt Bradley - Green
Ryan Jevne - Red
Ty Schultz - Orange
Brad Forrest - Not Circled
Steven Owre - Not pictured

Wheaties In Frame
Jayce Hawryluk #8
Tim McGauley) #23
Ivan Provorov - Comes in late scores the goal.



 The imminent danger is Jevne (RED)not being able to tie up #8. He is the first forward back acting as the centreman. The secondary threat is the X at the top of the faceoff circle.


First Threat Removed, Second Threat (High Danger)



This is a second or two after McGauley stop and turns around. Here Tim McGauley(bottom right) switches to the the only option he has left, stopping and finding a trailing what king (bottom left). Jevne does some great work(red) coming back and is able to cover his guy. Forrest is in good position between the puck carrier and the goalie.

 The first threat in the slot is neutralized. However here the "Triangle" is broken. The Tigers completely flatten out and give the whole high slot/point away. Schultz skates  to his position with his back turned to the puck carrier. This combined with Bradley not moving up opens up the entire high slot of the ice.

What Happens
Provorov gets the puck in the high slot and fires a shot past a screened goalie.

Summary
Not having permanent linemates likely led to confusion on where to play. Poor defensive awareness from Matt Bradley and Ty Schultz  led to a prime scoring chance where Brandon didn't have to work for it. Schultz coughed up the puck and took his time getting back. Bradley failed to anticipate a high slot pass.

 In this situation  Bradley needs to have a better awareness. As soon as McGauley throws the breaks and turns around he should be anticipating a corner pass out front from McGauley and getting ready to intercept. knowing the slot is now safe.  Jevne is the first forward back and therefore inherits the temporary centreman role.  Bradley's responsibility is now the high point.

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Goal Two (John Quenneville, From Ivan Provorov, and Jayce Hawryluk) PP

 The camera cuts in late. It looks like Brandon had moved the puck around to the point where it caught the Tigers out of position.


The player circled in Red Mathew Bradley is the high point guy, but he is below the hash marks. He was previously trying to cover the guy in the slot. He comes out too late, and John Quenneville gets off a one-timer at the faceoff dot. It's too hard to judge fault solely on Bradley as I don't see what happened in the previous play, and their was quick puck movement..

Goal Three (Reid Duce From Macoy Erkamps and Tyler Coulter)
An Own goal deflection. Tough to take. We'll forgive this one.

Goal Four ( Jayce Hawryluk from John Quenneville, Nolan Patrick)
The Tigers are in good positioning at the start, however they turn to watch and fail to pick up the incoming player. The wheat king in the (top left) eventually scores the rebound. No way should he be beating a 2nd defenceman or centreman to the front of the net. (No video)

---

Cover the Front


Here Jayce Hawryluk walks  into the slot with all 3 Tigers watching the play and not doing anything, minus Kirichenko tieing up the first wheat king after bobbling the puck(which was the first booboo) 

This is either Schultz or the centreman's guy which looks like Sanford. One thing to note was Butcher and Sanford were playing side by side and virtually holding hands the whole play. If a cross ice pass happened up high, it would have meant lots of extra space for the wheaties to work with.

Summary
2 of the Goals the Tigers let in, never should have happened. They outmanned the wheaties down low, but made corresponding mistakes in covering their inherited areas.

I think the constant line juggling could have something to do with this, but it does appear the Tigers have troubles adapting when players are out of position or loose a battle.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tigers Goaltender Injured for the Year

Their are rumours going around that overage goaltender Austin Lotz has received an injury that requires surgery and will be out for 4 months.

Edit
Lotz last played Friday November 6th the full game against the Kootenay Ice which Kootenay won in overtime 4-3. Nick Schnedier played the Saturday game where the Tigers lost 5-2. It seems a cruel joke that this happened right after the overage deadline as the Tigers are now in a pickle.

The Tigers acquired Lotz in the overage waiver draft for free. They are now short a backup goaltender as Schneider likely resumes the #1 role.

Their is a Ton of Tiger Hockey on schedule as the next 3 weekends we will see friday and saturday night games.

Tri-Cities and Kootenay are in town this weekend

Tigers Aquire Mack Shields
Medicine Hat, AB – The Medicine Hat Tigers announced Thursday morning they have struck a deal with the Prince George Cougars to acquire 95 born goaltender Mack Shields in exchange for a 2017 7th Round Bantam Draft Pick.

http://www.whl.ca/article/tigers-deal-with-prince-george-acquire-shields

The Cougars had 3 goaltenders on their roster acquiring disgruntled Prince Albert Goaltender Nick McBride last week. Shields was the goaltender for the Calgary Hitmen last season when they eliminated the Tigers in the second round of last years playoffs 4 games to 1.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Imports, Trades & Other Stuff

Some of this is old news by now, this was written last week, but made a few changes with the recent trade, callups and injuries. Some of it is still outdated which I will edit later.

Tamas Laday
Tamas Laday has been waived. The Hungarian import was acquired from the Spokane Chief's in the off-season for an 8th round pick. He started out the season in the top 4 but was replaced fairly quickly into the bottom pairing. He was making some mistakes that maybe typical of a young 16-17 yr old defender, but not what you want to see from a veteran 19 yr old. Simple mistakes like rushing forward with an oncoming forward and consistently making the first move that was widely avoidable.


Alexei Platanov
According to Bob Ridley Alexei was sent back home to Russia. Alexei was the Tigers Import Selection last draft. I found from another source that Alexei was having difficulties blending into the Canadian culture with the language barrier and it was a mutual decision to be granted a release.


Jevne Suspended 4 Games
Ryan Jevne was suspended 4 games for a hit on Evan Polei of the Red Deer Rebels. Polei wasn't in the lineup for Red Deer Friday night. An aftergame interview by Sutter suggested he had some initial symptoms and they were following the concussions protocol but thought he would be back soon. Polei was listed day to day on the WHL injury report.

Jevne has served 2 of his 4 game suspension.

I Couldn't get a good replay of the hit. It looked like an open ice hit coming from the blindside where he clipped Polei. A suspension of 2 Games has been the standard for most hits to the head.

David Quenneville
Took a high hit last Saturday against Saskatoon and didn't return to the game. The WHL weekly report lists him out for 1-2 weeks as an "upper body" injury.

James Hamblin
Hamblin is off to the World Under 17's challenge.  The tournament  kicks off Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.

Spokane Wednesday and 15 yr Old Callups
Spokane just got last year's leading scorer Adam Helewka back from San Jose's farm team. The Tigers had 2 15 yr old callups dressed in Josh Mcneil, and Baxter Anderson. They both played a regular 4th line shift alongside Zach Fischer where they received ample playing time. The young guys stepped up big time pulling an even plus/minus.

16-17 Crop
Wedmesday night we saw flashes into the future. Fantillo, Gerlach, Preziuso Shaw, the young guns led the way as they all had 2 and 3 point nights. Schneider was in the net for the first time since the trade acquisition of Austin Lotz. He had a tough start but turned aside 23 of 25 shots.

Trevor  Cox traded to Vancouver
Trevor Cox was traded to the Vancouver Giants. He became expendable after goaltending and defense issues prompted movement and an additional overage player. It is not very often you hear about a 100 pont player becoming expendable. The Tigers got a veteran defenceman who most likely will be here as a 20 to help out the inexperienced group.

The Tigers received a 2nd round pick in 2018, as well as 19 yr old defenceman Clayton Kirichenko.

Vancouver article on the trade:
http://blogs.theprovince.com/2015/10/28/newest-vancouver-giant-trevor-cox-pegs-gilbert-brule-as-one-of-the-players-he-liked-watching-at-the-coliseum/

Thoughts on the future.(This was written before the trade)

Breaking down the Roster 

The older the age group the more critical the criteria for skill. The 17's and below are judge more on skill and reachable potential, while the older players are more judge on current skill.

2000's
Josh Mcneil (15)
Ryan Chyzowski (15)
Baxter Anderson(15)

Too early to say the strength of this group. If these players can turn into core players, this age-group has the making for something above average, but judging strictly on potential is dangerous.

1999 (16's)
James Hamblin, Tyler Preziuso,  Rylan Rommelaere
This class is on par for average, but has potential to become above average and excellent with future additions. It is too early to judge.

1998 (17's)
 (Quenneville, Shaw, Gerlach, Fantillo, Jevne)

I would say this group right now sits at a half notch above average,. This group looks to be the best age group on the tigers in terms of skill\depth\reachable potential but their is still a lot of development needed.  I'm hoping that while they are young everyone shows marked improvement in the second half of this season.

1997 (18's)
Bradley, Fischer,. Rassall, Forrest, Heid, Schultz, Schneider

Right now the group is average calibre.  Their is some development here needed to bounce that into above average territory which can be reached.

Fischer is falling behind on the depth charts.

Rassall, Bradley, Schultz - I'm putting them all at a slight notch below core status. Rassall with his inspired play is  tracking to be there by mid-season if he can keep playing well consistently. Bradley I think needs to be pushed a little. He had a tough start to the season with his surgery. I am hoping that with the loss of Cox, and Sanford he steps his game up and takes over the leadership role in terms of scoring. Schultz is getting a ton of ice-time he will be leaned upon next season to be the Shutdown guy.

1996 (19's)
Owre, Butcher, Mowbray, Clouston

I'd say this group is average, perhaps a slight notch below just because they have less depth than most teams.

1995(20's)
Sanford, Cox, Stanton, Lotz

This group is in the excellent category, even with the deletion of one overage.


Next Season
Forwards )
Owre(20) Bradley(19) Butcher(20)
 Rassal(19)  Shaw(18)  Max Gerlach(18)
Jevne(18) James Hamblin(17) Fantillo(18) 
Fischer(19) Tyler Preziuso(17) Ryan Chyzowski(16)
Josh Mcneil(16)

*This is pretty much the roster they are playing with right now with the injuries they had to cox/sanford. What we have seen over the past week and the next is what we will see next season.

Defence 
Ty Schultz(19)   David Quenneville(18)
Brad Forrest(19) Connor Clouston(20)
Heid(19)

Goaltenders
Nick Schneider(19)
Rylan Rommelaere(17)
Prospect

Season After
Forwards   
 Rassal(20)  Shaw(19)  Max Gerlach(19) 
Jevne(19) James Hamblin(18) Fantillo(19) 
 Josh Mcneil (17)Tyler Preziuso(18) Ryan Chyzowski(17)
Prospect Prospect Prospect

Defence 
Ty Schultz(20)   David Quenneville(19)
Heid(20)
Goaltenders
Schneider(20)
Rylan Rommelaere(18)

Typical Championship team
They have a very strong ( at least 5 core/key guys) in each 18,19 year old age group supplemented by good quality 20's, which are generally found cheaper on the trade market. 

The Tigers generally like a consistent approach to all of their age groups, where eventually a couple above average crops comes along and they have an above average year. They really strive for balance so the down years are never terrible. 


Next " Peak Up Cycle"
The next "up cycle" appears to be in 2 seasons when the young forward/defensive core "matures" to the 18/19 yr old age group.  I should say that a lot can happen between now and then and this cycle may shift depending on the development of these players and the moves that are made.  I think it's a blessing in disguise with the injuries to Cox/Sanford as these young guys are forced into ice-time.

The Tigers also have room to add 2 imports, which could easily change the dynamic of the team depending on their skill.  It might be beneficial next season to look for 2 18 yr old imports( or 1-17, 1-18) so they both have a year to develop before the " up cycle"

The Tigers also have an extra 2nd and 3rd round pick in the 2018 draft, which could be used to bolster this group as well. The defense is potentially looking a bit lean in 2 years but their is potential for a strong base. In my opinion they need to add to this.

Schneider is debatable. He is signed so I'm unsure if he will be here as a 20, but with how his development is going it maybe wise for the flames to keep him in Junior for his 20yr old season. You could say he is tracking on a similar path to Langhamer of last season.

The weaknesses are size up front, defensive depth, perhaps goaltending depending on Schneider's status. Always wonder about scoring, but that is difficult to judge young players on.
 I really hope by the end of the season we have 3 or 4 of these young forwards starting to become semi-dangerous where they are winning the majority of battles regardless of if they are getting points or not. We are starting to see that with the young 17 yr old line of gerlach, shaw, fantillo.

What direction to go
The off-season defensive acquisitions fell flat which obviously didn't help the tigers.  Perhaps it's a good thing but the Central Division appears weaker than normal this year.

If I'm the Tigers I'm looking at bolstering the 15,16,17 year old age group as much as possible, with maintaining the ability still be a playoff team. The young guys will have good games and poor games

Bolstering the 18/19 yr age group is a short-term fix in a down year, which in the long-term strips value away from the team, however if they could look at getting a cheap solution if they do indeed trade one of their overage forwards as long as it is not the main piece in the deal and more of a throw-in.

Playoff Question
 I see a situation down the road where the Tigers are in the thick of making the playoffs, yet also have teams knocking on their door about players like sanford/Cox/Owre/Butcher. I could also see players such as Fischer, Mowbray, Forrest available but that would warrant young players in return. Still their could be another move made if a whl team is looking to add to their 18yr old group, and it could benefit the Tigers to add to their 17 or 16 group.

Best case scenario they make the playoffs and add to the young core. Next season they should be better than this year.   Mark down 2017/2018 as their talent projects to be at a "peak up cycle" barring massive unforeseen circumstances which no-one can predict.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015