Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Wish List

TigerTurf's Super Arm-Chair Wish List

Goal-tending
The top 10 goaltenders in the league have an average age of 19.1. It is extremely rare to see a starting goalie that is younger than 17.

The big weakness here is that the Tigers don't have a solid backup. I'm not knocking McGovern here. 16's with limited experience in today's game are simply too young to handle the experience and shot strength of 19's.

They will be forced to rely on Schneider for the majority of their games and their is a degree of risk of injury or being overplayed.

    Next Year
    Schneider will be an overage. Normally 20's under contract for more than a year don't return. Nick Schneider is signed by the flames and their goalie situation looks volatile for next season.  Quite often NHL team will place a player in  the AHL/ECHL or junior based on how many contracts they have in their system. It's not often what's best for the player, but what's best for their own system.

    If we look to next year; Schneider coming back is up in the air with the Flames volatility. Even so McGovern would still be hard pressed for the starters role being only 17.  If Schneider doesn't come back their is a high chance the Tigers will need to look for a temporary starter before McGovern comes into form for his 18yr old season.

    If the Tigers remain with the status quo; their are 2 scenarios that equal trouble.
  1. Schneider is injured this season. 
  2.  Schneider is plucked off to the Pro's next year and they don't have a goalie is starter material.

        If they acquire a backup
        If the Tigers acquire a goalie for this season, they would likely send McGovern down.  Then when Schneider finally moves on they can call up McGovern whether that is next year, or the year thereafter. 

        Worse case scenario, next year McGovern comes into form, and they have 2 goaltenders fighting for the starters job, while new prospects also compete for a spot. For the Tigers it seems like a win-win scenario. The only caveat here is the price that potentially comes with and their has been some goal-tending movement this season already. Even though Schneider will be the #1 guy and play the majority of games I think they should look for backup alternatives as long as the price isn't ridiculous.

Schneider
I have full confidence in Schneider as he is capable of making the big breakaway stop or a big save in critical times of the game. The Tigers defensive capabilities are underwhelming so his .897 save percentage is ok, despite the Tigers winning a lot of games.

An upgrade over Schneider would cost a lot and it would be a relatively minor upgrade in the bigger picture. Schneider is playing the bulk of the games, and goal-tending is big on mental sharpness and technique.  He looks a bit mentally tired at times.


Defense 
Whenever we talk about defense we should get away from "defenceman" and talk about the defensive play from the whole group.

 The Tigers forwards are offensively minded. They rely on fast transition and sometimes take off early, which means that turning the puck over in the neutral zone is a death sentence. They have to make sure they limit those turnovers. Their offensive players are sometimes not defensively aware.  One of their big weakpoints is that their forwards are out of position often and it leaves big gaps and puts more pressure on the defenceman.

    Elite Defenceman Vs a Good Defenceman
In the WHL elite and good forwards will own good and average defenceman. It takes an elite defenceman to stop elite and good forwards consistently. Defenceman peak later than forwards  why?

Keeping things extremely general, Forwards are the higher speed players. It takes experience and smarts for someone who is slower to stop someone who is faster while skating backwards.

        Defensive Scale

The group they have now in my opinion are mostly great skaters, but defensively average. 
I could create a scale, but this post is already getting long

Assuming everyone is healthy.....

In a nutshell an opponents top line has a minuscule advantage over the Tigers top defensive coverage.
However if we take into account the Tigers powerful offense as a whole, that swings the advantage into the Tigers favor. Still their is a bit of volatility and in the short-term anything can happen.

2nd line is where the Tigers have a gap. A strong team with strong players on line 2, will take advantage of the Tigers average defensive capabilities.  Right here is where the Tigers need their offense to overpower the opponent. If they don't or can't the opponent has a natural advantage.

3rd - Here is where the Tigers shine. The opponents offense and depth  isn't as great as the Tigers. The Tigers 3rd line can score and they create a massive advantage.  The Tigers essentially have near PPG forwards facing off against average  players. So for 15 minutes of a hockey game the Tigers get an automatic big advantage

4th - Similar to the 3rd line. Tigers have more depth offensively, and have good forwards playing against below average defenceman.  Here is another 6-8 minutes a hockey game where they have the edge.


Offense
When everyone is healthy they have 3 scoring lines, and a 4th line that probably a 3rd line on most WHL teams. They overpower a lot of opponents, as a team that doesn't have a strong top 4 defensive group doesn't stand a chance.

Right now with Fischer/Dahlstrom out, their offensive output has kinda shrunk to 2 lines. They really need some depth players like the Jevne's Hamblin, to step up. They also need the vets like Bradley to take pressure off players suck as Butcher and Shaw.

With their defensive gaps, the group needs to take care of their own zone first. Occasionally a player will get a bit selfish and take off risking their position for a chance. They really need to limit that to maybe 1 a game, and ensure their own zone is looked after.

Summary:
Prior to the injury to Rubins, and Fischer suspension, the Tigers were going into hockey games with 22 minutes or 1 period worth of matchups that are overpowering opponents.Combine that with a 30% PP, a top ranked PK, that is a significant advantage.

With Rubins and Fischer out, the Tigers  shrink to 2 scoring lines, as well as average defensive capabilities. That means the Tigers offense is good, but not overpowering, so the line 2 gap is now a disadvantage, the Tigers defense can be taken advantage of, and they become an average team.

 Even though it is only 2 players, it shrinks the overpowering nature the Tigers had. They need to try and get the opponent to utilize their 3rd/4th lines because the Tigers have a natural edge in play there.

When the Tigers offense over-powers they will win. Win their offense doesn't overpower they will loose. Edit: Fischer has since returned, but Dahlstrom will be leaving to go to the world juniors for Sweden.

Where to go
So they have a lot of good skaters on defence, but I think they need a 2 or 3 tiered approach to eliminate the bigger defensive gaps. Just one guy will help but won't magically solve their average defensive team play.

They need a 2 way defensively sound defenceman who can make great first passes out of the zone. Someone who can break up a cycle. A Burroughs/Stanton type.  Finding someone who is not just another great skater, but who is incredibly smart and defensively sound. It pushes their depth down, and suddenly a "good" defenceman like Kirichenko is playing more against the opponents 2nd line

Projected Lineup
Rubins New Guy
Kirichenko Schultz
quenneville  macphee/gally/forrest/macpherson

Then if an injury occurs to one of their top 4, they will will still have great depth. The only problem is that multiple teams will likely be looking to add a top defenceman so the cost may be really high.

Consider
A defensively sound forward. They are 1 guy short up front, but  they could use a guy like Dylan Bredo. A smart guy with speed, who has insane defensive instincts.  Someone who takes care of their own end first.

Fischer Butcher Owre
Bradley Shaw Dahlstrom
Rassal Defensively forward Gerlach
Jevne Hamblin   Prezusio/haden/chyzowski

Also they need to work on their D-Zone coverage. Too many times they bunch together in straight line formations which are terrible as it leaves a lot of open space.


My Christmas Wish List
Top line smart Defenceman
Defensively Sound smart forward
Backup goaltender

I think if they can fill those 3 holes, they have a very solid chance of playing for a memorial cup, as long as they can remain relatively healthy.

A defensively sound forward could be  cheaper to grab. a player like forrest would be more than enough value. A backup goaltender is a "nice to have" but with their other 2 needs may be the last thing on the plate to get.

Players that I think could be available
Dalton Gally - Bigger Dman. Tigers have a lot of depth, but may want to keep for next year
Gary Haden - Tigers have a lot of depth and he isn't getting much playing time. Could be worth a lot
Brad Forrest - A very good skating 19yr old Dman. Could easily play 2nd line minutes on most teams
Dylan Macpherson - good smart skating Damn, depth issues limit playing time.

Thoughts?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Tigers Vs Everett

This is a big test for the Tigers. Everett by far is the best defensive team in the league.

Pre-Game
This game is essentially offense vs  defensive, who will win?

Kristians Rubins
The Tigers will be without one of their best defenceman in Kristians Rubins as he has suffered an "upper body" injury. They list Rubins out for 2-4 weeks.  So it appears likely that the Tigers won't get him back until after the world juniors, as he is likely to suit up for his home country Latvia.

First Period
Everett gets a chance right off the hop. I think it startled everyone. Even Schneider stumbled, but luckily the puck skittered off the Everett players stick and it didn't result in a shot.

A lot of quick fast action. I don't think their was a whistle until 6 minutes had passed.  The quick action definitely favors the Tigers, as Everett plays more of a defensive style. They really look to find an open man and then stick to him. So Far the Tigers have managed to come into the zone with speed and break that up a little.

    Tigers Strike First
    Both the Tigers and Everett received penalties 14 seconds apart. During the 4 on 4  Steven Owre with a burst of speed gathers the puck behind the net. 2 Silvertip players converged in front of the net, but Owre used them as a screen and put a goal top shelf far side. 1-0 Tigers

Prime Chances: 6-4 Tigers
The chances were relatively close. Everett had a partial breakaway and a full 2 minute powerplay, Everett also hit a post after a failed wrap-around. Schneider made the saves he needed to and he was tested a few times.

The Tigers were buzzing in the Everett zone for the last few minutes of play. However the Tigers will start the 2nd down a man. Brad Forrest whacked a puck that was standing on edge and it vaulted into the crowd. So far the game is pretty close. The announcers were commenting that Everett was running around a little and needed to tighten up more defensively. The Tigers have a small edge in play, but lets see what the 2nd period brings.

Note: The Tigers broke Carter Hart's shutout streak. He had 3 straight shutouts

 2nd Period
Ug, The Tiger worst period of the Season by far. Everett exposed the Tigers defensively and took advantage of the Tigers frustrations.

Everett starts off with some momentum from their PP. They almost score a goal after a weak shot squeaks though Schneider's legs.

Everett Scores
Tigers turned the puck over in the neutral zone to the Silvertips. It was a 3 on 3 on the way back, but the Tigers defenceman were deep in their zone. It allowed Patrick Bajkov to walk in and wrip a shot from the top of the circle. It beat Schneider high glove side. 1-1 TIE

Everett Takes the Lead
 2 Tigers and 1 Everett player were fighting for control of the puck in the corner. Despite advantages in numbers  Patrick Bajkov walked out into the top of the circle and fired a shot on net. Max Gerlach managed a chop to the stick, but Schneider wasn't able to close his five-hole and Bajkov would get his 2nd of the game.
2-1 Everett Lead

Everett takes a 3-1 Lead
Right off the faceoff the tips pass back to the point. None other than Patrick Bajkov walks in and slaps a shot high glove side, with Schneider screened. 3-1 Everett Bajkov with the Natural Hat-Trick

Tigers Get Frustrated
Chad Butcher took a high hit in the corner and that was enough to set Fischer Off. He came in, and a big scrum developed. During the scrum Quenneville pulled an Everett player out of the scrum and Fischer walked by and sucker punched Matt Fonteyne in the head.

Fischer received a fighting major and game misconduct. Fischer might also face disciplinary action from the league.  Silvertips receive a 3 minute powerplay.

Everett Takes a 4-1 Lead
Soon after Shaw took a slashing penalty and that results in a 5 on 3.
Kevin Davis from the point walked to the middle of the ice and blasted one high glove side. 4-1 Tips

Prime Chances:  7-11 Everett
The only chance the Tigers had was a short-handed rush by Mark Rassall. Everett owned the 2nd period, as the Tigers struggled to get out of their end.

Ugly ugly period.

3rd Period
Everett gets the first chance, but after that the Tigers start getting some momentum.

Tigers Score
Tigers with a few good chances, but it's Brad Forrest taking a wrist shot right off the faceoff that beats Carter Hart.  4-2 Everett
7-12 everett

One Goal Deficit
Matt Bradley fed a cross ice pass to John Dahlstrom who managed to get a one-timer off despite an everett player trying to check him. the shot beat Hart low Blocker side. 4-3 Everett

Tigers with a powerplay, but Everett killed it off pretty effectively.Tigers didn't get a shot and spent most of the PP going up and down the ice.

That's the Game
Everett end up clinging and winning this one 4-3


The Tigers closed the gap in prime chances. Everett only had 1 off the start, and the rest of the period has been all tigers.
Total Prime Chances:  12-13 Everett.
Final Score: 4-3 Everett

Summary
The Tigers won 2 of 3 periods, but their disastrous 2nd period lost them the game. It was reminiscent of last years blunders. A positive to take out of this is that they managed to claw their way back to within a goal.

The Tigers 10 game winning streak is over, so it's time to start a new one.

Next Up: Seattle on Saturday. It could be likely that they play without Zach Fischer who sucker punched an everett player and received a game misconduct.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tiger Attendance

So while the Tigers continue to ravage the WHL on the Road, here are some Home Attendance Numbers.

This Graph is through all 48 game played @ The Canalta Center.




We can see a big high point and a steady  decline which  is normal for having a poor team. However what isn't normal is having the number continue to slide while the Tigers are near the top of the league.  The 2016 season starts at Game 38

TOTAL STATS
Total Attendance To Date: 200,178 Fans
Average Total Attendance: 4170 Fans


Broken Down By Day Of The Week (All 48 games)






Saturday is their high point, but if we take away the first 4 games, average attendance is 4176. Their isn't a whole lot of variance on the average. These numbers are relatively stable.


Ticket AVG Broken Down by Year
16-17 AVG: 3902
15-16 AVG: 4249
Difference: -347 or -8.2%


2016 Attendance By Day

















Weekday Drop
The biggest drop looks to be the weekday games so far. Saturday while down "a 100 or so" is still a decent draw.

I Imagine the poor economy is a big reason for declining numbers. I also think that in previous seasons the casual fan needed to have a season ticket in order to see hockey games. Now they don't need to eat tickets in order to see games with more seats in the new Canalta Centre.

Interesting Notes
Over 5000 Fans Their are only 3 games where attendance was above 5000 fans. All 3 of those games were against Lethbridge: (Sept 26,2015 (Opener), Dec 27/2015, MAR 19th 2015(Last Game).

Hopefully they add a few more during the playoffs this season.



Saturday, November 19, 2016

22 Games In

Tigers Defeat Red Deer 7-2
The Tigers just dismantled the  2nd best team in the Central Division: Red Deer by a score of 7-2.

Weak Central Division
Red Deer is currently in 2nd place, with a .500 record. If we compare a .500 record to the past few years, it doesn't make the playoffs since the 06-07 season. Not a knock on Red Deer but a general statement that the Central Division is unusually weak this season.

PreSeason  Expectations
Let's take a look at some of our preseason expectations for the Tigers and lets take a look at how they are performing.

Offense
In summary we knew the tigers possessed a really good veteran core who would be able to score by committee. We were a bit uncertain as to how the new import John Dahlstrom would fare. I think most of us knew that their offense was going to be one of their big strong points as they returned every impact scoring forward from the previous season.They also had a very high caliber group of rookies fighting for few spots up front.

Defence was their biggest question mark.
Defensive Expectations -  Last season they struggled. and graduated their biggest weapon in Ty Stanton. We didn't know how Kristians Rubins was going to perform, he wasn't NHL drafted but was the 6th overall CHL Import pick.

The defensive Core was a year older and their depth improved with a handful of prospects ready to step in. We were cautiously optimistic that with the improved Tigers offense,  the Defence would be capable of holding their own.

Goal-tending
Nick Schneider played (I think 8 games) last season in the AHL.,We knew the Tigers had a championship caliber 'tender. Any questions about goal-tending would be about a backup goaltender.

------------------
Lets Jump to Current Time

Top 8 Teams (Goal Differential) - Sorted by Winning Percentage
















The Tigers Off to An Amazing Start Offensively
4th in Winning Percentage. 2nd in Goal Differential. Now these stats can be misleading and mean nothing by themselves, but it gives a generalized comparison on how the Tigers are fairing offensively and defensively compared with the rest of the league. 

Highest offensive Team in the last 10 years in terms of Total Goals Scored.
 2014-15 Brandon Wheat Kings; 
Started: 5 Goals a game
Finish: 4.7 Goals per Game Rate
Right now the Tigers are higher than that.

Will Their Offense Sustain?

Tigers Historical Goals Scored Per Game
Lets check the Tigers History in terms of Goals Scored  in the first 20 games compared to where they finish.



Most seasons show a moderate slowing, but how much would this years group slow down??
Current WLL AVG = 3.12 Goals scored a game.

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Projected Stats
No secret algorithm run. Just a general projection based on their production. If numbers are off it's rounding errors by excel.














It is extremely unlikely to see some of these players continuing these rates for a full season. I highly doubt the Tigers will have 4 (almost 5)-40 goal scorers by seasons end and finish with 374 goals. That is a very high total. 

It is very likely that  Rassal, Quenneville's production slows in goals scored. Zach Fischer could also see a slowing. He is a very unique player as he suddenly exploded in his 18yr old season in the last 13 games. He went from a .1 ppg player to a 1ppg player overnight. That is not often done, especially so late. Fischer is also currently the league leader in Penalty Minutes.

We may see some goal increases too. Mason Shaw, Steve Owre, Chad Butcher are just as likely to increase their goal scoring rate a little, but they are enjoying more of a playmaking role.

Matt Bradley has always been a slow starter. He doubled his goal total in the last 3 games. With back to back to back 2 goal games He is catching fire. One would think he is capable of a big point increase this year.

Despite slowing down towards the end of last season Max Gerlach is fighting for the Tigers goal scoring lead.

John Dahlstrom has been a pleasant surprise so far. 1.2 PPG is very high for a first year Euro.

I don't expect to see the Tigers suddenly drop off the map, but over the course of time as weaknesses are shored up and teams have better scouting reports on each other, their production is bound to slow a little.


The Line Combos
Zach Fischer Chad Butcher Steven  Owre  
Matt Bradley Mason Shaw  John Dahlstrom
Mark Rassal James Hamblin Max Gerlach
Ryan Jevne  Tyler Preziuso
Gary Haden/ Ryan Chyzowski  (every other game on the 4th line)


The last couple games the Tigers have been rolling these lines. I love those combos.


Defensively
The Tigers are more than holding their own. 3.10 GAA is very respectable for a group that gave up almost 4 GAA last season.  However it could be better. Their are spurts where they run around in their own end and are unable to relieve pressure without giving up a quality chance. Will they be able to hammer that out? Or will a defensive upgrade be looked at? 

Rubins Kirichenko
Schultz Quenneville
Forrest Macphee/Gally/MacPherson

If the Tigers decide to go for it, they could very well be looking at a defensive upgrade come trade deadline time from one of their 19's. The Tigers are likely to loose both a Schultz/Forrest due to numbers.  Instead of scrambling for an off-season 5th-6th pick, it could be worthwhile to use one as a sidepiece in a trade.

Goaltending
The Tigers have been heavily relying on starter Nick Schneider at this point. Backup Duncan McGovern has played 4 games, however In today's game a 16yr old is almost too physically young to handle shots from 19's and 20's.  

Nick Schneider is pulling a very respectable .910 save percentage, while McGovern is putting up typical lower 16 yr old numbers. 

Is it worth it for the Tigers to acquire a veteran backup tender?   Schneider is eligible to come back next season as a 20. The Flames goalie situation is extremely volatile. 2 NHL tenders on 1 yr deals. 3 goalies in their farm system under contract for next year, + 1 euro goalie on a 1 yr contract that the flames took a flyer on and could re-sign. Their may or may not be room for him in the flames system and we won't know until the Flames roster takes shape for next season.

Nonetheless  their is a degree of risk if Schneider carries the load and McGovern isn't able to get in some quality games.

Special Teams
The Tigers lead the league with their Powerplay clicking at 32.4%. On the road it is a staggering 36.4%

The Tigers also Lead the League on the Penalty Kill with an 86.5% Kill Rate. A very slight increase over the first ten game mark which was 85.7%

Injuries
The Tigers have had a very clean bill of health so far *knock on wood*The Tigers do have a few players who have missed significant time the past couple season and so far those players have remained healthy.

Full Charge Ahead
In the Eastern Conference It appears that 3 teams  MH, Regina, Moose Jaw right now are starting to pull ahead.

Rubins+Dahlstrom
Have to give props to the Tigers for not only finding these players, but having the vision of drafting veteran players and turning last years down year into a very quick up season this year.

They have both been key parts to the Tigers so far

Summary
I kinda thought the Tigers would be a team that was  above average out of the gate and a team that grows stronger  as the year wears on. They have so many players who are later bloomers combined with a bunch of young players who show lots of potential.


They have a great record and I don't believe they are playing "over their head"  I think these guys are the real deal. As long as they don't get caught running in their own zone on any given night I think they have a pretty good shot at winning.

 While it is still pretty early, and many things can change, injuries can happen etc. I think every team wants to be in a position come the trade deadline where they are considering adding to make a run.  The Tigers are on that path.
-------------

Some Stats
Tigers = 44 shots a game. Shooting Percentage 11.1%
League Leader Regina = 45 shots a game. Shooting Percentage 12.8%

PDO Factor aka The "Lucky Stat"

PDO - is a designation of how "lucky" a team is.  It has been proven that over the long term it heavily regresses to the mean of 100.
Tigers = 100.5%
Regina = 102.6%
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Basically means the Tigers aren't getting overly lucky. 2% over or under means a teams shooting percentage or save percentage is likely to start declining.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tigers Thrash Canes 9-3

Thrashing in the Hat
It's been a while since we were able to witness a thrashing like that. The Tigers in the past have typically been a small speedy team. This season they are just as fast but have a better mix of size and speed.

I'm pretty sure we saw more big hits in the first period than we did all of last year. Rubins and Gally Both 6'5 Monsters were standing up on the blueline and crunching guys all over the place.

Missing Players
The Canes this weekend were without their top line  Burke, Estephan, and Wong. They were also missing newcomer offensive defenceman Brennan Menell.  Compared to the Tigers who were missing their starting goaltender, John Dahlstrom, and David Quenneville.


Zach Fischer
Zach Fischer had 3 goals tonight. Last season his 3rd point was on February 23rd. It's great to see he has continued his strong play from the end of last season.

The Butcher
Chopping up opponent defenses, The Butcher recorded a 6 point night and brought memories back reminiscent of Tyler Ennis. He was dominant.

New Defenceman
It's only 1 game but I was highly impressed with Rubins, Gally, and MacPhee. Rubins and Gally had the ability to stand up at the blueline and throw some big hits.  I thought Rubins showed a very strong skating ability for a player his size. Rubins Impressed me a lot and looks like he has the potential to be a top pairing guy.

James Hamblin
He looks like a completely different player this year. His speed was on showcase and looks like a guy who wants to get drafted into the NHL.

McGovern
Looks pretty big and mobile in net. Seems like the Tigers found themselves a good young tender.  Their were a handful of close calls and McGovern was able to keep most of them out. Joey Frazer on the radio mentioned he thought he seemed quite similar to Tyler Bunz.


Weekend Games
The Tigers outshot the canes 83-38 in the two games. Both teams were missing key players but I think that is a pretty good start to the season. The Canes are the pre-season favorites and the Tigers looked very good against them.

Improvements
I thought their were times where the Tigers forwards were a bit scambly in their own zone. They were bunching up and hesitant on which players to take. Their were occasions where the Canes spread out in the offensive zone and had periods of pressure that the Tigers could have protected against it better.  Later in the Home Opener the Tigers were better, but they also had a big lead.

Next Up
The Tigers are home to Saskatoon on Friday, then Travel to Swift Current on Saturday.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Season Opener

Their is a wave of excitement over the Tigers this season. They have a lot of returning players, and some new quality imports that should pack quite the scoring punch. They have a future potential NHL goaltender, and their defence is much improved.

Reading some of the review around the league, nobody besides Tiger Fans expect the Tigers to make some noise in the central.  The WHL's own website is saying the Tigers "Should find a way back into the playoffs"

The WHL Broadcasters polls put the Tigers in 3rd.  It seems The Tigers will enjoy starting the season in the underdog role.

First Period
The Tigers looked a little nervous in the first period. Their passes and teamwork wasn't quite jiving. In the first 5 minutes they gave up a couple scoring chances on bouncing pucks. the Hurricanes had 2 early chances in the slot missing the net and McGovern made a solid save on the 2nd attempt.

The Tigers were on a powerplay and veteran Matt Bradley took a bad and unnecessary penalty. He slashed  a Hurricanes player after the whistle on the ankle after receiving a light push. It negated the powerplay.

A few moments later Off the faceoff,  16yr old and future star defenceman for the Canes Calen Addison put a wrist shot on net to the far side. Duncan Mcgovern didn't see it. 1-0 Canes

The Tigers managed 2-3 quality scoring chances, but Stuart Skinner stopped them all. The Tigers had some very good zone time on a powerplay but failed to score.

The Hurricanes had the edge with puck possession and would go up 2-0 late in the second period. Off the rush Young Cale Addison would feed a puck to 20yr old Ryley Lindgren. Lindgren put a weak shot on net, but the puck somehow found a way through McGovern. McGovern likely wanted that one back.  2-0 Canes

Tigers outshot the Canes in the Period, but the Canes out-chanced the Tigers. The Tigers didn't appear to have any set line combos and were using multiple combinations.  Kristian Rubins had a ton of ice-time and looked pretty good on the back-end in the first period.


Second Period
The Tigers were a lot better this period. I thought they controlled the play for the majority of the period. Their were a ton of whistles, lots of off-sides,icings, goalies covering the puck.

The Tigers would get on the scoreboard on the powerplay. Kirichenko fed a cross ice pass to Matt Bradley, who corralled the puck then fired a wrist shot underneath the glove of Stuart Skinner.
2-1 Hurricanes

The Tigers had a few periods of intense pressure.  Unfortunately right after a Tiger chance the Hurricanes had a rush up the ice. Ryley Lindgren fed a cross ice pass, and Brady Reagan put a stick on the puck, and it went right through McGoverns' five-hole.

That was a real tough goal for the Tigers as they had a lot of momentum going and had the canes on the ropes. They outshot the Canes 17-7 during the period, and outshooting them 30-15 overall.

Third Period
Brad Forrest coughed a puck at the blueline, and took himself out of the play and the Canes had a 2 on 1 Jordy Bellevrie would centre a pass and it went in off of Rubins. 4-1 Canes

The Tigers would get back in the game with a powerplay goal. James Hamblin had a big hit at center ice and the Canes Igor Merezhko tried to start a fight and would get a 2 minute rouging penalty.

On the powerplay  From behind the net Mason Shaw fed a pass out to Ryan Jevne at the corner of the net. Jevne's shot would find the far side of the net.
4-2 Canes

Tigers outshot the Canes 42-20

Summary
The Tigers didn't have a very good first period. They put themselves behind early and played catch up the rest of the game. Despite the fact that the Tigers outshot the Canes, I felt the Canes had better quality scoring chances. The Tigers played a lot better after the first period and won the puck possession game in the last two periods.

Unfotunately they had a difficult time converting that puck poession time into prime scoring chances as most of the Tigers shots were at distance. McGovern stopped some very high quality chances, but unfortunately would have liked to have 1 or 2 goals back.

Both teams will be right back at it Saturday night for the Home Opener in Medicine Hat.

Season Opener

Their is a wave of excitement over the Tigers this season. They have a lot of returning players, and some new quality imports that should pack quite the scoring punch. They have a future potential NHL goaltender, and their defence is much improved.

Reading some of the review around the league, nobody besides Tiger Fans expect the Tigers to make some noise in the central.  The WHL's own website is saying the Tigers "Should find a way back into the playoffs"

The WHL Broadcasters polls put the Tigers in 3rd.  It seems The Tigers will enjoy starting the season in the underdog role.

First Period
The Tigers looked a little nervous in the first period. Their passes and teamwork wasn't quite jiving. In the first 5 minutes they gave up a couple scoring chances on bouncing pucks. the Hurricanes had 2 early chances in the slot missing the net and McGovern made a solid save on the 2nd attempt.

The Tigers were on a powerplay and veteran Matt Bradley took a bad and unnecessary penalty. He slashed  a Hurricanes player after the whistle on the ankle after receiving a light push. It negated the powerplay.

A few moments later Off the faceoff in the Tigers end 16yr old and future star defenceman for the Canes Calen Addison put a wrist shot on net to the far side. Duncan Mcgovern didn't see it. 1-0 Canes

The Tigers managed 2-3 quailty scoring chances, but Stuart Skinner stopped them all. The Tigers had some very good zone time on a powerplay but failed to score.

The Hurricanes had the edge with puck possesion and would go up 2-0 late in the second period. Off the rush Young Cale Addison would feed a puck to 20yr old Ryley Lindgren.

Lindgren put a weak shot on net, but the puck somehow found a way through McGovern. McGovern likely wanted that one back.  2-0 Canes

Tigers outshot the Canes in the Period, but the Canes out-chanced the Tigers. The Tigers didn't appear to have any set line combos and were using multiple combinations.  Kristian Rubins had a ton of ice-time and looked pretty good on the back-end in the first period.


Second Period

Tigers Aquire Jake Morrissey

http://tigershockey.com/article/tigers-acquire-goaltender-morrissey

Not  a trade just a free agent pickup. This is just purely a depth move to have a backup tender while Schneider is still at flames camp. Morrissey will likely be sent down after Schneider's return.

Season Starts Today In Lethbridge


Players At Camp

David Quenneville - Tweeted today that he would be watching and cheering on the Tigers. The islanders have split into 2 groups and Quenneville is still up their.

John Dahlstrom - Still up in Chicago

Nick Schneider - Obviously he is not back yet, as the Tigers picked up a free agent until he returns. The Flames camp is split into 3 groups and have scheduled Ice-Time all the way until next monday evening, so he will not return in time

Returns
Kristians Rubins - he has returned from Winnipeg and will be in the Tigers lineup
Chad Butcher - I believe he got called to play in the Edmonton Oilers Rookie game against the Alberta Golden Bears on wednesday. The paper says he is back in town.
Bradley - Has returned already

For the Tigers First Opponent - this list of players isn't 100% official

Lethbridge Players In Camp
Egor Babenko, Arizona Coyotes, 2017 - Back in Lethrbidge
Brayden Burke, Calgary Flames, 2017 - In Flames Camp will not play
Giorgio Estephan, Buffalo Sabres, 2015 - In Buffalo Will not play
Brennan Menell, Philadelphia Flyers, 2017 - Away at Camp
Brady Reagan, Ottawa Senators, 2017 - Back in Lethbridge
Tyler Wong, Toronto Maple Leafs, Free Agent - In Toronto Camp

It looks like Lethbridge is missing most of their players still.

NHL Training Camps
Most Main Camps start this week. We should see players start trickling back early next week as first rounds of cuts are made.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Tigers At Camp

Last Edit: Sept 20th  2:00PM
Players Returned: Matt Bradley 
Away At Camp: Dahlstrom, Butcher, Rubins, Quenneville, Schneider


Camp Timelines
Sept 14th - Rookie Camps Start
Sept 21st-23rd - Main Camps Start
Sept 23rd - WHL season Opener In Lethbridge
Usually AHL Camps open on Sept 28th-30th weekend

Not all camps open on those above dates, but the majority of them are within a day or 2.
Their is a real possibility that some of these players will miss the opening weekend because Main Camps start within a day or two of the WHL season opener.

John Dahlstrom -  Since he was NHL drafted out of Europe, is technically eligible to play in the AHL at 19 and Chicago does have room in Rockford. One thinks that because he switched leagues and attended Tiger Camp that he is cemented with the Tigers for this season; however, I am curious about his AHL eligibility
----------------------------
Here is a master List of all the Tigers at Camp, and I'll keep updates on their progress.


Matt Bradley - Montreal (2015 5th Round, 131st Overall) Sent Back to Medicine Hat
Canadians Rookie Camp Tournament
Sept 16 -  N/A
Sept 17 - 1 Goal
Sept 18 - N/A
-----------------------------No Boxscores to report. ----.---

John Dahlstrom - Chicago (2015 7th Round, 211th Overall)
Traverse City Prospects Tournament|| Stats Page
Potential games
Sept 16th DNP
Sept 17th - 1 assist, 1 shot, +1
Sept 19th - 1 Goal, 2 Shots
Sept 20th
------------------

David Quenneville - New York Islanders ( 2016 -7th Round 200th)
Potential Games VS Flyers Prospects
Sept 21st
-------------------------
Nick Schneider - Calgary Flames (Signed)
Young Stars Tournament|| Stats Page
Sept16 - DNP
Sept17th - DNP
Sept19th - 1 Goal Allowed on 10 Shots, Played Half the Game.
Sept20th
------------------

Kristians Rubins - Winnipeg Jets (Free Agent)
Young Stars Tournament|| Stats page
Sept16 -DNP
Sept18 - +1, 2 Shots
Sept19 - DNP
Sept20th
---------------------

Chad Butcher - Edmonton Oilers (Free Agent)
YoungStars Tournament||Stats page
Sept 16 - 2 Shots, 2 PM
Sept 17 - 1 Assist, +1, 2 Shots, 2 PM
Sept 19 - DNP
Sept 20
--------------------------

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tigers Deal Nick Heid

The Tigers traded 19yr old Defenceman Nick Heid to Prince Albert for a 7th round 2017 Pick
http://raiderhockey.com/article/raiders-acquire-heid-from-medicine-hat

Nick Heid was acquired for a 4th round pick from Portland last season.

Defence(10)+1
Kirichenko(20) Schultz(19)
Rubins(19) Quenneville(18)
Gally(18)  MacPherson(18)
Forrest(19)   Cole Clayton(16)

Layne Matchuk(16) Cameron Macphee(17)
Conner Clouston***

Why the Tigers Made this Deal
From the depth charts above it's evident that the signings of both Dalton Gally, and Cameron MacPhee has led to increased competition of the back-end.

They are still pretty full back their.  If they want to keep a 16 or 17 yr old, they either go with 8 Dman, or another move is coming.

Prince Albert Perspective
I like this deal If I'm Prince Albert. Heid was a bit under-rated and apparently had a good growth spurt in the off-season as they list him as 6'4 194lbs.   A 7th round is pretty cheap value when we look at the Tigers acquiring him for a 4th.  Heid is easily capable of 3rd line minutes, and depending how he improves into next season could prove to be a very solid 2nd line option.

Roster:
The roster has been updated on WHL.ca. However it still only lists 2 goalies which still seems suspect.

I believe their have been a few cuts, as a few players on twitter have expressed their thanks for the training camp which is an indication they have been sent down. Usually in the past the Tigers have sent most of their 15's down after last weekend as school starts.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tigers Pre-Season Roster

Update September 2nd
Cole Clayton is on the whl roster sheet against Lethbridge. So That makes the 40 man roster 100% completed.

Update September 2nd - Tigers Sign Defenceman Macphee
http://tigershockey.com/article/macphee-signs-with-tigers
--------
Update September 2nd
http://medicinehatnews.com/sports/local-sports/2016/09/02/pre-season-starts-tonight-in-coaldale/
4 Goaltenders are confirmed to still be in camp
----------

Update September 1st
(Heathcote,Steele, Matechuck) Have been added.
---------------

According to the MH News Article the Tigers will be taking a 40 man roster into preseason
http://medicinehatnews.com/sports/local-sports/2016/08/29/youth-shines-in-intrasquad-showcase/



Known Roster
------------
Forwards(18)
Dahlstrom(19) Owre(20) Butcher(20)
Gerlach(18) Bradley(19) Shaw(18)
Rassall(19)  Preziuso(17) Fischer(19)
Hamblin(17)  Jevne(18) Fantillo(18)
Gary Haden(17) Josh Mcneil(16) Baxter Anderson(16)
Ryan Chyzowski(16) Dawson Heathcote(16) Jaxon Steele(16)
Alex Mowbray(20)**

Defence(10)
Kirichenko(20) Schultz(19)
Rubins(19) Quenneville(18)
Heid(19)  MacPherson(18)
Gally(18) Forrest(19)
Layne Matchuk(16) Cameron Macphee(17)
Connor Clouston** Cole Clayton(16)


Goaltending(4)
Nick Schneider(19)
Duncan McGovern(16)
C.J. Wedening(17)
Isaac Labelle(18)

15's (5)
Jalen Price
Henry Rybinski
Josh Williams
Daniel Baker
Ryden Fedyck



Friday, August 19, 2016

Tigers' Training Camp

Posting For Visibility

http://tigershockey.com/article/training-camp-schedule


DATE TIME EVENT
Friday August 26th 8:00am – 8:45am Goalie Session
9:00am – 10:00am Practice – Team Black
11:00am – 1:15pm Scrimmage – Team White vs. Team Orange
5:00pm – 6:00pm Practice – Team White
7:00pm – 9:15pm Scrimmage – Team Black vs. Team Orange
Saturday August 27th 9:00am – 10:00am Practice – Team Orange
11:00am – 1:15pm Scrimmage – Team Black vs. Team White
5:00pm – 5:45pm Scrimmage – Team Black vs. Team White
6:00pm – 6:45pm Scrimmage – Team White vs. Team Orange
7:00pm – 7:45pm Scrimmage – Team Black vs. Team Orange
Sunday August 28th 12:00pm – 2:15pm Black vs. White Game


Training Camp is open to the Public this season!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dahlstrom Commits to the Tigers

Edit: Saturday 23rd - added defence comments & rest of the Ages

http://tigershockey.com/article/tigers-sign-import-dahlstrom

Looks like more good news for the Tigers next season as John Dahlstrom has agreed to play for the Tigers. So it looks like both Euro's from the CHL Import Draft are both coming over. Scouting Reports say  Dahlstrom has an uncanny ability to put the puck in the net.

Updated Depth Charts

Goaltender
Schneider 19
Rommelaere17/McGovern
Prospects&Invites



Defense
Kirichenko 20 Schultz 19
Rubins 19 Quenneville 18
Heid 19 MacPherson 18
Forrest 19
Clayton 16
Matechuk 16
Prospects&Invites

Clouston20*

Forwards
Bradley19 Owre20 Butcher 20
Gerlach18 Shaw18 Dahlstrom19

Rassall19 Fischer19 Jevne18
Chyzowski16 Preziuso17 Haden17
Mowbray20*
Hamblin17
Fantillo18

Anderson, 16
McNeil,16 
Heathcote16

Ganie 17
Prospects&Invites

Thoughts
Gotta give props to the scouting department, as they have stocked the cupboards very well the past couple seasons. The Tigers look to have some pretty impressive depth, especially at forward.  Of course you never like to trade guys that can make a whl team, but If I'm an opposition team looking to improve I'm keeping an eye on the Tigers forwards that fall down on their depth charts.  Their could very well be whl calibre rookies not making the team because of the firepower up front. It should make for quite the battles in training camp.

Forwards
This forward group has the makings & capability of a championship squad that will only get better as the season progresses. They have enough depth where guys like Rassall, and Fischer will be playing 3rd line minutes but could probably play on most teams 2nd lines. Last year the Tigers were in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring, and they didn't loose anyone. They gained another year of experience, and they gained a scoring import. They can score by committee, and I'm extremely excited about their potential for next season.  They could very well sit near the top of the league in goal scoring. Their is potential for 8-9 guys to score 20+ goals.


Defense
The defense seems questionable on what their strength will look like. Their top end depth  is unproven to playing 1st line minutes. We will have to wait and see what Rubins can bring to the back-end. I don't expect him to be a #1 guy, as he was projected as a good talent but wasn't drafted. (Similar to Platanov of last year).  I could see the Tigers looking at acquiring a guy that could play first line minutes later at the deadline if they are in a position to make some noise. I think their defence could be anywhere from below average to above average.

WIll Quenneville improve to a point where he isn't a defensive concern against opponents top lines. Will schultz come into his own and prove he can play top line minutes. How will Kirichenko fare with stanton gone. Will Mcpherson step up and become someone you can't take out of the lineup. Forrest has excelled in pre-season, will he turn the corner and become a breakout player. Does Heid become steady eddy on the back-end. He was someone oft overlooked last season, but was decently sound in his own end.  To be honest I'm not 100% sold that clouston is the odd man out for over-agers He brings a lot of intangibles to the lineup. He is big, tough, plays a simple solid game, and is very aggressive with no fear.  Kirichenko might be able to bring a 2nd round pick in return.  If that is the case do the Tigers deal him, knowing they could possibly be looking for a non overager later in the year?  They would need his replacement to play first line minutes, however if Rubins can bring what clouston did last season, perhaps that changes things as well. 

Goaltending.
Schneider  was very strong at the end of last season, and ended up with 9 games  of AHL experience. The Tigers will boast a very strong #1, they will need to find a quality backup tender and get him some games so that next season the Tigers aren't going in with issues.

Overall
This team has some great potential for this season. The Central is up for grabs next year, their are no bona fida contenders. The Tigers have potential to make some noise with a very quick turnaround season.

Late Edit: I mispoke about bona fida contenders. Lethbridge looks to have a very solid team

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Kristians Rubins


The Tigers 1st round pick 15th overall in the CHL Import draft has decided to Join the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Kristians Rubins  exercised a clause in his contract for the CHL and has decided to Join the Medicine hat Tigers this fall.

http://www.vik.se/artikel/fxpnaiqcl-4a8i1/ 
(The article is in swedish)

Rubins will be in his 19 yr old season. The 6'4 216 lb defenceman will be a welcomed presence with the graduation of Ty Stanton in the off-season.

I Imagine the Tigers hope he can fill a 1st line role and partner with Kirichenko on the top line. We will have to wait and see on what he is capable of.

I haven't heard any word yet on John Dahlstrom their other pick.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Quenneville & Import Draft

Quenneville Drafted to NYI
David Quenneville was the lone Tiger taken in the 7th round 200th overall of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

CHL Import Draft
http://chl.ca/importdraft

Round 1 - 15th: Kristians Rubins    6'4 216 lb Latvian Defenceman (19 yr old season)
He has played for Latvia's U18 and U20 program.


Scouting Report
Kristians is listed as a strong Left Handed defensive defenceman with a huge reach, who in the past has put up a few more points than your typical defensive defenceman.  He has an aggressive mean streak and shows sound hockey IQ. He is listed as having an impressive shot and has played on the PP in the past.

Last year in July he was a prospect to keep an eye on in quite a few European players to watch lists. In the Mid-Term rankings he was listed as the 94th European Skater.

He was not taken in the NHL 2016 entry draft.  Last season he had off-season shoulder surgery and missed the first half of the season, so that may be why he wasn't taken in the draft

Twitter Feed:
https://twitter.com/rubyn7?lang=en

Round 2 - 76th Overall John Dahlstrom    6'1 194 lb Center  (19yr old season)

John was taken in the 7th round by the Chicago Blackhawks and the last pick in the2015 draft.

 He has played for Sweden's under 18 and under 20 teams.  Last season he played for both Frolunda's Junoir Team as well as 13 games for their 1st Division men's league in Allsvensken. He has a hard accurate shot with a nose for the net. His instincts to score goals is a rare ability.

He has also been mentioned as a player who could improve upon using his size, as well as his defensive game.


Thoughts
Two 19yr old, bigger bodied players. I'm not sure on how likely they are to cross the pond. We will have to keep our fingers crossed. I haven't read anything about their commitments, but in general players who have had tastes of Sweden's elite league are less likely to come over.

 Kristians Rubins  just signed a contract extension 2 months ago with his Swedish team.. I would assume their would need to be an out clause for him to cross.

With John Dahlstrom, Chicago in the past has largely stayed away from the whl. They haven't picked a whl player for 4 years.

I do hope that both picks cross the pond. they seems risky, but hopefully the Tigers have had good indications that they will come over

Rubins could potentially be a 2 year player. Dahlstrom if he comes over likely a 1 year player. I half like these picks. They need a big bodied defenceman on the back-end. They need some size up front. They could easily bolster their 19 yr old age group. So those things were addressed.

I think the reason the Tigers picked both these older players was because their are a lot of young prospects. Picking an import young player may not get a lot of icetime, so they want someone who can put up good numbers this season, to help get them back into the playoffs even if that means their stays will be shorter. Their was also open competition for the 6th slot in the top 6.  This likely keeps rassal, fischer down to 3rd line roles.  If those players continue their good play, and Dhalstrom comes over the Tigers could boast a pretty impressive high powered offense.

It could potentially open up flexibility  for 1 O/A forward  (Owre, Butcher) to be moved. From what I understand the Overage Market is lean this year, but I doubt that's what the Tigers want to do.


Former Tiger Plays Dodgeball in the Off-Season
http://www.thenownewspaper.com/sports/383996351.html

Found an interesting article on former Tiger Trevor Cox. He is part of a trampoline dodgeball team that qualified for Championships in Vegas. His team is made up of mostly baseball and hockey players.

Rule Changes
http://new.whl.ca/article/whl-concludes-annual-general-meeting
Hybrid Icings will be the new rule. The same Rule that the NHL employs.

Video Replay upgrades

Pucks that go in off players skates will be awarded as goals,  with an exception if the puck is in the crease.

Mental Health education program to be added to the WHL's Player Support Services Program.

Exhibition Schedule
http://chl-wordpress-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/whl/app/uploads/2016/06/14160617/2016-17-Pre-Season-Schedule.pdf
No Home games again. They will play in Taber, Coaldale, Wainright, Regina, Ralston, Red Deer

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bantam Draft

Last Edit: Friday May 6th
1st Round
5th Overall - Josh Williams 6'0 170lb - Right Wing

Scouting Report:
Yale Hockey Academy Profile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyi3jWj0vnE

2nd Round
28th Overall - Daniel Baker 6'2 175lb - Defense
34th Overall - Henrik Rybinski 5'11 150lb - Forward

3rd Round
55th - Ryden Fedyck - 6'3 176lb - Defense
63rd - Jalen Price 6'0 177lb - Forward

4th Round
72nd - Mattie Boonstra 5'10 139lb - Defense

5th Round
94th Kaleb McEachern 6'3  184lb - Goaltender


7th Round
138th Corson Hopwo 5'5 129lb - Centre

9th Round 
192nd- Logan Ganie 5'9 150lb Left Wing

Tigers Are Done Drafting
This years crop so far would be considered Giants compared to the past few years. This draft was considered pretty deep

9 Players
5 Forwards
3 Defenceman
1 Goaltender

Medicine Hat News Comments
http://medicinehatnews.com/sports/local-sports/2016/05/06/tigers-go-big-in-whldraft/


While the Tigers have traditionally boasted a small and quick roster, Clouston says Thursday’s series of decisions to draft bigger-bodied players came both as a result of the scouting, and due to the evolving nature of the game.
“The scouting staff did a tremendous job and we were just going off the list. When it’s our turn to pick, we’re picking the best guy on the list,” he said. “The thing that’s changing a little bit is we want to be able to be a fast team and play at a high tempo, a lot of the big guys are real good skaters now too. Even the bigger guys can really fly. You’ll see that in a guy like Josh.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Next Season

The Tigers won't loose very much at all going into next season.

Losses: 
Ty Stanton
Brian Williams
Mack Shields
2 Of Last years 19's

Losing Stanton is a big hit to Defense, but the other are replaceable.

Roster For Next Season by Age Group
Overagers
Steven Owre**
Chad Butcher**
Clayton Kirichenko**
Alex Mowbray
Connor Clouston
**= My Estimate as FrontRunners

IF those that are starred all come back; that would leave Mowbray and Clouston on the outside looking in. Those starred all had "A"s on their jersey's.  Their were earlier rumors about butcher wanting out. It would be a big loss if true, so we will see what happens with that.

I could see a demand for Clouston as he plays a very simple and aggressive game. Clouston would fit in as a 2nd pairing guy. Mowbray brings a solid work ethic, but I could see him being passed because of his lower point totals. He would be a great pickup for a 6/7th pick. Mowbray could be a 40 point 3rd line leader type player

19's
Matt Bradley
Zach Fischer
Mark Rassall
Brad Forrest
Nick Heid
Ty Schultz
Nick Schneider

I would pose the 19 yr old age group as late bloomers. They all have potential, but that potential has been a bit slower in coming out.


Matthew Bradley
 At the beginning of the season I considered Bradley a perimeter player. A player that could skate, but was always skating to the outside. Towards the middle of the season his game evolved. He was a consistent dangerous threat in the offensive zone. I expect him to break-out and have a huge season next year, to go with his improvements at the end of last season. He had 51 points this year. If he can stay healthy I would predict  PPG+ numbers

Zach Fischer
Fischer was an extreme late bloomer. He has had a bunch of injury troubles all season.At the end of the season his game completely changed. He was thrust into the top 6 role, and looked like he had been playing their all season.  Fischer only had 13 points this season, but 10 of those points were in the last 10 games of the season. I see potential in him to surprise and turn into a near ppg player next year. Realistically, he may not reach that, but If he plays in the top 6 I think it is a reachable figure. I think a better conservative estimate would be 40-60 points if he can stay healthy.

Schneider
It was a bit unfortunate he struggled to start the season. His game transformed and he became a lot more aggressive in the crease and a lot more mobile. We haven't seen a goaltender since osgood become a consistent NHL tender, but we see a lot of good traits in Schneider and I think he has a real good shot at being a longtime pro.

Mark Rassall
Rassall I expect some big things for him next season. He took a big step in his game earlier in the season; developing, into a power forward type role with above average 1 on 1 skill. I felt he was under-utilized later in the year. He will probably compete with Fischer for top 6 ice-time. The Tigers strategy is not typically geared towards the powerforward role. Rassall will have to force the Coaches hand and become too dangerous too pass up, if he wants a top 6 role.

Nick Heid
Heid reminds me a lot of Tyler Lewington's game. Solid stay at home guy who plays a consistent game. The Tigers will need him to anchor a 2nd line pairing. I hope he has a strong off-season developing some muscle. With the way the Tigers defense is looking, Heid will be looked at to play a physical role and I hope he doesn't go overboard with that early in the season.  Tyler Lewington fought quite a bit early in his 20yr old year and I think that took a large physical toll on him.

Brad Forrest
Forrest was another late bloomer. He has a good set of wheels and can carry the puck, but early in the season he was getting stripped consistently. At the end of last season he has shown he has learned from that. I think he is capable of taking his game to another level next season, as the Tigers will need him too. He could possibly fall on the depth charts otherwise. I expect a 3rd line pairing from from him next season.

Ty Schultz
Schultz maybe thrust onto the top pairing, unless a skilled Defensive import pick is found. Is he ready for it? I'm not sure...he would be more suited for a 2nd line, pushing a top pairing guy for more icetime.


18's
Ryan Jevne
Max Gerlach
Mason Shaw
Caleb Fantillo
Dylan MacPherson
David Quenneville

This is an interesting group. MacPherson will be a late bloomer with his first full whl season as an 18 yr old, but he showed some very strong defensive instincts in his short stints with the Tigers. Great mobility, great body positioning. I see really good potential in him, perhaps following the foosteps of a guy like Becker who was also late comer making the team.

Jevne, Fantillo, Gerlach  - their first season in the WHL, ice-time increasing as the season went on. Gerlach shocked us all with 30 goals, but his production slowed towards seasons end. He has some incredible hands and an ability to snipe without taking much time to get the puck off his stick.

Jevne and Fantillo are taking a lane similar to that of Fischer. Used as depth players but with expected potential to eventually breakout. I would expect them both to take until mid-end of next season before we start to see what they are really capable of. If they can break out earlier that will be awesome

Quenneville is more of an offensive specialist. He grabbed a ton of points, His quick release and shot is very powerful. He has trouble with his positioning when laying a hit, and sometimes hesitates for a second getting his bearings in the D zone.  He can also be prone to getting walked around on the outside by bigger fast players. His defensive game needs to improve, but his offense is greatly welcomed.

Shaw - Almost a point per game player in his 17 yr old year. He plays much bigger than his size. Everyone seems to like his game and knows what he can do being a fan favorite. Shaw/gerlach will be a very fun combo to watch for the 2-3 years.

17's
James Hamblin
Ryan Rommelaere
Tyler Preziuso
Gary Haden

Prezuiso and Hamblin were beneficiaries to the Tigers low depth this season. Both got a head start on their development. Hamblin seems still quite raw in his development, but has some wheels on him. He got pushed around a lot and needs to get stronger. Once he can effectively manage the rougher play we should see his game take a few jumps, although I don't expect to see that until his 18 yr old year. I am hoping towards the end of next year we do see leaps forward in his game.

Preziuso shows some good playmaking skills and didn't look out of place at all. Given a bigger role he is a player that could potentially "surprise" next  season.  Haden isn't as fast on his skates as the usual Tiger breed, but has put up points on his AAA Midget teams. I could see a Prezuiso/Haden/Chyzonski combo that tears it up in a few years.

16's
Ryan Chyzowski
Baxter Anderson
Cole Clayton D
Josh McNeil
Dawson Heathcote
Layne Matechuk D

Duncan McGovern G  Put up .919 save percentage in midget AAA which is quite impressive
Everyone except Matechuk and McGovern received playing time with the Tigers this season. Judging from what we saw from the call-ups this season, these 16's will be extremely competitive. I would not be surprised to see 3 of them make the team.


Roster By Line Combos
Fischer Owre Butcher
Gerlach Bradley Shaw
Rassall Fantillo Jevne
Chyzowski Preziuso Haden

Anderson, McNeil, Heathcote

Kirichenko Schultz
Heid Quenneville
Forrest  MacPherson
Clayton Smith
Matechuk

Schneider
Rommelaere
McGovern
New Prospects

Import Selections
The Tigers also have 2 Import Picks available. I think they will try for at least 1 defenceman, but they are potentially flexible with the second pick. In general it is good practice to stagger the Import Picks, so your picking up 1 every year, and always picking in the first round.

Size 
Forwards - While they are still a bit smaller, their size on average is looking a bit better up front, As they may have a guy that is 6 feet on every line.

Defence
They lost some size on Defense however they still maintain decent size.    Heid and Mchperson are both 6'2, kirichenko and schultz are 6'0 and 6'1. If cole clayton makes the team he was 6'2 as a 15yr old.

Goaltending
The Stockton Heat are using Schneider as their #1. He has put up an .896 save percentage in 6 games as the heat push for the playoffs. The Tigers will have a very capable goaltender. The only negative of schneider doing so well is that, It may elevate the requirement to find a good quality goaltender this season. Judging by the flames Depth at goaltender, they will urgently have a spot for him @ 20.

Season Expectations & Notes
Their overall depth should be a lot better. They don't loose very much, and they have had quite a few prospects who played games last season. Their should be quite a bit of competition in camp.

I expect this team to blossom towards the end of the season. They have some talent up front that have potential and project to become bigger threats. (I think 4 of their top6 will hit the PPG mark if they can stay healthy) The other two hopefully will be close.  Their bottom 6 will push the TOP 6 for ice time and laden with upcoming talent.

Defence - I am hoping they find a gem of an import. If they can find a #1 defenceman as their import selection, I almost expect a"surprise season"  A season where the WHL critics won't really mark them as dangerous, but they come from nowhere and lay out beatings, getting better as the season goes on.

Forwards & Defence
Their goaltending and forwards look to be strong points. Their defense was quite reliant on Stanton last season, but as a whole they have improved and a year older.  Still they do not currently have that #1 defensive presence

If they can't find a #1 Dman as an import I think they should still do well. Defence will be a question mark. I think I would expect a near .500 record until late october, and then see a climb up the standings. This team with all their young talent, should get better as the season progresses.

Conference Projections
Still to be researched. Initially the division looks like it will be really competitive. Lethbridge, Calgary should still ice strong teams. Red Deer will have a bunch of losses. Swift Current had a really young team and could make a big jump.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Tigers & SMG/ Come To Terms

http://www.tigershockey.com/article/tigers-smg-sign-agreement

The Medicine Hat Tigers have been working hard to get a deal done with SMG over the last year and a half. It was unfortunate that a deal was not in place before construction began on the Canalta Centre, but the Tigers are very happy to have this process completed.


Phew! I think the whole of Medicine Hat is glad to have this process completed.

Edit: This deal is subject to a budget amendment from the City. At this time it is unknown how much the City is on the hook.