The Tigers won't loose very much at all going into next season.
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
**= 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cole Clayton D
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.