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Salem Surges, Baltimore Stumbles in Q1

In News on November 13, 2018 at 1:29 pm

The 2018-19 GWMHL season is now underway, and the first 20 games are in the books. The Salem Sabercats are off to a roaring start (16-2-2) and sit atop the league-wide standings, followed closely by the Parry Sound Orrsmen (14-4-2). Perhaps most surprisingly, both Baltimore (7-11-2) and Hamilton (5-14-1) have struggled out of the gate.

But the big story is definitely Salem, who have both scored the most and allowed the fewest goals after 20. The Cats went a stellar 9-0-1 on the road, and their preseason acquisition of Anze Kopitar is paying big dividends, as he leads all scorers with 36 points. A word of caution, though: Salem absolutely pummeled rebuilding Great Lakes and South Side and the defending champs should get a much better test in the second quarter.

Also of note, Farmington rearguard John Carlson‘s 24 points, good enough to lead all defensemen and help propel his team to a strong 11-6-3 start. Meanwhile, Vancouver‘s Mat Barzal jumped out to a narrow lead in the rookie scoring race with 18 points while running the league’s best-producing powerplay (25.4%).

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Salem Loads Up to Defend Title, Acquires Kopitar

In CHA, SAL, Transactions on September 30, 2018 at 9:34 am

Defending Gump Cup champions, the Salem Sabercats, went into the offseason as a team likely in decline. But the offseason acquisition of Marc-Andre Fleury was a statement that they wouldn’t be fading quietly. That was underscored today when the Sabercats acquired veteran two-way centre Anze Kopitar from the Charleston Chiefs, along with a second round pick in 2019, for young wingers Brendan Perlini and Ondrej Kase.

The Chiefs still have a healthy Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point down the middle. Nevertheless, it’s a clear signal of a rebuild in progress. In 11 GWMHL seasons with Kenora/Baltimore and then Charleston, Kopitar has 665 points in 837 games, good for 12th all time for the Charleston franchise.

Trade Roundup: Getzlaf, Oshie, Howard on the Move

In BAL, BOS, GLP, PAR, Transactions, WVR on September 20, 2018 at 12:41 pm

The Great Lakes Pilots‘ rebuild continues. After parting ways with Sidney Crosby on draft day, the Pilots have shipped out pivot Ryan Getzlaf to the Boston Banshees for a 2nd round pick in 2019.

But that was just one of a flurry of post-draft roster moves as teams solidify their lineups. The West Virginia River Rats picked up winger T.J. Oshie from Parry Sound in exchange for defenseman John Moore and a third round pick. And the Orrsmen followed that with a pair of trades with Boston, first acquiring Brandon Dubinsky for a third, then sending goaltender Jimmy Howard to the Banshees for a trio of Free Agent Draft picks. Finally, Boston shipped steady blueliner Kevan Miller to Baltimore for a 4th round pick in 2019.

Sidney Crosby a Pilot No More

In BAL, GLP, Transactions on September 17, 2018 at 10:22 am

As previously reported, the Great Lakes Pilots ended their Sidney Crosby experiment once and for all, sending the superstar centre to cup contending Baltimore for Jonathan Drouin and a trio of draft picks.

With 937 career points, Crosby is the 23rd all-time scorer in the GWMHL and 8th among active skaters. He’s poised to join the exclusive 1000-point club as early as this coming season.

It was a bold move by the Crab and a needed one by Great Lakes. The Pilots paid a pretty penny to acquire Crosby from West Virginia on Draft Day 2016, namely two first rounders (who would become Pavel Zacha and Sebastian Aho). And Crosby performed as advertised, putting up two straight 40-goal seasons for the Pilots. But his new team struggled to surround him with enough talent to win. In Drouin, they get a proven 23-year-old forward they hope to build around. Add to that the two 2018 picks, which they parlayed into winger Ryan Donato and defenseman Noah Juulsen.

With the Crab, Crosby will have talented linemates to spare, potentially including Vladimir Tarasenko, Filip Forsberg, and Jaden Schwartz. Barring more trades, he’ll combine with Mark Scheifele and Tyler Johnson to make a formidable 1-2-3 down the middle. Despite some question marks in goal, the Crab seem ready to try to recapture the Gump Cup.

Crosby, Sidney
Year	Name	                  GP	G	A	PTS
06-07	West Virginia River Rats  81	17	62	79
07-08	West Virginia River Rats  79	25	71	96
08-09	West Virginia River Rats  47	15	30	45
09-10	West Virginia River Rats  77	28	62	90
10-11	West Virginia River Rats  81	52	84	136
11-12	West Virginia River Rats  41	28	47	75
12-13	West Virginia River Rats  18	6	15	21
13-14	West Virginia River Rats  36	17	24	41
14-15	West Virginia River Rats  77	35	65	100
15-16	West Virginia River Rats  73	33	61	94
16-17	Great Lakes Pilots	  80	44	35	79
17-18	Great Lakes Pilots	  75	40	41	81
Totals	                          765	340	597	937

Draft Day Trades: Crosby, Toews, Chara, Ferland on the Move

In Transactions on September 16, 2018 at 3:28 pm

The 2018 GWMHL Rookie Draft wasn’t just a chance for teams to stock the cupboards with young talent — it also sparked a series of trades, including several blockbusters.

The action began before the draft with the official completion of a slew of moves involving 2019 picks that were pending league approval.

The Baltimore Crab acquired superstar Sidney Crosby from Great Lakes for Jonathan Drouin, its first and second round picks in 2018 and a 3rd in 2019. More on this blockbuster to come.

Not to be outdone, the Delta Sturgeon continued their drive for a Gump Cup with a pair of impact moves. First, the Sturgeon acquired Jonathan Toews from Vancouver for a first in 2019, a third in 2018, and forward Denis Malgin. Toews’ defensive acumen and faceoff ability add a dimension that the skilled Sturgeon sorely lacked. Then, the Sturgeon sent a 2nd in 2019 to Boston for towering veteran defender Zdeno Chara. Though both players’ heydays are probably now long past, they’re the kinds of players with whom you win playoff series.

Just ahead of the draft, Adirondack and Boston swapped veterans, with goalie Cam Ward headed to the Banshees in exchange for winger Justin Williams.

Later, Boston made another move, reacquiring Micheal Ferland from the South Side Renegades for centre Artem Anisimov, Delta’s 2nd in 2019, and its own 4th in 2019.

And finally, some pick-for-pick trades: Delta flipped a 3rd in 2019 for Parry Sound’s 3rd and 4th in 2018, Ice Harbor dealt a 4th in this draft for a 4th next year, and Denver traded its 2019 4th rounder for West Virginia’s 2018 4th.

Hischier, Dubois, McAvoy Headline 2018 Rookie Draft

In GLP, IHS, PWH, SJH, SSR, Transactions on September 16, 2018 at 2:30 pm

The 2018 GWMHL Rookie Draft is over, and 20 Gump franchises are returning to headquarters to count their winnings.

The draft got off to a stunning start with the announcement of several big trades (more on that to come), and then teams got down to business. South Side, owners of 4 first round picks after a dramatic sell-off extending through last season, picked Swiss phenom Nico Hischier first overall, while Portland also went for a future impact forward in Pierre-Luc Dubois. Charlie McAvoy was the first defenseman taken, by San Jose at #3, while Nolan Patrick (Great Lakes) and Alex DeBrincat (Ice Harbor) rounded out the top 5.

A goalie wouldn’t be taken until 24th overall, when the Pilots nabbed Thatcher Demko.

Along with Hischier, the Renegades scooped up forwards Anthony Cirelli at #9, Filip Chytil at #16, and Alex Formenton at #20.

Here are the full round-by-round results:

Round  1
 #     Overall #  Orig. Team  Curr. Team   Pick
 1             1         SSR         SSR   F Nico Hischier
 2             2         PWH         PWH   F Pierre-Luc Dubois
 3             3         SJH         SJH   D Charlie McAvoy
 4             4         GLP         GLP   F Nolan Patrick
 5             5         IHS         IHS   F Alex DeBrincat
 6             6         CHA         CHA   F Casey Mittelstadt
 7             7         PIT         PIT   F Eeli Tolvanen
 8             8         FFS         FFS   F Henrik Borgstrom
 9             9         EDH         SSR   F Anthony Cirelli
 10           10         DEL         WVR   F Owen Tippett
 11           11         WVR         SJH   F Kailer Yamamoto
 12           12         WPG         WPG   D Will Butcher
 13           13         ADI         ADI   F Jake DeBrusk
 14           14         HAM         HAM   F Lias Andersson
 15           15         VAN         VAN   F Martin Necas
 16           16         DEN         SSR   F Filip Chytil
 17           17         BAL         GLP   F Ryan Donato
 18           18         SAL         SAL   D Samuel Girard
 19           19         BOS         BOS   F Jordan Greenway
 20           20         PAR         SSR   F Alex Formenton

Check out rounds 2 through 4 after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Brock Nelson Bound for West Virginia

In SJH, Transactions, WVR on September 15, 2018 at 8:44 pm

Forward Brock Nelson is joining the River Rats, as West Virginia swung a deal with the San Jose Hosers on the eve of draft day. In exchange for Nelson, the Rats give up its own 3rd rounder (51st) as well as Delta’s 3rd rounder (50th).

Nelson is coming off a down year, with just 13 goals in 69 games, but he flirted with 30 goals as recently as ’16-’17. The Rats will hope he finds his game in a lineup studded with young talent.

Draft Day is Almost Here

In SSR, Transactions on September 15, 2018 at 11:18 am

The 2018 GWMHL Rookie Draft is set to take place Sunday, September 16. While not boasting quite as deep a pool as 2017, 2018 still promises plenty of intrigue.

Who Goes First?

This year’s draft class is headlined by young blue-chip talent like Nico Hischier, Nolan Patrick, Charlie McAvoy, Alex DeBrincat, and Pierre-Luc Dubois, plus a host of interesting wild-card prospects. Unlike the previous two years, which saw Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews go first overall, 2018 is much tougher to predict.

Big Names on the Move?

Rumours are swirling that some teams have already agreed to deals involving all-star calibre players. Deals involving 2019 picks can’t be made official until the draft begins, so expect a flurry of transactions Sunday morning. Plus, there’s always jockeying in the later rounds as GMs vie for hidden gems.

4 High Picks for South Side

Barring trades, the rebuilding South Side Renegades are poised to make the most noise at the draft table: they have 4 first round picks, including #1 (their own), #9, #16, and #20. That kind of stockpile gives the Renegades the freedom to take a couple of safe picks, then swing for the fences on longshots. They’ll almost certainly walk away with a new-look roster.

Lynx Add Centre, Defense Depth

In EDH, SSR, Transactions, VAN on September 10, 2018 at 1:34 pm

In a pair of moves, the El Dorado Lynx have signalled that they’re going all-in on the upcoming season. First, the Lynx acquired veteran rearguard Alex Edler from the Vancouver Night Train, along with a 4th round pick (70th overall), for El Dorado’s 2nd round rookie pick in 2018 (29th overall). Edler leaves as the third highest-scoring defenseman in Vancouver franchise history.

Then, the Lynx swung an even bigger move, sending their 1st round pick in 2018 (9th overall) and forward Teuvo Teravainen to the rebuilding South Side Renegades for centre Ryan O’Reilly, defenseman Jonas Brodin, and South Side’s 2nd round pick (21st overall). The move simultaneously solidifies El Dorado’s shaky blueline but also provides a top-line centre to fill in for injury-plagued Ryan Kesler.

Salem Acquires Fleury

In SAL, SSR, Transactions on May 9, 2018 at 9:31 am

The Salem Sabercats, 2018 Gump Cup Champions, have acquired a potential new starter in veteran netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. In exchange, Fleury’s former club, the South Side Renegades, receive young winger Sonny Milano.

The move signals the rebuilding Renegades’ desire to move forward with goaltender Connor Hellebuyck as its starter. On the Sabercats’ end, it seems likely that the defending champs will let Fleury battle with Frederik Andersen for the starter job. That means veteran Craig Anderson could be on the outside looking in.

Fleury joins his third franchise after 12 seasons with South Carolina (now Parry Sound) and then South Side. He played 35 games in 2017-18, struggling to a 3.65 GAA and .901 save percentage, with one shutout, on a last-place South Side team. Milano did not suit up for the Sabercats.