Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Former GWMHL Star Kovalchuk Returns in Free Agent Draft

In Transactions on September 17, 2019 at 9:57 am

The 2019 Preseason Free Agent Draft has ended, headlined by one-time GWMHL star left-winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who went to the Great Lakes Pilotfirst overall.

Kovalchuk, the second overall pick in 2002, is 8th all-time in career goals and a member of the exclusive 1,000-point club. His arrival to the Portland Winterhawks via trade in 2006 led to four straight Gump Cups, and with Jarome Iginla and Joe Thornton, he formed possibly the league’s most potent trio. He notched a league-record 96 goals in 2008-09.

There was considerably less star power to be had in the rest of the Free Agent Draft, however, as teams fine-tuned their rosters ahead of the season. Grinder Garnet Hathaway went second to South Side, while Denver added goalie Jack Campbell third. Baltimore was the only team to make more than two picks, adding Mikko KoskinenJay BeaglePheonix Copley, and Antti Suomela.

Get the full 2019 Preseason Free Agent Draft results here.


South Side Shuffles Blueline

In DEL, SSR, Transactions, VAN on September 11, 2019 at 11:00 am

The South Side Renegades looked pretty good coming out of the rookie draft, having nabbed winger Brady Tkachuk, goaltender Jordan Binnington, and a quartet of young defensemen in Erik Cernak, Caleb Jones, Maxime Lajoie, and Christian Jaros.

But the rebuilding Renegades weren’t quite content with the makeup of their blueline, and made a pair of trades to change that. First, South Side acquired stay-at-home righty Chris Tanev from the Vancouver Night Train for third and fourth round rookie picks in 2020. Then, they flipped promising offensive rearguard Erik Gustafsson to the Delta Sturgeon for veteran Alec Martinez and Delta’s first rounder in 2020.

For Vancouver, it meant clearing roster space for recent draftee Filip Hronek. For Delta, what it hopes will be a PP superweapon to help get to the promised land. For South Side, it means a facelift of a blueline that, after Seth Jones, has long been in flux and either a step closer to a playoff berth or trade assets at the deadline if they’re out of the race.

Defensemen Top 2019 Draft

In News on September 8, 2019 at 1:56 pm

It took exactly one pick to throw the floor at the 2019 GWMHL Rookie Draft into a tizzy, as the Great Lakes Pilots surprised many by forgoing phenom centre Elias Pettersson in favour of defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. That meant that the Charleston Chiefs, who dealt Steven Stamkos along with the 10th pick to move up to 2nd with the intention of picking Dahlin had to “settle” for Miro Heiskanen. Pettersson finally went at #3, to Winnipeg, where he’ll learn the ropes from Tyler Seguin.

The South Side Renegades picked Brady Tkachuk with the fourth pick, setting the stage for the next surprise of the morning when the Ice Harbor Storm, with a pick acquired from Denver in a move that sent two players and 6 picks the other way, chose goaltende Carter Hart at #5.

Andrei Svechnikov (Portland), Sam Steel (Hamilton), Roope Hintz (Adirondack), Quinn Hughes (Pittsburgh), and Max Comtois (San Jose) rounded out the top 10.

After Hart, the biggest question among goaltending prospects was Jordan Binnington, thought by some to have the potential to seize a starting job if given the chance. No team wanted to risk a first for him, but he finally went to South Side with the second pick of the second round.

Check out the full results of the 2019 rookie draft here.

It was a quiet draft on the trade front, with teams seemingly content to sit tight and see how the chips fell. Only two player-involved trades were made on the draft floor, beginning with the biggest: Boston trading goaltender Matt Murray, a 3rd rounder, and a 1st in 2020 to Pittsburgh for goalie Ben Bishop, a 3rd and a 4th. Portland also sent goaltender Keith Kinkaid to South Side for a 3rd, while Delta traded a pair of 2020 picks for four late 2019 selections in a pair of deals.

Charleston Deals Stamkos, Takes Centre Stage at the Draft

In CHA, SJH, Transactions on July 27, 2019 at 10:58 am

The Charleston Chiefs have dealt one of its top players, centre Steven Stamkos, and the 10th overall rookie pick in 2019 to the San Jose Hosers for the 2nd overall pick in 2019.

The move is the biggest of the offseason so far, and marks the second straight year the rebuilding Chiefs have dealt a top centre. Stamkos had 70 points in 78 games this past season, and a disappointing 19 goals. He was a first overall pick for the Chiefs in 2009.

The move seems designed to nab a top-shelf defenseman — either Rasmus Dahlin or Miro Heiskanen — for the Chiefs’ thin blueline. Stamkos, meanwhile, joins a San Jose team that’s already stacked down the middle, led by John Tavares and Jack Eichel. It’s possible that he may shift to the wing, where the Hosers are weaker.

Denver Loads Up in Two Deals

In BOS, DEN, IHS, Transactions on July 12, 2019 at 2:06 pm

Hobbled by long-term injuries and the retirement of its veterans over the last two seasons, the Denver Spurs have swung a pair of trades to fill out its ranks ahead of the 2019-20 season.

The first, and biggest, sees the Spurs sending out its first round rookie pick in 2019, 5th overall, to the Ice Harbor Storm. In return, Denver receives a whopping eight assets: Ice Harbor’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round rookie picks, Salem’s 4th round rookie pick, Ice Harbor’s 1st round free agent pick, forward Tyler Pitlick and veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.

The influx of draft picks freed the Spurs up to make a second deal, this time with the Boston Banshees. In exchange for Denver’s 2nd round rookie pick, the Banshees are sending back forwards Jean-Gabriel Pageau and J.T. Compher, along with Parry Sound’s 3rd round rookie pick. Both players could land in the Spurs’ top nine this season barring more moves.

Parry Sound Flips Veteran Goalies, Adds Hornqvist

In BOS, PAR, Transactions on May 24, 2019 at 10:13 am

It didn’t take long after trading reopened following Salem’s Gump Cup victory for the prolific Boston Banshees to make the first deal of the offseason. In a blink, Boston got its annual summer shake-up underway, dealing winger Patric Hornqvist and goalie Ryan Miller, previously acquired from West Virginia, to the Parry Sound Orrsmen. In return, the Banshees get Curtis “McBackup” McElhinney to give some experienced support to starter Matt Murray, plus West Virginia’s 3rd round rookie pick in 2019.

Hornqvist had a good regular season (24 goals in 70 games) but struggled in the playoffs, managing just two goals and an assist in 12 games. Miller was fine all year, though, posting a .919 save percentage in both the regular season (25 games) and playoffs (5 games). McElhinney struggled somewhat as Pekka Rinne’s backup, with a 3.24 GAA and .910 save percentage in 18 contests. He saw no playoff action.



18-19 Regular Season: Q4 in Review

In News on April 1, 2019 at 2:07 pm

The 2018-19 GWMHL regular season is in the books. 8 teams look ahead to the postseason; 12 more look ahead to the draft lottery.

In the Plante Conference, Salem barely stayed ahead of Parry Sound for top seed, while the El Dorado Lynx and Baltimore Crab round out the playoff-bound teams. It’ll be Salem vs. Baltimore and Parry Sound vs. El Dorado in the first round — that latter series should be a good one.

In the Sawchuk, the Farmington Fighting Saints came out of the pile of playoff pretenders to nab the final seed. The first round will see Delta face Farmington and Boston take on Ice Harbor.

Stay tuned for round 1 playoff previews, coming soon!

Winnipeg’s Jamie Benn takes the scoring crown with 109 points. He’d probably rather be heading to the postseason, but his first career scoring title is still a pretty good consolation prize. Benn was one of six Gump players to break the 100-point barrier on the year.

Vancouver’s Anders Lee put together a monster fourth quarter to emerge out of nowhere and tie West Virginia’s Patrik Laine for the goal-scoring lead with 51. Benn and teammate Tyler Seguin weren’t far behind with 49.

Anze Kopitar‘s +80 is the highest total by any player in 9 years. The Salem centre was also tied for the lead in shorthanded goals.

Fighting Saint John Carlson led all defensemen with 71 points, just one ahead of El Dorado veteran Jeff Petry, who surprised the league with 70 points. Young Adirondack rearguard Zach Werenski led defensemen in goals with 26, one ahead of Carlson’s 25.

The rookie scoring race was tight heading into the final quarter, but Vancouver’s Mathew Barzal pulled away big-time in the final 18 games, finishing with 83 points, 10 ahead of Salem’s Yanni Gourde. Boston rookie winger Brock Boeser tallied 35 goals in an injury-shortened freshman season.

The goaltender numbers have a less clear-cut leader, but Parry Sound’s Pekka Rinne may be the closest we’ve got — he finished second in GAA (2.38), save percentage (.928), and shutouts (6) behind three different netminders, plus led all goalies in wins, by a fair margin, with 39. Rinne was a big offseason add for the Orrsmen; the question now is whether he’ll be enough to bring them to the next level in the playoffs.

Playoff Picture Takes Shape Heading into Q4

In News on February 27, 2019 at 9:16 am

The race for a coveted playoff spot is on! As we head into the final quarter of the 2018-19 season, some real dogfights are taking place in both conferences.

In the Plante Conference
Salem and Parry Sound continue to lead the way — the Orrsmen will have to make up six points to seal home ice advantage throughout the postseason. Denver slipped big in the third quarter, and indeed if the playoffs started today, only the Sabercats would be repping the Plante East — the next four contenders are all in the West. The real race is for the fourth seed, with Baltimore (70) just four points up on Charleston (66).

In the Sawchuk Conference
Delta seems to have a firm grip on the top seed over Boston, but a late surge from the Banshees could change all that. Like in the Plante, the real race is for the fourth and final playoff birth. Just four points separate third place Ice Harbor (72) and fifth place Farmington (68), with West Virginia (69) sandwiched in the middle. Vancouver and Adirondack are a mere five points back of that pack. It’ll be tight!

With 90 points (37 goals and 53 assists), Winnipeg’s Jamie Benn has taken over the scoring lead from Salem’s Anze Kopitar (88 points). Benn’s teammate Tyler Seguin and West Virginia sophomore Patrik Laine share the goal-scoring lead with 43. Farmington rearguard John Carlson still leads defensemen with 57 points, although El Dorado’s Jeff Petry deserves notice for his whopping 52. Salem’s Yanni Gourde (60 points) has taken over the rookie lead from Vancouver’s Mathew Barzal (58). Salem’s goaltending tandem of Frederik Andersen (21 wins, 2.19, .923) and Marc-Andre Fleury (24 wins, 2.43, .927) have been putting up the best numbers for netminders.

Boston Acquires Zibanejad from South Side

In BOS, SSR, Transactions on December 30, 2018 at 10:56 am

The Boston Banshees and South Side Renegades have swung a deal ahead of the mid-season trade deadline, with Boston acquiring centre Mika Zibanejad and Parry Sound’s 3rd round pick. In return, the rebuilding Renegades get Boston’s first round rookie pick in 2019 as well as young winger Valeri Nichushkin.

Chiasson Headlines Mid-Season Free Agent Claims

In Transactions on December 27, 2018 at 9:23 am

The 2018-19 Mid-Season Free Agent Draft is underway, and with the first pick, the Great Lakes Pilots have claimed winger Alex Chiasson. The annual draft is a chance for teams to pick up unwanted veterans, longshots, and other diamonds in the rough. The top 3 also saw netminder Jimmy Howard going to the San Jose Hosers and the South Side Renegades taking a chance on defenseman Erik Gustafsson.

The draft is underway now. See all the results as they happen here.

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