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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.

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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.

 

 

2019 Conference Final Previews

In BOS, DEL, PAR, SAL, Special Features on April 14, 2019 at 11:19 am

After one round of play and no upsets, the matchups are set for the conference finals en route to the Gump Cup! The first and second seed in the Plante and Sawchuk conferences will face off against each other. Here’s what those series might hold.

Plante Conference Final
The series: (1) Salem (56-20-6) vs. (2) Parry Sound (52-18-12)

Season scoring leaders:
Salem: Kopitar (82, 46-60-106), Couture (78, 42-34-76), Gourde (82, 17-56-73), Backstrom (81, 21-43-64), Pietrangelo (78, 11-53-64)
Parry Sound: Pastrnak (82, 38-65-103), McDavid (82, 42-54-96), Dadonov (74, 35-51-86), Kuznetsov (79, 30-44-74), Rakell (77, 30-34-64)

Season goalie stats:
Salem: Fleury (44gp, 28-12-3, 2.68, .917, 4so), Andersen (38gp, 28-8-2, 2.09, .925, 4so)
Parry Sound: Rinne (57gp, 39-12-6, 2.38, .928, 6so)

Players to watch:
Salem: With 9 points in 6 games, Alex Pietrangelo leads Salem in points — and is a two-way force who’ll be a big part in trying to contain Parry Sound’s big guns.
Parry Sound: McDavid’s 6 goals and 7 assists in 5 game is huge, but it’s the way he stepped it up on the road — scoring the overtime winner in game 4, then setting up the double-OT series clincher in game 5 — that make him a force to be reckoned with.

This is it. The grudge match we were waiting for. After getting stomped in 5 games by eventual champs Salem last year, the Parry Sound Orrsmen are looking for revenge. They’ve ousted El Dorado in 5 and look to be in true playoff form. Unfortunately for them, Salem is a more than worthy opponent, as shown by Salem’s dominance in the regular season series between these two clubs. The Sabercats got some big performances from Pietrangelo and Anze Kopitar in their first-round victory over Baltimore, although, and all due respect to El Dorado, they haven’t faced anything as potent as the Orrsmen’s top line of McDavid with Evgeni Dadonov and David Pastrnak.

On the other hand, Parry Sound’s offense hasn’t been met with goaltending as strong as Salem’s either. After having its way with Tuukka Rask, the Orrsmen will be in tough against the tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury (4 games, .924) and Frederik Andersen (2 games, .939). It’s a huge question which goalie Salem will run with, but it’s clear that team defense is a big factor, too. Salem didn’t give up a single powerplay goal to Baltimore in its opening series. If any team can slow down Parry Sound’s big line, it’s probably this one.

Head-to-head regular season record:
Salem won 4-1-1, and went undefeated on Parry Sound’s home ice.

Sawchuk Conference Final
The series: (1) Delta (51-23-8) vs. (2) Boston (48-27-7)

Season scoring leaders:
Delta: Kucherov (80, 41-62-103), MacKinnon (74, 42-44-86), Hall (76, 33-47-80), Nugent-Hopkins (62, 29-33-62), Staal (82, 31-28-59)
Boston: Zucker (82, 40-39-79), Couturier (82, 27-47-74), Boeser (62, 35-33-68), Pavelski (82, 15-43-58), Giordano (82, 11-34-45)

Season goalie stats:
Delta: Gibson (43gp, 28-10-4, 2.82, .918, 1so), Raanta (39gp, 22-13-4, 3.12, .907, 2so)
Boston: Murray (23gp, 14-7-2, 3.31, .891, 0so), Miller (25gp, 16-6-3, 2.50, .919, 4so)

Players to watch:
Delta: Nikita Kucherov has 4 goals in 6 games but the scoring winger is also second in playoff shots so far — he has another offensive gear.
Boston: Matt Murray’s playoff save percentage is solid (.915) and a lot better than his regular season stats. But Boston management only trusted him to play 4 of 7 games in round 1. Will he be able to take the job and run with it?

A year ago, the Boston Banshees thought they might be heading for a retool, but here they are in the final four — facing off against the league’s newest powerhouse in Delta. The Farmington Fighting Saints gave the Sturgeon some trouble before falling in 6 — but Boston really got taken to the wire by the Ice Harbor Storm, who pushed their opening series to a seventh game, which Boston narrowly won despite carrying the play.

A huge factor once again for Boston will be goaltending. As mentioned, Murray was pretty good in 4 starts, but Boston management still went with vet Ryan Miller in 3. Teams have been sunk by playing the goalie platoon game in postseasons past, and Delta’s lofty 41.2% PP percentage puts even more pressure on the guy between the pipes. The Sturgeon are built for a run. The Banshees can’t afford any mistakes.

Head-to-head regular season record:
Boston won 3-2-1. Interestingly, neither team managed a home win against the other — all the wins came on the road, making this one especially tough to call.

Sawchuk Playoff Preview: Boston vs. Ice Harbor

In BOS, IHS, Special Features on April 3, 2019 at 3:42 pm

The series: (2) Boston (48-27-7) vs. (3) Ice Harbor (45-32-5)

Scoring leaders:
Boston: Zucker (82, 40-39-79), Couturier (82, 27-47-74), Boeser (62, 35-33-68), Pavelski (82, 15-43-58), Giordano (82, 11-34-45)
Ice Harbor: Schenn (82, 31-55-86), Barkov (79, 31-48-79), Wheeler (81, 33-40-73), Huberdeau (82, 31-40-71), Tkachuk (68, 27-35-62)

Goalies:
Boston: Murray (23gp, 14-7-2, 3.31, .891, 0so), Miller (25gp, 16-6-3, 2.50, .919, 4so)
Ice Harbor: Lundqvist (50gp, 23-21-4, 3.47, .901, 3so), Bernier (20gp, 11-8-1, 2.97, .904, 1so)

Players to watch:
Boston: Boston veteran Joe Pavelski put up just 15 goals in the regular season — everyone knows he has another gear. He’s due for a hot streak.
Ice Harbor: Aleksander Barkov is built for the playoffs — responsible, hard-working, and offensively gifted — and will likely be asked to shoulder a heavy matchup burden by the Storm.

After management seemed to suggest a rebuild was coming, the Banshees instead loaded up — especially down the middle with Ryan Getzlaf and, at the trade deadline, Mika Zibanejad. It paid off to the tune of nearly 50 wins. No surprise — this is a team that’s made the Cup Finals in consecutive years, after all.

On the flip side, the Ice Harbor Storm are about to make just their second postseason appearance in 12 years. And although Boston bested them in the standings this season, the Storm have depth to burn, including — weirdly — four forwards with exactly 31 goals (plus one with 33). And although Henrik Lundqvist should have been better than his .901 regular season save percentage, Boston is total a mess in goal, having played half a season with a vet they’d ultimately release in Mike Smith, which will likely force them to platoon inconsistent young Matt Murray and veteran backup Ryan Miller.

In short, these are both deep, talented teams with potential problems in net. We could see lots of goals in this series.

Head-to-head regular season record:
Boston won the season series 4-2-0 and was 2-1-0 both home and away, shutting out the Storm twice.

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.

Parry Sound Continues Spending Spree, Acquires Daniel Sedin

In BOS, HAM, PAR, Transactions on December 27, 2018 at 9:20 am

Three days after picking up a top defender in Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Parry Sound Orrsmen filled the top-9 void left by Anthony Mantha by acquiring veteran left-winger Daniel Sedin from the Hamilton Ti-Cats. Heading the other way is rough-and-tumble winger Milan Lucic.

Now in his 18th season and just two seasons removed from a 107-point season, Sedin has 5 goals and 11 assists in 25 games and has made it known that this is his last season in the GWMHL. Lucic has no points in 20.

In a separate move, the Orrsmen sent third-string goalie Aaron Dell to Boston for a 2019 free agent pick.

Season Preview: Sawchuk East

In ADI, BOS, FFS, SJH, Special Features, WVR on October 9, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Welcome to part 3 of our season previews, featuring what’s maybe the toughest division to predict: the Sawchuk East.

Missed the Plante Conference previews? Check it here: East and West.


Adirondack Aces
Last Season’s Finish: 43-35-4 (3rd in conference); lost in 1st round
Notable Arrivals: F Jake DeBrusk, F Alexander Kerfoot, F Justin Williams, D Ethan Bear
Notable Departures: G Cam Ward

The Aces’ slow ascendance culminated in a playoff berth last year before the team was dumped in the first round.  They’re also a big reason why this division is tough to call. Even as Henrik Sedin enters his final season, the team has a ton of talent in the forward ranks, starting with Patrice Bergeron and Johnny Gaudreau. On top of that, there are whispers that management foresees a huge breakout year for William Karlsson, and the Aces managed to grab a couple of GWMHL-ready draftees in Jake DeBrusk and Alexander Kerfoot. The team’s goaltending duo of Devan Dubnyk and Semyon Varlamov is the most solid it’s been in years, too. The acquisition of Justin Williams for third-stringer Cam Ward gives the team options for the middle six. But the team’s Achilles’ heel may be on defense, which is overflowing with journeymen after the top-flight pairing of Drew Doughty and Zach Werenski and stay-at-homer Brett Pesce.

Verdict: Playoffs


Boston Banshees
Last Season’s Finish: 50-27-5 (1st in conference); lost in Gump Cup final
Notable Arrivals: F Ryan Getzlaf, F Cody Eakin, F J.T. Compher, F Micheal Ferland, F Tage Thompson
Notable Departures: F Artem Anisimov, F Justin Williams, F Brandon Dubinsky, D Mike Green, D Zdeno Chara, D Nick Leddy, D Jake Dotchin

Are they rebuilding, or what’s going on here? After the Banshees pushed the Cup Final all the way to a seventh game, there were surprising rumbles of a total rebuild. It seemed to be going that way when they shipped out Nick Leddy and, later, Zdeno Chara. But as the offseason wore on, the team took a flyer on 33-year-old centre Ryan Getzlaf after the draft, not to mention a pair of veteran goalies (Jimmy Howard and Cam Ward), only to release them both. Anyway, the team seems poised to at least make the playoffs, with Getzlaf joining a competitive group led by Sean CouturierJoe Pavelski, and highly touted rookie Brock Boeser up front. It seems Mike Smith will see the lion’s share of starts, and the team will have to lean hard on young defensemen Darnell NurseJosh Morrissey, and Brandon Carlo after the Banshees ditched Leddy, Chara, and Mike Green. The team may find itself at a crossroads come mid-season. Will they load up or throw in the towel?

Verdict: Bubble


Farmington Fighting Saints
Last Season’s Finish: 37-35-10 (7th in conference); missed playoffs
Notable Arrivals: F Matt Nieto, D Greg Pateryn, D Vince Dunn, D Christian Djoos
Notable Departures: F Mike Cammalleri, F Matt Cullen, F Dmitrij Jaskin, D Niklas Kronwall, D Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Historically, Farmington management has taken a patient approach to team-building and it’s paid off. Without sacrificing wins in the present, the Saints have managed to keep the cupboard stocked with good talent, most notably Mikko Rantanen, who’ll quite possibly the team’s top scorer of this coming season, alongside a truly great group of centres headlined by Vincent Trocheck and Ryan Johansen. Still, the team made some big changes on D, dumping declining veteran Niklas Kronwall and bringing in rookies Vince Dunn and Christian Djoos, that add an air of uncertainty despite the overall consistency of John Carlson and Dustin Byfuglien. The winger talent on the club is good if not great. But by far the biggest concern is the health of starting goalie Corey Crawford. If Crawford misses significant time, the team won’t be going anywhere without a career performance by Robin Lehner.

Verdict: Bubble


San Jose Hosers
Last Season’s Finish: 23-52-7 (10th in conference); missed playoffs
Notable Arrivals: D Charlie McAvoy, D Joakim Ryan
Notable Departures: F Brock Nelson, F Antoine Roussel, D David Schlemko

The Great San Jose Rebuild continues! When defender Charlie McAvoy fell to the Hosers at #3 in this year’s draft, management couldn’t say no, and the team now has unquestionably one of the most promising groups of young defensemen in the league with John Klingberg, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Mikhail Sergachev. That alone could be deadly, especially on the powerplay. And at a certain point, this team has to turn the corner, right? Up front, the team has some nice weapons in John Tavares and Jack Eichel, with Gabriel Landeskog and Mitch Marner on the wings, but after that quartet the Hosers have a lot of rising talent that hasn’t quite, well… risen yet. A big season from Martin Jones would be start, and it definitely seems unlikely that this will be a bottom-three team again, but San Jose probably needs one more season before making a run at the playoffs.

Verdict: Rebuilding


West Virginia River Rats
Last Season’s Finish: 40-34-8 (5th in conference); missed playoffs
Notable Arrivals: F T.J. Oshie, F Brock Nelson, D Travis Sanheim, D Jan Rutta
Notable Departures: F Andrew Shaw, F Antoine Vermette, D Marc Methot, D John Moore

Here’s where San Jose hopes to be a year from now. After a bold selloff over the course of two seasons and missing the playoffs by one measly point in 2017-18, the River Rats are finally poised to push for a top-four finish and a postseason berth. Newly acquired winger T.J. Oshie may well debut on a top line with Sebastian Aho and Leon Draisatl, allowing the team to roll out a deadly combo of Patrick Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers on the second. The defense is also maturing at the right time: reports are that Matt Dumba may be ready for top-pairing minutes alongside ever-dependable rearguard Jaccob Slavin. By far the biggest unknown for this exciting young group is in net. Will Jacob Markstrom be asked to shoulder the starter’s burden? Or will the team rely on Ryan Miller and Juuse Saros? At least they have options.

Verdict: Playoffs

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.

Minor Move: Kevan Miller to Boston

In BOS, Transactions, VAN on April 25, 2018 at 10:05 am

In a minor move to shore up its bottom pairing, the Boston Banshees have acquired steady defenseman Kevan Miller from the Vancouver Night Train in exchange for Ice Harbor’s 4th round rookie pick in 2018.

Vancouver had acquired Miller from Parry Sound at the 2017-18 trade deadline in a move that saw Derek Forbort going the other way. He put up one goal and 13 points in 58 regular season games this past season, along with 2 assists in 12 playoff games.

Delta Acquires Muzzin from South Side

In BOS, DEL, SSR, Transactions on April 22, 2018 at 10:43 am

The Delta Sturgeon continue their arms race with divisional rival Ice Harbor, acquiring defenseman Jake Muzzin from the South Side Renegades for Cody Ceci. The Sturgeon hope Muzzin will be able to QB a powerplay that will likely feature shooters like Kucherov, MacKinnon, and Hall. Ceci, five years Muzzin’s junior, better fits the Renegades’ nascent youth movement.

Ceci had 1 goal and 15 assists in 79 games last season. Muzzin had 6 goals and 20 assists in 82 and was a league-worst -50 for the rebuilding Renegades.

In another minor deal, the Renegades acquired 24-year-old defenseman Jake Dotchin and Baltimore’s 3rd round rookie pick (57th) from the Boston Banshees for San Jose’s 3rd rounder (42nd).