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[Press Release] Delta Looks Ahead to 2018-19

In DEL on October 21, 2018 at 11:32 am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Delta Sturgeon have finalized their playing roster for the 2018-2019 Gump Worsley Memorial Hockey League season. As always, there were some surprises when the final cuts came in.

Final cuts for the Sturgeon included Tyler Motte, Jordan Schmaltz, Kris Versteeg, and in a suprise Scott Hartnell.

“I really thought I added enough grit to this club that I would be playing another season for the Sturgeon. Unfortunately, Management seems to have moved in a different direction here. I am going to keep working out and hope that I get picked up by another team during the season”.

Scott Hartnell was a pivotal member of the club’s 3rd line the last two seasons, but it seems like the club is trying to get faster on the wings, and there simply was no room for both him and Kyle Okposo as the ‘slower more physical players’. On top of that, the offseason acquisition of superb 2-way forward Jonathan Toews was bound to make one of the veterans expendable. One surprise is that the Sturgeon will enter the season with 10 defensemen on the active roster. That will require some juggling by the coaching staff to get everyone some ice time.

Speaking with Coach Martin after the pre-season camp on lineups.

“We have a lot of interesting combinations we can deploy thanks to the acquisition of Chara and Toews. Chara can play against the top offensive players in the league, and we’ll start off with him and Ekblad in a shutdown role. However, his defensive ability will allow us to pair him with anyone to create a solid defensive pair. As they gelled well defensively, it’s looking like Jake Muzzin and Colton Parayko will be a good puck moving pair who are also solid defensively. Everyone else, including long time Sturgeon Alex Goligoski will be fighting for icetime and they need to prove that they should be in the lineup.

For forwards, the addition of Jonathan Toews really adds some options, and we tried some combos in practice. We’ll start off with Toews on a line with Evander Kane and Nikita Kucherov. Thier blended skills should work well together. While this means that Nathan Mackinnon will not be playing with Kucherov at even strength, they still will be on the top PP unit. Hopefully this works out as we stretch more scoring through the lineup versus being top heavy on the first two lines. Derek Stepan, will anchor the 4th line. He’s not happy about the ice time reduction he is going to see, but the fact of the matter is that he has been outplayed in camp, and the trio of Toews, Staal, Mackinnon deserve that ice time. Hopefully he is up for the challenge of providing some pop with limited ice time and helping kill penalties.”

Projected lines for the Sturgeon

Forwards
======================
E.Kane – Toews – Kucherov
T. Hall – Staal – Okposo
Nugent-Hopkins – Mackinnon – Gallagher
Jarnkrok – Stepan – Rick Nash

Defense
=======================
Chara   – Ekblad
Muzzin  – Parayko
Hamhuis – Martinez

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Season Preview: Sawchuk West

In DEL, HAM, IHS, PWH, Special Features, VAN on October 11, 2018 at 8:48 am

In our fourth and final season preview, it’s time to look at the Sawchuk West, where big changes are afoot.

Check out the other previews:
Plante East
Plante West
Sawchuk East


Delta Sturgeon
Last Season’s Finish: 38-34-10 (6th in conference); missed playoffs
Notable Arrivals: F Jonathan Toews, D Jake Muzzin, D Zdeno Chara
Notable Departures: F Scott Hartnell, F Kris Versteeg, F J.T. Compher, D Cody Ceci

Wow! Sensing that its core — Nathan MacKinnon, Nikita Kucherov, Taylor Hall, and veteran Eric Staal — was on the cusp of becoming something truly special, the Sturgeon threw caution to the wind, dealing draft picks for the second straight season and acquiring the pieces it needed most: a faceoff guy (Toews), a puck-mover (Muzzin), and a stay-at-home beast (Chara). Mission accomplished. With a deep, if a bit workmanlike, blueline and the makings of a truly great goalie tandem in John Gibson and Antti Raanta, Delta has found itself in long-forgotten territory: contending not just for a playoff berth but for a championship. This is a roster with very few weaknesses. After missing the playoffs last year, the Sturgeon is about to become the league’s most improved team.

Verdict: Contender


Hamilton Ti-Cats
Last Season’s Finish: 42-35-5 (4th in conference); lost in 1st round
Notable Arrivals: F Mark Jankowski, F Blake Coleman, F Alex Iafallo
Notable Departures: D Mark Streit, D Toby Enstrom

The sign on the front door says ‘Under New Management’ and that may be the biggest difference for a team that’s contended for years without ever quite having enough for a championship. The team has stagnated badly over recent seasons as stars like Daniel Sedin and Henrik Zetterberg have aged. With those two nearing retirement, the Ti-Cats have two big factors keeping them in the playoff mix: a trio of star scorers in Claude Giroux, Patrick Kane, and Jakub Voracek, and one of the finest and most dangerous top-fours in the league in P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Tyson Barrie, and T.J. Brodie. They weren’t able to add much besides bottom-sixers over the offseason, though, and if one of Corey Schneider or Keith Kinkaid can’t come through big, they may struggle. But a playoff spot is a safe bet for now.

Verdict: Playoffs


Ice Harbor Storm
Last Season’s Finish: 30-47-5 (8th in conference); missed playoffs
Notable Arrivals: F Alex DeBrincat, D Nick Leddy
Notable Departures: none

One of last season’s biggest mysteries was why the Storm were underperforming. On paper, they should have been vying for a playoff spot. In practice, they limped along to a terrible record, scored the second fewest goals in the league, and came up with another high draft pick. So is this the year they turn it all around? Once again, on paper, it’s hard to find glaring weaknesses in Ice Harbor’s lineup. And with just-drafted Alex DeBrincat, they addressed one of them: the need for a scorer who’d be hungry for goals. The Storm have, bar none, some of the best forward depth in the league, especially up the middle, where Kyle Turris and Mikael Backlund will be competing just for 4th line minutes. Blake Wheeler, Aleksander Barkov, Kris Letang, Rasmus Ristolainen… This team should be scoring plenty to support a still-solid Henrik Lundqvist. But that’s just on paper.

Verdict: Playoffs


Portland Winterhawks
Last Season’s Finish: 22-50-10 (9th in conference); missed playoffs
Notable Arrivals: F Pierre-Luc Dubois, F Jesper Bratt, F Riley Nash, F Mattias Janmark, G Michal Neuvirth
Notable Departures: F Luke Glendening, F Mark Letestu, F Dale Weise, D Radko Gudas, D Brandon Montour

The very definition of a bubble team, the Winterhawks followed up a surprisingly good ’16-’17 campaign with a disappointing one in ’17-’18 but have yet to throw in the towel and call rebuild. Last year’s acquisition of Phil Kessel, combined with the emergence of Brad Marchand and Artemi Panarin as top left-wingers, is a good base to build around. They parlayed the second overall pick into Pierre-Luc Dubois, who has a good shot at some top six time this season, and also drafted Jesper Bratt who will also be seeing GWMHL action. Still, the Hawks aren’t an especially deep team — David Krejci will be asked to do an awful lot as their top centre, and beyond Matt Niskanen the defense is a huge question mark, especially after the team flipped Brandon Montour for more forward help just prior to the season. They could sneak in, but will most likely find themselves out of the playoffs.

Verdict: Bubble


Vancouver Night Train
Last Season’s Finish: 42-30-10 (2nd in conference); lost in 2nd round
Notable Arrivals: F Denis Malgin, D Matt Grzelcyk, G David Rittich
Notable Departures: F Jonathan Toews, F Tomas Plekanec, F Johan Larsson, F Zack Kassian, D Alex Edler, D Kevan Miller, G Pekka Rinne

After making the postseason and taking the Boston Banshees to seven games in the Sawchuk Final, the Night Train made the surprising decision to commit to a rebuild. But did they go far enough? Vancouver brass has seemed reluctant to part ways with Mark Stone, Anders Lee, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and with Sergei Bobrovsky in goal, they’ll probably win a few. But with big gains coming from division rivals Delta and Ice Harbor, the Night Train chose to part ways with Rinne, Toews, Plekanec, and Edler. It’s a huge burden to put on the shoulders of young players Mathew BarzalThomas Chabot, and Shea Theodore, and the majority of the Train’s 2018 draftees are a season or three away. The loss of glue guys Shea Weber (to injury) and Toews will make them a lot easier to play against than in years past.

Verdict: Rebuilding

[Press Release] Delta Pre-Season Preview

In DEL, Special Features on September 18, 2018 at 8:28 pm

Supplied by the Delta Sturgeon

With the 2018 season quickly approaching, Delta Sturgeon fans and Management really believe this could be the year to end their long playoff drought (9 years) and, perhaps win a championship.

Said Coach Martin, “It’s really amazing the fan support and the support of the ownership group. They have been extremely patient through these dark years. Even more so, they have been supportive of the last two campaigns where we were tantalizingly close to making the playoffs, but just fell short again. I can tell you the entire team and I are excited for the upcoming season. Not only did I think we would be a contending team, but the huge additions in the offseason clearly speak to the belief of Upper Management that now is the time to win. The acquisition of superb professionals Jonathan Toews and Zdeno Chara will not only shore up our overall defensive play, but also make us a much harder group to play against. They will be a calming influence on our young players, and allow them to continue to develop.”

Asked by several reporters after draft day how the coach planned to deploy the newcomers.

“We’ll just have to see who they gain chemistry with. Let’s face it. These are guys who can play against opponents’ top offensive players in shutdown roles. I would expect them to see similar roles here, but we really need to see if they develop some chemistry that makes a particular combination better. Certainly I believe our penalty kill today is better than it was a few days ago.”

Where do the lines sort out and who moves to the 4th line?

“I won’t speculate right now on line combinations. For sure we had some good line combinations last season, but each season is new. You’ve got to try and put things together in a way that helps as many folks as possible succeed. Plus, we have some young guys in Vrana and Strome that I am excited to see how they can improve, and maybe supplant veterans. So, you will just have to wait and see”

John Gibson was all smiles. “I tell you, having two players like that will really help your team defense. I think we did a fine job last season..but wow! Am I excited to see those guys work daily against the opposition.”

With the Free Agent draft underway, and teams in camp trying to figure out who will make the cut and stay in the league, the Sturgeon have a nice problem. Too many quality players. Let’s see what they can do to end their playoff drought once the season begins.

-30-

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).

Great Lakes Deals Hartnell

In BOS, DEL, DEN, GLP, Transactions on July 2, 2016 at 10:10 am

The Great Lakes Pilots have shipped veteran winger Scott Hartnell to the Delta Sturgeon. In exchange, the Pilots get Brad Richards and Delta’s 4th rounder in 2016. Hartnell is coming off a surprise 52-goal, 92-point season.

From Delta GM Andrew Martin:  “This has nothing to do with Brad Richards. He filled the role we asked him to fill, and was a consummate professional. However, the coaching staff has decided to move Nathan Mackinnon to Center for the upcoming season. This really necessitated us looking at our roster and seeing if we had adequate big bodies to fight in the corners. The answer is a resounding no, and so we have been on the lookout to obtain someone to help dig pucks out for our talented Centermen. We’re happy to have added Scott to our club, and look forward to him helping us in our bid for a playoff spot in the upcoming season.”

In other news, the Boston Banshees sent depth centre Boyd Gordon to the Denver Spurs for Great Lakes’ 4th, previously acquired in the deal that sent Joffrey Lupul to the Pilots.

Delta Ships Ladd to Division Rival

In DEL, NAS, Transactions on January 8, 2016 at 9:25 am

The Delta Sturgeon (18-18-4) may only be three points out of a playoff spot, but that didn’t stop them from shipping out one of its top wingers — to division rival Nashville, no less.

The white-hot Knights (30-4-6) add Ladd, who has 29 points in 40 games, to a forward corps that already boasts three of the season’s top scorers, including Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Daniel Sedin.

The trade was made during the first half of play but only finalized at the just-opened midseason trade window.

Teams Load Up at 2012-13 Rookie Draft

In BOS, DEL, EDH, GLP, IHS, News, SFS, Transactions on January 26, 2013 at 2:26 pm

There were few big surprises on draft day in terms of players selected, but several GWMHL teams still managed to make ripples with some bold trades.

The Delta Sturgeons kicked things off by selecting dynamic centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall, but then the Boston Banshees – who had moved up several spots in the draft lottery – decided to make some noise. Boston dealt the second overall pick to the San Francisco Seals for the Seals’ first rounder (7th overall, Ryan Ellis) and power forward Milan Lucic. To no one’s surprise, the Seals took Gabriel Landeskog with the pick.

Other moves included Delta dealing forward Valtteri Filppula to the El Dorado Lynx for El Dorado’s first rounder (15th, Brendan Smith), Boston flipping a third rounder to the Lynx for steady defender Matt Greene, and the Ice Harbor Storm  trading some picks to the Great Lakes Pilots for a selection next year.

Round 1
1. Delta – F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
2. San Francisco (from Boston) – F Gabriel Landeskog
3. Charleston – F Sean Couturier
4. Ice Harbor – D Adam Larsson
5. Pittsburgh – D Slava Voynov
6. Baltimore – F Mark Scheifele
7. Boston (from San Francisco) – D Ryan Ellis
8. Winnipeg – F Sven Baertschi
9. Farmington – F Ryan Johansen
10. Great Lakes – D Jake Gardiner
11. Denver – F Carl Hagelin
12. Saint Louis – F Jaden Schwartz
13. South Carolina – F Matt Read
14. Nashville – D Justin Faulk
15. Delta (from El Dorado) – D Brendan Smith
16. Portland – F Brett Connolly
17. West Virginia – F Andrew Shaw
18. Sterling – F Mika Zibanejad
19. Vancouver – F Zack Kassian
20. Salem – F Gustav Nyquist

Round 2
21. Delta – F Marcus Foligno
22. Ice Harbor – D Erik Gudbranson
23. Pittsburgh – D Stefan Elliott
24. Baltimore – F Cam Atkinson
25. San Francisco – F Cory Emmerton
26. Winnipeg – D Jared Cowen
27. Farmington – F Craig Smith
28. Charleston – F Cody Eakin
29. Great Lakes – F Tommy Wingels
30. Denver – D Tim Erixon
31. South Carolina – F Gabriel Bourque
32. Saint Louis – D Simon Despres
33. Boston – D Alexei Emelin
34. Nashville – D Roman Josi
35. El Dorado – F Brandon Saad
36. Portland – D David Rundblad
37. West Virginia – D David Savard
38. Sterling – D Dmitry Orlov
39. Vancouver – F Devante Smith-Pelly
40. Salem – G Allen York

Round 3
41. Delta – G Matt Hackett
42. Ice Harbor – F Peter Holland
43. Pittsburgh – F Reilly Smith
44. Baltimore – F Scott Glennie
45. San Francisco – D Raphael Diaz
46. Winnipeg – G Thomas Greiss
47. Farmington – F David Ullstrom
48. Charleston – D Brayden McNabb
49. Great Lakes – D Erik Gustafsson
50. Great Lakes – (from Denver via Ice Harbor) – F Marcus Kruger
51. South Carolina – F Louis Leblanc
52. Saint Louis – D Alexander Urbom
53. El Dorado (from Boston) – D Mattias Ekholm
54. Nashville – F Tyson Barrie
55. El Dorado – F Dwight King
56. Portland – D Matt Donovan
57. West Virginia – F Roman Horak
58. Sterling – F Carter Ashton
59. Vancouver – F Corey Tropp
60. Salem – D Dylan Olsen

Round 4
61. Delta – D Paul Postma
62. Great Lakes (from Ice Harbor) – F Anton Lander
63. Pittsburgh – F Akim Aliu
64. Baltimore – F Tomas Vincour
65. San Francisco – G Ben Scrivens
66. Winnipeg – D TJ Brennan
67. Farmington – F Carl Klingberg
68. Charleston – G Anders Nilsson
69. Great Lakes – F Joakim Andersson
70. Denver – D Calvin de Haan
71. South Carolina – F Aaron Palushaj
72. Saint Louis – F Nick Johnson
73. Charleston (from Boston) – D Marc-Andre Bourdon
74. Nashville – G Richard Bachman
75. El Dorado – F Jason Zucker
76. Portland – G Anton Khudobin
77. West Virginia – F Kaspars Daugavins
78. Sterling – D Matt Taormina
79. Vancouver – F Jimmy Hayes
80. Salem – D Cade Fairchild

Teams Get Deeper, Older at Mid-Season Free Agent Draft

In DEL, News, Transactions on February 11, 2012 at 9:58 am

Even by Mid-Season Free Agent Draft standards it was a quiet one, but 11 teams took a chance on 16 veterans as they head into the second half of the season. Winger Jamie McGinn led the way, claimed by the Delta Sturgeon. Only three of our six most surprising pre-season cuts found new teams — Cody Franson, Jason Blake, and Jamie Langenbrunner — while Martin Brodeur, one of the greatest goaltenders in GWMHL history, is still without a home.

Complete 2012 Mid-Season Free Agent Draft results, plus cuts, after the jump:

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Surprises Abound After Q1

In BOS, DEL, DEN, News, PWH, SAL, STE, WVR on December 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm

The first quarter of 2011-2012 is in the books, and what a wild one it was. Consensus contenders Salem and Portland had strong starts (13-5-2 and 10-7-3 respectively) but they’ve both been overshadowed in the early-going by some surprising competition.

Banshees, Eagles Fly

The Sterling Eagles and Boston Banshees, neither of whom managed to top .500 last season, share the lead in the standings with 14-5-1 records. The secret? Goaltending. Boston’s tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and newly-acquired Michal Neuvirth and Sterling’s Tim Thomas and Johan Hedberg are simply getting the job done.

Wannabees Can Still Score at Will

The Wannabees (13-5-2) are just a point off the pace and, incredibly, are averaging a whopping 4.5 goals per game and outshooting their opponents by 15. Last year’s Gump Cup runners-up might be ready to take another shot.

River Rats Tread Water

But maybe the biggest surprise is the poor record of Crosby-less defending champs West Virginia (9-8-3), putting them fourth in the Sawchuk East. With the offensive depth on this team, it’s a dismal start. Will Crosby’s eventual return get the Rats back in the running?

Power Outage in Denver

The Denver Spurs wrapped a disastrous 7-12-1 quarter, and it’s easy to see why: Matt Duchene leads the team in scoring with just 13 points in 20 games. Vincent Lecavalier has just 3 points in 10 and Mike Richards just 11 in 20.

Advantage… Sturgeon?

The Delta Sturgeon are off to a league-worst start (5-15-0), but would anyone have guessed this team would start the season with the league’s second-best powerplay? The unit, featuring the likes of Jarret Stoll and Andrew Ladd, is clicking at 27.1%, just .2% behind first-place Portland.

Season Preview: Sawchuk

In BOS, DEL, FFS, IHS, NAS, PWH, SFS, STL, VAN, WVR on November 24, 2011 at 10:40 am

The last five Gump Cups have gone to Sawchuk Conference teams. The five years before that went to the Plante. Are we due for a sea change? With two flat-out powerhouses, a few perennial contenders, and several rebuilding teams poised to take the next step, there’s no shortage of intrigue in the Sawchuk this season. Here’s a look at what’s changed.

In – G Michal Neuvirth, F Marcus Johansson, G Devan Dubnyk, F Jordan Caron, D John Moore, F Nate Thompson, F Adam Hall
Out – F Mike Knuble, F Paul Kariya, D Niclas Wallin, F Jason Blake, D Jaroslav Spacek, G Jason LaBarbera, F James Wright

The Banshees, under new ownership eager to make a stamp on the team, made some significant moves this off-season, shipping out vets Mike Knuble, Jason Blake, and Jaroslav Spacek and bringing in two promising young netminders in Michal Neuvirth and Devan Dubnyk. But how much will they really play behind workhorse Henrik Lundqvist? A rested Lundqvist should terrify the rest of the conference come playoff time, though, and if Boston gets good performances from some of its younger players – notably Sam Gagner and Erik Karlsson – they should be in the running for a spot.

In – F Derek Stepan, G Kevin Poulin, F Linus Omark, F Mats Zuccarello, F Anthony Stewart, D Shane O’Brien, G Peter Budaj
Out – F Cristobal Huet, F Slava Kozlov, F Michael Nylander, D Wade Redden, F Mike Brown, F Tomas Kopecky, F Jay Pandolfo

There’s no question the Sturgeon are in full-on rebuild mode, and one that’s going quite well… up front. As players like Evander Kane continue emerging and newcomers like Derek Stepan get a chance to shine, they’ll improve. But there’s still major upheaval to come as its once mighty core retires or otherwise moves on, and there are big question marks on defense and in goal, meaning a young player like Alex Goligoski is going to have to be a number one defenseman this year, because Delta has no one else to fill those skates. And, seriously, Peter Budaj?

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