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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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Free Agent Draft: Lilja, Biron, Winnik Take Top Spots

In IHS, NAS, News, Transactions, WIN on November 9, 2011 at 4:44 pm

No big names but lots of roleplayers and veteran experience signed on with new GWMHL teams in the 2011-2012 Pre-Season Free Agent Draft . The Nashville Knights claimed defenseman Andreas Lilja in the top spot, while the Winnipeg Falcons shored up in net with Martin Biron. The Ice Harbor Storm took Daniel Winnik, most recently of the Altoona Railroaders, with the third pick. Other highlights included Nashville selection its 8 millionth goaltender.

Round 1

1. Nashville – D Andreas Lilja
2. Winnipeg – G Martin Biron
3. Ice Harbor – F Daniel Winnik
4. Delta – F Anthony Stewart
5. San Francisco – F Tomas Kopecky
6. Great Lakes – F Darren Helm
8. Baltimore – F Brandon Prust
9. Boston – F Nate Thompson
10. Pittsburgh – G Ben Bishop
12. Sterling – D Mike Weaver
13. El Dorado – F Nick Spaling
14. Farmington – D Randy Jones
16. Charleston – F BJ Crombeen
19. Portland – G Rick DiPietro

Round 2

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6 Biggest Free Agent Steals Since 2006

In BAL, EDH, GLP, IHS, Special Features, STE on October 26, 2011 at 8:53 am

The Free Agent Draft. Used by most teams to fill out bottom-end depth and injury insurance, it’s also a chance for the occasional Hail Mary – take a wild swing (sorry, “intelligently allocate your scouting resources”) and you never know, you might get something good. Even the worst free agent class, especially at the notoriously shallow mid-season signing period, can yield a diamond in the rough.

Almost every Free Agent Draft has a few consensus top picks – players that every team vies for. Stephen Weiss and Martin Hanzal in 2009. Ryan Malone in 2008. Niklas Backstrom in 2007.

But let’s look past those gimmes, the obvious choices, the first rounders, and peer into the darkest depths of recent Free Agent Drafts in search of some of the biggest heists.

6. D Jan Hejda, Ice Harbor (2nd round mid-season in 2007-2008)

Hejda’s not flashy, but he’s a blueline rock on a rebuilding Ice Harbor team – a guy who’s not bad with the puck and excels defensively. And when your D is as young the Storm’s, you need players like Hejda.

Year   Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
07-08  Ice Harbor Storm           39    0   12   12   -8   14
08-09  Ice Harbor Storm           59    1    6    7   -5   50
09-10  Ice Harbor Storm           82    4    9   13   -9   30
10-11  Ice Harbor Storm           62    2    8   10  -10   34
                  Totals         242    7   35   42  -32  128

5. D Dennis Seidenberg, El Dorado (5th round pre-season in 2006-2007)

El Dorado has an impressive up-and-coming defense corps and Seidenberg, a late-late-late-round steal in 2006, is a big part of it. He was taken one pick before Kris freaking Beech, but now he’s one of the Lynx’s leaders in ice time and will be for at least a few more seasons.

Year   Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
03-04  Chesapeake Icebreakers     52    5    8   13  -20   12
04-06  Did Not Play
06-07  El Dorado Lynx             64    3   41   44   11   34
07-08  El Dorado Lynx             25    2    3    5    0   12
08-09  El Dorado Lynx             33    0   10   10    0   18
09-10  El Dorado Lynx             41    1   28   29    2    8
10-11  El Dorado Lynx             57    4   24   28   14   37
                  Totals         272   15  114  129    7  121

4. D Mark Streit, Colorado (2nd round pre-season in 2006-2007)

Another defenseman, it’s true, and for good reason – this 2nd round free agent draftee by Colorado (now Baltimore) is his team’s best defenseman by a wide margin, leading all Crab players in ice time and hovering around the 50-point mark for three straight seasons.

Year   Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
06-07  Colorado Wildfire          39    4   13   17  -16   36
07-08  Kenora Thistles            76   13   19   32   -2   28
08-09  Kenora Thistles            79   10   38   48   -1   26
09-10  Baltimore Crab             73   16   40   56  -26   72
10-11  Baltimore Crab             82    8   41   49  -31   34
                  Totals         349   51  151  202  -76  196

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Draft Lottery 2011: Nashville Grabs Top Pick; South Park Moves Up

In DEL, GLP, IHS, NAS, News, WIN on June 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm

The 2011 GWMHL Draft Lottery, which determines the order of the first twelve picks in the first round of the 2011 Rookie Draft, was held today with several GMs were in attendance for the real-time announcement, waiting to see win big – and hoping their teams didn’t tumble.

The Nashville Knights took the number one overall pick. No surprise, since the Knights finished dead last in the 2010-2011 regular season. That gave them the best shot at the top choice and the hockey gods delivered.

The second pick was a surprise. The South Park Cows‘ new ownership will have a chance to make a major stamp on the team with the number two pick. The Cows moved all the way up from sixth.

The Altoona Railroaders, who were second-to-last in the regular season and are currently vacant, slotted in at third overall.

The draft order for the first round of the 2011 Rookie Draft will be as follows:

1. Nashville
2. South Park
3. Altoona
4. Ice Harbor
5. Delta
6. Oregon
7. Vancouver
8. Baltimore
9. Boston
10. San Diego
11. Midland
12. Sterling
13. El Dorado
14. Farmington
15. South Carolina
16. Charleston
17. Saint Louis
18. West Virginia
19. Portland
20. Salem

All-Time Greats, Part 1: Keith Tkachuk

In IHS, Special Features on May 13, 2011 at 10:03 am

In 2009-2010, Ice Harbor Storm winger Keith Tkachuk overtook Jaromir Jagr for the GWMHL all-time lead in points and passed Brendan Shanahan for career goals.

Tkachuk will retire at the end of this season. And although this season’s edition of the Storm – a rebuilding squad that’s on its way to missing the playoffs – might not have been able to provide the perfect last hurrah for the winger, he still hangs them up with a Gump Cup in 1999 and well over 600 goals and 1300 points to his name. He’s the first GWMHL player to break either of those barriers and one of the best players the league has seen.

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2010 Draft Results: Myers Goes First Overall

In BAL, IHS, News, SFS, Transactions on October 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm

The draft lottery was kind to the Ice Harbor Storm, who moved up to the first overall slot. Today, they used the pick on defenseman Tyler Myers, giving the rebuilding squad a stellar 1-2 punch on the blueline along with Kris Letang.

Matt Duchene went second to Baltimore – though he was later traded. The Oregon Rugrats, who had moved up four spots, took center John Tavares third.

2010 Draft Results

Pick	Curr Team	Player
1	IHS	D Tyler Myers
2	BAL	F Matt Duchene
3	ORE	F John Tavares
4	FFS	D John Carlson
5	ALT	F Jamie Benn
6	SAN	D Victor Hedman
7	DEL	F Evander Kane
8	NAS	D PK Subban
9	BOS	D Erik Karlsson
10	EDH	F James Van Riemsdyk
11	CHA	D Michael Del Zotto
12	STE	F Ryan O'Reilly
13	SCA	F Tyler Ennis
14	STL	F Brayden Schenn
15	SOU	F Colin Wilson
16	WVR	F Eric Tangradi
17	SAL	F Logan Couture
18	PWH	D Jamie McBain
19	VAN	D Dmitry Kulikov
20	MID	F Brandon Yip
21	BAL	F Andrei Loktionov
22	IHS	F Nazem Kadri
23	FFS	F Tyler Bozak
24	ALT	F Lars Eller
25	SAN	G Jonas Gustavsson
26	DEL	F Tim Kennedy
27	ORE	D Cody Franson
28	NAS	F Dan Sexton
29	BOS	D Carl Gunnarsson
30	EDH	F Drayson Bowman
31	CHA	F Matt Beleskey
32	STE	F Ryan Stoa
33	SCA	D Jared Cowen
34	STL	D Jakub Kindl
35	SOU	F Viktor Stalberg
36	DEL	D Jason Demers
37	SAL	F Mark Letestu
38	PWH	D Alex Plante
39	VAN	F Michael Grabner
40	MID	G Thomas Greiss
41	BAL	D Matt Gilroy
42	BAL	F Bryan Bickell
43	FFS	G Corey Crawford
44	ALT	F Zach Hamill
45	SAN	D Ryan Wilson
46	DEL	D Derek Joslin
47	ORE	F Mathieu Perreault
48	NAS	D Keaton Ellerby
49	BOS	F James Wright
50	EDH	D Andrew MacDonald
51	CHA	D Oskars Bartulis
52	STE	F Zack Smith
53	SCA	D Mathieu Carle
54	STL	D Clayton Stoner
55	SOU	F Scott Parse
56	WVR	D Jonas Junland
57	SAL	D Arturs Kulda
58	PWH	D Matthew Corrente
59	VAN	F Vladimir Zharkov
60	MID	F Frazer McLaren
61	BAL	F Sergei Shirokov
62	SCA	D Vladimir Mihalik
63	FFS	F Nick Bonino
64	ALT	G Dustin Tokarski
65	SAN	F Ben Maxwell
66	DEL	D Paul Bissonette
67	ORE	F Bobby Butler
68	NAS	F Kenndal McArdle
69	BOS	F Maksim Mayorov
70	EDH	D Adam McQuaid
71	CHA	G Jhonas Enroth
72	STE	F Jesse Joensuu
73	SCA	F Cody Almond
74	STL	G Devan Dubnyk
75	SOU	F Robbie Earl
76	WVR	PASS
77	SAL	D Justin Falk
78	PWH	F Brad Marchand
79	VAN	D Philip Larsen
80	MID	G Justin Peters

Team by Team Results

Altoona: F Jamie Benn (5), F Lars Eller (24), F Zach Hamill (44), G Dustin Tokarski (64)

Baltimore: F Matt Duchene (2)*, F Andrei Loktionov (21), D Matt Gilroy (41), F Bryan Bickell (42), F Sergei Shirokov (61)

Boston: D Erik Karlsson (9), D Carl Gunnarsson (29), F James Wright (49), F Maksim Mayorov (69)

Charleston: D Michael Del Zotto (11), F Matt Beleskey (31), D Oskars Bartulis (51), G Jhonas Enroth (71)

Delta: F Evander Kane (7), F Tim Kennedy (26), D Jason Demers (36), D Derek Joslin (46), D Paul Bissonette (66)

El Dorado: F James Van Riemsdyk (10), F Drayson Bowman (30), D Andrew MacDonald (50), D Adam McQuaid (70)

Farmington: D John Carlson (4), F Tyler Bozak (23), G Corey Crawford (43), F Nick Bonino (63)

Ice Harbor: D Tyler Myers (1), F Nazem Kadri (22)

Midland: F Brandon Yip (20), G Thomas Greiss (40), F Frazer McLaren (60), G Justin Peters (80)

Nashville: D PK Subban (8), F Dan Sexton (28), D Keaton Ellerby (48), F Kenndal McArdle (68)

Oregon: F John Tavares (3), D Cody Franson (27), F Mathieu Perreault (47), F Bobby Butler (67)

Portland: D Jamie McBain (18), D Alex Plante (38), D Matthew Corrente (58), F Brad Marchand (78)

Salem: F Logan Couture (17), F Mark Letestu (37), D Arturs Kulda (57), D Justin Falk (77)

San Diego: D Victor Hedman (6), G Jonas Gustavsson (25), D Ryan Wilson (45), F Ben Maxwell (65)

South Carolina: F Tyler Ennis (13), D Jared Cowen (33), D Mathieu Carle (53), D Vladimir Mihalik (62), F Cody Almond (73)

South Park: F Colin Wilson (15), F Viktor Stalberg (35), F Scott Parse (55), F Robbie Earl (75)

Sterling: F Ryan O’Reilly (12), F Ryan Stoa (32), F Zack Smith (52), F Jesse Joensuu (72)

St. Louis: F Brayden Schenn (14), D Jakub Kindl (34), D Clayton Stoner (54), G Devan Dubnyk (74)

Vancouver: D Dmitry Kulikov (19), F Michael Grabner (39)*, F Vladimir Zharkov (59), D Philip Larsen (79)

West Virginia: F Eric Tangradi (16), D Jonas Junland (56)

* – later traded