GWMHL

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2012-2013 Award Winners

In BOS, NAS, SAL, SFS, Special Features, STL on August 7, 2013 at 9:07 am

In a season notable for a lack of headline-making offensive performances, many players still shone in the 2012-13 GWMHL regular season. As a few select teams battle it out in the playoffs, we take a (totally biased and absolutely unscientific) look at the players who made the biggest mark on the year.

Scoring Champ

Claude Giroux, Nashville Knights
Giroux won his first-ever — and not likely his last — scoring title in style. With 108 points, he was the only player to surpass 100 and was 11 points up on his nearest competition. Most remarkably, and we’ll circle back to this, is that Giroux finished the year with 42 points more than his nearest teammate, Patrick Kane. Where would the Knights have gotten without him? Not very far.
Honourable Mentions: Erik Cole, Saint Louis Blues (97 points), Patrik Elias, Boston Banshees (96 points)

Sniper Award

Erik Cole, Saint Louis Blues
Erik Cole was lighting it up even before Saint Louis started acquiring a deep supporting cast at the trade deadline.  We didn’t see many stratospheric point totals this season, but Cole had some close competition in the goals race, but the winger — who had 32 goals last season and just 16 the season before — just kept ticking en route to his league-leading 54.
Honourable Mentions: Steven Stamkos, Charleston Chiefs (51 goals), Milan Lucic, Boston Banshees (47 goals)
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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

So, Turns Out We’re in Love with Stay-at-Home Defensemen

In BOS, SAL, SCA, SFS, Special Features, VAN on December 4, 2011 at 10:54 am

Gaaah!

You wouldn’t think we’d love our solid-yet-unspectacular defensemen, but the numbers don’t lie.

We’re head over heels. We’d marry those guys and their good positioning and their low point totals if we could.

They’re our unsung heroes, our stay-at-home defensemen. And they have to do all the laundry, darn it.

Take a spin through the franchise games played leaders throughout the league and you’ll see: in many franchises, real longevity comes not from being a high-end sniper or silky setup man but a stay-at-home blueliner toiling away in the muck.

5. Mattias Norstrom

Norstrom never managed more than 17 points in a single season during his GWMHL career. In his day, he was one of the league’s best defensive defensemen, and after 12 seasons he’s the South Carolina Fire Ants franchise leader in GP with 832. (But not for long: Milan Hejduk and Marian Hossa are both poised to surpass him early this season.)

4. Darryl Sydor

Calling Sydor a “stay-at-home” defenseman is a bit misleading, considering he holds the league’s all-time worst career plus-minus. He put in several solid offensive seasons early in his career, but as time wore on his role became – allegedly – more defensive. The fact that he racked up nearly 1000 games (944, to be exact) with the San Francisco franchise is a testament to… something. We’re not sure what, actually.

3. Scott Hannan

Hannan’s the only player left from expansion Vancouver‘s inaugural year. He was drafted in 1999 and has been a steady – and mostly invisible – fixture on the blueline ever since. Hannan has a commanding lead as the Night Train’s all-time GP leader (694 to second place Filip Kuba’s 629). He’s also the only active Gump player on this list.

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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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6 Most Surprising Pre-Season Cuts of 2011

In BAL, BOS, PWH, SAL, SFS, Special Features on November 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

If you’re a GWMHL general manager bent on taking your team anyplace other than the golf course, you’ve got to make some hard choices as you try to shoehorn yourself in the league’s strict 28-man roster limit. Drop that draft choice before he’s ever sniffed the pro game? Let go of the fading vet?

This year, GMs have been particularly ruthless, jettisoning some good (well, mostly once-good) players in favor of the latest toys.

6. LW Kristian Huselius, cut by Salem – The Wannabees are deep up front and Huselius is battling serious injuries, so this is no huge shocker, but he’s still a one-time 50-goal scorer and a big contributor to Salem’s run to the finals in 2011. He was also a top-3 draft pick once upon a time – and not a very good one.

Year   Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
02-03  Vancouver Sea Otters       79   21   14   35  -10   28
03-04  Vancouver Sea Otters       78   28   21   49    7   20
04-06  Vancouver Sea Otters       44    1    2    3   -4   18
04-06  Montreal Smashers           9    1    1    2   -3    0
06-07  Salem Wannbees             78   22   20   42  -12   26
07-08  Salem Wannabees            81   50   51  101   63   24
08-09  Salem Wannabees            80   20   17   37    0   14
09-10  Salem Wannabees            37    8   12   20    7   18
10-11  Salem Wannabees            68   17   33   50   14   38
                  Totals         554  168  171  339   62  186

5. D Cody Franson, cut by San Francisco – Franson might not be a bluechipper anymore, but he’s in his early 20s and managed a whopping 42 points in 52 games last season, his rookie year. The writing was on the wall when the Seals drafted Cam Fowler and Alec Martinez.

Year   Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
10-11  Oregon Rugrats             52   12   30   42   12   16
                  Totals          52   12   30   42   12   16

4. LW Jason Blake, cut by Boston – Blake’s bounced around, but he’s got a pedigree that includes a 48-goal year in ’07-’08. He only managed 9 goals last season for the Banshees, who are fairly deep on the wings.

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Bulldogs to Denver; Oregon Heads Down I-5

In DEN, News, SFS on August 1, 2011 at 11:16 am

The Midland Bulldogs are pulling up roots and heading to Denver, team officials have announced. The former ‘Dogs will be reborn as the Denver Spurs beginning in the 2011-2012 season.

In a long-rumored move, the Oregon Rugrats have also found a new home, heading down the coast to become the San Francisco Seals.

Checkers, Veterans Head List of Off-Season Player Releases

In BOS, DEL, GLP, NAS, News, SAL, SCA, SFS, STE, STL, Transactions, VAN, WIN on July 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm

The GWMHL has officially announced the list of player releases due to under-use, effective immediately. The list is headlined by veterans like Mike Modano, Adam Foote, and Chris Osgood, as well as two surprises – utility winger Tomas Kopecky, formerly of Delta, and center Darren Helm, who recently helped the Salem Wannabees to its second straight Gump Cup Finals.

All players who are now free agents who, if eligible, will be available in the pre-season Free Agent Draft.

The full list:

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2010-2011 Milestone Roundup

In GLP, PWH, SFS, Special Features, WVR on June 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Today we wrap up our look at some of the individual milestones reached in 2010-2011.

Of course, Portland’s Jarome Iginla hit 500 goals and teammate Martin Brodeur became the all-time leader in career wins. But Iginla was, in fact, one of four players – along with fellow Winterhawk Joe Thornton, South Park’s Nicklas Lidstrom, and Oregon’Mike Modano – to crack 1000 career points this year.

In Lidstrom’s case, it’s especially noteworthy: he’s the all-time points leader for defensemen and is the first blueliner in league history to break 1000. He now sits at 1006 in his career and shows few signs of slowing down.

Meanwhile, it was a watershed moment when Ice Harbor’s Keith Tkachuk, the league’s leader in career goals and points, hung them up. He wasn’t the only retiree of note. The season also saw the swan song of West Virginia defenseman – and one-time Tkachuk teammate – Scott Niedermayer, who is second all-time in points for a defensemen with 885.

Recent Midland release Bill Guerin (446 career goals, 11th all-time), Delta’s Slava Kozlov (830 points, 20th all-time), and free agent Rod Brind’amour (952 points, 15th all-time) also announced their retirement. The Boston Banshees’ Paul Kariya – 10th all-time with 449 goals – is also likely going to hang them up.

Lots more all-time leaders, from the very best to disasters of Kent Mandervillian proportions, can be found here.

Does Darryl Sydor Hold the Most Unbreakable GWMHL Record?

In SFS, Special Features on May 31, 2011 at 8:31 am

"Hee hee. I'm famous."

In a record-breaking year that saw some of this league’s all-time greats put their names into the history books, one name went neglected.

Darryl Sydor.

The defenseman, who announced his retirement this year, has the distinction of the worst career plus-minus in the GWMHL.

In fact, so amazing was Sydor’s defensive ineptitude throughout his career that no other player is even close. His -350 puts him 158 ahead of… uh… behind… former teammate Frantisek Kaberle.

Sydor’s statistical dominance is virtually unchallengeable.

Sydor’s GWMHL career ended this year with that ultimate indignity – being released by the Oregon Rugrats at mid-season. Fortunately, the Rugrats’ Nick Boynton and Matt Cullen have the worst career plus-minus numbers of all active players, so there’s something for fans to cheer for.

What were those relocation rumors again?

Worst Career Plus-Minus

Darryl Sydor      -350
Frantisek Kaberle -192
Nick Boynton      -183
Darcy Tucker      -183
Matt Cullen       -166

The 5 Most Surprising Breakthroughs of 2010-2011

In BAL, PWH, SFS, Special Features, STL on May 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

Every year, players rise, players fall. Here are five who unexpectedly broke through in the 2010-2011 regular season, shattered their own career numbers, or otherwise made a difference.

5. RW Tyler Kennedy, Saint Louis Blues

Cast as a roleplayer, Kennedy found himself playing with some of Saint Louis excellent group of centres and delivered with a rock-solid 24 goals. Of those, 5 were game-winners.

4. RW Alexandre Burrows, Baltimore Crab

Burrows’ stock has been rising every season, but nobody saw his 49-goal 2010-2011 performance coming. The agitator led the Crab in scoring on a team that also features names like Evgeni Malkin, Daniel Sedin, and Anze Kopitar. Burrows also led the team in plus-minus and scored 8 shorthanded goals.

3. D Lubomir Visnovsky, Portland Winterhawks

Visnovsky is an excellent offensive defenseman – he’s shown it before and has even cracked the 70-point barrier a couple of times. But he added goal-scoring to his resume in 2010-2011, exploding in the second half to finish with 27 goals – more than any other defenseman in the league.

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