Archive for the ‘WIN’ Category

Season Preview: Plante East

In DEN, PIT, SAL, Special Features, SSR, WIN on October 7, 2018 at 11:08 am

Welcome to the first of our 2018-19 season previews: brief overviews of what’s new, what’s old, and what’s expected as 20 GWMHL clubs prepare for a new year.

We start our tour of the league in the Plante East, home of the defending Gump Cup Champs.

Denver Spurs
Last Season’s Finish: 45-29-8 (4th in conference); lost in 1st round
Notable Arrivals: F Martin Frk, F Carl Soderberg, F Stefan Noesen, F Brian Gibbons, F Noel Acciari, G Anton Khudobin.
Notable Departures: F Riley Nash, F Marian Hossa, F Jaromir Jagr, F Lance Bouma, F Derek MacKenzie, D Thomas Hickey

The Spurs headed into last season having acquired Brayden Holtby, Marian Hossa, Mike Fisher, Erik Karlsson, and Jaromir Jagr, and the spending spree paid immediate dividends, vaulting Denver into playoff position and helping them take a high-powered Parry Sound to 6 games. Now, with Jagr and Hossa out, Fisher unlikely to play much, a quiet offseason, and no 2018 draft picks until the fourth round, expectations are lower — a lot lower. The Spurs still have Karlsson to lead a solid defense alongside Keith Yandle, but the forward ranks are paper-thin after Matt Duchene, Cam Atkinson, and Derick Brassard, even after the signing of Carl Soderberg. Spurs fans will likely need to be patient until the 2019 draft when they can start replenishing with top-end talent.

Verdict: Rebuilding

Pittsburgh Hornets
Last Season’s Finish: 32-39-11 (7th in conference); missed playoffs
Notable Arrivals: F Evan Rodrigues
Notable Departures: F Joel Ward, F Matt Martin, D Dmitry Kulikov

After limping along to a 7th place finish in ’17-’18, the Hornets might seem to be stuck in neutral — they didn’t make a single trade during or after the season and most of its top prospects need another year. What the Pittsburgh front office seems to be banking on is the continued growth of a fine core to finally give stars Evgeni Malkin and Victor Hedman the supporting cast they deserve. Bigger contributions from Ivan Provorov and Noah Hanifin on the back end, plus Timo Meier, Anthony Beauvillier, and unheralded Danton Heinen up front should put the Hornets firmly in the playoff race if they can get a strong performance in goal from Ben Bishop.

Verdict: Playoffs

Salem Sabercats
Last Season’s Finish: 42-27-8 (2nd in conference); won Gump Cup
Notable Arrivals: F Anze Kopitar, F Vladimir Sobotka, D Brandon Montour, D Samuel Girard, G Marc-Andre Fleury
Notable Departures: F Mattias Janmark, F Patrick Sharp, F Sonny Milano, F Ondrej Kase, F Brendan Perlini, G Craig Anderson, G Steve Darling

It shocked many observers that Salem, widely seen as a team on the decline, managed to capture yet another championship. But smart drafting has kept the Sabercats competitive even as key vets have retired. A drop-off seemed inevitable, despite the emergence of young forwards Yanni Gourde, Bo Horvat, and Travis Konecny, plus the addition of Brandon MontourSamuel Girard, and Travis Dermott to a very deep blueline, keeping them in the mix. Above all, the acquisition of Marc-Andre Fleury from South Side will have the biggest impact, allowing the Cats to trim some fat in goal. At the end of the day, Salem’s best veterans — Alex Pietrangelo, Nicklas Backstrom — can still produce with the best of them, and the late-preseason pickup of Anze Kopitar will be crucial in keeping up with other contenders’ top-line talent.

Verdict: Contender

South Side Renegades
Last Season’s Finish: 17-60-5 (10th in conference); missed playoffs
Notable Arrivals: F Nico Hischier, F Teuvo Teravainen, F Artem Anisimov, F Sonny Milano, D Cody Ceci, D Deryk Engelland, D Jake Dotchin, D Dylan DeMelo, G Tristan Jarry
Notable Departures: F Ryan O’Reilly, F Micheal Ferland, F Nikolai Kulemin, F Lee Stempniak, D Jake Muzzin, D Jonas Brodin, D Cody Franson

Renegades fans survived a terrible season with the best kind of silver lining: the first overall pick. With it, South Side gained centre Nico Hischier and a fresh new outlook. With four first round picks in 2018, plus the acquisition of young forward Teuvo Teravainen, the rebuild is off to a good start — but it’s not over yet. Although Hischier joins a nice group up the middle, alongside Dylan Larkin and Mika Zibanejad, there isn’t much talent on the wings yet. And the once-strong South Side defense corps is looking pretty shaky after Seth Jones, Colin Miller, and Cody Ceci. Connor Hellebuyck will probably steal them some games and it would be surprising if they plumbed the same depths as last season, but it’s looking like another rebuilding year for the Renegades.

Verdict: Rebuilding

Winnipeg Falcons
Last Season’s Finish: 44-32-6 (5th in conference); missed playoffs
Notable Arrivals: F Chandler Stephenson, F Vinnie Hinostroza, F Kyle Brodziak, D Will Butcher, D Trevor Daley, D Carl Gunnarsson, G Darcy Kuemper
Notable Departures: D Andrei Markov, D Fedor Tyutin

The Falcons missed the playoffs by a mere four points last season, and they remain a bubble team this year. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Mike Hoffman will still lead things up front, and the addition of rookie Will Butcher will be a boon to Winnipeg’s defense. But there are many question marks: Can Ryan Suter lead a blueline comprised of mostly 4-5-6th defensemen? (His partner may well be someone like Trevor Daley, a late free agent pick.) Can netminder Jake Allen rise to the challenge as starter? Will the real Corey Perry please stand up? The Falcons are a team that can surprise opponents, especially if they get favourable line matchups, but they’ll need some luck to break into the conference’s top four for a playoff berth.

Verdict: Bubble


Season Preview: Plante

In BAL, CHA, DEN, EDH, GLP, PIT, SAL, SCA, STE, Uncategorized, WIN on November 26, 2011 at 10:00 pm

The Sawchuk Conference has its powerhouses – and the last five cups. But the Plante is where all the intrigue is.

Apart from a strong Salem squad fresh off a trip to the Gump Cup Finals, the entire conference is full of dark horses – young teams, growing teams, sure, but few that are in flat-out rebuilding mode. That kind of parity makes the conference incredibly tough to call.

In – D Ryan McDonagh, F Nino Niederreiter, G Jacob Markstrom, D Michael Sauer, F Blake Geoffrion, F Teemu Hartikainen, F Brandon Prust
Out – F Evgeni Malkin, F Cal O’Reilly, D Bryan McCabe, F Darroll Powe, D Anton Stralman, F Rob Schremp, F Jamie Langenbrunner

Baltimore made the boldest move of the off-season, unloading Evgeni Malkin for all of Pittsburgh’s draft picks. That meant a pretty big personnel turnover – 7 guys in and 7 out, not counting poor Steven Kampfer, released before he even got a sniff. It’s hard to look as this as anything but a small step backwards in the short term, but any team with Anze Kopitar is poised to compensate for the loss of a player of Malkin’s calibre, and the team still has a strong core in its prime.

In – F Luke Adam, F Matt Halischuk, F Matt Calvert, D Jason Garrison, F BJ Crombeen, F Mike Knuble
Out –  G Michal Neuvirth, F Alexander Frolov, F Benoit Pouliot, F M-A Pouliot, D Kurtis Foster, D Oskars Bartulis

Charleston should be a playoff team, there should be little doubt of that. After a surprising trip to the finals led to two straight years of mediocrity, the Chiefs started rounding back into form when Steven Stamkos hit the scene. Now that they have a marquee scorer, they have a roster with few glaring weaknesses, and with Miikka Kiprusoff and Jonathan Quick splitting duties in goal, they should be one of the Plante’s better teams.

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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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The GWMHL Wants You!

In BOS, News, PWH, SAL, WIN on August 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm

The Gump Worsley Memorial Hockey League is looking to fill some ownership vacancies as we head into the 2011-2012 regular season! Read on to find out more…

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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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What Got Us Here: 5 Trades That Shaped Today’s GWMHL

In GLP, SAL, SCA, Special Features, WIN, WVR on June 29, 2011 at 6:16 pm

With trading set to reopen once the finals are done and back-room talks already ramping up, it’s a good time to look back at some of the bigger deals in recent years – the moves that shook the GWMHL, shifted the balance of power, and got us where we are today.

GMs haven’t exactly been shy about moving marquee names, but these five game-changing trades are different: their effect is still being felt in the GWMHL today.

5. South Carolina trades Dany Heatley, Braydon Coburn, and Rich Peverley to Salem for Loui Eriksson, Jeff Carter, and Tomas Kaberle (2010)

Why? Heatley, Peverley and Coburn are all producers for the Fire Ants, there’s no question. Heatley, in particular has scored 38 and 40 goals as a Fire Ant, and the trade is pretty equal when you consider each team’s needs at the time.

But the move came at a time when the Wannabees were turning into serious contenders. If there’s a move that made its current run to the Gump Cup Finals possible, it’s this one. Eriksson has already had two 40-goal years for the Wannabees, and tallied 119 points this season. Carter had a down year behind Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Backstrom but is only a season removed from 54 goals. And Kaberle took a deep defense corps and made it ridiculous.

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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

5 Draft Day Near-Rejects Who Made It Big

In DEN, FFS, PIT, Special Features, STE, WIN, WVR on May 21, 2011 at 11:48 am

There’s no art to the late-round draft steal. You take a deep breath and pray… and probably release your pick before he ever plays a game. While quite a few serviceable players have squeaked into the high seventies in the GWMHL Rookie Draft over the years – especially goaltenders – rare is the player taken in the last few picks who makes a real impact.

But here are five taken in the final 10 slots of their respective drafts who defied the odds and made an impact.

5. LW Kyle Calder, 77th overall in 2000 by Staten Island

Winger Calder never lived up to his potential, more or less settling into a 10-15 goal groove for the Staten Island Gems and San Diego Gulls early in his career. But he makes our list for one reason alone: possibly the most surprising single campaign in league history. In 2006-2007, Calder went on a sudden tear, scoring 60 goals and amassing 110 points with the Gulls.

He disappeared just as quickly, chasing his breakthrough with 8 goals total over his next three seasons, then obscurity.

Year   Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
01-02  Staten Island Gems         24    0    2    2  -13   10
02-03  Staten Isle Gems           81   14   35   49    0   79
03-04  Staten Island Gems         82   12   13   25   -6   36
04-06  San Diego Gulls            40   13   12   25    4   15
06-07  San Diego Gulls            79   60   50  110   23   52
07-08  San Diego Gulls            69    5   10   15  -12   30
08-09  San Diego Gulls            64    2    5    7  -21   20
09-10  San Diego Gulls            61    1    9   10  -11   18
                  Totals         439  106  127  233  -25  242

4. G Olaf Kolzig, 76th overall in 1994 by Tidewater

Kolzig was taken last overall by Portland in ’94, and he’d be much further up the list if his career numbers – a career goals against average way on the wrong side of 3.00 – weren’t so shaky. But Kolzig was a solid starter in the GWMHL for many seasons, despite playing for some struggling teams. He gets major points for longevity.

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