Mid-Season Claims Headlined by… Ryan Graves?!

In News, Transactions on December 29, 2019 at 4:35 pm

The Mid-Season Free Agent Draft, that annual extravaganza where Gump GMs, belts already straining against holiday overindulgence, get to gorge on the league’s castaways and also-rans. This year’s draft saw the Charleston Chiefs take a flyer on defenseman Ryan Graves with the top pick. Also selected in the top five: winger Valeri Nichushkin to South Side (who had released him at preseason), Zack Kassian to Winnipeg, and defensemen Matt Roy and Brad Hunt to Denver and Hamilton, respectively.

Denver was, in fact, the only team to draft in more than two rounds, making four claims in all. Likely spurred by the acquisition of Jordan Binnington at the expense of its first round rookie pick in 2020, the Spurs loaded up on vets with the hope of climbing a few spots in the standings. Joining Denver for the remainder of the season are winger Tyler Ennis, centre Frans Nielsen, and winger Thomas Vanek.

You can find the complete list of 2019 mid-season claims here.

Denver Acquires Binnington, Ships Out Holtby

In DEN, SJH, SSR, Transactions on December 26, 2019 at 9:49 pm

They’re tied for third fewest goals for, and if you can’t put pucks in nets, you’ve gotta keep them out. That seems to be the theory behind the Denver Spurs‘ splashy Christmas Eve trade, which saw them acquire young goaltender Jordan Binnington, along with versatile forward Colton Sissons, from the South Park Renegades. In return, Denver shipped out wingers Mathieu Joseph and Auston Watson, along with its first round rookie pick in 2020.

In a separate deal, and with four goalies on the active roster, the Spurs sent one-time starter Braden Holtby to the San Jose Hosers for a 2nd rounder.

Around the League: Midseason Arrives

In News on December 18, 2019 at 9:42 am

It’s midseason, and with 40 games in the books, the GWMHL takes its annual pause for the free agent claim period and a little R&R. Here’s an overview of what’s happened this season so far.

In the Plante Conference, the top three teams (Parry SoundEl Dorado, and Salem) are no surprise, but PIttsburgh is still right in the mix despite slumping to an 8-10-2 record in the second quarter. Parry Sound had a great quarter, going 13-3-4 and was undefeated on the road (7-0-3). Denver was a big riser on the quarter, going 10-7-3 (including a very nice 6-2-2 road record) but still has a tough road ahead of it if it wants to make the playoffs — it rose from 9th in the conference to 7th.

In the Sawchuk, Boston was the big story, with a 7-1-2 home record and running the table (10-0-0) away. That vaulted the Banshees to first in the conference and the league, just ahead of Adirondack. Speaking of the Aces, their emergence continued nicely in Q2 (12-5-3) and they finally seem poised to make some postseason waves. Finally, Vancouver recovered a bit (10-8-2) to climb out of the Sawchuk basement and pull to within five points of 4th place Ice Harbor. There’s more parity in this conference, though, so basically every team is still in the hunt.

Leading the league in points is Parry Sound’s Connor McDavid — no surprise there — with 64, ahead of San Jose‘s John Tavares (58) and Ice Harbor’s Sasha Barkov (56). Denver’s Cam Atkinson continues his torrid goal-scoring pace and now leads the league with 32, one ahead of Farmington winger Mikko Rantanen. Could we see a 60-goal season in Gump this year? It’s possible. Atkinson’s teammate Keith Yandle is tied with Boston’s Mark Giordano for most points among defensemen with 38, while South Side‘s Brady Tkachuk leads all rookies with 34 points. Of note, a profoundly disappointing start for much-hyped Winnipeg freshman Elias Pettersson, who has just 5 goals and 18 points so far. Boston’s off-season acquisition of Ben Bishop has proved shrewd, as the netminder is tied for second in wins with 16 and tops the league in GAA (1.99) and save percentage (.936).