Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rebels/Pats deal

An interesting overage transaction in the WHL this afternoon as Regina sends 20 year old defenceman Brandon Underwood to Red Deer for a 2013 4th round bantam pick. The move helps relieve Regina's surplus of overagers - they had five but are now down to four.

The interesting part though is the trickle-down effect this will have in Red Deer, where the Rebels already had three good overage forwards - Turner Elson, Charles Inglis, and Adam Kambeitz. If we go on the (seemingly safe) assumption that Red Deer didn't acquire Underwood just to flip him to somebody else, then this move means that one of that pretty good trio of Red Deer overage forwards is going to be on the move somewhere else in the next two weeks.

Edmonton and Vancouver both have openings for overage players yet - but Calgary, Kootenay, Spokane, and Tri-City join Regina and Red Deer as teams who all have one extra overager still. It's a buyers market.....

Friday, September 14, 2012

Roster notes

The start of the new WHL season is just 6 days away - the first "game that counts" goes next Thursday when  Kootenay visits their old locale, Edmonton. The final preseason games take place this weekend, mostly tonight and Saturday although Kootenay and Calgary play the last exhibition game on Sunday.

Following this weekend's games, I suspect we'll see a whole bunch of cuts and trades starting on Sunday/Monday as teams (many of whom still have close to 30 or more players in camp) start getting down to something approaching their regular season roster of 24 or 25 players. So with that in mind, a quick rundown of some team rosters and what we'll probably be seeing from them in the next week or two as far as roster moves....

Brandon Wheat Kings: Brandon still has 31 players on their roster, most in the league (along with Tri-City). So they have about 7 cuts to make, which will include at least one of their four overagers still on the roster. They also need to cut a goaltender and at least 3, maybe 4 other forwards. They still have 11 rookies up front in the 16/17 year old age groups so probably 4 of those are going to be off to midget/Jr A in the next little while.

Calgary Hitmen: Calgary has 28 players but that includes two overagers too many, so once they subtract two overagers there's probably only 1 or 2 more cuts to come. The overager situation is one to watch though as all five of their 20 year olds should have jobs in the league by the time the game of overage musical chairs ends. Complicating the situation, the Hitmen also have three imports on their roster as well, as overage forward Alex Gogolev counts as a two-spot player. Look for Gogolev and his 25 goals last year to be traded to a team with overage and import spots open, or at least looking to upgrade. (Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw, Prince George, Regina, and Victoria have openings for an import, at least at the moment).

Edmonton Oil Kings: Edmonton has only 1 or 2 cuts to make, so they're close to ready. They also have an opening for an overager but with their stacked roster, I'm not sure they will be in a hurry to fill that spot right away. That might be a spot they could look at filling via trade closer to the trade deadline when some weaker teams start selling off quality players.

Everett Silvertips: Everett has 12 defencemen and 3 goaltenders on their roster still, so they're going to need to cut or trade probably four of those defencemen and one of the goalies.

Kamloops Blazers: with Austin Madaisky leaving for the AHL today, the Blazers are down to three overagers. 26 players on the roster, so probably one more forward and one more defenceman to go.

Kelowna Rockets: added two overagers yesterday to get up to 3 O/As and 29 players total. 4-5 cuts to come - two forwards and two defencemen at least.

Kootenay Ice: 27 players, including one overager too many. Once they solve the overage situation, probably only one or maybe two more cuts to make.

Lethbridge Hurricanes: 25 players, but that includes three goalies so that's probably the one remaining cut there. Will be missing Adam Henry until January, when he returns they'll probably shed a defenceman but that's too long off to worry about right now.

Medicine Hat Tigers: 27 players, so 2 or 3 more cuts to come. Toughest decision is probably which of the three remaining goalies to move out. Released import defenceman Daniel Hansen today, so they have an open import spot. Overage defenceman Alex Theriau is out for a while with injury, so he probably shouldn't count in that 27 players although I am indeed counting him. Tigers could bring in another overager in Theriau's absence too since he is probably on the injured list.

Moose Jaw Warriors: 27 players here too, so likely 2 or 3 more cuts as well. They also have three goalies so one of the cuts is at that position. 1 or 2 more forwards likely to go as well. Have an open import spot if they want to pursue that.

Portland Winterhawks: 26 players including four overagers and four goaltenders (two of whom are in the overage count as well). Once the O/A and goalie situations are sorted out, the rest of the roster probably doesn't need to change.

Prince Albert Raiders: 26 players left, including three goaltenders. So one goalie left to cut, plus perhaps one more of the forwards - they still have three 16 year old forwards which is probably one too many on a team with a lot of veterans eating up ice time.

Prince George Cougars: at 25 players right now, they might not have any cuts coming. I think they potentially have the worst group of overagers in the WHL though so don't be surprised if something changes there. Also have an open import spot if they see something they like.

Red Deer Rebels: down to 25 players already, not much to change here anytime soon I don't think. Maybe one forward or one defenceman but that might be a few weeks away.

Regina Pats: still have 29 players including 16 forwards, 10 defencemen, 3 goaltenders, and five overagers.  So, a whole bunch of moves still to come here - 1 goalie, 1 forward, 2 defencemen for sure. This is also one of the oldest groups of defencemen remaining in the WHL and yet also one of the least experienced (even moreso if they lose Colton Jobke to the pros) so I'm not sure the moves on defence are done here yet.

Saskatoon Blades: already down to 25 players, including a league-high twelve 19 year olds (and the average # of 19 year olds on rosters right now is 6 per team). They do need to cut/move a goalie (they have 3) but otherwise they look set.

Seattle Thunderbirds: 27 players, including four goalies and four overagers. Need to shed two goalies and one of the overagers, which gets them down to 24 and that's probably enough.

Spokane Chiefs: 28 players left, including three goalies and four overagers. Need to move out a goalie plus an overager, probably one of their surplus of forwards as well.

Swift Current Broncos: still at 30 players so a number of cuts still needed here. They have three goalies and four overagers so that's two cuts there. A few too many forwards left as well, so another 2-3 cuts up front I think.

Tri-City Americans: their roster still lists 31 players, including five overagers, three goaltenders, and a 15 year old. That's four cuts there, plus they have 19 forwards so there's still a couple more to come off of that list yet.

Vancouver Giants: 26 players remaining, so only one or two cuts remaining. They have nine defencemen on the roster so I'm thinking at least one of those guys is going to go.

Victoria Royals: 26 players including three goalies. Cut one of the goalies and they might be done. They do have only one import and only two overagers though so they have room to fill those openings if they wish. Would Alex Gogolev look good on the Island?