title has nothing to do with anything I just like the new Arcade Fire song. Pre-season recap + a look at Corey Pronman’s rankings in this post.
welcome to sticks and pucks where I do away with proper grammar and more or less recount my tweets.
Hockey season is about to land. Next Saturday, your hometown hero Norfolk Admirals will take to Scope ice for their first pre-season game against Western partners-in-crime, the Charlotte Checkers. We’ve still got a long road ahead before that. If we want to see some hockey, we should have some players.
Anaheim’s first cut day happened on Thursday, and nothing was too surprising. Norfolk received Max Friberg, Kevin Gagne, Antoine Laganiere, Andrew O’Brien, Charlie Sarault, Zack Stortini, Stefan Warg, Steven Whitney, Maxime Sauve, and Teigan Zahn among “did that guy play for us…he did, right..he didn’t” moves. Most of those players are rookies except for Stortini and Sauve. John Mitchell and Chris Wagner are back in the “regular contributor” category. I am not surprised by most of these, though Zahn and Sauve were added on PTOs this month.
Who’s still in Anaheim? Goalies. Freddie, Bobkov, and John Gibson continue to battle it out in camp, as there’s a big decision to make. Who goes to the Utah Grizzlies and who gets to be the back-up in Norfolk between Gibson and Bobkov? Both are young and need development, though Gibson has a higher ceiling.
Forwards: John Kurtz, Emerson Etem, Patrick Maroon, and Devante-Smith Pelly remain with the Ducks. DSP and Maroon seemed to have some good chemistry in pre-season games against the Kings and Avs, connecting for a goal in Colorado. Still, there’s not a lot of room with the Ducks and DSP is still on his ELC. Speaking of ELCs, John Kurtz is probably getting an extended look from the guys in Anaheim after signing his first NHL contract. He’ll be back. Emerson is just in a weird spot. He was great for the Ducks last year, but he’s on his ELC and there are, of course, space problems in the big league roster. Limbo for Etem.
Defense: Anaheim’s defense keeps falling. Francois Beauchemin is still recovering from ACL surgery and Sheldon Souray is still under thanks to a torn ligament in the wrist. Things can’t get worse oh sh.. Luca Sbisa is out a couple weeks. Sbisa should be back for the 2nd week of the season, but the Ducks need a fill-in. Among their choices are AHL stalwart Nolan Yonkman (who scored a goal against Phoenix in pre-season after scoring zero last year), Hampus Lindholm, Kyle Cumiskey, and Mat Clark. Hampus didn’t get a true full season last year due to a couple of concussions. If this weren’t a dire situation, I’d say yes, Hampus to Norfolk. He has a chance to excel here, and may crack the opening night line-up in Denver.
Speaking of Yonkman….
Who’s the Captain?
Nolan Yonkman was the captain last year for the San Antonio Rampage. Good for him, I say. We’re currently captain-less here in Norfolk. Here are my candidates:
Pat Maroon- If he’s here. No-brainer, wore an A last year and was the team’s most consistent scorer. Would also throw down if necessary.
John Kurtz- Not the most obvious choice, I know. Kurtz wore an A at times last season, just signed his first ELC after playing in the minors for Anaheim for a few years, throws down, kills penalties, does whatever. Great off-the-ice guy.
Mat Clark-Defenseman that missed only one game last year, solid d-game that lets the hits do the talking.
John Mitchell- By virtue of just hanging around and being there, you know? Scores goals sometimes.
What say you? Get into it on twitter @BeneathScope.
ESPN/Hockey Prospectus guru Corey Pronman releases his top Anaheim prospects today. Who are they? Prospects must be 1)under 26 2) have less than 50 career NHL games or less than 25 games the prior season.
I think these players will make it because I am a great guesser.
John Gibson G
Freddie Andersen G
Rickard Rakell C
Kevin Roy F
Shea Theodore D
Hampus Lindholm D
Sami Vatanen D
Max Friberg F
Stefan Noesson F
Nick Sorensen F
Nick Kerdiles F
William Karlsson F
Antonine Laganiere F
Joseph Cramarossa F
Kenton Helgesen D
Those are mostly guesses. Probably bad ones!
Camp is here for rooks and prospects et cetera which means hockey is closer. Some of you may want to keep tabs on players with twitter, so I’ve made a list. The list is a PROJECTED list right now, though it can be updated at any time.
I am writing a post on this blog for the first time in a long time so that’s cool. Let’s see what happened while I’ve been tweeting mostly
- Josh Brittain went to the Bears
- PL3 went to WBS
- The Utah Grizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz are your new ECHL affiliate
- Sheldon Souray got an injury which means Sami Vatanen may see more playing time with the Ducks
The big news, of course, is the AHL schedule. Finally released after the NBA schedule, the AHL’s slate of games is real interesting if your team is not Norfolk. On the plus side, the Ads get to play every team in the Eastern Conference except St John’s at least twice at home. This includes teams like Manchester and Portland.
Division play is of the utmost importance, as the Ads play each of their Eastern Division opponents 8 times. The only opponent they play as often is Charlotte. Unfortunately, it’s a really boring schedule with no other Western Conference teams. I made you a schedule, red is home, gold is away: #Ads89 schedule.
Finally, I’m trying to get #Ads89 started. It’s a take off of the Columbus Crew’s #crew96, and I’m not ashamed.
Welcome to Rebound Control, a look at stories BTS has missed from the week that was.
- With teams now in Iowa and Utica, the AHL had its yearly realignment. Good news! Norfolk stays in the East and maintains its biggest rivalries. Jason has more over at Chips from Center Ice.
- Utica has hired former Duck Travis Green as their head coach.
- The Fort Wayne Komets will not reprise their role as Norfolk’s ECHL affiliate.
- Former Cincinnati Cyclones head coach Jarrod Skalde will take Mike Haviland’s place as an assistant on the bench next year. He is the reigning John Brophy (of course!) ECHL coach of the year, and played some games for the Ducks.
- UFA D-man Jordan Hendry has signed with the Straubing Tigers of the DEL. That makes two Ads in Germany.
- John Mitchell, Matt Kennedy, and Devo (against former Ad J-P Cote) made the end of the year video for best AHL hits.
- John Gibson, Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell, and Stefan Noesen have some interviews up on the Ducks YouTube channel, which needs some new music.
In yesterday’s post, I made a lot of grammatical errors. I will probably do that again. Another thing I did was make some pretty giant assumptions about what would happen with Anaheim’s forward situation. I needed to do that in order to make a reasonable projection about the Ducks and Admirals in the fall. Free agency is still going on and activity will happen between now and the season (as well as when the puck drops). Let’s talk about what I’m going to call “Big Guesses”.
Big Guess #1: Teemu Selanne returns.
The biggest and most important prediction is that Anaheim’s face of the franchise will return for next season. While he is 43, Selanne doesn’t appear to be done with the game. He hasn’t made any hard decisions yet and gets the leisure to say if and when he’s back. #TeemuWatch will continue.
Big Guess #2: Selanne’s return creates a jam at the wing spots, especially for Pat Maroon (and Brad Staubitz)
If Selanne returns, this creates a bunch of bodies at the wing spots wanting to play. The two most likely to get shafted by this are Pat Maroon and Brad Staubitz. Maroon has been a proven power forward in the AHL, a guy who plays physically, can score, and will scrap if he’s asked. Staubitz is supposed to be the same guy, except he costs more and, well, Ducks fans aren’t the happiest with him. With Matt Beleskey signing a two-year extension stay with Anaheim, there really isn’t a need for three of those guys every night. Thus, there’s a scenario where both Staubitz and Maroon are healthy scratched 4 out of 5 nights. Given how much money Anaheim invested in Maroon, they may find him more valuable playing 1st line minutes in Norfolk.
Big Guess #3: Peter Holland wins the 4C spot.
One of the biggest wants from any team, outside of say Pittsburgh, is a reliable #2 center. It is rare to find one, like a hard-shooting right-handed D-man. Or something. Much has been made about Anaheim and a number of other teams searching to find a 2C, and possibly inquiring about the recently bought-out Mikhail “Grabo” Grabovski. Though he could land in Anaheim, I think he will eventually end up with the Caps. With Grabo on the Caps, the Ducks will look to Nick “Bones” Bonino as their 2C. Before he got injured, Bones was an impressive player with some speed. I think Bruce Boudreau would like to see him fully healthy and at that spot. Veteran Saku Koivu re-signed for a year, giving the Ducks a reasonable expectation for their 3C. Finally, there is the 4C spot. Anaheim’s 4C spot switched a lot of hands, before it ended up in the hand of trade acquisition David Steckel. He was a low-cost buy, brought in from Toronto for failed project Ryan Lasch and a draft pick. He wasn’t there to score, though. Anaheim now has Peter Holland, who has a bit of NHL experience and was drafted in the first round 4 years ago. By putting him on the fourth line, the Ducks might experience an uptick in scoring from that position.
Big Guess #3: Devante Smith-Pelly will be in Norfolk, and so will Rickard Rakell.
With a bunch of depth at the NHL level and a relatively young age, Devante Smith-Pelly should be headed back to Norfolk. DSP broke into the NHL at the age of 19–usually when sure-fire superstars hit. He found himself stuck in Norfolk most of the year, trying to get better as an all-around player. Thanks to just turning 21, DSP still has a lot of room to develop, and can continue to do so at the AHL level. He’ll be the top returning scorer, especially if Peter Holland and Pat Maroon make the Ducks.
Since I have Peter Holland making the Ducks, that has 2011 first-round pick Rickard Rakell coming to Norfolk. Rakell will probably have a chance at the 4C spot though I think Peter Holland wins out due to his NHL experience and continued development in the AHL.
I feel like I’ve properly explained the Big Guesses.
Small Guess #1: The RFAs get signed.
Anaheim has a small matter right now of signing their remaining RFAs. The most pressing need is former Ad Kyle Palmieri, who projects as a top-6 forward, playing on Ryan Getzlaf’s wing. With Matt Beleskey signed, there is a base for how much Plams is worth (more than Beleskey). Next up are D-men Mat Clark and Alex Grant, both of whom are AHLers. Expect them to sign some 2-way deals eventually. I think a lot of Anaheim stuff has been quiet this week thanks to the focus of prospect camp.