Friday, January 30, 2015

WHL Lines - Jan. 31


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 31)  















Forwards















#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #27 Duke (96)





#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #15 Quenneville (94) *4




#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #21 Coulter (96)





#28 Lisoway (95) #25 Campbell (96) #16 Kaspick (98)













Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *9





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *30





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *9












Other D: #29 Matsuba (97) #10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  27 and 13 swapped lines. 17 returned to the lineup.





17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 20.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 9 games.





9-6 have been together for 24 straight when both are dressed.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







Colorado Avalanche Prospect Ranking - January 2015

Now that the NHL season is past the midpoint, I figured it was time to go through and revise my Colorado Avalanche top prospect list.  I previously did this exercise back in August, listing a top 15 with honourable mentions and a “just missed” category.

You can find that piece here. I would recommend reading it (if you haven’t already) as it provides further context to this new update, including breaking down the player’s games in more detail.

Before I get started, I guess I need to outline the how and why of this list. I guess all I can say on that is that the list is based off of a number of factors. Those factors include, but aren’t limited to, top-end potential, NHL-readiness timelines, production and potential role.

As an Avalanche fan for the past 19 years I can say that I follow the team’s prospects quite closely, but will be the first to admit that I haven’t seen all of them play this year, especially live. This is just one guy’s perspective, so don’t take it as gospel. I don’t know everything, can’t predict the future and don’t pretend to.

The number in brackets beside the player’s rank is where they stood during my previous August ranking.

With all of that in mid, here is the list. Enjoy. Comments and feedback are always appreciated both on Twitter or via email.

#1 (1) Chris Bigras
LD – 6’2 – 194
Drafted 32nd overall in 2013

Despite a solid recent stretch by Conner Bleackley, Chris Bigras remains comfortably perched as the top prospect in the Colorado Avalanche system. After a bit of a hiccup in his D+1 year in 2013-14 he has had a major resurgence so far this year in Owen Sound. At this point in time he’s put up 44 points in 41 games, including 14 goals (which is 3rd best in the league). Those who watch him regularly will also tell you that his defensive game remains a strong point. While not being a flashy player away from the puck he’s smart, skates well and uses both his stick and body effectively. He will surely challenge for a roster spot in Colorado next year and if he doesn’t crack the club, his stay in Lake Erie shouldn’t be longer than one season.

#2 (2) Conner Bleackley
C – 6’1 – 198
23rd overall in 2014

Just like Bigras, Conner Bleackley maintains his spot on this list compared to where I had him ranked during the summer. It’s been a fairly strong year for the captain of the Red Deer Rebels as he is on pace to improve both his point-per-game numbers from last year along with his goal totals. He scored 29 times in 71 games last year, he currently has 23 in 46 games this year. To go along with the offence, the product of High River, Alberta also continues to play a sound 200-foot game with physicality when necessary. With Red Deer hosting next year’s Memorial Cup I think Bleackley’s future timeline is pretty easily mapped out. Captain the host team on a national stage next year in the biggest event the CHL offers, then do his best to crack the Avalanche in 2016-17. If that doesn’t happen he will be in Lake Erie instead, beginning his professional career at age 19.

#3 (3) Duncan Siemens
LD – 6’3 – 205
11th overall in 2011

This was the first real tough decision on this list, whether to keep Siemens at 3rd despite no stark jump in production or growth. Ultimately, the decision to keep him in this spot was made for one reason. That reason would be the upside of where he could potentially fit into the lineup in the somewhat near future. I still think that ultimately he would be an ideal middle pairing guy on Colorado’s blueline, and that likely carries more value than a backup goalie (Pickard), bottom pairing puck mover (Elliott) or undersized, borderline top-6 scorer (Hishon). While he’s currently injured, reports have been fairly optimistic regarding some of the slow growth Siemens has shown this year. Yes, that may sound like a broken record but I maintain hope that he will eventually take advantage of an NHL chance once he gets it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WHL Lines - Jan. 29


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 28)  















Forwards















#13 Bukarts (95) #23 McGauley (95) #22 Shmyr (97)





#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #15 Quenneville (94) *3




#28 Lisoway (95) #27 Duke (96) #21 Coulter (96)





#16 Kaspick (98) #25 Campbell (96)














Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96) #17 Quenneville (96)















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *8





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *29





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *8





#29 Matsuba (97)














Other D:
#10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  Made their first lineup changes in the past 3 games.





17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 19.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 8 games.





9-6 have been together for 23 straight when both are dressed.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







1994's Of Interest

Each and every year we see NHL teams reach out and sign previously un-owned 20 year olds who are finishing up their junior hockey careers. These players include some “late bloomers” and guys who were previously drafted by NHL teams, but ended up being unsigned at 19.

While not all 20 year olds end up going to play pro hockey the year after they graduate junior, most of the good ones at least get the opportunity to try out in a lower-tiered professional league if they have that desire.

So, who are some of the WHL players who might be drawing interest from professional clubs, including NHL organizations? Let’s take a look at a few.

Travis Brown – LD – Victoria Royals – 6’2 – 198

Brown was previously drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, going unsigned at the beginning of last summer. Brown is a big body who skates well and owns a wide array of offensive skills. In fact, he currently leads all WHL defencemen in scoring with 47 points in 48 games. His 16 goals are also 4 better than any other blueliner in the league. I had him rated as my 27th best WHL player ahead of his first draft year in 2012. If I was pegging one WHL player to be signed by an NHL team in the next couple of months, Brown would be the guy I would bet on.

Brandon Magee – RW – Victoria Royals – 5’9 – 185

Only 7 players in the WHL currently have a point-per-game average over 1.50 in 2014-15 and Magee is among them. The product of Edmonton might not be the tallest player but he possesses a low centre of gravity and has a dynamic skillset. Magee is also known to mix it up and play with an edge, with the disciplinary evidence speaking for itself (he has missed 19 games the last two years due to suspension). He’s not afraid to get under the opposing team’s skin, to put it nicely. I had him rated as my 39th best WHL player in his first year of NHL Draft eligibility back in 2012. He attended rookie camp with the Calgary Flames this past fall.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WHL Lines - Jan. 28


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 28)  















Forwards















#13 Bukarts (95) #23 McGauley (95) #22 Shmyr (97)





#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #15 Quenneville (94) *3




#28 Lisoway (95) #27 Duke (96) #21 Coulter (96)





#16 Kaspick (98) #25 Campbell (96)














Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96) #17 Quenneville (96)















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *8





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *29





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *8





#29 Matsuba (97)














Other D:
#10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  Made their first lineup changes in the past 3 games.





17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 19.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 8 games.





9-6 have been together for 23 straight when both are dressed.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







Sunday, January 25, 2015

WHL Lines - Jan. 26


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 25)  *2















Forwards















#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #27 Duke (96) *2




#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #15 Quenneville (94) *2




#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #21 Coulter (96) *2




#28 Lisoway (95) #25 Campbell (96) #16 Kaspick (98) *5












Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *7





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *28





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *7












Other D: #29 Matsuba (97) #10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  Have used the same lineup in back to back games.





17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 18.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 7 games.





9-6 have been together for 22 straight when both are dressed.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







Saturday, January 24, 2015

WHL Lines - Jan. 25


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 25)  *2















Forwards















#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #27 Duke (96) *2




#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #15 Quenneville (94) *2




#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #21 Coulter (96) *2




#28 Lisoway (95) #25 Campbell (96) #16 Kaspick (98) *5












Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *7





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *28





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *7












Other D: #29 Matsuba (97) #10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  Have used the same lineup in back to back games.





17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 18.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 7 games.





9-6 have been together for 22 straight when both are dressed.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







WHL Lines - Jan. 24


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 24)  















Forwards















#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #27 Duke (96)





#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #15 Quenneville (94)





#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #21 Coulter (96)





#28 Lisoway (95) #25 Campbell (96) #16 Kaspick (98) *4












Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *6





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *27





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *6












Other D: #29 Matsuba (97) #10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  8 remains out with injury. Plenty of shuffling among their F group.





17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 17.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 6 games.





9-6 have been together for 21 straight when both are dressed.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon