2013-14 Opening Night Roster Predictions
It's never too early to look ahead to next season, so let's have it. It's clear that there's going to be changes before next year and I was bored and tried to look into my non-existent crystal ball.
Payton Lee I think is the only guarantee here, whether he enters the season as the starter or not is anybody's guess considering how he's been used lately. I'd like to think that common sense will prevail and Lee will be between the pipes on opening night. Jared Rathjen has been decent since coming aboard but I suspect that he'll face some competition in camp. If the Giants still hold the rights to Tyler Fuhr he could be that guy but I wasn't completely sold on him during his short time with the team.
Jackson Houck (my early bet as Captain next season) will likely be the focal point for our forward group. Cain Franson seems like a safe bet to fill one of our overage spots for next season. I wouldn't mind seeing Marek Tvrdon fill one as well but I suspect that he's going to be an off-season trade candidate (and likely would have been among the departures this season had he not suffered his health scare). I'm also unsure as to whether the Giants would like to use one of the overage slots and one of their import slots on the same guy. I like the limited viewings I've had of Luca Leone thus far and it never hurts to have some size in the lineup. I think he stays. I've been pleased to see Jakob Stukel getting a couple of games this past week and think he makes the jump to the club full time next year, hopefully will be among our top six.
Rob Trzonkowski's unfortunate injury came at a bad time because we really didn't get a chance to see him play but I think he sticks next year. Another forward with good size is a plus in my books. Carter Popoff has shown some nice hustle in his rookie season, hopefully he will continue to develop into a good offensive player for us next year and add some secondary scoring. Another guy I'm expecting more from next year is Thomas Foster who I've been underwhelmed by this season in the games I've watched. He's a former 1st round pick though so he'll likely be given the benefit of the doubt.
Those are probably the only players that I would consider as "locks" to be on the team next year. Guys like Dalton Sward, Riley Kieser, Travis McEvoy, Taylor Vickerman and Anthony Ast just don't do it for me. I'm sure one or two of them will be here (at least to start the year) but I don't expect them all back.
I'm honestly not too familiar with too many of our prospects so I'm likely just throwing darts to see what sticks but Alec Baer is a possibility after leading last year's training camp in points. Haven't heard too much chatter about Douglas Morris, one of the guys we got in the Austin Vetterl trade but he may get a look as well. One of last year's 2nd round pick Jesse Roach will probably be amongst the players fighting for a spot in camp as well as another 2nd rounder, from 2011 Ryan Simpson and finally, I admit that I know nothing about the kid at all, but Bradley Crompton who hasn't even turned 16 yet is listed at 6'4", 215 lbs. If he can play at all, I'd love to see a (no pun intended) giant like that on the roster.
More off-season trades are likely but it's tough to speculate on that but I'm hopeful that we'll see more skill added. We have too many pluggers and not enough talent. Who knows, we may be rewarded with a potential exceptional player as well. ()
I don't expect to see much change from this group next season. Brett Kulak and Mason Geertsen will once again be the main guys here. Reid Zalitach is in line for an increased role. Tyler Morrison should also stick but I'm hoping for better numbers (as in more than a single goal). Another guy that's slowly coming along is Arvin Atwal who will probably challenge for a spot from the outset.
I'd really like to see a true PP QB brought in here. This team was at its best when it had players like Franson, Albers, Meszaros, Blum, Connauton etc. chipping in offensively and we really don't have that type of player outside of Kulak.
One guy who might possibly challenge for a spot is yet another 2011 2nd rounder, Jake Kohlhauser. A defensive Dman with good size who can hopefully stop some of the traffic forming in front of our net.
Next year looks a lot more promising than this one and might even see us challenge for a playoff spot if our youngsters continue to improve and develop properly and the team is able to make a few astute trades to bring in some fresh blood to chip in as well. The continued development of Houck, Lee and Geertsen will be what drives the ship though and the team will likely go as those players go. I'm not expecting a miracle turnaround in one year, but if this team can improve its core of talent and play smarter defensively, I'll be satisfied even if it means another year on the outside looking in. Baby steps until 2016.
As it feels like more than a couple times of remembering Hay say and us watching - I'd like to see us move towards finish. Trade or flip a switch on a couple of our guys or something. How many games have we kept pushing and keeping the puck in the other team's zone but there is absolutely no finish unless the stars are aligned and the rubber is bouncing just right and the other team is playing down to our level...
I like the thought of having Ast around for all the nice things you get to say. Like on those rare occasions that he has scored: Hey (goalie) kiss my Ast! He's been one of those players that I sorta picked as one I liked and he has returned the favour by coming up short of the bar I had set for him, kinda like the whole team.
Tyvrdon is only allowed back to say hi to any friends he may have had here. He don't rate a spot in my books, even when he was actually contributing it felt like his plays without the puck were contributing too, to the other team's score sheet.
I don't think Simpson will be playing for the Giants. He didn't report to camp this year and it appears that college hockey is in his future. Of course a lot of things can change but from what I heard it's very unlikely he will ever play for the Giants.
Originally Posted by Andrej_The_Giant
I wasn't aware of that, thanks for the head's up.
Originally Posted by Lucic
Not a problem. I was disappointed to hear that because I've only heard good things about Simpson. One of the Giants scouts gave him high praise saying he had future "captain potential" written all over him.
Originally Posted by Andrej_The_Giant
Dalton Sward (Better show more than in past)
Scott Cooke (Vet who is in trouble)
Travis McEvoy (Vet who maybe in trouble)
Tristan Sieben (Vet who maybe in trouble)
Rob Trzonkowski (Vet who is in trouble)
Jesse Roach (Likely another season)
Euro pick (Number one overall and top six player)
Alec Baer (Signed or college bound?)
Ty Ronning (Better turn out)
Tyler Benson (If they get him and get exceptional status)
Tyler Fuhr (Still listed?)
Fuhr isn't on prospect list
Don Hay, Head Coach
Riley Kieser (Likely cut or released, has no trade value)
Douglas Morris (Not sure where he fits in or even if he does)
A lot of question marks here and plenty of room for improvement. With Kieser likely cut loose that leaves Franson as the only 20 year old on the team. I would assume Bonner will want to add at least one more overage forward and maybe an overage defenseman. I would like to see Sward, Ast, and Sieben moved out but I don't believe any of those three have much trade value. If I had to keep one of those guys it would be Ast since he is youngest. Barring a trade, I think the rest of the returning forwards return. And I figure a few more new faces are added to the mix, via the import draft and via trade in exchange for the surplex of 2nd round picks Bonner has stockpiled. Some of those picks will be moved for players. Bonner has stated as much. Needless to say I also hope Bonner adds some size and toughness. Especially if the Giants do get Benson, and if he is granted exceptional status. He needs to be protected and a guy like Scott Cooke isn't going to be enough.
I wouldn't be surprised if a defenseman or two is acquired during the off season. Maybe one of the Euro picks? Kohlhauser and Krabben will obviously have to make the team out of camp, but I figure those two have the best shot of making the team out of the current defensemen prospect pool. The rest of the defenseman currently on the team now are likely to return next season.
I don't think much will change with the goaltenders. I'd prefer to see Lee and Fuhr in net but trying to understand what the Giants are going to do with goalies is pointless. Obviously Lee will be the main guy but after that who knows.
What happpened to Tvrdon? When I spoke to Bonner he told me he & Franson were going to be the 20 yr olds next season if he doesn't stay in Europe.
Tvrdon has been dropped from the Giants roster on the WHL site as well. So that leaves one to speculate he will not return even though he is technically eligible to return if Detroit chooses to do so (as unlikely as that would be).
It's a damn shame to think the Giants got nothing for him. They would have easily had another 1st round pick plus more.