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Thread: After ten - The Defense and Goaltending.

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default After ten - The Defense and Goaltending.

    The Defense;

    Nick Charif (B-) - After a catastrophic first game, he has steadily improved his game. He works the power play well, and can rush up ice with the puck. He is still not great in his own end of the ice, but is night and day compared to where he was last season in this area.

    Brett Cote (A+) - Has been absolutely fantastic so far. Battles very hard on the wall in his own end, blocks shots, and has generated a ton of offense as well. If Sutter doesn't choose to upgrade his goaltending, and lose every game 6-5 or 7-6 for the rest of the season, I can see Cote being moved for some assets for next season, as he should have some really nice numbers by the trade deadline.

    Kolton Dixon (C+) - Prior to the season, I predicted that him and Fafard would be battling it out for a single forward position in the regular season. With the injuries to Jansons and Grman before the start of the season, Dixon has been the beneficiary of some time on the backend. He is a below average skater, but so far has played a very conservative game, so it isn't a factor. No real dumb penalties this season either and has more or less been positionally sound. Unfortunately he doesn't really bring a lot more to the table than Strand, and Strand is two years younger.

    Kayle Doetzel (A) - Doetzel is the best defensive defenseman that this team has had since Weller. He skates well, and has become even more physical than in previous seasons. He still doesn't have an offensive game to speak of, but I think that the team already has too many small, puck-moving defensemen as it is. Should be one of the better overage players in the league next season.

    Haydn Fleury (D+) - His game has been absolute garbage since returning from Carolina. Spends most games coasting around, whiffing on passes, and turning the puck over. The only thing he has done that resembles an elite defenseman since returning, is sprawling on one play to break up a two-on-one. Unfortunately, he then stood up, skated in front of his goaltender, and drew his stick in and deflected the puck into his own net, almost as though it was on purpose?!? I am legitimately concerned that he may be hiding a concussion or something from the training staff.

    Mario Grman (C-) - Saw some limited time in a few games after an injury caused him to miss a few games. Looked average, and has been a healthy scratch in the last three or four games.

    Hugo Jansons (??) - Sustained an injury that will have him out six to eight weeks prior to the start of the season, so has yet to play. Thought Grman looked like the better of the two imports in training camp, but will reserve judgement until he gets some regular season games under his belt, with regular linemates.

    Josh Mahura (C+) - His offensive, skating and puck handling skills are off the charts. Needs a ton of work on positioning and gap control in his own end of the ice, as probably five of the goals that made him -6 were directly his fault.

    Austin Strand (B-) - Last season in training camp he wasn't physical at all, and couldn't keep even the weakest of passes in at the line. Some aspects of his game improved in training camp this season, but I still wasn't sure if he would crack the lineup. Well, here he is, getting steadily better and better and playing eight of the first ten games. Reminds me of a less skilled version of Justin Weller, and is about at the same stage in his development that Weller was at 16. Plays a simple game, doesn't make a ton of mistakes, and has even managed a goal so far.

    Goaltenders;

    Taz Burman (F) - Sutter had enough confidence in him last season to bring him in as a 16 year old backup to the CHL goaltender of the year. He had an equally high amount of confidence in him, when he handed him the reigns and gave him the start on opening night. Now he has a 4.69 GAA and a .771 Save percentage, and appears to be the backup again. He is a very quick goaltender, with quick reflexes, but has absolutely zero poise, and terrible rebound control. Exactly what game was Central Scouting watching him in, when they put him on their list of 'players to watch' for the upcoming NHL draft??? I think he really could have benefitted from another year at a lower level last season, instead of coming to the WHL to open and close the door on the bench.

    Rylan Toth (C+) - Not the quickest of goaltenders, but gets in front of the puck, and doesn't look rattled the whole time he is in net. Has made a number of saves that a rookie goaltender has no business making, and also like a rookie goaltender, has let a bunch of really soft goals in as well.

  2. #2

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    Unfortunately, I agree with all of your ratings, more or less, in both threads. With the exception of a small handful of guys, this club has been massively disappointing so far - especially Bleackley and Fleury. Clearly they took their cues on how to return to junior from Matt Dumba.

    A well earned A+ for Cote, he's been clubs best player this year pretty clearly IMO. Would have loved to be able to have him next year.

  3. #3

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    Honestly, with the top 4 the Rebels have on D, it's a serious testament to their dire situation in net that they've given up 44 goals in 11 games. Cote and Doetzel have both been excellent, Charif has played very well, and Fleury is Fleury - even if he's nowhere near where he should be right now. There's no way with an NHL first rounder, a legit overager, a fourth-year WHL stay-at-home defenseman, and, with the way he's played, Charif should be part of the defensive corps on a team that has absolutely been blitzed this year.

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