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Thread: The Forwards 14-15 - Halfway there

  1. #1
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    Default The Forwards 14-15 - Halfway there

    Austin Adamson (??) - Haven't really seen enough of him yet to formulate a real opinion one way or another, but so far he has shown a lot of hustle, and had a few missed opportunities. Will be interesting to see what his role is moving forward.

    Connor Bleackley (B-) - Picked up his game quite substantially from early in the season, and is starting to get to the level that he was at last season (though I would have hoped for him to be ahead of that at this point). Needs to add a bit more variety to his attack, as the opposition has pretty much figured out his one 'go-to' move on the rush.

    Jeff de Witt (C+) - Has been slowly putting up points, though not really becoming more of an offensive threat as the season progresses. He is fantastic defensively however, especially for a 16 year old, and gets some marks for that.

    Scott Feser (C-) - Continues to be a streaky scorer, and is quite likely one of the top players in the league for giveaways. Works really hard, but that one quality really detracts from his overall game.

    Wyatt Johnson (A+) - Could possibly be the best defensive forward in the league, and has managed to put up the second most goals in the first half as well. I had questions as to whether or not he could bounce back from all the concussions he had last season, and he has answered that so far.

    Presten Kopeck (C+) - He is a less offensively dynamic version of Feser, but without all the giveaways. Pretty decent two-way player, but like Feser, his age is working against him.

    Brooks Maxwell (C+) - Not really much has changed in his game since the start of the season. There are probably upgrades available for this overage player, but he appears to be a model player with no real strengths or glaring weaknesses in his game.

    Adam Musil (A-) - Continued his strong play into November, but struggled with injuries in December. The Rebels' offensive depth really takes a hit when he isn't in the lineup. Hopefully he can recover from his current injury pretty fast, and have a better second half.

    Meyer Nell (D+) - I haven't really noticed any development in his game at all this year, and he has really struggled in his own end of the ice. Despite being spoon-fed big minutes on the powerplay, he isn't really putting up any numbers there either.

    Grayson Pawlenchuk (B-) - Hard to believe that this kid only has 20 points so far. The roster got a bit older with all the trades, which has decreased his ice time somewhat, but he backchecks like a madman, and manages to get his share of scoring chances. If he starts to cash in on more of the chances he gets, he could turn out to be a pretty good player in this league.

    Evan Polei (C+) - Still plagued with some slow starts in most games, but generally comes on in the later stages. He is one of the teams' heavier hitters and has shown himself to be a pretty tough customer when required.

    Tyler Sandhu (B+) - Really didn't know what to think when they acquired him, as it seemed like his production was going the wrong direction. He had the expected surge of production that most players have when being traded to a new team, but it will be interesting to see if it continues in the new year, and whether he is the real deal or not. Has some great wheels and handles the puck well in traffic, and he has made a few nice defensive plays in his first 27 games in Red Deer.

    Riley Sheen (A-) - It was clear that he was going to be an upgrade offensively on Fafard when they acquired him, but I had no idea to what scale the upgrade would be. This is his last shot at a WHL championship, and he seems to be taking it very seriously, as he has been the the most motivated player on the team for the last ten games, by a wide margin.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by SectionNDeserter View Post
    Connor Bleackley (B-) - Picked up his game quite substantially from early in the season, and is starting to get to the level that he was at last season (though I would have hoped for him to be ahead of that at this point). Needs to add a bit more variety to his attack, as the opposition has pretty much figured out his one 'go-to' move on the rush.
    I would say his recent play would have elevated him half a grade or so in my opinion, but for the course of the season, you're not far off. Indeed, you do make some good points, and although he has been a high impact player recently, we haven't seen the progression we all hoped for. Going from a mid-1st round pick to not even making TC selection camp is pretty indicative of where he's at right now, a very good WHLer but not yet a dominant or transcendent one.

    Jeff de Witt (C+) - Has been slowly putting up points, though not really becoming more of an offensive threat as the season progresses. He is fantastic defensively however, especially for a 16 year old, and gets some marks for that.
    This is one I most disagree with. I would definitely have De Wit rated higher. Just playing regular minutes in this league as a 16-year-old is an accomplishment; given the fact that he's chewing up ice time, and not looking out of place, on a legitimately competitive team is even more impressive. I certainly wouldn't hold his relative lack of offensive production against him; guys that can put up points as a 16 in the WHL are an aberration and not the rule. Even a player of Bleackley's talent only managed what, not even 20 points his first year?

    Scott Feser (C-) - Continues to be a streaky scorer, and is quite likely one of the top players in the league for giveaways. Works really hard, but that one quality really detracts from his overall game.
    That and he is soft with a capital S. He's not a bad player, but I would be shocked if he was on the club next year for a full season.

    Wyatt Johnson (A+) - Could possibly be the best defensive forward in the league, and has managed to put up the second most goals in the first half as well. I had questions as to whether or not he could bounce back from all the concussions he had last season, and he has answered that so far.
    To say that Johnson has exceeded expectations this year would the a massive understatement. Although his offensive game lately has started to sort of regress to what would be a more normal and probably typical level, he has been the team's best forward for a large chunk of the year and, if his play continues, has completely re-written his role on this team going forward and seems like a lock to be an overager next year.

    Presten Kopeck (C+) - He is a less offensively dynamic version of Feser, but without all the giveaways. Pretty decent two-way player, but like Feser, his age is working against him.
    I'd probably go to a C or C- for Kopeck. Like Feser, I don't see a role for him here next year for a full season. Solid player, but he'd basically be Brooks Maxwell as an overager next year, and I don't think that's going to be good enough to stick with a Memorial Cup contender as a 20.

    Brooks Maxwell (C+) - Not really much has changed in his game since the start of the season.
    Start of the season? Maxwell's game hasn't changed an iota in 3 years.

    Adam Musil (A-) - Continued his strong play into November, but struggled with injuries in December. The Rebels' offensive depth really takes a hit when he isn't in the lineup. Hopefully he can recover from his current injury pretty fast, and have a better second half.
    On point.

    Meyer Nell (D+) - I haven't really noticed any development in his game at all this year, and he has really struggled in his own end of the ice. Despite being spoon-fed big minutes on the powerplay, he isn't really putting up any numbers there either.
    With Bobyk in the lineup, it appears Sutter is going to give two defensemen on one unit with Sheen on the point on the other a shot. As I've alluded to here before, Nell isn't adding much in that capacity, or anywhere else, really.

    Grayson Pawlenchuk (B-) - Hard to believe that this kid only has 20 points so far. The roster got a bit older with all the trades, which has decreased his ice time somewhat, but he backchecks like a madman, and manages to get his share of scoring chances. If he starts to cash in on more of the chances he gets, he could turn out to be a pretty good player in this league.
    I think I'd rate him a bit higher. Plays a great two-way game, forechecks and cycles hard in the offensive zone while working just as hard in his own end. It really is surprising that he has so few points, as he fits in on that top line just fine.

    Evan Polei (C+) - Still plagued with some slow starts in most games, but generally comes on in the later stages. He is one of the teams' heavier hitters and has shown himself to be a pretty tough customer when required.
    I'd have Polei at a C- or a D. I don't think he breaks a sweat unless he's trading hands with someone. For his size, he should be a lot tougher in the offensive zone, but is not a force along the boards the way he should be. I wasn't expecting the world out of him this year, but I was hoping he would be better than this.

    Tyler Sandhu (B+) - Really didn't know what to think when they acquired him, as it seemed like his production was going the wrong direction. He had the expected surge of production that most players have when being traded to a new team, but it will be interesting to see if it continues in the new year, and whether he is the real deal or not. Has some great wheels and handles the puck well in traffic, and he has made a few nice defensive plays in his first 27 games in Red Deer.
    I, too, am wondering if what we've seen so far is fool's gold. He did benefit from playing on Bleackley's wing for a time and also getting big PP minutes. He makes plays over the course of the game that shows that he can do things with the puck on his stick. I'm more impressed with the fact that he seems to not be afraid of a little physicality and two way play, as I assumed he was just a triggerman when they acquired him.

    Riley Sheen (A-) - It was clear that he was going to be an upgrade offensively on Fafard when they acquired him, but I had no idea to what scale the upgrade would be. This is his last shot at a WHL championship, and he seems to be taking it very seriously, as he has been the the most motivated player on the team for the last ten games, by a wide margin.
    He's got the best hands on the team and does things with the puck that not too many guys in the league can. Busts his ass every night and seems like exactly the kind of overager you want your guys taking cues from.
    Last edited by calcheyup; 01-01-2015 at 10:58 PM.

  3. #3

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    It is that time of the year again when players get rated like cattle...do yo realize that these kids likely all read posts on the blogs and despite their efforts and all they deal with on and off the ice they have to deal with getting graded or degraded.... Just a thought. Perhaps let go of the A's, B's etc and just post what's bothering you or what you like about them. Some good points are made, Pawlenchuk works really hard , but has always played on extremely good lines and should benefit more from that. Sheen is a great addition and plays a big game for his very small stature. He will be missed next season. Polei is a strong kid, he should be able to create more space for himself and is deceivingly fast. Players on other teams know better than to challenge him for the most of it. De Wit loses pretty much all of his face offs, creating a bit of an offensive problem on the fourth line. I thought not playing and eventually trading Mccarty was a strange move, the few times he was on the ice with Nell, they had much better chemistry than Nell and De Wit. Understandably Mcarty requested the trade after only playing a handful of games, but still not sure why he didn't get the ice time to start with. Nell and Pawlenchuk should have pretty good impact sheets, they both dish out real hard hits that get the crowd going. Unfortunately those don't get you any points on the board, but they certainly create space for team mates. De Wit isn't far behind, he doesn't shy away from hitting. Feser is a consistent hard worker. He never ever takes a shift off and he is fantastic on pk. Give him a bit more credit. Bleackley is back to his scoring ways and have scored spectacular goals as of late. He benefits a lot from playing with Sheen and that seems to have quite a bit to do with his great play the last few games. Maxwell and Kopeck haven't been doing anything wrong and Johnson will probably be one of the 20 yr old players who will make the cut next year. It'll be interesting to see who the other two will be. Musil does seem to be plagued by injuries since he joined the team last year, but with his size and grit , he does make a difference when he's playing. Sandhu has done well since joining the Rebels. He probably needed a change of scenery and seems to always be in the right place at the right time. Shows you how some players do better with a different team and different coaches.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newice14 View Post
    De Wit loses pretty much all of his face offs, creating a bit of an offensive problem on the fourth line.
    This has been an ongoing issue with the team in general for a few seasons now. There are some players that are better than others at faceoffs, but there are still nights where the collective group will win 10-20% of their faceoffs.

    I thought not playing and eventually trading Mccarty was a strange move, the few times he was on the ice with Nell, they had much better chemistry than Nell and De Wit.
    Not really that strange at all. As you say, he wasn't playing much, so when it came time to upgrade the blueline, why would the team look at trading a core part of the team over one that is in and out of the lineup? The Rebels had scouted him for years, and he had been to four of their training camps, I am sure that they felt they had a pretty good handle on his strengths and weaknesses.

    Nell and Pawlenchuk should have pretty good impact sheets, they both dish out real hard hits that get the crowd going.
    Meyer Nell? He has delivered a few hits, but isn't even really on the same page as Pawlenchuk when it comes to taking the body or backchecking. He has really good hockey sense, and pretty soft hands, but it hasn't translated to much on the scoresheet yet.

    Feser is a consistent hard worker. He never ever takes a shift off and he is fantastic on pk. Give him a bit more credit.
    I said that he was a very hard worker, but just being good on the PK isn't going to score you an overage gig on a Memorial Cup bound team. The fact remains that he turns the puck over a very disproportionate amount of times, compared to the other forwards, including rookies. And while he does put up points, he doesn't put up enough that one could simply look past the sheer number of scoring chances he generates for the other team.

    Johnson will probably be one of the 20 yr old players who will make the cut next year.
    Hard to imagine Johnson and Doetzel not occupying two of the overage spots next season. After that, I think they may be looking to make a big splash and add an impact overage player for their third spot.

  5. #5

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    I see no problem grading these players even if they do read the blogs. These are 16 to 20 year old guys that are responsible and should be accountable for their actions and play. There is no name calling or intentions to hurt at all, just statements as to what is being seen out on the ice. I agree with most of what SectionN has analyzed and have to second the comments that calcheyup brought up with regards to de Wit and Maxwell.

    There are games when Polei is a dominant force on the ice and then games where he basically floats around and takes the night off. I know these are still young men and it is hard for anyone to try to play at the top of their games at all times but to be playing at this level of hockey, you can't afford to take to many nights off.

    As a fan of this hockey team, I like nothing more than to see these players play well and succeed. I am sure the players are having more fun on the ice when they are playing well and winning games as well. I see no problem in giving them a little criticism to play better, even if it is coming from the fans. I would be very surprised if what is being written here hasn't already came out of the mouth of Brent Sutter in meetings anyway.

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