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Thread: '15-'16 Post Mortem

  1. #1

    Default '15-'16 Post Mortem

    After reading Sutter's comments about the season, it doesn't seem particularly difficult to understand why this team struggled mightily to put a consistent product on the ice. Between the assertion that he felt more like a psychologist than a hockey coach, and the half-skewering of unnamed graduating players for their difficult attitudes, the reason for the up and down season begins to emerge.

    Obviously, the team was never at full strength until the Memorial Cup, and even then, guys weren't at 100 per cent. But there was enough talent in that lineup this year at all points post trade deadline for this club to have had more success than it did; or, barring that, not be so susceptible to the maddening bouts of inconsistency and seemingly, apathy.

    With that said - on to the good. The team that we saw on the Memorial Cup was the team we all hoped we would see after the trade deadline. Obviously it made a huge difference having everyone healthy, but even then, the level at which these guys performed vastly superseded what we saw in the playoffs. Regina is a good team, but there is no excuse for that series to have gone that way. As for Brandon, it's disheartening to know how far Red Deer could have pushed them in the ECFs had they brought the same game they did to the Memorial Cup.

    Obviously, the highlight of the tournament was the overtime revenge on the Wheat Kings, and as a fan you have to be proud of how well the kids showed. It's unfortunate that we never saw that team in the regular season, and even more so because it was not simply getting healthy that turned it around. Games were taken to a higher level by a bunch of guys, and even Sutter admits he struggled to motivate the team knowing they had an automatic berth. So in that sense, the way the Rebels played in the Memorial Cup is somewhat depressing in the sense that team did not show up until then.

    Interested in others thoughts, and SectionNs player by player analysis, which I'd be happy to contribute as well if there is any interest. I stopped posting here mostly because only one or two guys ever chime in. Surely there are more than 3 guys who want to discuss Rebels hockey.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by calcheyup View Post
    After reading Sutter's comments about the season, it doesn't seem particularly difficult to understand why this team struggled mightily to put a consistent product on the ice. Between the assertion that he felt more like a psychologist than a hockey coach, and the half-skewering of unnamed graduating players for their difficult attitudes, the reason for the up and down season begins to emerge.
    Sutter was really just confirming what a lot of people already knew. You can either go into the tournament with a lot of skilled players that have developed together, or you can fill the many holes in your roster with players that have always been top dog on whatever team, or whatever league they were in, and hope that they all work well together in the few months before the tournament.

    With that said - on to the good. The team that we saw on the Memorial Cup was the team we all hoped we would see after the trade deadline. Obviously it made a huge difference having everyone healthy, but even then, the level at which these guys performed vastly superseded what we saw in the playoffs.
    It was great to finally see a WHL host team not get embarrassed in the tournament, and aside from a few of the players, they put 100% into their game every game in the tournament. Their first game of the tournament might have had a different outcome, had they made Fleury a healthy scratch in the first game, as his effort was beyond terrible in that game. Helewka was awful in the semi-final game, he must have missed about 20 easy passes in that game.

    Regina is a good team, but there is no excuse for that series to have gone that way.
    The players on the Pats elevated their play in the playoffs for sure, and they had the highest scoring forward in the league on their roster, and got a big boost with the late season return of Williams, that really seemed to spark them. I think that Brandon found that it was considerably more difficult in the Memorial Cup, where they didn't mysteriously get 3 times as many powerplays as their opposition on a nightly basis.

    Obviously, the highlight of the tournament was the overtime revenge on the Wheat Kings, and as a fan you have to be proud of how well the kids showed.
    If Polei isn't one of the overage players on this team next season (and the captain), after all the clutch goals he scored in the playoffs and Memorial Cup, it is a crime!

    Interested in others thoughts, and SectionNs player by player analysis, which I'd be happy to contribute as well if there is any interest. I stopped posting here mostly because only one or two guys ever chime in. Surely there are more than 3 guys who want to discuss Rebels hockey.
    I actually haven't done one of those in quite a while. A good chunk of the team really didn't get enough ice time, due to the age of the roster and the Memorial Cup. There were some highlights for me though.

    I thought that Hayden Fleury put in a solid effort, after December, and in the playoffs and most of the Memorial Cup, but yet another half season of just phoning it in for the entire first half of the season. I certainly won't miss watching his half-hearted efforts next season.

    Bleackley had an equally apathetic second straight first half of the season, as well as a pile of injuries that led to his rights being traded, and the Coyotes not signing him. Could be back in the league next season, though I would be surprised if it is with the Rebels.

    Nikolishin came out of the gates strong, and was a consistent performer until the trade deadline, where his numbers dropped a bit, probably due to ice time. The injury in the playoffs really took his game down a notch for the rest of the season. I assume he will be with some team in Europe somewhere next season.

    I though Spacek had a respectable season, and had a bit of a struggle adapting to the NA game at times. His defensive play was often understated I think. I think there is a pretty solid chance that he will be in the AHL next season, but it would be a boon to the team if he were returned for another season in the WHL.

    Doetzel was an absolute machine again this season, and quickly became one of my favourite players. He played a ton of minutes, and really stepped it up in the post-season and the Memorial cup. I thought it was a travesty that he wasn't named captain over a guy that had been with the team for two weeks, when Johnson was traded. They are really going to miss this guy on the back end next season.

    Toth had a very inconsistent season, but stepped things up in the post-season and Memorial cup. He should pretty much be guaranteed to be the starter next season.

    The trade for Debrusk was probably not the greatest of moves I thought. He was an underperformer (offensively) for much of his time in Red Deer, and really only had one or two moves in his arsenal that the opposition easily shut down on most nights. He was great defensively, and had great speed, but then so did Wyatt Johnson...

  3. #3

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    The overage situation next year could be a little complicated if Bleackley and Nogier end up back in Red Deer. I know it's taken for granted that Nogier will be in the AHL next year, but I don't think it's a slam dunk even though he's been signed. The possibility is there.

    With Bleackley, I'd be pretty surprised if he was playing AHL hockey next year, which would leave Sutter with a bit of decision on his hands. I think it's probably a good bet that Toth will be one of the three, and if Bleackley, or Nogier, or both return, it makes things interesting.

    With regards to the DeBrusk trade, I don't know that Sutter got what he was expecting there. WhIle Helewka came in and was as advertised (even if he did slow down a bit in the playoffs), DeBrusk certainly did not bring the offensive dominance you would have expected.

    I really loved Philp, but I still maintain an addition to the blue line or a goalie would have been a better allocation of the assets that went that way. After Fleury, Doetzel, and Nogier, they were definitely exposed a bit on the back end, especially against Brandon but also against Regina.

    Lastly, it seems like plenty of individuals read this forum, but nobody seems to want to post. Odd.

  4. #4
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    For one of the few times in Rebel history we have a abundance of quality 20's in a year where there will be teams trying to upgrade there 20 year old age group. We will have a few players available out of our existing group I don't see any of our signed players returning with that in mind we will get a good return on our surplus 20 year old players. The group of 20's that I think are available are Bleakley, Bobyk, Martin, Polie, and Toth much to SectionN's dismay I believe that Polie and Martin will be the individual's on the market unless someone offers top dollar for Bleakley. We will have a competitive team next year so we won't be conducting a fire sale unless we are on the bubble at trade deadline. So I guess what is the market value for Polie or Bleakley I don't think we can get much for Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by calcheyup View Post
    The overage situation next year could be a little complicated if Bleackley and Nogier end up back in Red Deer. I know it's taken for granted that Nogier will be in the AHL next year, but I don't think it's a slam dunk even though he's been signed. The possibility is there.
    I would disagree about Nogier, there is about as much of a chance of him returning next season, as Debrusk or Nikolishin. Of the questionable returnees, I would say there is a slightly higher chance that Spacek returns, than Nogier though.

    Quote Originally Posted by calcheyup
    I really loved Philp, but I still maintain an addition to the blue line or a goalie would have been a better allocation of the assets that went that way.
    Philp turned out to be an important acquisition, given their late-season injuries. I think that Mahura's situation made adding another defenseman tough, but may have made a difference in the post-season.

    Probably the most bizarre trade in the past season was acquring a 4th line winger in Purtill for a 3rd round pick, a player that will be in tough to hold down a roster spot this season as a 19 year old. When he was brought in, I was under the assumption that it was to play regularly on the blueline in Fleury's absence, but it was clear that he is not competent enough as a defenseman to hold down a spot there either.

    Quote Originally Posted by calcheyup
    Lastly, it seems like plenty of individuals read this forum, but nobody seems to want to post. Odd.
    I think that message boards in general are a dying medium, giving way to various other social media platforms. Of the people on here that post regularly, I doubt there is many, if any that are under 30 years of age.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red celtic
    The group of 20's that I think are available are Bleakley, Bobyk, Martin, Polie, and Toth much to SectionN's dismay I believe that Polie and Martin will be the individual's on the market unless someone offers top dollar for Bleakley.
    And I don't think I am alone! I would much rather see a lesser talented, motivated player, rather than an often-injured player, that puts in almost zero effort for half the season. As for Martin, I would be surprised if he is even still currently on the Rebel's protected list. I don't think he is even part of the conversation, as there is already a large number of better, overage goaltenders that will be available.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red celtic
    We will have a competitive team next year
    Half of the blueline will have little or no WHL experience, and Bobyk will be getting 1st line minutes. Up front, the team is losing as many as 366 points of production in graduating players. I wish I shared your optimism about how competitive the team will be next season. There are some question marks that remain though. If they are able to get a quality import or two, it could take some of the sting out of the losses on the blueline and/or scoring issues they could have next season.

    It will certainly be interesting to see some new faces, and hopefully some of the younger players step up and form a hard-working core before the end of the season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SectionNDeserter View Post
    And I don't think I am alone! I would much rather see a lesser talented, motivated player, rather than an often-injured player, that puts in almost zero effort for half the season. As for Martin, I would be surprised if he is even still currently on the Rebel's protected list. I don't think he is even

    It will certainly be interesting to see some new faces, and hopefully some of the younger players step up and form a hard-working core before the end of the season.
    If wishes and dreams came to pass I know my life would have a lot more cash in it. But in today's world where people try evaluate and look to what a team needs in the short and long term. I mentioned this to you before where Craig Button feels that Bleackley has a good chance of going in the third round and that he will be drafted by someone this year Polie won't be drafted. Bleackley is a more valuable asset than Polie and if Sutter doesn't get what he wants for Bleackley I am think he stay's. As for Martin he won't be with us next year if we get something for him bonus.

    Our defense will not be of the same caliber as last year but it does have some experience.
    Strand 125 regular season games 17 playoff games
    Bobyk 160 regular season games 23 playoff games
    Mahura 53 regular season games 22 playoff games
    Shmoorkoff 71 regular season games 8 playoff games
    Purtill 146 regular season (at least half his games playing defense) 22 playoff games.

    When you add in Sass you add in Sass and Sakowich who were with the team once their respective AAA teams where done practicing and learning what it takes to play in the Dub I think they will have a serious leg up for next season. Take a look what Kelowna's Defense looked like at the beginning of last year and what they accomplished. Not much more experience than what we have going into next year. It may not be as bad as you think I feel we will be in the playoffs again next year and may even win a round or two. It's Junior hockey ever team loses productive players.
    Last edited by Red celtic; 06-11-2016 at 05:30 PM.

  7. #7

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    I don't envision doom and gloom for next year unless Sutter's vision is to sell and take it on the chin to recoup some draft picks. If the roster remains roughly as is, which it never does, my prediction would be Red Deer should compete for a playoff spot, not without some speed bumps of course. Toth, theoretically, should provide at least solid goaltending and this year before he got hurt he proved when he's in the groove he can be better than just solid, too. His problem since day one has been consistency, but with two WHL seasons under his belt, hopefully he's comfortable enough next year to elevate his game. He's going to have to, because the blue line is a huge question mark.

    Even if Mahura is able to come back next year and become the player we all feel he's capable of, after him it gets pretty questionable. Bobyk, if he even is one of the returning 20 year olds, is who he is. He's going to contribute with his shot and that's sort of where it ends. After the way Strand handled playing fairly big minutes in his first season I was very much looking forward to him making big strides this year. For whatever reason, that did not happen, and as I've mentioned here before, I actually think his game regressed this year, unfortunately. Schmoorkoff was serviceable as a 6th defenseman, and my expectation is that is probably what we can expect from him next year. We had limited viewing of Sass and Sakowich. And with so many spots available, it would be encouraging to see Herauf make the team as a 16, but whether or not that will happen, I have no idea. Best case scenario we will still be looking at a very young and inexperienced group of d men, many of which will be jumping in with both feet to the very steep learning curve that is the WHL.

    Upfront it won't be a dominant bunch, with a group that won't boast a ton of offensive talent, but most of them should be very well versed on two way play. They way Musil plays, he could absolutely score 30 in this league if he can somehow improve his finishing ability around the net. I think we can count on Pawlenchuk for 15-20 and to be very good in his own end. Same goes for Polei, if he returns. I see Bleackley and Spacek returning for another season of junior hockey. We know what Conner is all about. Spacek looked like an absolute beast for the first quarter of the season, and then his offensive game tailed off, even if he surprised some of us withave his ability to adjust to Sutter hockey and play a solid 2 way game.

    It should be interesting to see what Hagel brings to the table after a very solid rookie year in the Dub. De Wit, as well..after two years of viewing I'm still not exactly sure what the Rebels have there. He made the club as a 16 year old for a reason, but he didn't really have a breakout year in any capacity last year. Similarly, I have no idea what to expect from Pratt. He looked like he was one step behind everything this year, which by no means is a slam on the kid. Being a 16 year old on a WHL team is not a picnic.

    Question, who wears the letters next year? My guess is that Pawlenchuk and Musil are probably locks. If Bleackley returns I'm sure Sutter will put one on him (as an aside, what was the significance of taking the A off Fleury for the semifinal game and giving it to Bleackley?)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red celtic View Post
    Craig Button feels that Bleackley has a good chance of going in the third round and that he will be drafted by someone this year
    He might be drafted, or he might not. Craig Button is an imbecile, the same imbecile that traded JS Guigere for a 2nd round pick, and his 1st line centerman Marc Savard for Ruslan Zanullin. If Craig Button says that Bleackley has a good chance of going in the third round, then chances are, he probably won't.

    Polie won't be drafted. Bleackley is a more valuable asset than Polie and if Sutter doesn't get what he wants for Bleackley I am think he stay's.
    You are probably right, though it still wouldn't make it any less of a travesty.

    Our defense will not be of the same caliber as last year but it does have some experience.
    Strand 125 regular season games 17 playoff games
    Bobyk 160 regular season games 23 playoff games
    Mahura 53 regular season games 22 playoff games
    Shmoorkoff 71 regular season games 8 playoff games
    Purtill 146 regular season (at least half his games playing defense) 22 playoff games.
    If Schmoorkoff and Purtill are playing defense on the team next season, the Rebels could possibly finish dead last. Strand will have to be considerably more consistent next season, something he has struggled with all along. Bobyk and Mahura are not the strongest in their own end of the ice, and Strand sometimes is. This is where the defense could struggle next season, regardless of how many games they played. Herauf looked good in the spring camp, it will be interesting to see where he fits into all of this as well.

    When you add in Sass you add in Sass and Sakowich who were with the team once their respective AAA teams where done practicing and learning what it takes to play in the Dub I think they will have a serious leg up for next season.
    These two are the wildcards, as is/are the Import draft selection(s). A strong performance next season from either of these two could be the difference in the team's fortunes, though I am cautiously optimistic, given their limited game experience.

  9. #9

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    All I can say about the probability of Bleackley being redrafted is that if Lukas Sutter was drafted twice, pretty much absolutely anyone could be and it would come as no surprise. I'm pretty confident he will be drafted again, but would be shocked to see him signed and in the AHL next year.

    My buddy was listening to a Colorado Avalanche podcast that mentioned Bleackley was into some bad stuff that led to him losing the C but did not go into specifics. I'm not going to speculate about what's going on in a young man's life, but suffice it to say the indications are there was more to it than simply on ice performance.

    Speaking of that, show of hands who would love to know exactly how egregious of a mistake Jayce Hawryluk made to have to watch his team play their final game of the year as a healthy scratch. You've got to figure it would have to have been something extremely serious.
    Last edited by calcheyup; 06-11-2016 at 06:27 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by calcheyup View Post
    Speaking of that, show of hands who would love to know exactly how egregious of a mistake Jayce Hawryluk made to have to watch his team play their final game of the year as a healthy scratch. You've got to figure it would have to have been something extremely serious.
    He was probably the water boy at the Billy Bobs wet t shirt contest memorial cup week.

    Will be interesting to see if Pratt is on this team next year. I am guessing the draw of playing in the Memorial cup was huge in him deciding to come to Red Deer. I can't imagine him watching every game from the press box sat very well with him. With all the hype going into the season about him, I would say he was my biggest disappointment for the year (from a player standpoint).

    Bleackley may be in the WHL next year, but I would be very surprised if it is with the Rebels. He was very vocal on more than one occasion about Sutter taking the C away from him and I can't imagine Conner not keeping that in the room would have sat very well. Sutter talked about there being attitude in the room and those players not being back next season. I can't help but wonder if Conner doesn't fit into that statement.

    Have to wonder who the other players are that Sutter was referring to. Can't see it being Doetzel or Philp. Debrusk always seemed to be a team guy and said the right things everytime he was interviewed. Helewka maybe? Sutter sure made it sound like there was more than 1 guy.

    This Red Deer team is due to have a guy that has a break out year and far exceeds his expectation going in. With what should be increased opportunity due to more ice time, maybe we see that out of a Hagel or de Wit this year.
    Last edited by Moonergroupie; 06-12-2016 at 12:22 AM.

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