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Thread: MEMORIAL CUP END - ANALYSIS - NEXT SEASON

  1. #1

    Default MEMORIAL CUP END - ANALYSIS - NEXT SEASON

    There isn't any future in the past so I thought maybe we should look at the next chapter of the Pats. That's not to say we shouldn't take a candid look at where we just emerged from. There will be people with divergent views of what the Pats are and are not. What they have or haven't accomplished in the past two years where great things were projected for the them. The team will have to move forward with a very thin talent pool and a vastly depleted cupboard. It will be an extremely onerous job for Paddock/Struch et al to find the necessary on-ice talent to be something close to respectable.

    From a hockey perspective I get the sense that over the past two years we have blown a great opportunity. We have paid high prices for rental talent some which achieved expectations and some did not. We didn't go all-in last season and this year we didn't have the assets to do so. In the end we came away with very little, considering what was expected and even more painful, something that was attainable. Under this management we had two mediocre season, a very good season, and this year was another so-so season. Next season is a mystery yet to be sculpted. The mantra of "sustained success" may take a hit. The past four years were an improvement over the previous four years and last season was good. The organization still have lots of work to do to reach the level of other great Pats teams and the runs they had.

    The Titan were the best team at the Memorial Cup, plain and simple. They had more speed and skill than the Pats and likely more than anyone else. In the Titan/Broncos game it was apparent that Swift Current could skate and play that style very well. A healthy Broncos team would have given them all they could handle. The Pats were probably the fourth best team at the tournament. Because of Max Paddock and a lot of selling out they ground their way to the Final Game. Max tried to steal them another but in the end it was just too much. They gave what they had but clearly they didn't have enough. They got beat by a much better team and there is no disgrace in that. It's reality. This years Pats have to be Congratulated what they were able to achieve in light of their limitations.

    Going forward this season the Pats will start off with Leschyshyn, Henry, Paddock as their best players and building blocks. Everybody else are pretty much fill-ins, OA's, etc. Many are mediocre talents with substandard skating and hockey IQ. If anything was to be learned out of this tournament it's that the Pats need to exponentially upgrade their team speed. "Speed Kills" and the Titan proved that beyond any doubt. The Pats will need to unearth and in some cases make trades to bring in more speed, even if the players stats aren't the best. You can teach many things in hockey, but speed isn't one of them. They will need to find two good Imports since Zamula was optioned. I hope the Pats look for two speedy forwards who will come here. They will need to get busy on some creative trades. Next January 10th will no doubt bring some movement in an attempt to recover lost draft picks. Hopefully by then a new team identity will have emerged.

  2. #2

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    I cant say i agree with alot of that. The new ownership and paddock have changed the direction of things here. The first two seasons were pleasant surprises for us relative to previous years, and the last two, even though i understand the sour taste in fan mouths, were two of the best teams we have had here in a long time. We saw some or the best players come throguh here from some very good trades and scouting. This was one of the best junior hockey cycles we have seen.

    Honestly i think if not for hosting this year, we buy in all the way only in 2017 instead of building for two runs.

    We might have won if it were only 2017.

    To me, we were the victims of circumstances. Injuries played a big part in both years, trying to make two runs instead of one vs teams who only went in on one. I guess its partly a management mistake too but some of this there was nothing they could do about it but try to make it work.

    ...and to me a big issue was the stupid playoff format imposed by the NHL. Divisional formats are objectively stupid; two of the top 3 east conf teams in regina and swift(nevermind a second possible league final in Round 2 with mj and swift) shouldnt have to play each other in the first round. Ideally, the pats would face a red deer type team, and then make their way up the ladder...but because the NHL desperately wants crosby vs ovechkin each year so much that theyre willing to drop the incentive for teams to have the strongest possible regular season...this divisional format is what we get. Regina wouldve been better off losing more games and facing the central as a wildcard justlike brandon...than to win as much as possible like any reasonable team should...

    But i digress.

    In the mem cup, the pats looked fine. I dont think we were the worst team there; we beat Hamilton twice and got back at swift. Swift lost all of their games, and yeah they beat us by a single goal in the playoffs but to me the two teams are tossups. Maybe even advantage to pats if paddock were the one in net playing like he did.

    Id argue hamilton was the worst club. They couldnt score. The pats beat them twice abd may have put up more goals in the french game than Hamilton did all tourney. The pats had some electrifying offence but couldnt manage consistency. Id say the main issue for the pats was a lack of team chemistry. They didnt know each other nearly to the same degree as the others. i dont think we had enough time to really click like these other teams did. Ya they got to rest for a month and a half(didnt help on the injury front much) but it is not the same as consistently putting in ice together.

    Going forward, i think a full on rebuild for this year is for the best. Trade jake and henry, get some firsts plus prospects. maybe even trade paddock if the price is right. If legien decides to play hard he can be PPG+ and bring back a decent package or help push us to a very unexpected playoff spot. One of Hyman/Schioler/Pouteau should yield a decent pick at least in return. Supplement dubinskys age group, give nijhoff a good role, try to throw everything at recruiting ty smilanic...hopefully sillinger reports this time around. Will they bring back rayman bassi?

    This is the time of year a newer fan will get to see a team built from the ground up. Its a different type of hockey. Definitely a good year to check out training camp...which really isnt that far away.

  3. #3

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    Some very interesting points SAJ. Going back to the WHL Playoff formula I squarely stand with you on that one. The first round or two for sure is like running a bladed gauntlet. A number of my posts have been about the ridiculous format that they insist using. In the OHL they go with the Divisional winners 1 and 2. They then rank the next 6 teams based on their point totals (3 through 8). In the second round they are ranked on point totals in the League. It's a much more fair and sensible format. After all we are adopting the 68 game schedule like the OHL next season. I would also agree that not going to war over a few series hurts a team. It doesn't build the necessary character and cohesion that teams need especially when the chips are down.

    In the first game of the tournament both Hamilton and Regina could have easily won the game. No team dominated and a couple posts were hit. In the second game against Hamilton they were all over us and if not for "Max" and his 44 saves there is no way we would have got to the final game. It was the "Max" show again in the final with 42 saves to keep it respectable. Even with our Steels and Henrys, Paddock was clearly the reason we got to where we did. Talking with a scout in the stands and he felt our team speed didn't match up with the other teams. IMO any objective eye could see that was the problem area. Last year from a wins point of view was very good but it didn't translate into much. This year we were below .500 at Xmas and sold off the rest of the farm. We were pretty good after that and ground out 40 wins. That also didn't reap much in the playoffs (no doubt because of the format IMO). There is no doubt that having back to back 40 win seasons is good and admirable accomplishment. It is however not by any stretch great as some might believe. In the past 10 seasons the Pats have finished with 40 wins or more only "twice". On the other hand the Portland Winterhawks have finished with 40 or more wins "eight" times in the last ten seasons. We have made some reasonable strides in the past four years but I for one am not ready to turn over the key to the city just yet. Once we have four or five seasons of 40+ wins, then we can attach a different moniker to them. It's true that a lot of newer fans have "never" seen good Pats teams like those of the past. This is the best they have seen and maybe ever will. I have also been in the barn of the 1980 and 2001 Memorial Cups. This one was no easier.

    I agree that based on Paddocks playbook there will likely be at least three moves at the Jan 10 deadline. Both Henry and Lescyshyn are valuable assets. As suggest Paddock could also be moved by I'm betting against that. It's been suggested that Fluery may possibly be a candidate to return as an OA. He would draw a handsome return for the club. Hyman/Schioler/Pouteau won't all be able stay so good OA D-men are always in demand. A lot of our success for the upcoming season will depend on finding some gifted Imports, a strong back end, and Max continuing his great play. A couple of strong imports may carry us if they move the likes of Jake and Nick. It will be interesting to see who and when our next superstar emerges. Having Eberle, then Weal, and then Steel has been special. I wonder how long until the next one! A couple months of summer, the Exhibition, and it's go time again.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by chopper View Post
    Some very interesting points SAJ. Going back to the WHL Playoff formula I squarely stand with you on that one. The first round or two for sure is like running a bladed gauntlet. A number of my posts have been about the ridiculous format that they insist using. In the OHL they go with the Divisional winners 1 and 2. They then rank the next 6 teams based on their point totals (3 through 8). In the second round they are ranked on point totals in the League. It's a much more fair and sensible format. After all we are adopting the 68 game schedule like the OHL next season. I would also agree that not going to war over a few series hurts a team. It doesn't build the necessary character and cohesion that teams need especially when the chips are down.

    In the first game of the tournament both Hamilton and Regina could have easily won the game. No team dominated and a couple posts were hit. In the second game against Hamilton they were all over us and if not for "Max" and his 44 saves there is no way we would have got to the final game. It was the "Max" show again in the final with 42 saves to keep it respectable. Even with our Steels and Henrys, Paddock was clearly the reason we got to where we did. Talking with a scout in the stands and he felt our team speed didn't match up with the other teams. IMO any objective eye could see that was the problem area. Last year from a wins point of view was very good but it didn't translate into much. This year we were below .500 at Xmas and sold off the rest of the farm. We were pretty good after that and ground out 40 wins. That also didn't reap much in the playoffs (no doubt because of the format IMO). There is no doubt that having back to back 40 win seasons is good and admirable accomplishment. It is however not by any stretch great as some might believe. In the past 10 seasons the Pats have finished with 40 wins or more only "twice". On the other hand the Portland Winterhawks have finished with 40 or more wins "eight" times in the last ten seasons. We have made some reasonable strides in the past four years but I for one am not ready to turn over the key to the city just yet. Once we have four or five seasons of 40+ wins, then we can attach a different moniker to them. It's true that a lot of newer fans have "never" seen good Pats teams like those of the past. This is the best they have seen and maybe ever will. I have also been in the barn of the 1980 and 2001 Memorial Cups. This one was no easier.

    I agree that based on Paddocks playbook there will likely be at least three moves at the Jan 10 deadline. Both Henry and Lescyshyn are valuable assets. As suggest Paddock could also be moved by I'm betting against that. It's been suggested that Fluery may possibly be a candidate to return as an OA. He would draw a handsome return for the club. Hyman/Schioler/Pouteau won't all be able stay so good OA D-men are always in demand. A lot of our success for the upcoming season will depend on finding some gifted Imports, a strong back end, and Max continuing his great play. A couple of strong imports may carry us if they move the likes of Jake and Nick. It will be interesting to see who and when our next superstar emerges. Having Eberle, then Weal, and then Steel has been special. I wonder how long until the next one! A couple months of summer, the Exhibition, and it's go time again.
    I think it could be smilanic. He could very well be among those names as far as skill at his age. I think he could've made the team last year if not for the age restrictions(and of course lack of a whl contract). Paddock will have to work hard to sign him for next year.

    But on topic, I don't really disagree with you on Hamilton. The pats played better in the first game than the second and hamilton poured it on in the second half...but they had what seemed like zero finish, while the pats were dangerous in their limited chances. Hamilton wers a tired club, but I also think the nerves got to them. Outside of Thomas and their European player, they were not really dangerous. Our stars showed up. Steel was the best player in the tourney I think. Fleury had a great tournament(he is extremely doubtful to return imo). Paddock may have earned a draft spot this summer. Hebig showed he was the player we expected, and Henry showed he is over his injury. He and Jake will have great seasons next year, and probably nice playoff runs on other teams. Most of our depth players did fine as well.

    The memorial cup is a tournament of teams who aren't 100 percent; teams affected by fatigue, injuries, nerves and general uneasiness. A week of round robin and elimination games are not the best determinant of who are the best clubs. It is too bad we don't see more inter league play, so we will never know.


    ...and youre right. It was a tough start to the season. It took me awhile to admit it but it became blatantly evident this team was not as strong as last year's. Jake is great but he never did replace Brooks production, Brown and Sloboshan took a step back which is particularly bad as OAs, and we had no answer for Hobbs(mahura had the skill but not the edge) + Leedahl(DL>>>>bradley) + Wagner + Zborovskiy(Z>>>>Hyman) leaving.

    Bradley, though still a decent player, was not going to put up a 100 pounts, nor was he a true system fit. Oksanen was no filip ahl...and then after an objectively ****ty first half, we were obligated to beef up a barely above average club. Gabrielle was a more cagey Leedahl. Almost filled his shoes. Fleury was a truly nice pickup. Hajek was fine but we severely overpaid. Hebig was sort of like a Cole Sanford type move, expensive but necessary for steel(though we will regret trading lockner almost as much as Saskatoon did for gerlach). Legien wasn't anything special this year but for that low of a price he was a massive steal.

    I'd say all things considered we did as well as we could have foresaw. We were one game away from winning it all, and one goal away from advancing to face teams I am confident would be beatable(except Everett. I am still not sure how swift got passed them). It was, in my mind, disappointing but not embarrassing. Our nhl prospects saw and experienced alot, and are much better players for it...which is the whole point of junior developmental programs, we did our job better than most teams.
    Last edited by Some_Arrogant_Jerk; 06-01-2018 at 12:05 AM.

  5. #5

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    I like what you say about some other measuring stick for Jr Hockey supremacy. It would be fabulous to have some inter-league play but I anticipate it will never happen due to financial things. I know that Sault Ste Marie was out west for a pre-season tournament several years back. I also agree that the tournament is one of damaged and fatigued teams. It would seem that the team with the fewest injuries and the best legs have an advantage in these instances. Unfortunately much like the Jr A, Midget AAA, etc these things come down to a short quick affair that can be determined so many ways, including goals for/against. For example if we had beat the Broncos by 4 goals in the final round robin game (and we could have), we would have gone past the semi-final game to Sunday's Finals. That's why the Quebec coach didn't pull his goalie to try to tie the game against Ontario. He was concerned about the goals F/A and didn't want to get into a lengthy OT. Smart on his part but dumb from a hockey sense.

    A lot of what you say especially in the WHL has it's genesis in this ridiculous playoff format. Combine this format with the type of travel teams have to go through i.e. Swift Current to Everett for example. Another was Brandon to Seattle. There are more. We should do everything in our power to see that we don't grind up and spit out our top teams within the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Moose Jaw Warriors would have had a great Memorial Cup type team if they could have made it there. They are fast skating which is necessary and could score. If the Pats would have had Max Paddock for the first series, they may have gone through the league. Regardless of everything, two of the top teams in the league we gone after the second round primarily because of the format. Lethbridge made it to the playoffs and eventually won the Central Division, while Saskatoon with more regular season points didn't make the playoffs. Something seriously wrong there. By putting our teams through this stupid meat grinder playoff format, I believe it hurts teams as the go deeper. last year Brooks, Henry and Wagner were hurt in earlier tough series. They were beat up by the time the finals arrived. This year Minoulin and Gawdin were hurt early and had nagging injuries all playoffs into the Memorial Cup and then lost Steengergen. The WHL doesn't do it's member clubs any favours.

    I said before and believe we got as much as could have hoped for, with what we had. Our 3rd and 4th lines struggled especially against strong skating clubs. Now we need to see what they can cobble together. In this year with the carry over and likelihood of OA trades etc, I think there is a good chance we will be somewhat competitive. In the last go around after the Memorial Cup we had over 40 wins in 2001-02. It's usually year two and three where teams struggle. They will need to be creative and hope they can pull some rabbits out of hats. With Portland's crippling sanctions and Memorial Cup appearance etc they still hardly missed a beat. They managed to remain one of the more elite franchises in the WHL. Paddock and staff will need to see if he can replicate that level of success. We have the Import draft to look forward to, and they will need to thin out the herd of OA's etc. Just enough time to catch our breath and we're back at again.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by chopper View Post
    I like what you say about some other measuring stick for Jr Hockey supremacy. It would be fabulous to have some inter-league play but I anticipate it will never happen due to financial things. I know that Sault Ste Marie was out west for a pre-season tournament several years back. I also agree that the tournament is one of damaged and fatigued teams. It would seem that the team with the fewest injuries and the best legs have an advantage in these instances. Unfortunately much like the Jr A, Midget AAA, etc these things come down to a short quick affair that can be determined so many ways, including goals for/against. For example if we had beat the Broncos by 4 goals in the final round robin game (and we could have), we would have gone past the semi-final game to Sunday's Finals. That's why the Quebec coach didn't pull his goalie to try to tie the game against Ontario. He was concerned about the goals F/A and didn't want to get into a lengthy OT. Smart on his part but dumb from a hockey sense.

    A lot of what you say especially in the WHL has it's genesis in this ridiculous playoff format. Combine this format with the type of travel teams have to go through i.e. Swift Current to Everett for example. Another was Brandon to Seattle. There are more. We should do everything in our power to see that we don't grind up and spit out our top teams within the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Moose Jaw Warriors would have had a great Memorial Cup type team if they could have made it there. They are fast skating which is necessary and could score. If the Pats would have had Max Paddock for the first series, they may have gone through the league. Regardless of everything, two of the top teams in the league we gone after the second round primarily because of the format. Lethbridge made it to the playoffs and eventually won the Central Division, while Saskatoon with more regular season points didn't make the playoffs. Something seriously wrong there. By putting our teams through this stupid meat grinder playoff format, I believe it hurts teams as the go deeper. last year Brooks, Henry and Wagner were hurt in earlier tough series. They were beat up by the time the finals arrived. This year Minoulin and Gawdin were hurt early and had nagging injuries all playoffs into the Memorial Cup and then lost Steengergen. The WHL doesn't do it's member clubs any favours.

    I said before and believe we got as much as could have hoped for, with what we had. Our 3rd and 4th lines struggled especially against strong skating clubs. Now we need to see what they can cobble together. In this year with the carry over and likelihood of OA trades etc, I think there is a good chance we will be somewhat competitive. In the last go around after the Memorial Cup we had over 40 wins in 2001-02. It's usually year two and three where teams struggle. They will need to be creative and hope they can pull some rabbits out of hats. With Portland's crippling sanctions and Memorial Cup appearance etc they still hardly missed a beat. They managed to remain one of the more elite franchises in the WHL. Paddock and staff will need to see if he can replicate that level of success. We have the Import draft to look forward to, and they will need to thin out the herd of OA's etc. Just enough time to catch our breath and we're back at again.

    Chopper, one point I wanted to correct you on was that of the irrelevance of the score between Regina/Sc pertaining to potential tiebreakers. You had made the claim that had Regina edged Swift by four or more goals it would've advanced Regina directly through to the final, that is categorically untrue. Had three teams finished at 2-1, which is what happened this year then games against the 0-3 team, in this instance Swift are disregarded. The second Regina gave up the empty netter to Acadie-Bathurst in the second round robin game that erased any chance the Pats had to get to the final with the bye.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by whlking View Post
    Chopper, one point I wanted to correct you on was that of the irrelevance of the score between Regina/Sc pertaining to potential tiebreakers. You had made the claim that had Regina edged Swift by four or more goals it would've advanced Regina directly through to the final, that is categorically untrue. Had three teams finished at 2-1, which is what happened this year then games against the 0-3 team, in this instance Swift are disregarded. The second Regina gave up the empty netter to Acadie-Bathurst in the second round robin game that erased any chance the Pats had to get to the final with the bye.

    That is interesting and completely contrary to what I was advised by someone supposedly in the know. Oh well learn something all the time if that's the case. From what I also learned that the Memorial Cup Tournament tie breaking rules are convoluted and often involve some mathematical equations. If I was interested I would look into the validity of that but at this point it means absolutely nothing at all to me, the team or the end result. The team now has to write a new chapter.

  8. #8

    Default Leschyshyn Get contract/Struch Head Coach?

    Leschyshyn get a three year deal with Vegas and Oksanen signs a deal in Finland. That's good new for a couple of Pats players. Hope there is more to come in the near future.

    Has anyone heard anymore on the the worst kept secret of Dave Struch officially being named the Pats Head Coach? It has long been felt that JP would modify his duties to be solely the GM. Struch of course would then ascend to HC. Considering how short the off season will be for the Pats I almost feel that that announcement might have been made by now. The LP article seemed to suggest that the only caveat is if he got a good pro opportunity, something he covets. I am just wondering aloud here if perhaps he may be mulling over such an offer?

    Anybody heard anything?

  9. #9

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    Swift Current's hardest test was in the first round against the Pats. Their second hardest test was probably against Moose Jaw, then Everett and Lethbridge. I believe that playoffs should be more difficult as the rounds go on. The hardest round shouldn't be the first round.

    The Pats were the 2018 Memorial Cup Finalists. They beat Swift Current once and Hamilton twice. The only team they lost to was Acadie-Bathurst. The Pats were clearly the second best team in the tournament. It doesn't matter that Max had to stand on his head for the Pats to be the second best team in the tournament as he is a part of the team, just like Sam Steel was a part of the team.

    The Pats were arguably lacking some chemistry, although that area came a long way, since the trade deadline. However, in the Memorial Cup Final, it was clear that the thing the Pats lacked the most was team speed. Not getting Austin Wagner back was a huge loss. Not acquiring a couple of other high end / fast players may have also been a mistake. Tanner Sidaway was advertised as a good skating player when he was acquired by the Pats, however he did not even dress one game in the Memorial Cup. Not that he has Austin Wagner speed or is a high end goal scorer anyways.

    I am not expecting Cale Fleury back at all, so if he plays on the Pats next year, it will be a pleasant surprise as far as I am concerned. If you believe that a good team is built from the back end to the front, the Pats may be in half decent shape. They'll have Max Paddock in net along with Fleury/Pouteau and possibly one of Hyman/Schioler as well as Gavlas and hopefully a couple of good young players. If Fleury does not return, the defense obviously won't look as good.

    If Fleury returns, one of the biggest problems for the Pats might be scoring goals. Their top line would be something along the lines of:

    Holmes-Leschyshyn-Henry
    Pouteau – Fleury (or these two could be split up over two lines)
    Paddock

    That's not too bad, but Holmes is no Wagner or Leedahl and Leschyshyn is no Brooks or Steel, even though he is a really good skater. After Leschyshyn and Henry (and possibly others) are arguably traded at or before the deadline, what will the Pats have in terms of high end goal scorers? They're going to have to find a couple of import snipers to compliment the core of returning forwards. The Pats might squeak into the playoffs if a lot of things go their way, but I can't see them going very far at this point, especially if they are sellers at the trade deadline.

    Speaking of Max, the Pats would be smart to trade him at some point, but would it not be best to trade him in two years, when he is a 19 year old? A WHL team will be hosting the Memorial Cup in 2020 (Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Roayls are putting bids in) and the price for his services should be good then. In the short term, the Pats will need a good goaltender to help get the team through the next year or two. Of course a great offer could come along before then, but that would seem like an ideal time to trade him.

    As far as the big picture is concerned over the last couple of years, it's clear that the Pats had to spread their assets over two years instead of one, which ended up in the team coming up short two years in a row. Had they loaded up one year instead of two, they probably could have won a Championship for sure as they were not far off the mark two years in a row.

    No I have not heard anything about Dave Struch being offered a professional coaching opportunity.

  10. #10

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    A lot of great comments and the m Cupp was great hockey to watch. I agree with Reider thar the Pats were the second best team at the tournament
    The reason for my post is the playoff format is set by the WHL and not the NHL. It’s very rare that two of the top teams in Canada are from the same division in the dub so this year is a rarity. The WHL uses the division format to save travel time cost and wear and tear on the players. To use a system like the O or Q could mean that Brandon could have a first round series traveling to Kootenay (two provinces away) then Edmonton and lastly Calgary. Remember the teams can not fly until the league final. How would that effect team fatigue The other leagues have shorter travel distance and the Q can fly during playoffs and I suspect the O also
    In general the playoffs sucked this year but is not that bad of a system
    Last edited by RWAH; 06-03-2018 at 10:38 PM. Reason: Typo

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