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  1. #1

    Default 2019 Off-Season Discussion

    2018-2019 Regina Pats
    Record: 19-45-1-3 (42 points) (20th overall)
    0.309 Winning %
    173 Goals For
    271 Goals Against
    Power Play 17.2% (18th overall)
    Penalty Kill 76.5% (15th overall)
    Penalty Minutes 843 (10th overall)

    How did the Pats get to this point? It's no secret that the Pats were buyers over the last three years. We can't forget about the 2015-2016 deadline, when the Pats acquired Cole Sandford for Gary Haden, Brian Williams, a 2nd, 3rd, and 5th. And then of course the Pats traded away a lot of resources over 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons in order to load up for a long playoff run and a Memorial Cup tournament. Ideally, it would be great if the Pats never had to ever hit rock bottom, but if you're going to spend a lot of resources in a span of three years, eventually something has to give somewhere and this year was the price that had to be paid for 3 years of spending.

    So how did the Pats do? It's all relative, but I think they did about as good as I expected them to, given the circumstances. We knew that the Pats had to be sellers this year in order to recoupe as many draft picks / resources as they possibly could. It was no surprise that Jake Leschsyhyn, Nick Henry, Scott Mahovlich, Tanner Sidaway, Parker Gavlas and Aaron Hyman were traded away before the deadline. It wasn't surprising that Jadon Joseph was traded away either (the Pats received him from Lethbridge in the Henry and Leschyshyn trade). The only trade that was even remotely surprising was the Robbie Holmes trade to Everett as Holmes was a good candidate to keep around as a 20-year-old next season. But the Pats received an offer for him that they could not refuse and I felt at the time that, that would be the only way that the Pats would trade him away, so that's why I wasn't completely surprised by the trade. The Pats did acquire a few players in trades (Justyn Gurney, Tyson Feist, Carter Woodside, Dean McNabb, Kyle Walker, Blake Allan for Marco Creta, but overall, the Pats should definitely be classified as bigtime sellers this year and they needed to be.

    After the dust settled, the Pats were left with 11 rookies, 2 capable/good 18-year-old goaltenders and a bunch of journeymen or non-elite veterans.

    Coaching- John Paddock moved to the GM role full-time and was not on the bench at all this year. Dave Struch took over as the head coach and Brad Herauf remained as an assistant coach. No other assistant coaches were hired. I believe that they were happy with the group they had, which is why they never hired another coach.

    The Pats are an offensive minded team and they are a lot of fun to watch when they have a high-powered offense. The problem is that they didn't have that this year as they gave up a lot more goals than they scored. A friend suggested to me earlier in the season that the Pats should hire a defensive minded coach as all of the current coaches are offensive minded and I see the value in that even if the Pats want to remain offensive minded team moving forward. The Pats are rebuilding, they do not have a high-powered offense anymore and they have a lot of young defencemen on the team, so if the Pats can't score goals, perhaps they would benefit by not giving up as many. Perhaps a defensive minded coach (e.g. a former NHL defenseman) could teach the young defencemen on the team a few things that perhaps the current coaching staff cannot?

    Another thing to note, which is coaching related, is the lack to team discipline over the last few years. Having one of the most undisciplined teams in the league combined with one of the worst penalty kill % 'sin the league is a recipe for disaster. At one point in the season the Pats were one of the most penalized teams in the league and had the worst or second worst penalty kill. I don't have the stats, but from what I understand, the Pats had a really good PK in February, which significantly improved their overall PK%. Hopefully it is a sign of things to come and next year the Pats will be even more disciplined and have an even better PK. They pretty much have to keep improving in these two areas if they want to make the playoffs next year.

    I saw improvement in a lot of players from the start to the end of the season, which the coaching staff deserves some credit for.

    Overall, I think I have to give the coaches a pass on the season. The team was relatively competitive throughout the season with the young team they had. They won about as many games as I thought they would with the talent they had and were able to get through the season without getting blown out of the water 10-0 every night. I highly doubt there is a coach on the planet that could have made the playoffs with the young team that the Pats had (as sellers). A lack of team discipline certainly falls on the coaches, which they need to get a handle on, but a lack of elite talent and a lack of a defensive minded coach lies on the GM.

    GM- Speaking of the GM, regardless of how I feel about the trades that he made over the last few years, I think he did a good job this year as a seller, replenishing the bantam draft picks etc. The Pats have put themselves in a position to be successful to the point where they now need to focus on picking the right players at the bantam draft. Picking the right players at the draft (every year) will help set the team up for success for years to come.

    Austin Pratt – Credit to Austin for working hard in the off-season as it clearly paid off for him this year (25G, 26A). I believe that one way for the Pats to be competitive year in and year out is to recruit multiple quality American players. I know that the Pats acquired Austin in a trade last year and did not recruit him, but he's still an American, he led the Pats in points this year and the Pats need to recruit more quality American players. (Garret Wright and Makai Mitchell are both American as well). Hopefully Austin continues to work hard throughout the off-season (he says he will) and he comes back to have an even better year next year.

    Ty Kolle – The Pats acquired him in a trade from Lethbridge. He's a smaller player, but he is a good skater and has the potential to be a productive one as well. My issue with him is that he was a 0.65pts/g player in Lethbridge, then he came to Regina and became a 0.37 pts/g player, while in a top 3/6 role. That level of production will not cut it next year as a 19-year-old. The Pats need him to be closer to a 1pt/g player moving forward. Credit to him for scoring 2 goals in the last game of the season +1 in the shootout, but I noticed in a few games before that, he was missing the net entirely on one-timers etc.. He just needs to put the puck on net more often and good things will happen.

    Sergei Alkhimov – Sergei definitely came to the Pats as advertised. He puts his head down and surges forward like a bull. As a 17-year-old rookie, he had 13G and 14A, which is not too bad at all. He still has more offensive potential to tap into and I like the fact that he's a good skater and is strong on his skates (5'11 213lbs). He doesn't mind the rough stuff at all. It wouldn't surprise me if he scored 20+ goals and 20+ assists next year.

    Riley Krane – Riley scored 12G and 12A as an 18-year-old rookie this year and was awarded the rookie of the year award before Sergei Alkhimov had something to say about it in the last two games of the season. Either way, Riley is a really good skater and well-rounded player and with 2 years of eligibility left, I certainly think that he has more offensive potential to tap into. It wouldn't surprise me if he was a 20G+ and 20A+ player next year.

    Sebatian Streu – The Pats acquired him this year as a 19-year-old. He's a decent player, who put up 0.61pts/g as a 19-year-old. So far, him and Austin Pratt are the only two players on the team slated to be OA's next year. I'm not too sure what to think about him moving forward. He nearly tripled his production from last year, but that was largely because he had 5x as many assists this year. He only scored 7 goals this year (in 36 games). Perhaps he could have an even bigger year next year for the Pats or perhaps not. Do the Pats keep him next year as an OA or take a chance on someone else? I think it largely depends on what options the Pats have for OA's next year. It sounds like Sebastian plans on working hard in the off season so he can come back and be a leader on the team next year. We'll see what happens. A big year from him would be great though.

    Duncan Pierce – I guess you could say that he had a “break out” season this year as an 18-year-old and was awarded the unsung hero award from the Pats. He scored 8G and 12A (.40pts/g), whereas over the last two years he was only producing at a rate of 0.06pts/g. That's a huge increase in production even though 0.40pts/g is not considered a lot in the WHL. He's a decent/good player, but I”m not too sure what to think about his potential for next year. I just hope that he has an even bigger year next year as a 19-year-old. He is a big / strong player, which will play to his advantage moving forward.

    Koby Morrisseau – It's too bad that injuries have gotten in the way of his career. Hopefully he can get healthy, stay healthy, and have a big year next year as a 19 year old. He was a first round draft pick in 2015 and he has good size, he just needs to have some luck go his way for a change and stay healthy, so that he can try to get his career going.

    Blake Allan – Blake is a good-sized 17-year-old rookie, who came to the Pats in a “hockey trade” with Kootenay for Marco Creta. He hasn't been a big producer for the Pats, but he has quietly went about his business, works hard in the corners and along the boards etc.. We'll just have to wait and see how he develops over the next couple of / few years.

    Logan Nijhoff – He didn't have a huge year production wise (7G and 11A, 0.29pts/g) as a 17-year-old, but he basically took over from where Jake Leschyshyn left off, even though he hasn't been able to fill Jake's skates (yet?). From what I understand, Logan has been working hard at playing a 200ft game and won nearly half of the face offs that he took this year. I think he's a good hockey player and I expect him to have an even better year next year. That overtime goal he scored against Calgary, where he went end to end with the puck and put it top shelf is a testiment to the hard work that he put in this year.

    Garrett Wright – Garrett was a 17-year-old rookie this year. When I saw him at the start of the season, he looked quite ordinary. By the end of the season, he was showing multiple flashes of speed and skill. He's a good skater and a good player in general and hopefully he can develop into a bigger producer in time. The goal he scored in Moose Jaw, where he flew down the wing and put it top shelf, was a beauty.

    Carter Massier – Not unlike Garrett Wright, Carter looked like an ordinary player at the start of the season (as a 17-year-old rookie). By the end of the season, he was also showing multiple flashes of speed and skill. He led the Pats in short-handed goals (2) this year. Some people have been comparing him to Austin Wagner. While I think he's a good skater and has high-end break away speed, I'm not sure that he has Austin Wagner speed (..yet?). However, I do hope that he works hard in the off-season and becomes even more dangerous and puts up a lot of points next year. Carter does seem to have better hands and finish than Wagner though, so I think he has a lot of potential to put up a lot of points over the next few years. I was a big fan of Austin Wagner and I'm sure I'll be a big fan of Carter Massier if he “breaks out” in a similar fashion.

    Cole Dubinsky – Cole was one of two 16-year-old rookies on the Pats this year. When I watched him play as a 15-year-old last year, what stood out to me was that he did a lot of the little things right. He worked hard, hit everyone in sight, he could stick handle, pass the puck, he could draw penalties by keeping his feet moving etc.. This year I believe he rolled his ankle before training camp, so he had to miss camp and the first part of the season. And then he was suspended for 4 games at the end of January, so he only ended up playing 47 games. There is a case to be made that he could have played in Midget AAA this year to further develop, but over the last month or so, he has elevated his game bigtime, so I don't think playing in the WHL has hindered or stunted his development.

    Cole absolutely ran over Ty Thorpe of the Wheat Kings the other night. He scored a beautiful goal against Red Deer, where he went inside out on the defenseman, then picked the far corner. He had that behind the back pass to Alkhimov (and other passes) in Saskatoon, and of course there was the play against Brandon in the last home game of the season where he won the puck battle in the corner, skated behind the Wheat Kings net, and threw a no-look behind-the-back pass out to Alkhimov, who scored his second goal of the night. Not to mention his power play goal on the same night where he shot the puck from the side wall, which reminded me of a former Pats player, who I will not name. The skill level and understanding of the game that he displayed on the ice as a 16 year old this year was incredible and it's too bad that he couldn't have played more games this year. The thing about Cole is that he can skate with the puck and make plays. He's not just a shooter, he can set his teammates up as well, which is huge. I think he has a fairly high ceiling and it wouldn't surprise me if he puts up a lot of points before his WHL career is over.

    Cole should be able to score 10G and 10A next year for sure, but if he has a good off-season, a strong camp, stays healthy and earns a lot of ice-time and opportunity next year, who knows what kind of points he could put up.

    Steven Zonneveld – It was Steven's 17 year old rookie season. He's a big kid and seems to be a decent hockey player. He's not the most graceful skater as he seems a little bit lanky, but he has a big frame and it will be interesting to see how he develops over the next couple of / few years.

    Tyson Feist – It was Tyson's 17 year old rookie season as well. He's about the same size as Zonneveld and he seems like a decent/good player as well. One positive thing about Tyson is that he is not afraid to drop the gloves. He tko'd Davis Murray with one upper cut and gave Riley McKay all that he could handle. It'll be interesting to see how he develops over the next couple of / few years as well.

    Kyle Walker – It was Kyle's 18 year old season this year. He's a big strong defenseman and he is pretty good hockey player as well. With Brady Pouteau and Liam Schioler moving on next year, the Pats should be looking at Kyle to take more of a leadership role on defense next year.

    Nikita Sedov – At the start of Nikita's (17 year old rookie) season, it seemed like a lot of people were talking about him as he was on NHL's Central Scouting preliminary players to watch list in early October (and in November). However, he did not stand out a whole lot to me. I wasn't really seeing what other people were seeing. He has since fallen off NHL Central Scouting's list of (221) players. However, I have taken notice to his game as the season has went along. He's a really good skater, he can carry the puck and he seems like a well-rounded player in general. He was the Pats' defenseman of the year this year as he had the most points for a defenseman (19A). Nikita Sedov and Ryker Evans should be the Pats' two best offensive defencemen next year. I can see them both playing a lot of minutes in general and on special teams.

    Ryker Evans – It was Ryker's 17 year old rookie season this year and he did not disappoint. I noticed early in the season that he was a great skater and that he possessed a well-rounded skill set, even though he is a smaller player. He only got better as the season went along. If Dawson Davidson can lead the league in points for defencemen as a 20-year-old and Aaron Hyman can be a top 10 defenseman as a 20-year-old, I don't see why Ryker Evans can't be one of the best defencemen in the league at some point down the line as well.

    Makai Mitchell – It was Makai's 16 year old rookie season this year (he only played 24 games) and I think he had a pretty good showing for being a 16 year old. He already has good size (6'1 194lbs) and he seems to have good hockey sense. He needs to work on his foot speed and get stronger in the off-season, but in terms of his ability to play hockey, I think he has the potential to be a really good defenseman at the WHL level.

    Max Paddock
    – With the way Max played last year in the second half of the season as well as in the Memorial Cup Final, I was hoping that he would have a really solid season this year. He ended up having a slow start to the season, but then he started playing better / more consistent in the second half. He ended up earning two shut outs this year and making a lot of big saves along the way. I think Max is a really good goaltender, he just needs to stay focused and play his best for an entire season and not just for the second half of the season.

    Dean McNabb – I think Dean put in a lot of effort this year and he showed that he's a capable goaltender at the WHL level. He earned 1 shutout this year and made a lot of big saves as well. Him and Max both stood on their heads at times and it was great to see when it happened. However, with Dean and Max both being 19 next year, there's a good chance that one of them will get traded in the off-season or at some point before the deadline.

    How do the Pats keep this rebuild going? I don't know what John Paddock will do, but:

    Bantam Draft – The Pats need to draft the best players that they possibly can with the picks that they have. This is one area where they can gain a lot of ground on other teams. It's difficult to build a Championship team through trades and it's also extremely expensive.

    Develop the current players – Develop and coach your players better than other teams! I think the Pats have done a pretty good job in this regard over the last few years. Having talent with a lot of potential always helps.

    Recruit quality American players – I've said for a while that the Pats need to recruit more quality American players. Currently, the Pats have Austin Pratt, Garrett Wright and Makai Mitchell on their roster. There's also the possibility that Jake Johnson and Ty Smilanic (and hopefully others) will join the team over the next couple of years. Apparently Jake Johnson was born in Canada, but lives in the USA. I'm not sure if he's considered to be Canadian or American (in the eyes of the WHL) or if he has dual citizenship and can decide which country that he wants to represent (not that it really matters at the WHL level).

    Import Draft – There is the option of trading / releasing one of the current import players in hopes of drafting a high-end veteran import sniper (or defenceman), but it remains to be seen if John Paddock wants to go that route or not. Egor Zamula is a top 10 scoring defenseman this year, after the Pats released him last year, in order to make room for Libor Hajek. Of course, John Paddock had to make that move at the time and I am not suggesting that Nikita Sedov will be a top scoring defenseman in the league if the Pats decide to go a different route next year. John Paddock will have to determine how well he thinks Sergei Alkhimov and Nikita Sedov will play over the next couple of years and weight that in comparison to the potential import player(s) that he may be able to draft over the next couple of years, in order to make a decision. With the Pats having the ability to pick high in the import draft next year, they should be able to upgrade one of their import players for next year, but that doesn't necessarily mean that John Paddock will go that route. We will just have to wait and see what happens.

    Recruiting quality Canadian players that are committed to playing college hockey in the USA – For example, Nick Henry

    Trades - The Pats might acquire more assets by trading away more players next year (e.g. a 19 year old goaltender)

  2. #2

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    Will the Pats make the playoffs next year? The Pats should be able to win more than 19 games next year, but in order to make the playoffs, they will need to win another 14-16 games (about 35 wins in total) and perhaps pick up a few single points along the way. That will largely depend on how much the team improves over the off-season and what moves John Paddock makes in the off season and before the deadline. It will also depend on what OA('s) the Pats can acquire and if the organization is able to recruit other good players. It may also depend to some degree on how much other teams in the East Division fall off (or not). For instance, PA will lose their 3 OA's plus at least 5 of their current 19 year old players. What effect, if any, will that have on their team next year? The Pats beat the Raiders once this year. Will they be able to beat the Raiders more than once next year? In other words, I think it's way too early to determine if the Pats will be able to make the playoffs or not next year. There's way too many variables involved.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reider View Post
    Will the Pats make the playoffs next year? The Pats should be able to win more than 19 games next year, but in order to make the playoffs, they will need to win another 14-16 games (about 35 wins in total) and perhaps pick up a few single points along the way. That will largely depend on how much the team improves over the off-season and what moves John Paddock makes in the off season and before the deadline. It will also depend on what OA('s) the Pats can acquire and if the organization is able to recruit other good players. It may also depend to some degree on how much other teams in the East Division fall off (or not). For instance, PA will lose their 3 OA's plus at least 5 of their current 19 year old players. What effect, if any, will that have on their team next year? The Pats beat the Raiders once this year. Will they be able to beat the Raiders more than once next year? In other words, I think it's way too early to determine if the Pats will be able to make the playoffs or not next year. There's way too many variables involved.


    REIDER…That was very comprehensive and well done assessment you performed in the two posts above. I can't disagree with anything but I will just expand slightly on a few points.

    Young Players; - JP said that not everyone would meed the expectations they have of them. He said he hoped a few would and that could be viewed a success. As with you I think Alkimhov will be a big producer (20g +) for the Pats next year and beyond. Krane should hit 20 goals next year. Nijhoff is turning into a good defensive forward with a little offensive up-tick, IMO Dubinsky will be a good surprise next season. His point totals will surprise. Ryker Evans looks like a real player and with some off season weight room work and developing his shot, will be a treat to watch. Now that's five pretty good players so one would have to think that JP considers that meeeting or exceeding his expectations. The rest of the young guys Offence and defence) will need to show more and hopefully they will.

    Overagers - Pratt should be very good and even better than this year. Streu is on the cusp I believe. He will need to be bigger and stronger and produce much more, or they have to upgrade and they may anyway if the option arises. With such a young d-corps it would be prudent to locate a stable sturdy OA to mentor and settle down the group. With only three they have to count and be difference makers.

    Coaching/Management - Like you we have to give these guys a pass. This is the 2nd time Struch has been in this position and twice the results have been the same. JP has made his share of very questionable moves but redeemed himself somewhat this year by recovering a lot of high picks, and that's encouraging. The big thing in my mind and as you allude to; we need a defensive corps coach!. Example in 2009-10 Owen Sound Attack had one of the OHL's highest goals agains and finished second last. In 2010-11 with mostly the same guys they hired Terry Virtue (ex-WHLer) to run the defence. They cut their goals against by over 60 goals. They won their division. It works and we have for the most part a young group of d-men.

    Discipline - simply put this organization can't continue to flirt with disaster by taking so many needless and stupid penalties. At the end of the day it's up to the coaching staff to put an end to it. It doesn't look to me that over the p[ast five years they have taken it seriously. They need to fix this ongoing problem.

    Draft/Import Draft - the Bantam Draft won't help us for at least 3-4 years before even a first round pick become a difference maker. The draft is important to our long term health but we also need to deal with the here and now.
    We have lots of d-men but not many elite scorers. The Import Draft could fix that but it remains a mystery as to what JP will end up doing. I find it more than perplexing to forego a for sure top 10 pick in that draft when you need an offensive catalyst.

    Playoffs - Even if not probable it's possible to make the playoffs next season. Some top teams will take a step back. Some of the poor teams may remain that way for at least another year. When you look back on this year a lot of people felt that MJ with all it's losses and trades last year would be in the lower echelon with us. They most certainly didn't get that memo!! Miller made a few astute trades, Tracey and Brook emerged, Langin did what nobody believed possible. All of a sudden they are a high octane team. Something like this could happen with the Pats. I for one don't feel they will stand entirely pat even if that's the vibe JP is giving off. I believe he will shuffle the deck somewhat and if an offensive 19 or OA is available at a sensible cost, a deal or two could happen. I get a sense that nobody from ownership down wants a repeat/slight variation of this season. If the young guys we think will be better in fact are, some astute trades, and a couple surprises could catapult this team to the playoffs. Like every season the team coming out of camp will look different that today's team. The team after the January 10 deadline will be even more different again. Teams can emerge and change quickly. It's all about variables and hard work by scouting and senior management.
    Last edited by chopper; 03-19-2019 at 11:30 AM.

  4. #4

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    Import draft: One important factor to consider is that the current players have two years eligibility for sure and three if you want one to hold a two spot in the in the 21/22 season and both have large upsides. Releasing one to draft an high end scorer who will likely be a 19 means you are drafting again next season. To be realistic the team will not be an elite team next season and is two or three years away from elite status. IMO the team should only draft this year if there is a super star 18 that is a for sure that he would report. We have been stung before with eupos who don't report

  5. #5
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    Well, the second worst season in the past 15 years just completed, but long story short, it was not near as painful as many made it out to be. Some people even at times said this season was worse than the 12 win season. No, it wasn't. That was bad hockey to watch that season. This year wasn't great, but it was definitely far better. Between the slow start, a number of injuries, and the jelling period for Leschyshyn and Henry, the first half had it's ups and downs.

    The biggest thing for me in the first half was the crazy chemistry Nick and Jake developed. They mentioned once how they had never really played together, so it took some time. Once they got going though, I felt they had far better chemistry than Henry and Steel ever had. Steel was always good at finding Henry for the one timers or vice versa, but this season, he showed far more play making ability and his skating and speed improved a lot! The way him and Leschyshyn started flying around and making plays, its no surprise the haul they got for them from the 'Canes. On that note, I've read that Vancouver was in on them as well. I wonder what they had to offer up??

    Either way, Paddock was likely salivating at the possible players he'd have to pick from at the top of the 2020 draft, as the Broncos don't look like they are going to make a lot of progress next season. Even with the great chances of the Pats having a shot at Connor Bedard, there are a number of other great prospects a the top of the list, including a couple kids on Martensville in Brayden Yager and Riley Heidt who, together, led the SBAAHL in scoring and almost put up Logan Barlage numbers (Yager 103, Heidt 99, Barlage 125). Barlage did this in his draft year though at 14, while the other two are doing it as 13 year olds. They also led the same team last year as 12 year olds. Both are expected to play midget next season, but will be split up as there is a rule that each team can only have one underage player on their roster. Also, this is only two players from Sask. Next year is supposed to be a strong top end. Enough about that though. Even with this coming draft being exciting and interesting, next years one for us Pats fans to really be excited about!

    On the topic of the draft though, the next part of the season was the transformation period, so while all the player movement was happening, my expectations mostly went out the window. Shipping out all the top scorers and bringing in younger guys, the growing pains were just going to get worse. When all the dust settled though, I was very happy with how the team looked and how Paddock had restocked the draft cupboards.

    To start the second half, they were definitely going with more of the safer dump and chase style, but as players got more confidence with their elevated roles, they brought in more of the higher tempo style we are used to. In short, even though it was slow going for most of the season, it was always going to be the second half when the rebuild officially began. As the second half went on, the development was really starting to show and over the last 15 games or so, we really started to see what these "lesser skilled" list players were going to be capable of. What we saw the last couple weeks from some of these guys makes thinking about next season more exciting.

    From here, I'll give my own insight on what I saw from the final roster.

    Forwards... Brett Clayton came in as a character guy with experience and brought leadership and a great attitude to the young team. He seemed to have a smile on his face most of the time and was always helping out the younger guys. He was happy to be able to finish his junior career out to the end. Can see why Paddock thought he'd be a good addition.

    Pratt really showed what his hard work did for him in the off season. With the way he progressed this season, if he works just as hard this off season, he could really elevate his game even more. Could essentially have another breakout year. Even though it's a low percentage spot, his shots from the goal line on net are pretty impressive. With help from his line mates, he could be capable of putting up 35-40 goals and upwards to 80+ points.

    Sebastian Streu was a bit of a nice surprise. He skates very well and has some great hands. Seems to be mostly a perimeter player, so hopefully he can work on getting a bit dirtier. He improved on his first season playing in North America, but he has also said adjusting to the North American game and ice has been tough for him. Unless he ends up doing very little, he will definitely be a 20 year old for the season. Would be nice if he could have a break out year and make giving up Kroeker and Elmer hurt a little less, just because they went on to have great overage seasons.

    Krane was great. Though I can't actually compare him to Adam Brooks, there were many time where he looked a lot like him on the penalty kill. Very impressed with his abilities on the PK. He, among others, showed in the last bit of the season that they are capable of the aggressive PK. I look forward to seeing how Krane progresses for next season. He's only going to get better.

    Ty Kolle has definitely had a slow go since joining the Pats, but despite getting more ice time than when in Portland or Lethbridge, he's still playing on a much lesser skilled team. He has great skating ability and can handle the puck well. He just seems to be snake bitten when putting it in the net. He picked it up in the last 16 games though with eight goals and an assist, but he missed on many easy goals. He has a great shot, so if he could work on it over the Summer, he could put more pucks in the net. Could show much more as next season goes on and into his 20 year old season where he could be very good.

    I still really like Duncan Pierce. His season kinda went at a slower pace due to some concussion set backs. We know he can play a physical game, but he also has some very good hands and has shown his offensive abilities, but his skills still seem a bit raw. If he sticks to it and stays a Pat at 20, he's another one that could be an overage break out player. Could turn into a nice power forward.

    Speaking of concussion issues, Morrisseau has had the worst luck. Every time he starts to show why he went in the 1st round, he gets into injury trouble. Next season is obviously what will determine how his career will go. Hopefully he can come back like Hunt did from similar issues. With these set backs, he's missing out on valuable development, but if he can stay healthy, he would certainly become a very good 20 year old. Again though, next season is key.

    Alkhimov is so fun to watch. He's always working hard and he's a wrecking ball with skills! Again, he really showed more and more later on that he is going to be a great player for the next two? seasons. Has so many tools to work with. I think he'll do some great thinks next season. Could probably put up close to a point a game.

    Garret Wright didn't get a ton of ice time till after the deadline, but once he gained some confidence, we started to see what he can do with the puck, including a pretty deadly shot! He's not as great a skater as some of the others, but that will come with time. He seems to be a very solid player and should be a good middle six player the next two seasons.

    On the same page as Wright is Carter Massier. He also didn't play much till the second half, but wasn't till the last quarter that he really started to gain confidence and the coaches showed much confidence in him as well! From training camp and the start of the season, it seemed like Paddock was hoping he had found a similar player to Wagner. As he played more at the end, he sure started to show flashed of it. Most notably, on the PK. He has that break away speed that will be great for those stretch passes and aggressive PK. He's not a fast as Wagner, but he has better hands. I'm sure he will get stronger and faster, but in general, I'm very excited to see how he turns out.

    Blake Allan was a solid addition. He has not been very flashy with what he's done, but he's done it very well. He played mostly a 4th line role, but showed he can play a 200ft game. It will be interesting to see if he moves up the line up, but to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure he'll stick around for too long next season. I like him, but he might not stick, with needing to make room for some younger players yet. I'll get into that more later.

    Nijhoff has been great. Hasn't been super flashy, but definitely has skills to be more flashy in the future, but for now, he has become a very good 200ft player. He will only keep getting better.

    Cole Dubinsky got better and better as the season went on. Can tell he's still a little slow with some of his moves, but the last few games of the season he has taken a bit of a step. If only there were four more games left, I think we would have seen more great stuff from him and others as well. We all know what he does well and all, so I will touch on something else I've noticed. Compared to the rest of the team, he seems to have more of a selfish attitude. He showed his bad side against Moose Jaw the one game when Alkhimov and him were breaking into the zone, but Alkhimov was a little ahead and Dubinsky made an extra move and the play went off side. Dubinsky then just stood there and stared down Sergie all the way around the boards till he got close then yelled at him in anger. Was right up close on TV too, so it looked bad. Not sure if it had anything to do with it, but Dubinsky was a healthy scratch for the next four games. there have been a few little things since, but nothing worth mentioning. Him and Alkhimov really looked good together at the end though.

    Future... Cale Sanders got into a few games this year. Didn't see any of them though as I didn't watch any WHL Live games this season, aside from the Kamloops/Kelowna tie breaker. So, can't really say how he looked. I know he showed a killer shot in camp and preseason. His right shot might help lock him up a spot next season. In midget, he started off crazy hot scoring at a goal per game pace, plus assists to boot, but since slowed down significantly. Won the most sportsmanlike player in his league though.

    Defense... Pouteau had a slow return from his shoulder surgery, but he was solid during the second half. Wasn't quite the Pouteau from the last two seasons, but did a great job. Was a huge role model and leader too.

    Same goes for Schoiler. He probably should have gotten the 'C' at the end, but I'm sure he was fine with how things were handled. Was glad he found a bit of a scoring touch this season. Wish it were a bit sooner! He was very good this season for the Pats.

    Was very impressed with Walker. Sucked that he got hurt near the end, but he was easily the Pats best defensive defenseman. He has been a very solid acquisition and if he doesn't turn out to become an asset next season, he will be a 20 year old in two seasons.

    Feist was also a nice addition. He's not afraid to play a physical game and his right shot is so valuable. He made some poor decisions at times, but he's only going to learn from his mistakes and get better.

    Zonneveld got better as the season went on. He definitely had trouble during the first half keeping up with the play at times and put himself in some bad positioned to get leveled. Come the second half and more so the last quarter when he played more, he looked much better and was the one line guys up and leveling them.

    Ryker Evans was great. He skates so well and has such great hockey IQ. For a smaller player, he can play like he's 6'3" 200lbs. He is able to join the play quite nicely too. I would think he will find his offensive touch with time.

    Sedov was pretty good this season. They leaned on him a lot for a 17 year old rookie and he did well enough. He definitely likes to play an offensive game and jump into the play or pinch, but will need to work on the defensive side more yet. He got better in the department as time went on though. While I will get into more later, he finished this season with more points in less games than Zamula last season. These are two different types of players, but Pats have a huge decision to make in the next two to three months and how Zamula turned out this season is the reason. The way I see it though, the way Sedov plays, he is going to breakout to some extent next season. Also, the reason he was ranked at the beginning of the season was because he had 7 points in 5 preseason games and looked really good. The talent obviously leveled off once he started playing regular rosters, and so the production didn't continue.

    Makai Mitchell is going to be a good defenseman. Only saw a few of his games, but before I finally got to see him play, people have said he plays a simple and smart game and uses his size when he needs to. When I saw him, that exactly what I saw. He does lots of little things right and make very little mistakes for a 16 year old who joined the team for the second half. He might be a very good find! Being a right shot is great too.

    Future... McGinley probably could have started the season with the Pats as a 15 year old like Dubinsky. Sure wasn't going to hurt sending him down though having only played minor midget before that. He had a very good year in midget though and is a lock for the team next season.

    Goalies... Paddock had a slow start, but picked it up in the second half. The amount of highlight reel saves he made was unreal. Hopefully he can start off strong next season.

    McNabb wasn't considered very good when the Pats picked him up, but he has proven he is a solid goalie who also made numerous highlight reel saves. This is a solid tandem for the Pats moving forward, but would only assume one will be moved sometime next season.

    In the end, I was not at all disappointed with the result this year. I DID think they would be pushing more for a wild card spot, but the beginning of the season ended up being a bit of a mess and it really did hurt any chances of that. Had Paddock held on to Henry, Leschyshyn, and Hyman for longer, maybe they could have put themselves more in the picture, but he got great returns at the time and can't fault him for doing what was best for the team in the long run.

    The way the players progressed at the end, if they can put in the work over the summer and come back and take a step, they should be in the playoff hunt for sure. This team has a very good feel to it right now. They're a hard working team and few players have a "me" attitude. That's going to go along way as the team develops together. There is a very solid core here right now to work with. This rebuild is on the right path.

  6. #6
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    Next up for the Pats is the bantam draft. They have a 1st, a 2nd, and three 3rds, which are the 17th, 43rd, 55th, 60th, and 61st picks. Best part about these picks... they likely aren't going to get traded away to fast track the rebuild. We should finally get to see some of these higher picks develop as Pats! Only thing about these picks, they aren't the highest. While the Pats haven't had a 1st or 2nd round pick(that would/will go on to play for the Pats) in the past few seasons, these ones aren't really the best picks. The 17th pick will fetch the Pats a very skilled player, not concerned about that, but I wonder if Paddock would want to try to move up in some way, whether it be a higher second round pick or even moving up in the first round? The Pats currently have 15 picks for this draft, so they could probably afford to move some mid round picks, among other things, to acquire a higher pick. I just feel like Paddock isn't going to be entirely happy with how late that second rounder is.

    Aside from shuffling picks, the Pats could possibly move players to move up. Now I don't expect anything ridiculous, but with the way the roster is shaping up and needing to make room for some new players next season, they could possibly open up a spot sooner than later. One player that I mentioned before was Allan. He is is solid player and would be a welcome addition to any team, especially at 18 years old. Another route could be a move to help position themselves for the import draft. While it would be possible that Alkhimov could be moved, the best choice would be to probably to move Sedov. He is taking a similar path as Zamula and could be of decent worth to somebody. As "Reider" alluded to, the defense is currently looking in very good shape. The best thing for Paddock to do would be to move a 2001 defenseman to make room for McGinley and I'm guessing likely Jake Johnson. I doubt he signed as early as he did to only maybe play. Paddock hasn't been so trigger happy on signing guys as in the past. If he signs someone, it has more so meant lately that he intends for that player to join team. With the way Mitchell played in the second half, he will get more full time minutes next season like Evans and Sedov. Moving one 17 would leave room for McGinley and Johnson to split time next season.

    Back to the import draft thing... If the Pats were to move Sedov at the bantam draft, it could benefit them there AND at the import draft. Moving up in the draft would be great, but with how slim the Pats 2002 forward group is without Smilanic, it would be worth trying to land a very good 2002 Euro forward. They will either have the 6th or 7th pick in the import draft, depending on what Saint John decides to do with their guys and the 6th pick. The other five teams should all be using their top picks. As long as the Pats can draft someone who will come, it would be huge in helping the rebuild along. As said, the defense looks pretty strong moving forward, so this makes the most sense. Would be silly not to take advantage of that pick.

    Another situation is Smilanic. It is now well known that he is no longer committed to college. The main thought here is that his intents are becoming more clear and that he is maybe looking to get to the pros as soon as possible. The way I see it, he may not be entirely sold on spending next season with the USDP. The U17 team this season was pretty weak and it will be the same team next year, but a year older and playing against college players. I wonder if he will want to play the stiffer, older competition his draft year and maybe not be as productive, or play among his peers and likely put up some pretty good numbers as a 17 year old in the WHL?? It's not all about the points, but it's definitely partially about the points. If Paddock can recruit him, it would be huge. From the videos I've watched of him and his goals this year, the way he scores, he would be capable of 30 goals as a 17 year old, easy. Playing with players older and wiser would be very beneficial. I don't notice some of the things the scouts talk about with some players, but one of the things that has been said about Smilanic many times is that he plays a game that suits the WHL and from the highlights and plays I've seen, this is very clearly true. He has a better one timer than Steel had at 17. My fingers are crossed!

    Also, the Pats only have two overagers. Will they add a third and will it be a forward or defenseman?? I never heard when Paddock was talking about not going out and buying good, young players again, yet still roster movement to be expected, but these are the reasons for those comments. If they want to add a couple young, signed prospects, a new Euro, and an overager, some sort of ties will have to be cut to accommodate.

    On another note, the draft lottery is today and this is one lottery we DON'T want to win. Will be very interesting to see how the Savoie saga plays out. Plot twist!!... Paddock has been talking with the family and will move up in the draft and it's worked out that if they can pick him, he and Carter will sign here... and will still be granted exceptional status... Being serious though, watch Kelowna win it and draft him come May.

  7. #7

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    The Bantam Draft is interesting according some scouts I've talked to. Some say that after Savoie, from #2 to #30 aren't separated by much. Names like Rylan Roersma, Nolan Flamand, and Kyren Gronek have been linked to our draft position.

    I noticed that that the Kamloops Blazers went on a late season tear, and won the tie-breaker and a playoff spot. A short while back that seemed improbable. You never can tell.

    All non-playoff teams are in the draft lottery, but it's my understanding you can only move up two spots. Meaning Swift Current, Winnipeg (Kootenay) and Regina can get the #1 spot in the lottery.

    IF Swift Current wins I think it goes to Prince George. If Winnipeg wins they keep it, and if Regina wins it goes to Saskatoon. "HOWEVER" DubNetwork seems to indicates that Saskatoon's #1 pick in the first round goes to Victoria. Compensation for Erick Florchuk.

    There should be considerable talent in the top portion of the draft which is good for the Pats. Josh Neidermayer is a top projected 2nd d-man round pick but will likely be gone by the time time the Pats get to theirs. However they could move up.

    The Pats are positioned to get a decent haul. We all have to realize for the most part, they are 2-3 from just getting here and 3-5 before they are impact guys. JP will still have to cobble together some deals to bring some talented offence here in the interim.

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