Monday, April 16, 2012

Rats Add Familiar Face

Minneapolis, MN - The Minnesota Rink Rats brought in a familiar face last week when they acquired forward Patrick O'Sullivan from the Grand Forks Gorillas. O'Sullivan, a former 1st round selection, was of course traded to the Rink Rats in what was considered arguably one of the worst deals GM Tyler LaDouceur had made at that point when he moved Marc Savard, Nikolai Zherdev and a 4th round pick for O'Sullivan and a 2nd round pick which turned out to be TJ Hensick. Hensick and O'Sullivan have taken similar career paths. Both were considered full of offensive potential, but have failed to live up to those high expectations. O'Sullivan's best season came in WHL14 with the Rink Rats when he scored 32 goals and 30 assists. O'Sullivan was also a key cog in the Rink Rats' run to the Cyber Cup Finals that season against the Icedogs. He scored 9 goals and 16 assists in 22 post-season games en route to leading the league in playoff scoring that year. Rink Rats management hopes he can regain that form this season.

"He's a kid that we still have a lot of faith in," stated GM Greg Sherman. "We're confident that we'll be able to re-sign him this offseason to a new deal and that he can regain the form he had for us in WHL14. He's got a lot of offensive talent. A combination of great speed and hands; he just needs to regain some of his confidence and consistency. Those are big things in this league and once he's able to do that, he'll get minutes and goals."

O'Sullivan may not be the only familiar face coming back to Minnesota. There are rumors that Minnesota has been approached on a deal that would send them one of the more prolific scorers on this team, but it's unknown if they're willing to give up what the other club is asking for, which is rumored to be a package of Viktor Stalberg and Tomas Fleischmann.

"We're certainly going to evaluate things here over the next couple of weeks," stated Sherman. "We don't want to do anything that doesn't make sense for our club. Our goal is to continue to improve and make the playoffs this season. We think very highly of Stalberg's potential in this league with his combination of size, speed and skill, and we already know what Fleischmann can do. We'll see what happens."

And when we asked Sherman about his recent trade to bring in goaltender Semyon Varlamov, and starting next season with 4 rookie goaltenders he responded by saying, "This will be an improved club next season; no question about it. With the moves we've already made to bring in Hejduk and Brown, we'll be a better club. I like our goaltending situation going into next season. Between Varlamov, Schneider and Bernier there should be competition, and there's no questioning those guys' talent. They may not have a lot of experience, but they've all proven they can win and play that tough position. We may have to bring in an experienced goaltender at some point, but right now I'm happy with what we have."

More News & Notes:

Minnesota will introduce O’Sullivan and Varlamov to the media Tuesday afternoon. There will also be an autograph session with Drew Stafford, David Krejci, TJ Oshie and Erik Johnson afterwards.

The Rink Rats are rumored to be working on a new deal for O’Sullivan as well as long-term extensions for Stafford and Johnson. No details have been finalized as of yet.

When asked about the constant turnover, and lack of team chemistry on the Rink Rats, GM Greg Sherman replied, “That’s going to change. There are a few guys on this team that I could see their numbers hanging from the rafters. We are in a good place financially and you’ll start to see us hanging onto our guys and reinvesting in the future of this club.”

The WHL is expected to announce the award winners from the past season this week. There were some intriguing decisions to be made by many of the WHL’s GMs so it’ll be interesting to see how everything goes.

Looking Ahead to WHL Draft

While this year's draft won't have a player a player with the elite capabilities of past 1st overall picks like Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin, there is certainly no shortage of talent. This year's WHL Entry Draft is deep, and will be highlighted by four highly skilled players who could go first overall led by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson, Jonathan Hubredeau and Gabriel Landeskog. The draft will also feature two WHL-ready goaltenders in James Reimer and Sergei Bobrovsky who
could both go very early. With the WHL's ruling on the removal of the league's waiver draft, there is even more excitement surrounding the upcoming draft.


Sergei Bobrovsky: Bobrovsky could go very early, but his NHL-counterpart will have to take on a backup role next season with the Flyers' signing of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. This could hurt Bobrovsky's stock a bit, and help Reimer heading into the draft.

James Reimer: The 23-year old goaltender had a great season for the Leafs last year, and has the potential to be a WHL starter in a year's time. He could fill in as a backup on most squads as early as next season - he's as WHL-ready as they get. Reimer could very well be the first goaltender chosen in this year's draft and it wouldn't surprise me if he went in the top-10.

Jonathan Huberdeau: Huberdeau had a terrific postseason and his stock rose fast. So fast that he was chosen third overall by the Panthers in the NHL Draft. He didn't perform very well at the Scouting Combine (he did only two reps at 150 pounds - wtf), but he still has a lot of offensive upside and will likely be a top-five pick.

Evgeny Grachev: If Grachev were in the entry draft two years ago, he would've been considered a lock to go in the first round. He has great size and scoring ability, but hasn't really found his touch in professional hockey yet. Because of this, and the WHL's waiver draft, it's quite possible that Grachev will go in the 2nd round and possibly even later. He could be the steal of the draft if he goes late.

Sean Couturier: With all the hype surround Nugent-Hopkins, Larsson, Landeskog and Hubredeau, Couturier seems to have been forgotten. This kid has a lot of offensive abilities, but just needs to develop into his frame a bit more to make an impact in the WHL. Is it likely Couturier slides down in the draft like Fowler did last season??? Time will tell.

Adam Larsson: Larsson fell to fourth overall in the NHL Draft but could have very well gone first overall and no one would've blinked an eye. Larsson is good - very good! He's been compared to future Hall-of-Famer Nicklas Lidstrom he's that good. Will he slide past third overall in the WHL Draft? With the Gorillas at number three, and the need there for a defenseman, I don't see it happening.

Finals Prediction

Congrats to the Conference Finalists!

Sparrows vs Stallions – Antoine Vermette and JP Dumont have led the charge for the Cinderella Sparrows club that continues to surprise in this year’s playoffs. JS Giguere may go down as the biggest offseason pick-up by any team as the veteran goaltender continues to lead this club to victory. The Stallions are a veteran club that’s getting excellent play out of Sidney Crosby and Olli Jokinen and a committee of others. The Stallions are looking really strong right now, and although the Sparrows will get a few wins, the Stallions are destined to play for the Cup.

Prediction: Stallions in 5

Gorillas vs Bulls – This series will likely go long. Both teams are exceptionally well built with quality netminders and offense. The Gorillas lack the depth on defense that the Bulls have, but the team has found some nice chemistry in this year’s playoffs and that will certainly help. Both teams have had plenty of rest and the stars are performing as expected. The Gorillas are built to win the Cup … just not this season.

Prediction: Bulls in 6


Stallions vs Bulls – This is pegged to be a classic matchup between veterans WHL GMs. Both teams have nice depth, quality goaltenders, and veterans who know how to win. The Stallions have some older legs on them which will be their only question mark leading into the finals, especially if they have a long series against the Sparrows. This will be a great series but expect the Bulls to repeat as WHL Cyber Cup champs.

Prediction: Bulls in 7

WHL16 Season Review

Minneapolis, MN - It was a long and miserable season for most Rink Rat fans - a season that saw a lot of change on the Minnesota roster. Minnesota, who came into this season with low expectations while rebuilding, failed to make the playoffs for the first time since GM Tyler LaDouceur took over one of the worst WHL franchises back in WHL12. Minnesota started off well going 5-3-2 in the team’s first 10 games, and 10-10-5 in the first 25. Minnesota had one of the top special teams in the league at that point and although the team wasn’t marked by injuries, the momentum from the early part of the season definitely didn’t carry over throughout the remainder.

Finishing 28-46-10 and 7 games out of the playoffs, the Rink Rats ended the season in 9th place in its conference. The team had what seemed like a revolving door of players all season long, moving the biggest name – Ryan Miller prior to the trade deadline. Miller’s absence left a pretty deep hole in net for the Rink Rats, especially when Jimmy Howard went down for a 10 game stretch. Rookies, Cory Schneider and Justin Peters took over in Howard’s absence giving Minnesota a glimpse into its future behind Schneider. Minnesota was not disappointed as Schneider impressed in his time as the team’s starter. Howard returned after injury and improved his play with the confidence knowing he’s the man in Minnesota. The Rink Rats have a lot of faith in Howard’s ability to take over for Miller heading into next season and know that he can become one of the league’s elite goaltenders.

The high notes of the season included David Krejci, fighting off the sophomore slump and leading the team in scoring with 31 goals and 39 assists – quickly becoming one of the league’s top playmakers. Drew Stafford’s record pace early in the season was another highlight, although he failed to continue his pace late in the season, but still managed to lead the team in goals with 36. Minnesota also saw some nice progression from its prospects playing in the minors – a good sign for seasons to come.

Prospects such as Kevin Shattenkirk, Cam Fowler, Mike Santorelli, Cory Schneider and Nathan Gerbe may all be in the WHL next season; not only will they be playing, but they will be making an impact. Fowler and Shattenkirk both look to be very exciting young defenseman. Both Gerbe and Santorelli have nice offensive skill and great speed which will help their cause in making next year’s lineup. Jamie McBain could be there too, but a logjam at defense could keep him in the minors for another year.

The offseason and next year will both be exciting for Minnesota fans as this team continues to rebuild into a more competitive squad. Look for some noticeable improvement from Leopold, Berglund, Stafford, Jones and others as this

On the verge of an interesting and crucial offseason, the Rink Rats will no doubt be working the phones leading up to the draft. With a lot of depth at defense and Fowler and Shattenkirk ready to step up next season, Minnesota will likely look to move someone on defense, namely Jordan Leopold, Kyle Cumiskey, Marc Staal, John-Michael Liles or Scott Hannan. Derek Roy, Viktor Stalberg, David Jones and Troy Brouwer could also be shopped as could the team’s goaltenders. A few changes could unfold this offseason for the Rink Rats as the Rats continue to try to improve.

Up next for the Rink Rats – scouting for the WHL Waiver Draft & the WHL Entry Draft and quite possibly some trades as rumors have swirled the Rats have already received a couple of intriguing offers. Check back next week for Minnesota’s offseason game plan report. For now, here are some player awards and notes:

Minnesota Rink Rats Team Awards

Team MVP: David Krejci

Top Defenseman
: John-Michael Liles

Top Defensive Forward: David Krejci

Top Rookie: Kyle Cumiskey

Most Exciting Player
: Drew Stafford

Top Offseason Acquisition: Scott Hannan

Top Acquisition In-Season
: Drew Stafford / Patrik Berglund

Player(s) We Can’t Wait to See Next Year
: Patrik Berglund, Cam Fowler, Kevin Shattenkirk

2nd Round Predictions

Snowdogs vs Stallions

The Snowdogs are playing the role of Cinderella in this year’s playoffs behind the goaltending of Cam Ward. They knocked off the WHL’s version of the Caps in the NY Demons in 7 games in what was one of the more surprising upsets in playoff history. The Demons had a stacked team who many (including myself) picked to go to the Cyber Cup this season but the Dogs stood tall and now have to play the veteran Stallions club. The Stallions swept the Corinths in the first round and Crosby, Jokinen and company are fresh and poised to do it again.

Prediction: Stallions in 6

Sparrows vs Citadels

The Citadels fought off the Cougars in another great first round matchup and have the depth to rattle the Sparrows who had no problems knocking out the Hooligans in the first round. Antoinne Vermette, Alexandre Picard and Trent Hunter had a nice first round series for the Sparrows but can they keep it up? This series will be a tougher test for the Sparrows and likely go a little deeper.

Prediction: Citadels in 7

Dugouts vs Bulls

Neither team was really tested in the first round, but on paper, not many teams match up against the Bulls. While Tomas Vokoun struggled a bit in the team’s first four games, the Dugouts’ Dwayne Roloson played strong which could even things out a bit, but these are the Bulls and this is playoff time.

Prediction: Bulls in 5

Cats vs Gorillas

Both teams swept their first round opponents and matchup well on paper. The Gorillas’ defense was exposed as evidenced by Halak’s 5.25 gaa in the first round. Still though, the Gorillas have some depth and nice offense led by Phil Kessel and Jordan Staal. The Cats have some guys who can play too, but appear to be limping a bit more than last year’s team.

Prediction: Gorillas in 5

Playoff Predictions

Boston SnowDogs vs New York Demons – The Snowdogs were one of my favorite teams all season to watch. They were getting solid goaltending from Craig Anderson and Cam Ward and had players that were really having great seasons statistically. Recently, however, the team has struggled going 3-6-1 in their last 10. To make matters worse, the Demons are quite possibly the league’s hottest team, and one of the better teams on paper.

Prediction: Demons in 4

Quebec City Corinthians vs Toronto Stallions – Crosby is playing as well as any other player in the league. The Stallions have gone 10-0-0 in their past 10 and the Corinths are banged up. The Corinths have some solid talent but look like they’re running out of steam as the season progresses.

Prediction: Stallions in 5

Detroit Cougars vs Halifax Citadelles – Likely one of the better first round matchupes, both teams have firepower and big names. Goaltending has been the Cougar’s weakness in past seasons but the Toskala-Niittymaki duo looks pretty good heading into the playoffs and the team has some positive chemistry. The Citadels, meanwhile, bulked up for the playoffs and could go deep so long as they beat the Cougars in the first round. I’d like to see the Citadels win, but they’re in for a tough matchup.

Prediction: Cougars in 7

Chicoutimi Sparrows vs Miami Hooligans – The Sparrows are always a tough team come playoff time and they’ve played well all season thanks to a solid team effort. JS Giguere is nursing some injuries which could be the team’s downfall against this high-powered Hooligans offense. It’ll be a good series, but the Hooligans probably have too much firepower to lose, and will upset in the first round.

Prediction: Hooligans in 6

Rocky Mountain Express vs Las Vegas Bulls – The Express slept through the regular season and as a result draw the 8th seed and the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. Brendan Shanahan’s career is likely over and the rest of the Express club better have their depends ready as the Bulls are going to make them crap their pants with their quickness and depth.

Prediction: Bulls in 4

Anchorage Orcas vs Grand Forks Gorillas – The Gorillas have been the feel good story of the year going from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best. GM Jason Gudim has done a very good job with this club and Head Coach, Dean Blais should be up for the Jack Adams award at season’s end. The Orcas have some nice scoring in Mike Cammalleri, Dustin Brown and Devin Setoguchi, but don’t have the depth of the Gorillas. They may squeak out a win but not much more – sorry Putz!

Prediction: Gorillas in 5

Portland Timberjacks vs Kelowna Cats – The TJacks have been run by the league all season and have done quite well. It’s hard not to with the scoring threats the team has. Ryan Getzlaf is a supreme talent but the Jacks haven’t been able to get enough out of Alex Ovechkin this season. It’ll probably come down to whoever is the hottest goaltender and my money is on Antti Niemi of the Cats.

Prediction: Cats in 6

Pasadena Patriots vs Saskatchewan Dugouts – The Pats have been quite this season but still have a lot of talent on their roster. The loss of Marty Brodeur for the first 3 games however is going to hurt this club quite a bit as the Dugouts are finding their stride at the right time of the season. The Dugouts have some decent depth on their roster, and Miro Satan will thrive as a hero away from the Bulls in this first series.

Prediction: Dugouts in 5

Trade Deadline Analysis

Who'd They Add: Ryan Miller, Drew Doughty, Chris Clark, Riley Sheahan, 1st Round pick (Sparrows)

Who's Gone: Jonathan Bernier, Carey Price, Ed Jovanovski, Jamie Benn, Mikael Granlund, John Carlson, 2nd round pick

Analysis: The Demons focused on adding quality versus quantity during this year's trade deadline and executed perfectly. They picked up the goaltender they needed in Miller and added one of the best young, two-way defenseman in the league in Drew Doughty. They were also able to add some youth in Sheahan and the Sparrows' 1st round pick. They may have moved a lot of youth but this team will be alright with assets such as Varlamov, Ellis, Kadri and others in the system. They certainly will be one of the top teams to watch leading into this year's playoffs.

Who'd They Add: Brayden Schenn, Jamie Benn, John Carlson, Mikael Granlund, Andrei Loktionov, Jaden Schwartz, Tyler Ennis, Greg Nemisz, Many draft picks

Who's Gone: Drew Doughty, Ales Hemsky, Wojtek Wolski, Kristian Huselius, Patrik Berglund, Chris Clark, Kyle Beach, Jay Bouwmeester, Jochan Hecht, Mike Komisarek

Analysis: Probably the busiest team come deadline day, the Kicks' new GM made sure people knew he wasn't messing around. Deals for Doughty, Hemsky and Wolski yielded great returns; Deals for Beach, Komisarek and Hecht maybe left a little to be desired. Nevertheless this team was a winner on deadline day adding future pieces such as Schenn, Benn, Carlson, Ennis and others. The Kicks will be good and with the amount of picks they added in the coming draft they have to be happy with the start of the team's new direction.

Who'd They Add: Ales Hemsky, Wojtek Wolski, Kristian Huselius, Mark Streit

Who's Gone: Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, Andrea Loktionov, Jason Demers, Evgeny Dadonov

Analysis: Although these players span just two deals, the Bulls took care of what they had to on deadline day - adding key components to help them look for a Cyber Cup repeat. Huselius is by no means the biggest name coming to Las Vegas but he's a playoff warrior and knows how to find the back of the net. The Bulls added some much needed depth at defense in Streit, who would be any other teams top defenseman but will find a top four spot in Vegas. In adding Hemsky they add a good puck moving winger and bring back a familiar face in Wolski.

Who'd They Add: Matt Pettinger, Mike Comrie

Who's Gone: Matt Smaby, Fernando Pisani

Analysis: The Gorillas didn't do much but they have a lot of pieces in place to be an effective team for the foreseeable future. Mike Comrie gives the team some quality depth at center. He essentially was traded for Fernando Pisani which I think anyone would argue is a deal well in the Gorillas favor. Matt Pettinger is a playoff rental but has looked good of late and could contribute on Grand Forks' powerplay. Probably the biggest move though, was a move that didn't happen, long before the trade deadline when the Gorillas were very aggressively shopping goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Jaroslav Halak. Both players have been amazing this season for the Gorillas and with Jordan Staal having a career year, the Gorillas could make a nice splash in their first playoff appearance under GM Jason Gudim.

Who'd They Add: Olli Jokinen, Craig Conroy, Matt Carle, Jay Bouwmeester, David Drewiske

Who's Gone: Matt Stajan, Brent Seabrook, Kurt Sauer, Greg Nemisz, Brent Sopel, Multiple Draft picks (2x 2nd round picks, 1x 3rd round pick)

Analysis: In the short-term the Stallions are winners adding Olli Jokinen, Jay Bouwmeester and Matt Carle to help them for the next few seasons. Bouwmeester can eat up huge minutes and will be a contributor on the Stallion's blueline for many years to come. He replaces the departed Seabrook on the Stallion's blueline and will probably be a better defenseman in the offensive zone. Jokinen meanwhile will be huge down the stretch. He was playing well for the Orcas and will fit in right after Crosby on the team's second line. He may only have a few years left but will definitely be a factor in the playoffs. Conroy and Carle add depth. Conroy is a playoff rental and will be a key player in the locker room and on the penalty kill. Long-term the team doesn't have a lot of youth and moved three good draft picks along with prospect Greg Nemisz. It'll be interesting to see how this club develops.

Who'd They Add: Danny Briere, Clarke MacArthur, Cal Clutterbuck

Who's Gone: James van Riemsdyk, Colten Teubert, David Rundblad

Analysis: The Citadelles were active long before the trade deadline adding goaltender Tuukka Rask, Alex Semin and David Booth - players that will make an instant impact on their lineup. This team is going for it and has the depth and pieces in place to make a nice run this season. After having one of, if not the best minor league club in the WHL the past few seasons, the Citadelles have an opportunity to make a major splash leading up the to the playoffs.

Fighting Irish
Who'd They Add: NA

Who's Gone: NA

Analysis: There are a lot of good, young players waiting to crack the Irish roster in the next few seasons and make no mistake, this team could be very good when Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, and Alex Pietrangelo join the likes of Keith Yandle, Patric Hornqvist and company, but the Irish were unable to move anybody heading into the trade deadline. Players like Jason Williams, Alex Kotalik, John Madden and others that don't fit into the club's long-term plans still hold a spot on the Irish roster while the club rebuilds. I'm sure the team and fans would've liked to move those players for picks or future pieces but somehow it just didn't happen.

Who'd They Add: NA
Who's Gone: NA

Analysis: The Cougars have kind of disappeared this season and haven't made a move since August. Still though they're playoff bound and have a lot of very good players and pieces to make a run. Still though, it would've been nice to see this team make an upgrade or change to help improve the club's chances of winning this post-season. The defense could use some added depth or an upgrade, as could right wing.

Who'd They Add: NA

Who's Gone: NA

Analysis: The Express generally make a strong run about this time of the year and this year is no different. The team sits just half a game out of the playoffs at the moment and has honestly one of the better rosters in the league. They should be a playoff team but for some reason things aren't clicking. Many of the club's top players are closing in on the end of their careers including Mike Modano, Brendan Shanahan, Bill Guerin, Owen Nolan and Scott Niedermayer. I'm sure many clubs
would've paid a good price to land those talents and improve their chances leading into the playoffs. But the Express was quiet and decided to hold steady. They probably could've benefitted from making a move or two.

Wait & See
Who'd They Add: NA

Who's Gone: NA
Analysis: A big surprise to say the least, because the Cats are usually one of the most active teams in the league leading up to deadline day. The team wanted to upgrade at right wing but held tight and didn't make any trades. Currently in 4th place in their conference, the Cats may be confident enough in what they have already. This team has a lot of guys playing well this season, and have some built-in chemistry from last year's playoff run. If they exit early, GM Jason Minton may kick himself for not landing the winger he desired. If they go deep in the playoffs and win it all, Minton will be considered a genius. Time will tell.

Rink Rats
Who'd They Add: Corey Schneider, Marc Staal, Patrik Berglund, Troy Brouwer, 3rd round pick, Matt

Who's Gone: Petr Regin, Ryan Miller, Matt Pettinger, Devin Setoguchi

Analysis: The Rink Rats have made a commitment to get younger and have done so by adding Schneider, Staal, Berglund and company. Losing Miller will certainly hurt but the club remains confident in the skills of Jimmy Howard as it's leading backstop and feels Schneider is no doubt the number one goalie of the future. Marc Staal will be a solid shutdown defender and adds the size and grit on the blueline that they'll lack in the coming years. If Berglund can develop into a solid number one center and Schneider continues his progress, this team becomes a winner.

Who'd They Add: Mike Cammalleri, Devin Setoguchi, Brent Seabrook, Matt Stajan, Tyler Kennedy, Kurt Sauer, Paul Ranger

Who's Gone: Brad Richards, Olli Jokinen, Tyler Ennis, Matt Carle, Fabian Brunnstrom, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Craig Conroy

Analysis: The biggest names of course include Cammalleri, Setoguchi and Seabrook; three players young enough, and good enough to lead this team for several years to come. In the short-term however, the moves don't payoff as the Orcas say goodbye to Jokinen who could've really helped push them to the next level in the playoffs. Long-term we shall see if Setoguchi can continue being a top flight scoring winger and if Cammalleri can stay healthy enough to make an impact.

Who'd They Add: Brad Richards, Fabian Brunnstrom, Mike Komisarek, Jochen Hecht, 4th round pick

Who's Gone: Mike Cammalleri, Tyler Kennedy, Draft picks (2x 3rd round), Maxim Laperriere

Analysis: The Lunatics are out of the playoff hunt that's for sure as they were probably one of the unluckiest teams in the league this season. On paper they had a lot going for them but just couldn't find a way to get the wins they needed. Fan support has dropped after having consecutive losing seasons. The team still has some nice pieces in place and traded for guys that can help them now including a deal for Big Buff a few weeks before the deadline (Byufgulien and a 2nd in exchange for Rask and Hedman). Richards is one of the league's best centermen and Brunnstrom has skills but needs to find some competitiveness and play two-way hockey in order to make the lineup. Time will tell if the team's moves paid off.

Who'd They Add: Jonathan Bernier, Ed Jovanovski, Dustin Jeffrey, Chris Higgins, Manny Malhotra, Fernando Pisani

Who's Gone: Riley Sheahan, 1st round pick (Sparrows), Other draft picks (1x 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th)

Analysis: In Bernier the Stampede now have their number one goaltender of the future. He's not to far away of being the guy of the present either. The team also acquired some help offensively in Chris Higgins and Dustin Jeffrey - a young prospect center/left wing that will help the team on both ends of the ice. In addition the Stampede acquired a veteran blueliner in Jovanovski who can lead the team on the ice and in the locker room. He's at the end of his career so if the Stampede could flip him for something younger in the offseason that'd be the ideal and make this an even better move. The team also acquired some character guys in Pisani and Malhotra but lost on many draft picks and prospect Sheahan who is probably a few years away from making an impact anyways. I could see things slightly favoring the Stampede right now but we'll have to see if the older guys can continue to make an impact in the WHL.