2 Guys and a Goalie pres. by Odds Shark Ep. 22-Huge Wiener Gazzola

Welcome to “2 Guys and a Goalie,” starring Dustin Nielson, Joaquin Gage, and Matt Kassian and presented by Odds Shark, Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken, and Sports Clips Haircuts. The show focuses on stories, notes, transactions, and everything else happening all around the NHL and the world of hockey.

Kass is away, but no fear, Tom Gazzola is here!

The boys start things off breaking down the Edmonton Oilers’ 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators, and the idea of “playing down” to opponents.

They discuss Ken Holland’s comments regarding Chris Chelios and Johan Franzen’s accusations towards Mike Babcock, and if the NHL Code of Conduct needs revamping.

Scott Hastings from Odds Shark calls in to talk about the trend of the higher over/unders, and the best odds for which team Taylor Hall will be traded to, and other bets around the NHL.

And then they get into the Popeyes Poll Question: Which team should trade for Taylor Hall?

  • Arizona Coyotes
  • Dallas Stars
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • @St. Louis Blues

They then discuss Auston Matthews admitting that the Toronto Maple Leafs “quit” during their 6-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

And whether things will finally turn around for the Calgary Flames this season.

Finally, they play another round of Keep It or Clip It:

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will make less than $6 million on his next deal.
  • It’s okay to kiss randoms if it’s under the mistletoe during the holidays.
  • David Pastrnak will score 60 goals this season.
  • The Winnipeg Jets are Canada’s best hope for a Stanley Cup this year.
  • Cousin Eddie is the best character in Christmas Vacation.
  • If you were to become GM, the Vancouver Canucks job is more attractive than the Leafs job.
  • Eggnog is overrated.
  • It’s an excited time to be an Ottawa Senators fan.

Watch Today’s Episode Below!

Watch 2 Guys and a Goalie every Monday and Thursday on Facebook Live starting at Noon MST.

And make sure to tune in live and comment during the show and have the guys read your questions!

2 Guys and a Goalie pres. by Odds Shark Ep. 22-Huge Wiener Gazzola

Welcome to “2 Guys and a Goalie,” starring Dustin Nielson, Joaquin Gage, and Matt Kassian and presented by Odds Shark, Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken, and Sports Clips Haircuts. The show focuses on stories, notes, transactions, and everything else happening all around the NHL and the world of hockey.

Kass is away, but no fear, Tom Gazzola is here!

The boys start things off breaking down the Edmonton Oilers’ 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators, and whether the idea of playing down to

They get into Ken Holland’s comments on the Mike Babcock accusations by Chris Chelios and Johan Franzen, and what’s next for the NHL Code of Conduct.

Scott Hastings from Odds Shark calls in to talk about the trend of the higher over/unders, and the best odds for which team Taylor Hall will be traded to, and other bets around the NHL.

And then they get into the Popeyes Poll Question: Which team should trade for Taylor Hall?

  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Arizona Coyotes
  • Dallas Stars
  • @St. Louis Blues

They then discuss Auston Matthews admitting that the Toronto Maple Leafs “quit” during their 6-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

And whether things will finally turn around for the Calgary Flames this season.

Finally, they play another round of Keep It or Clip It:

  • If you were to become GM, the Vancouver Canucks job is more attractive than the Leafs job.
  • It’s an excited time to be an Ottawa Senators fan.
  • Cousin Eddie is the best character in Christmas Vacation.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will make less than $6 million on his next deal.
  • Eggnog is overrated.
  • The Winnipeg Jets are Canada’s best hope for a Stanley Cup this year.
  • David Pastrnak will score 60 goals this season.
  • It’s okay to kiss randoms if it’s under the mistletoe during the holidays.

Watch Today’s Episode Below!

Watch 2 Guys and a Goalie every Monday and Thursday on Facebook Live starting at 11am PST.

And make sure to tune in live and comment during the show and have the guys read your questions!

The Winged Wheel Podcast Coachs Chaos Dec. 5th, 2019

The coaching controversy continues to boil across the hockey world, as stories from the Babcock/Franzen era come to the surface. The Zadina situation is also only getting trickier, and the hosts of the Winged Wheel Podcast are up late to cover it all!

Head over to www.wingedwheelpodcast.com to find all the ways to listen, how to support the show, and more!

This episode of the Winged Wheel Podcast is proudly #sponsored by Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light – Official Canadian Beers of the Detroit Red Wings.

Overtime is brought to you by Motor City Garages – Park in Style! www.motorcitygarages.com

Ebb and Flow

It’s been noted more than once this season that one of the strengths of the Edmonton Oilers is that they’ve usually bounced back from bad performances with good ones. They have avoided the kind of extended losing streaks – no more than two straight — that can put teams in trouble in a hurry. Fair enough.

It’s also fair to mention that, outside of bolting out of the gate with five straight wins, the Oilers haven’t managed to string together more than two straights wins since then. That’s something they’ve done four times since that five-game heater. They could have and should have made it five when they took on the Ottawa Senators at Rogers Place Wednesday, but they seized up after a very good first period on the way to a 5-2 loss.

So, what are we to make of the Oilers, who sit at 17-10-3 today as they get ready to face the Los Angeles Kings Friday in the second game of a four-game homestand? The Oilers have avoided the kind of downward spiral that kills playoff hopes. On the flip side, they haven’t put together a second roll to match the first. After starting at 7-1-0 and banking some points, they’re 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and they’ve coughed up points to teams they should beat – like the Senators, Kings, Red Wings and Wild.

The Oilers are good enough, we think, to beat also-rans like the Senators even without injured Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian, so injuries are no excuse. So, what gives? Wednesday, it was failure to finish despite a dominant first period, coupled with a rare (this season) bad game by Mikko Koskinen. Two goals in 12 seconds turned that game. In a 5-1 loss to the Kings back on Nov. 21, a slow start and Mike Smith allowing three goals on the first 12 shots he faced did them in.

THE LONG RUN

Oct 27, 2019; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen (19) replaces goaltender Mike Smith (41) after Smith let in 3 second period goals by the Florida Panthers at Rogers Place.

There are ebbs and flows to every season, and while fans around here have reason to be easily put-off and to feel like one too many bumps in the road means the team is headed for the ditch after so many years of futility, I don’t see it that way with this team. That’s not to tell anybody to keep quiet and relax – nobody ever does when you say that – because everything is fine.

At the same time, I’m not feeling the need to jump into trade talks to address shortcomings in the lineup that invariably come up after frustrating losses to teams like the Charlie Brown Senators or plan mass call-ups because the roster just isn’t good enough. Reading too much into losses like fans just witnessed against the sad sack Sens is just as bad an idea as putting too much into five-game win streaks to start the season.

Coach Dave Tippett has been around long enough to see both ends of that spectrum. He seldom gets carried away no matter which end of it he finds himself at. You won’t see Tippett handing out cigars and high-fiving until his hands ache after big wins or stretches when the team is rolling. Likewise, you won’t see Tippett throwing the guys he depends on under the bus when things go sideways, as they inevitably do. He knows the ebb and flow, and that’s a saving grace for a still developing team like this.

“We gave up two poor goals that got them in the game,” Tippett said of the game turning in a dozen seconds in the second period. “The high-end players have the biggest opportunity to make a difference, so when they don’t make good plays . . . the third goal, we had a group that had been on the ice for over a minute and we turn it over . . . we basically give up an easy two-on-one and an easy goal.”

THE WAY I SEE IT

No quotes of gold there. That’s the point. That third goal to make it 3-1 was part of a tough night for Oscar Klefbom and partner Adam Larsson, who both went minus-4. Both players knew what kind of game they had – neither one of them needed Tippett to go on and on about it or draw them a diagram for public consumption, and he didn’t.

From where I sit, that’s especially important for for a player like Larsson, who had his fibula busted in the first game of the season, missed 22 games and is seven games into trying to re-find his game. There is no question Larsson has struggled and there’s no question he knows it. There is no need for the coach to pile on. There are 52 games to go.

Even with Nugent-Hopkins and Kassian on the way back into the line-up, likely during this homestand, bet general manager Ken Holland is working the phones, contemplating upgrades, as he should. In the meantime, even allowing for how much losing to a team like the Senators sucks, Tippett is maintaining an even hand, refusing to get carried away – good or bad.

No team completely avoids the ebbs and flows that come during the course of a season. It’s how teams navigate them that separates winners and losers in the long game. That’s right in Tippett’s wheelhouse. No, the Oilers shouldn’t lose to teams like the Sens, but they did.  No getting those points back. Get the next two.

Previously by Robin Brownlee

Leafs trying to win isnt making us happy. Maybe they should become trade deadline sellers instead

Is it too early to give up the season? Statistically no, but of course in the world where we have a defending Stanley Cup Champion that was the worst team in the league last January, well, it’s a bit of a hard sell.

I love Freddie Andersen, but I am not expecting a Jordan Binnington-esque run. I’m excited for what Sheldon Keefe will do, but it seems like he might be working through some team issues that Craig Berube didn’t have to. Also, he doesn’t have Jordan Binnington. The reality is the Leafs are in an uphill battle that never really looks as bad as it seems because of the fact that the Leafs have a number of games at hand on their conference rivals which inflates their standings.

Wildcard Race by Points GP Pts
Atlantic Division
Boston 28 45
Florida 27 31
Buffalo 28 31
Metro Division
Washington 30 47
New York Islanders 26 38
Philadelphia 28 37
Wildcard
Pittsburgh 28 34
Carolina 28 33
Montreal 28 30
Toronto 30 30

Look at that. Only one point behind second in the division? How can you give up now?

Wildcard Race by Pts% GP Pts
Atlantic Division
Boston 28 80.4%
Tampa Bay 25 58.9%
Florida 27 57.4%
Metro Division
Washington 30 78.3%
New York Islanders 26 73.1%
Philadelphia 28 66.1%
Wildcard
Pittsburgh 28 60.7%
Carolina 28 58.9%
New York Rangers 26 55.8%
Buffalo Sabres 28 55.4%
Montreal 28 53.6%
Toronto 30 50.0%

Oh, cool, the Leafs are actually the 7th worst team in the league this year and could reasonably be leap frogged by the Blue Jackets and Ducks before the weekend.

Moneypuck generously still has the Leafs at 42.2% odds of making the playoffs, although only 8.9% odds of grabbing one of the Wildcard spots. Within their division the Bruins, Habs, Lightning, and Panthers are all given more favourable odds. (In your face Buffalo, I guess.) 

So not completely out of it, but it’s looking rather bleak, do we probably need to give it a month until we know for certain whether we should throw in the towel? For optimism’s sake, I’ll say yes, but with a caveat. The caveat being, we look at some of the positives of this year being a chance for the Leafs to reset.

The Leafs would be selling what teams are buying

Maybe it’s a bit presumptuous to assume that teams will be in the market for defensemen at the trade deadline. That never really seems to happen, and reasonably priced options like Jake Muzzin, Tyson Barrie, and (a potentially salary retained) Cody Ceci would have no market all. Of course, I’m just joshin’ you, those are three great assets for a team that will be golfing by mid-April to be holding at that point.

Jake Muzzin is a player I legitimately think the Leafs should be trying to retain, but given the steep price that Toronto paid for him last season, if they can’t get him under a friendly contract extension by mid-January he needs to go. In fact, that might be true even if the Leafs are in a playoff position at that point. Losing Muzzin and having mortgaged Toronto’s future by giving up a 1st round pick, Carl Grundstrom, and Sean Durzi seems like an action that would even get the most loyal Dubas supporter sharpening their pitchfork. Gambling the future on the chance to remain a bubble team would be extremely irresponsible.

The Leafs also have the benefit of having set the asking price for Muzzin at what they paid, although dialing it back slightly if the lack of term is considered a drawback. At the very least the Leafs would be picking up a 1st round pick, and having cheap, potentially high end talent is something the Leafs have lacked this year now that all of those previous players have started getting paid for real.

Tyson Barrie had a slow start, but has come around of late, and there will undoubtedly be teams looking for right handed shots that can quarterback power plays at the trade deadline. The fact that the Avs are already footing half the bill on Barrie makes him a great thrifty option for buyers and the Leafs should be able to price gouge because of it.

The idea of moving on from Barrie might be bittersweet given that they had to give up Nazem Kadri to bring him in, but alas, we need to be forward thinking, and take comfort in the fact that Kerfoot wasn’t a half bad inclusion in the deal.

Cody Ceci isn’t very good, but that really doesn’t seem to matter when he is capable of playing big minutes, fits the mold of playoff type defenseman, and shoots right. His expiring contract is our friend in more ways than one, and if the Leafs decided to retain salary on him, he might have been worth all the suffering we endured watching him try to make decisions.

Jason Spezza has picked up 11 points in 19 games so far and makes the league minimum. He’s a veteran looking for a chance to win before the sun goes down on his playing career, someone is going to want that, and at $700k the Leafs might get more than they should for him.

What about the non-rentals?

Well, the Leafs have an abundance of wingers, an abundance of salary, and an abundance of areas that will need to be addressed. Ideally the time to trade players like Johnsson and Kapanen was last summer, but the fact that their results haven’t shifted too much from where they were before and their contracts aren’t actively terrible, they are a couple of names to watch as well as the Leafs slowly slide out of contention.

While it seems as if a portion of the Leafs fanbase is rapidly falling out of love with Morgan Rielly, I’m hesitant to include the one defenseman the Leafs have under contract for the next season in with the group of tradeable players. There is little doubt he has value, but the Leafs are not in a rebuild, rather an expedited retooling, and it’s hard to imagine that Rielly and his experience wouldn’t benefit Dermott, Sandin, Liljegren, and whatever two other defensemen grace the Leafs with their presence next season.

It’s probably at this point where I should acknowledge that I’m not arguing for trading everyone or blowing up the Leafs, but rather allowing the Leafs to take a step back, examine who the core of this team is or should be and retool around it. It’s entirely possible that the Leafs maintain the status quo, and feel that time will heal all wounds. That’s certainly a way to go with this, but it’s hard to see the case for not turning over some personnel after the setback which has been the past two months.

Playing time for the kiddos

What better time to get to know some of the Marlies. Egor Korshkov, Mason Marchment, and Jeremy Bracco are names we’ve heard about long enough, why not test to see what our opinions are of them in the NHL? Ditto for Sandin and Liljegren who seem to be 2020-21 roster locks in most eyes already. There’s no reason why the post trade deadline can’t be one big audition for next season and gives Keefe a chance to put down the foundation of his system with the group that is most likely to play in it.

The sky is not falling and (for now) there’s still a chance

Right now in the early days of the Sheldon Keefe the Leafs have picked up 57% of their available points. If they did that over the course of a full season, that is a pace that would at least challenge the Panthers for the 3rd spot in their division or narrowly miss the final wild card spot. Given that the Leafs were able to hit a 61% Point percentage last year, it seems reasonable they could do the same this year. If they do that they’d finish the year with 93 points and that could put them in the conversation for a playoff spot. (For comparison, Craig Berube has a 65% point percentage in his 63 games last year getting the Blues into the playoffs.)

Giving up on the playoffs may be premature right now, but post holiday roster freeze it will be a different story.

For now it makes sense to force some optimism that things can get better, but a month from now, if the glass is half empty instead of half full, the Leafs are in a great position to cut their losses and move forward. And again, this isn’t about a rebuild.

Jets at Stars 120519 Odds and NHL Betting Trends

by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post

The Winnipeg Jets are riding a win streak and might also have an auspicious betting line as they try to sweep a home-and-home set against the Dallas Stars.

The Jets are +140 away underdogs while the Stars are -160 home favourites with a 5.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Thursday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Winnipeg, which defeated Dallas 5-1 at home on Tuesday, is 12-3 in its last 15 away games as a -130 to -150 moneyline underdog with the total finishing OVER 11 times at betting sites. Dallas, in comparison, is 10-5 in its last 15 home games as a moneyline favourite of -150 to -170. The teams have split their last eight matchups in Dallas 4-4.

Jets at Stars | OddsShark Matchup Report

The Stars are 15-11-3 this season and take a four-game losing streak into this contest, having scored only four goals over this stretch. Dallas, whose attack is spearheaded by centers Tyler Seguin and Roope Hintz, rates 18th in the NHL in five-on-five shot-attempt percentage (49.64 percent) and is 26th in the league in goals scored (2.59 per game). Dallas makes up for that by having the fourth-best goals-against record (2.45), while its power play is ranked 25th (14.8 percent) and its penalty killing unit is ranked 10th (84.0).

Anton Khubodin absorbed the defeat on Tuesday, so the Stars will likely come back with goalie Ben Bishop, who is 9-6-2 this season with a 2.20 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.

The Jets are 17-10-1 this season, including an 8-3 record across their last 11 away games. Working with a patchwork defense corps means the Jets are 22nd in the NHL in five-on-five shot-attempt percentage (48.55 percent), but strong goaltending and an offense helmed by Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler means they are up to 20th in goals scored (2.86) while ranking seventh in goals against (2.71). Winnipeg has had suboptimal special teams, with the power play ranked 24th (15.5 percent) while the penalty killing unit is ranked  23rd (76.9).

Connor Hellebuyck is 14-7-1 this season with a 2.17 goals-against average and .934 save percentage and has won two of his last three starts against Dallas.

Following this contest, the Jets will have two days off before a Sunday afternoon home game against the Anaheim Ducks.

Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for analysis on this week’s top games. As well, the OddsShark Computer serves up daily NHL picks for bettors.

FGD 30 Back in action against Buffalo 7pm MT, SN West

After four days without a game, the Calgary Flames (13-12-4, 30 points) are back in action at palatial Scotiabank Saddledome. Their guests on this occasion are the Buffalo Sabres (13-10-5, 31 points), who the Flames beat two games ago on the road in Geoff Ward’s first functional game as bench boss.

This one begins at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Monahan – Backlund – Dube
Lucic – Ryan – Gaudreau
Rieder – Jankowski – Frolik

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson

David Rittich starts for the Flames, backed up by Cam Talbot. It’s Rittich’s NHL-leading 24th start of the season. The projected scratches are Michael Stone and Zac Rinaldo. And hey, Travis Hamonic is back after missing six games with a lower body injury so the defensive pairings are once again optimal.

Look at the lines: they’re wacky. Elias Lindholm at center, answering Ryan Pinder’s prayers. Sean Monahan on the wing! Play drivers spread out throughout the entire top nine – Tkachuk and Mangiapane on the top line, Dube on the second, Ryan and Gaudreau on the third – which should make line-matching easier. If nothing else, this shows that there are no sacred cows to Geoff Ward: the 3M line is spread out among three different lines, as is the former top line.

It’s been 29 games of the Flames muddling around and not looking particularly impressive for 60 minute increments. Why not get wacky and see if something different works?

The Sabres

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Olofsson – Eichel – Reinhart
Skinner – Larsson – Sheary
Mittelstadt – Johansson – Vesey
Girgensons – Asplund – Rodrigues

Montour – Ristolainen
Scandella – Jokiharju
Miller – Bogosian

Linus Ullmark starts for the Sabres, backed up by Carter Hutton. Their lone healthy extra body is Jake McCabe.

The Sabres continue to putter along. They had a bit of a crash in November after a white-hot October start, but they demolished New Jersey in their last outing (putting up seven goals). If nothing else, they feel confident in their ability to score goals and make life challenging for teams when they make defensive mistakes.

The Flames will need to be smart and structured to grind out two points against Buffalo.

The Numbers

Flames Sabres
Wins 13 13
Points 30 31
Adjusted Corsi 51.0% 49.9%
Power Play 16.5% 18.6%
Penalty Kill 85.4% 74.7%

Injury Report

The Flames are without F Sam Bennett (upper body), D Juuso Valimaki (ACL surgery) and F Austin Czarnik (lower body). Czarnik is in Stockton on a conditioning stint.

The Sabres are missing F Vladimir Sobotka (knee), D Rasmus Dahlin (concussion), F Tage Thompson (shoulder), F Kyle Okposo (concussion) and D Matt Hunwick (neck).

When Last We Met

The Flames beat Buffalo 3-2 in overtime back on Nov. 27. It required a dramatic comeback.

Know Thy Enemy

Here are some key Twitter peeps to follow for tonight’s game:

Checking In With Utica Comets Rookie Defender Brogan Rafferty

11 Minutes With Brogan Rafferty

The Vancouver Canucks inked defenceman Brogan Rafferty as an undrafted, unrestricted free agent out of Quinnipiac of the NCAA near the end of the 2018/19 season. The 6’2″, 195lbs, right-shot defender from Dundee Illinois was held pointless in his two-game audition with the Canucks but he did not look out of place on the NHL ice surface.

He was re-signed to a two-year deal by the team this offseason that sees him collecting a two-way paycheck this year, ($700K at the NHL level/$125K in the AHL according to CapFriendly). Next season, his pact swaps over to a one-way deal that pays him $700K whether he’s playing NHL minutes or plying his trade in the AHL with the Comets again. Fellow rookie blueliner Josh Teves signed the same deal.

At the time of this writing, Rafferty is 22 games into his AHL career, so I thought it would be a good time to check in with him to see how his season is going. Rafferty is currently the AHL’s top-scoring rookie defender and sits fifth amongst all defensemen in league scoring.

With 22 games played, Brogan has picked up two goals and 14 assists to give himself 16 points in 22 games so far this season. That has him on pace for 55 points. For reference, the Comets record for points in a single season by a defenceman is 40, put up by Bobby Sanguinetti in the 2014/15 season.

I asked Brogan how it felt to step into the league and be putting up those types of numbers already.

“It feels good! I’m not thinking too much about it, I’m just trying to improve every game here… but it’s pretty cool to be on pace for something that special.”

We saw last season just how tough it can be for players who are getting their feet wet at the pro level as Kole Lind and Jonah Gadjovich struggled early on with the pace of play and the jump in competition. I wanted to know what Brogan saw as the biggest adjustment for him with making the jump to pro hockey from the college level.

“I think it’s just the size and speed of everyone at this level, and everyone at this level is a really smart hockey player and can make plays… so the biggest adjustment for me has been the size and speed of the players.”

Brogan spent his previous three seasons with Quinnipiac of the NCAA and saw 40, 38, and 38 regular-season games respectively over each of those campaigns. The Comets play a 76 game regular season and I wanted to ask Brogan what kinds of steps are being taken to ensure that he will be fresh in the second half.

“Yeah, we have a really big emphasis on mobility days and stretching, and maintaining your body and not just beating it down every day with the workouts. We’re conscious about how we’re feeling when we wake up in the morning and our strength coaches and coaching staff adjust the schedule accordingly with that so we are healthy for the long run, and try to prevent those injuries from happening. 

It’s such a long season. Most of it is on the player, you know, watching your nutrition and doing the extra things every day to take care of your body so you’re ready to go the next day. It’s a long season and we’re 22 games in and already have a couple of injuries on our team. It’s just about limiting those injuries and coming back stronger than you were before.”

There are differences off the ice for new players in any league, so I thought I’d ask Rafferty what the biggest change has been for him away from the rink this year.

“I have a lot more free time. I don’t have homework to do anymore, which is nice. The biggest difference for me? I don’t know, you’re just not as busy as you were in college, so you’re focused on hockey all the time. You can spend more time at the rink than you could in college… just be a real professional about the game.

In college I had a ton of homework, classes, obligations to go to. Here, it’s just a community event every now and then. Other than that, it’s hanging out with your teammates and getting ready for the next day, honestly.”

The hanging out with your teammates portion of that response led to me ask Brogan who he tends to hang with away from the rink.

“All the younger guys hangout. I mean, it’s pretty standard. I hang out with Kole Lind, Josh Teves, and Mitch Eliot a good amount. Seamus Malone and Mikey DiPietro are in there as well. 

No, I mean, all the young guys hang out and we have a good time together. Some of the guys are married and have kids, so they have a lot more going on than we do, so we’re able to spend time together. I’m sure those guys did that too when they were young and entering pro for the first time. 

It’s been fun, we hang out together a lot off the ice and have gotten to become really close friends.”

We spoke earlier about the biggest difference in Brogan’s quality of competition this year, but I also wondered how his quality of teammate has been different for him this season. Every time a player takes a step to the next level, there are bound to be some differences across the board. To his credit, Brogan was quick to ensure that I knew he wasn’t speaking negatively about NCAA hockey in any way and that he loved his time in Quinnipiac.

“Yeah, I don’t want to beat a dead horse about the difference. I mean, I’m not trying to make college hockey sound inferior, it’s really good hockey, but we’re at the professional level now.

I’ve played against a lot of these guys before in college and most of them were the best on their team, so the quality of players has definitely improved. I think that’s helped me a lot this year. 

You have guys who can make plays in certain situations that I’ve never seen before, so it’s really good to see and fun to be a part of. To play with players like that who can make plays out of nowhere is pretty special.”

For the bulk of this season, Rafferty has been paired with Guillaume Brisebois on what has, in my opinion, been the Comets’ best duo. Rafferty is the team’s top-scoring defender and Brissbois sits second. The same goes for shots on net from the blueline. I asked Brogan about his pairing and what he feels has helped them succeed this season.

“Yeah, I mean, we have good chemistry together, The coaching staff obviously likes what they’ve seen from us playing together. I think we enjoy it just as much. 

I think we complement each other really well, communicate well, and pick up on things from each other and learn from our mistakes quickly. We’re good friends off the ice, so I think it just all comes together when we play a game. It’s just really fun to play with him.”

As I have mentioned, Brogan is off to a fantastic start to his season offensively. Part of that has to do with the fact that he sits third on the team in shots on goal behind Reid Boucher and Justin Bailey. Rafferty also has had no issues with jumping up into the play in the hunt for more offence. I asked Brogan why the offensive side of things seemed to be coming so easily for him early on.

“I don’t know. I just think it’s coming together for me a little bit. I mean, I’m getting really good support and advice from my coaching staff and our system that we play here encourages the defencemen to jump up into the rush, which gives me and the other defencemen on our team the green light to try to create offence. 

I mean, I don’t know, playing with confidence is probably one of the bigger aspects of my game and I think for any player in the league, if they’re having success or even if they’re not… they’re still confident that they’re a good hockey player.

It’s not cockiness, it’s just… you get to play with that confidence and that swagger. I’ve been on the end where you don’t have any confidence and you can’t get out of your own head. So I always choose to be confident, whether I’m playing a good game or a bad game, I know that I’ll bounce back or that I’ll keep it going. 

My game is largely based on confidence and that allows me to jump up into plays and try to create offence.”

I wanted to finish this interview off on a light note and pointed out a parallel that I found interesting between Brogan and former Canucks defender Kevin Bieksa.

As you can see from the featured image for this article, Bieksa wore the numbers 25 and three during his time with the Canucks and that Brogan wore number three when he was up with the Canucks last year and wears number 25 with the Comets.

The similarities don’t end there as both defencemen joined the team after wrapping up their college careers, both shoot right and both played for the Canucks in their 24th year. I asked Brogan if wearing the same digits was by design or if it was just a nifty coincidence.

“No, I actually had no idea about that. I knew he was number three in Vancouver for the longest time, but I didn’t pick the number three when I got there. They just kind of assigned it to me and I was like, yeah, sure, three is fine.

No, 25 was the number that I wore in college. I think that’s pretty ironic how that sets up like that. Same age, out of college, same numbers. I knew he was number three but I didn’t know the other facts about him, but that’s pretty funny.”

Continuing on with the Bieksa theme, I finished off by telling Brogan that if he ever ended up dropping the mitts in a game and whipped out a Superman Punch that he would have the fans and media in Vancouver salivating.

For his part, Brogan laughed and said…

“I’ll keep that in mind!”

This was the second time that I’ve had the privilege of speaking with Brogan. He’s a bright, articulate young man who is a pleasure to chat with. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up the blistering pace that he is on as the season continues.

At 24-years-old, Brogan isn’t a “young” rookie in the AHL, but so far, he is proving to be a shrewd signing by the club and is looking like he could be forcing himself into the conversation for regular minutes in Vancouver as soon as the end of this season.

The Comets are back in action on Friday, December 6th at 7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers come to town for game number 23 of the season. As always, CanucksArmy will have your pre and post-game reading.

November Prospects Report Tuomisto college tour, Rasmussen hurt

November was a month of highs and lows for the entire Red Wings organization. The parent club in Detroit went 3-11-2 and their affiliate club in Grand Rapids went 4-10-0. Not very good at all. For the players themselves, Filip Zadina played a five game stint in the NHL with, well, lets just say questionable usage. For the Griffins, a large part of their struggles came due to the absence of several go-to guys. Michael Rasmussen and Matt Puempel were sidelined with injury, while Zadina, Joe Hicketts, Givani Smith, and Calvin Pickard spent time in Detroit.

Meanwhile elsewhere, some European prospects made positive strides both on and off the ice. Most notably being Antti Tuomisto, who traveled to North America for college visits. For those keeping up with his plans of playing college hockey next season, this is significant. Also making waves is Jonatan Berggren, who closed out the month on a four game point streak in the SHL.

All the latest on the Red Wings farm system from the month of November:

Tuomisto visits Denver, Minnesota Duluth

The Red Wings surprised many with the selection of Antti Tuomisto, 35th overall at the 2019 NHL Draft. The Finnish blue-liner was highly regarded by those who closely watched his draft year. Hakan Andersson, the Director of European Scouting for the Red Wings, even noted on draft day how Tyler Wright, now of Edmonton, had a “crush” of the rangy, reliable defenseman.

One of the downsides to the pick at the time, and still somewhat true to this day, however, is the uncertainty of where Tuomisto will be playing his hockey in 2020-21. Tuomisto plans to play college hockey in North America, rather than turn pro with Assat in the top Finnish pro league.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea — Tuomisto playing college hockey is a good thing. Assat remains one of the worst teams in the SM-Liiga, and a quicker transition to the smaller ice surface makes sense for a player with his abilities. But a lack of commitment meant he had to stay in junior hockey for another year. Just like on this side of the pond, signing a pro contract anywhere negates NCAA eligibility.

So Tuomisto has been playing with Assat U20 this season, in a league that simply does not pose a great challenge for him. He’s logging massive minutes in a top-pair role. The lowest amount of ice time he has played in a single game this season is 21:52. His stat-lines for November can be seen below:

Development wise, playing against inferior competition is not ideal. Tuomisto belongs in a more competitive environment. Luckily, that could be on the horizon. Towards the end of November, Tuomisto posted photos on his Instagram story of his visits to the University of Denver and the University of Minnesota Duluth. Both are high-end, Division I programs in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC).

All this wait may be worth it if Tuomisto landed an offer from either one of these schools. The last three national championships have been won by either Denver or Minnesota Duluth, with Minnesota Duluth currently standing as reigning back-to-back national champions.

Hopefully we will see a commitment soon. If Tuomisto chooses one of the two aforementioned schools, his development for the next few years will be in great hands.

Rasmussen hurt

Michael Rasmussen’s journey over the last few years has been an interesting one. From being taken with a top ten pick in 2017, to obliterating the WHL playoffs, to struggling as a first year pro, the Vancouver, BC, native is taking a step back and developing in the AHL for the time being. The flawed NHL-CHL agreement forced Detroit management to rush him in a year, but now, they have options. Some time with the Griffins can help ease a transition back to center while he refines the other parts of his game.

The dynamic elements in Rasmussen’s game are starting to show. That is the biggest point of emphasis in his development right now — create more at even strength. From my personal viewings, he has looked more comfortable as the lead puck carrier through the neutral zone, although, he could lighten up on his grip. Plays like this still leave optimism that there is a top-6 forward somewhere in there:

Through ten games, the big man has registered two goals and nine points. Unfortunately, two separate injuries have limited his availability. There was a five game period that he missed, followed by a return for four games, and he has not played in a game since. Rasmussen’s last appearance came on Nov. 12 in a matchup with the Cleveland Monsters.

Battling two separate injuries is not good news, especially seeing as he was well on track to return to the NHL. Hopefully he’ll return sooner, rather than later.

Setkov loaned to Allsvenskan

Malte Setkov’s run in the SHL this season came to an end in early November. After going pointless in 16 games with Malmo, the Redhawks opted to loan Setkov to Kristianstads of the Allsvenskan. This isn’t the first time Setkov has been demoted by his SHL club. The same thing happened last season, however, that came much later in the year. The loan this time around comes with a reassignment for the remainder of the season.

The 6’7” behemoth of a player will be back in the top league in due time. He signed a two-year extension with Malmo back in September, so he has at least one more year to stick in their lineup.

Through seven games with Kristianstads in the month of November, Setkov has registered no goals and two assists.

Notes

  • Vili Saarijarvi was dealt in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes for goaltender Eric Comrie. Drafted in 2015, Saarijarvi was unable to adjust to the speed of the AHL. However, he still owns immense talent. A change of scenery could do him well. We here at WingsNation wish him nothing but the best.
  • Kirill Tyutyayev returned from a lengthy injury that kept him off the ice for the first two months of the season. After just six games he earned a promotion to the VHL and it looks like he’ll be staying.
  • Jared McIsaac also made his season debut. However, the Halifax D-man only appeared in one game before heading off to Canada’s World Junior camp.
  • Filip Zadina had a big month with the Griffins, which prompted his call-up. In ten games over November, the Czech sniper potted five goals and nine points.

Griffins notebook: Seider impresses with defense, faceoff win and Zadina scores creative goal

  • Elmer Soderblom played in two SHL games with Frolunda’s mens team. He played 2:06 and 9:03, respectively, but the experience is still valuable nonetheless. Some pro experience will go a long way in an inevitable loan to the Allsvenskan at some point this season or next.

November Statistics

All the statistics below are from games played in November. This section only includes regular season stats, so no tournament numbers are included. To keep track of each prospect’s season on a game-by-game basis, make sure to check out the Red Wings Prospect Master Schedule spreadsheet:

Red Wing Prospect Master Schedule for the 2019-20 Season

Skaters

PLAYER LEAGUE GP G A P
JOHN ADAMS NCAA 0 0 0 0
SETH BARTON NCAA 6 0 2 2
JONATAN BERGGREN SHL 7 2 2 4
GUSTAV BERGLUND SUPERELIT 7 0 2 2
ALBIN GREWE SHL 4 0 0 0
ALBIN GREWE SUPERELIT 1 0 1 1
JOE HICKETTS AHL 7 0 4 4
PATRICK HOLWAY NCAA 0 0 0 0
ALBERT JOHANSSON SHL 7 0 1 1
ALEXANDER KADEYKIN KHL 10 3 3 6
OLIWER KASKI AHL 11 0 2 2
OTTO KIVENMAKI LIIGA 9 0 3 3
KASPER KOTKANSALO NCAA 10 0 1 1
RYAN KUFFNER AHL 11 2 0 2
GUSTAV LINDSTROM AHL 14 0 4 4
ROBERT MASTROSIMONE NCAA 10 0 4 4
JARED MCISAAC QMJHL 1 0 1 1
COOPER MOORE BCHL 9 3 4 7
CHASE PEARSON AHL 14 3 2 5
RYAN O’REILLY USHL 10 5 6 11
ETHAN PHILLIPS NCAA 10 1 1 2
MICHAEL RASMUSSEN AHL 4 0 2 2
MORITZ SEIDER AHL 14 1 7 8
Malte Setkov SHL 1 0 0 0
MALTE SETKOV Allsvenskan 7 0 2 2
GIVANI SMITH AHL 7 1 2 3
Elmer Soderblom SHL 2 0 0 0
ELMER SODERBLOM SUPERELIT 5 6 7 13
EVGENY SVECHNIKOV AHL 11 2 1 3
ANTTI TUOMISTO JR. A SM-LIIGA 6 3 3 6
DOMINIC TURGEON AHL 14 4 1 5
Kirill Tyutyayev VHL 5 0 2 2
KIRILL TYUTYAYEV MHL 6 2 5 7
JOSEPH VELENO AHL 14 1 5 6
FILIP ZADINA AHL 10 5 4 9

Goaltenders

PLAYER LEAGUE GP GAA S% RECORD
VICTOR BRATTSTROM ALLSVENSKAN 9 1.93 .922 6-3-0
JESPER ELIASSON ALLSVENSKAN 2 2.57 .911 0-2-0
KADEN FULCHER ECHL 0 0-0-0
CARTER GYLANDER AJHL 5 1.82 .922 4-1-0
FILIP LARSSON AHL 4 5.37 .809 0-4-0
KEITH PETRUZZELLI NCAA 10 2.67 .907 3-6-1
JOREN VAN POTTELBERGHE NLA 6 3.56 .900 4-2-0

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