Iowa Wild- Alex Tuch

Alex Tuch, Syracuse NY, is a right wing/center and was drafted in the 1st round by the Minnesota Wild. At six foot four his size alone makes it easier to protect the puck, he towers over other players and it makes for an impressive forcheck. Tuch spend two years at Boston College and this is his first season with the Iowa Wild. I got to talk with him after the Moose vs Wild game in Grand Forks ND on October 7 2016.

When making the decision to sign this year he said he wanted to take the next step and wanted to work on his development as a hockey player. Boston College is also upholding his scholarship for the next five years, Tuch has every intention on finishing his degree. Even though he was pretty solid in his decision to leave and start his professional career he misses the college and the people. Tuch said that his favorite part of the wild is the fans, being in the state of hockey. They have a large following at Boston but nothing too crazy but nothing compared to Minnesota. “It’s defiantly a special place to play and a great organization all around.” He wants to work on his game away from the puck defensively, puck management through the neutral zone. When talking about who he models his game after he said Corey Perry. Tuch went through the National Team development program, Ann Arbor, was incredible. The biggest thing that helped him was the strength coach, Darryl Nelson, turned him into a leaner, stronger player with a better base on the ice. Tuch also believes that the military off ice discipline aspect really helped, along with moving away from home. The organization as a whole was just a great place to develop.

Manitoba Moose-Jack Roslovic

Columbus, OH native Jack Roslovic  was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1st round in 2015. A center and right wing, he has played in multiple leagues over the years.Jack scored 52 points during his two years  in 59 USHL games with the USA National Team Development Program.

Even though he is only 19 Roslovic plays a very physical game with an offensive edge and has great foot speed.

Currently playing for the Manitoba Moose, I had the opportunity to watch him play and get to talk with him after the game.

When asking why he decided to sign this year instead of returning to Miami University. He thought it was the best for his development and that the Jets could do wonders for his career.

Over the summer, Roslovic worked on getting bigger, faster and stronger. I asked him what he thinks he needs to work on to make it to the next level, he said he just needs to work the systems and listen to the coaching staff.

We also talked briefly about his time at Oxford and what he would miss most, the guys and the brotherhood he felt when he was there.

I asked him what player past or present that he models his game after and his response was no one. He studies as many players as he can so that he can combine parts of their game and develop his own style.

Three thoughts on the Opening game against Manitoba

Three thoughts from the men’s hockey game.

 

  • Cam Johnson, looked great. Seems solid in the crease and doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of rust to shake off before season opener on Friday against Canisius. Tomek seemed a little out of place and stiff on Saturday, but he hasn’t had much game play in the last two years. Hrynkiw looked smooth and didn’t seem to have a whole lot of issues following the puck, even with a mess of players crowding the lane. I am interested in seeing who will most likely will spend more time dressing as the backup

 

  • The lines have been on everyone’s mind since the end of the year when Caggiula announced that he would not be returning this season. First line looked good with Gersich, Jost and Boeser, but I think that Poganski and Janatuinen will soon be spending time playing with Boeser on the same line. 2nd line Janatuinen, Gardner and Poganski looked good together, they flowed well and didn’t seem to have issues finding each other. Hoff, Simonson and Wilkie will most likely stay together on the third.  On the fourth line Olson, Bowen and Yon are most likely staying together unless one makes a dramatic change or injuries occur.

 

  •          The Fighting Hawks looked solid in general. They seemed slow for most of the first period, maybe it is just first game jitters? I mean the Fighting Hawks have a lot of pressure on them coming off of winning a national championship and a lot of critics saying that the team is not as solid after losing most of the upper-class men to professional contracts. The leadership team (Ausmus, Poolman, Boeser and Poganski) have some things to overcome but I think they are just the group of men to lead the team on to another playoff run.

Another Reason to Love Hockey: The Future

One reason I absolutely love hockey is because of how prospects develop. Let me use this entry to showcase that point.

Hockey is a unique animal when it comes to drafts. Most players are drafted when they are 18 or 19. A tiny fraction play in the NHL the year after they are drafted. Most head off to college, or return to their respective clubs be they junior or international. While there they are developing and improving daily and trying to earn a contract.

Earn a contract? That is right. All hockey prospects have to earn a contract based on skills and performance after being drafted. If not, and your rights with the team run out, you may find yourself out of a chance to ever play NHL hockey. Plenty of first rounders go unsigned and never see the NHL. For instance, from the 2007 NHL Draft, five first rounders have never played a single NHL contest. Three more have played 20 or less games. This goes to show that drafting is an inexact science. Imagine if Edmonton picked P.K Subban that year instead of Alex Plante in the first round. Plante played 10 games in the NHL and Subban has played 434 games so far. Subban was picked  43rd by Montreal. Plante was picked 15th by Edmonton.

Let’s also discuss what happens for players who are not drafted. Plenty still get a chance to play. Torey Krug went from Michigan State to earning a pro contract with the Bruins. Recently Drake Caggiula and Troy Stecher have earned chances to play at the next level with the Oilers and Canucks.

All of this shows that the draft is an imperfect art. Just because you are drafted high does not mean you will succeed. On the other hand, those that go undrafted often have better careers than some players picked in the first round of both of their draft years.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/nhl2007e.html

Reasons to Love Hockey:Reboot

Sorry Guys, Life happens and I haven’t been able to be post as quickly as I normally would.

Today there are less than 100 days left till the puck drops at the Shark tank against the LA kings. This post is not really a reason more just a review of what has happened in the last two weeks.

We had some crazy trades and an amazing first day of free agency.   The San Jose Sharks have signed four players so far and on the first day. David Schlemko is one of the two high profile players that SJ picked up. I would have to say the Schlemko is going to be a good addition to the team. I am interested to see how this plays out. He has a tendancy to either be really good or really bad, either way, he will be a good replacement for Roman Polak. Which I personally feel was a major liability for the Sharks on defense this past season. Mikkel Boedker, I am not so sure how I feel about him, it honestly will depend on what line they end up placing him on. I think he might play well with a player like Donskoi and Hertl, but only time will tell. The two re-signs are Aaron Dell(G) and Micheal Haley (C). I am looking forward to see what Haley does this season. I think it was smart to bring him back.

Now Dell, I have been watching this player for six years and I have a good feeling about this upcoming season from him. I am was ecstatic when I saw that SJ resigned him, like literally jumped up and down (sorry downstairs neighbors), I think he will be a great backup option to Jones. They have very similar playing styles and I believe Dell has earned his shot to play on NHL ice. I know a lot of you are thinking about how untested he is on a professional rink, but you will never know how well any player can handle the pressure of the “big” time, with over 6,500 minutes of playing time between the ECHL,CHL and AHL, It is in my honest thoughts that he can handle it and I am really looking forward to seeing were it all heads for him.

Free Agency Thoughts

Here are some thoughts on the first few days of free agency.

1.Tampa Bay has to be the early Cup favorite for this season. With Headman and Stamkos locked up long term, the sky is the limit for that team. Look for one of Tampa’s goalies to be traded or picked by Las Vegas in the expansion draft next season. The Bolts will have some more cap issues, however they are trying to win it all now. They have come so close within the last two years that General Manager Steve Yzerman is doing everything he can to win it all now while not mortgaging the future.

2. Kudos to Aaron Dell. The talented man of few words signed a two year pact to remain with the Sharks.Dell will have a chance to become the full time backup with the team.He has done nothing but earn everything he has ever gained in pro hockey. He went undrafted and won a CHL championship.Then he played well in Utah in the ECHL. After that he went to and from the AHL and ECHL as needed. Last year he was the full time starter for the San Jose Barracuda. Now Dell, who has done nothing but produce at every level, will have the chance to be the backup and play 15-20 games while Martin Jones plays the balance for the Sharks.

3.The Capitals did well signing Brad Malone. The former UND standout will probably serve as a depth center at Hershey. He has constantly shown his grit and earned everything he has gained. A few years ago he carved out time as a fourth line center in Carolina. Hershey gains an AHL first liner that can generate offense and help younger players like Jakub Vrana progress and develop into their full potential. Do not be surprised to see Malone earning some time on the Capitals’ fourth line throughout the year.

A lot has happened during free agency. We will publish three thoughts every so often as a way of discussing as much of what has happened as possible. We use General Fanager for contract and stats info unless otherwise noted.

Three Random Thoughts Before Free Agency

With three full days remaining until free agency, here are a few thoughts about some recent moves and the draft. Free agency itself will be an exciting time trying to figure out where star players like Steven Stamkos and Kyle Okposo will sign.

  1. Andrew Shaw should not carry a cap hit higher than Brendan Gallagher. While Shaw plays a great two way game, he does not produce offensively like Gallagher does. Shaw has never broken 40 points in any of his NHL seasons. Gallagher has scored 40 or more points the past three years. Last year, Brendan had 40 points in 53 games played. I understand that Shaw is worth a fair amount of money. He does an excellent job screening goalies,winning puck battles and killing penalties. Gallagher plays tougher minutes not paired with a linemate like Johnathan Toews than Shaw does and is worth more points per game than Shaw is. The Habs have the cap room however, this is a contract that will directly impact their future.How much remains to be seen. If this was a one or two year deal,it would make more sense to me.Six is too many years for Shaw.
  2. Well done Arizona Coyotes.The team was able to sign backup extraordinaire Louis Domingue to a two year pact.For just over one million dollars for two years the Coyotes have a strong goalie that can start for periods of time. Domingue won 15 games last year. Although he did not finish with a winning record (15-18-4), he saved over 91 percent of shots faced and kept the Coyotes in a lot of games they should not have been in at all. Domingue set himself up to be the starter next season if Mike Smith is selected in the Las Vegas Expansion Draft.
  3. My Stamkos prediction? Well, although Detroit traded the contract of Pavel Datsyuk for more cap room, and other teams want to talk to him, Stamkos will end up back with the Lightning. Tampa Bay does not have to offer him as much as the other teams courting him. Florida has no personal income tax. Beyond that, the Lightning are at the beginning of a potential dynasty. This team was two games away from another Stanley Cup in 2015. If the team can find a way to keep Victor Hedman it has the potential to make the Stanley Cup Finals every season over the next four to five years. Is that true of Buffalo? No, that squad is good but not there quite yet. Is that true of Detroit? Maybe, but what happens if Mrazek does not have another stellar year and Zetterberg is injured again? Is that true of Toronto? No, that squad will be at that level if everything goes right in four to five years. The Lighting made it to the Eastern Conference Final without a lot of help from Stamkos. He was injured. This squad has the depth to win now. None of his rumored suitors have what they do.

 

Links:http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=116081

http://www.generalfanager.com/players/144

http://www.generalfanager.com/players/531

http://www.generalfanager.com/teams/arizona-coyotes

 

 

 

Reasons to Love Hockey:108-The Fans

Today, with the NHL Draft now finished, it is a good time to talk about another reason why I love hockey. The fans. Hockey fans are some of the most intelligent, and passionate people I know. We are always looking for more knowledge. No matter your team you always want to learn more. When I first really started following hockey around the time I had decided to go to North Dakota, I saw the Stanley Cup between New Jersey and Los Angeles. It was awesome. Ever since then, I  have wanted to learn more about different teams,players,strategies,and so many other things from all around the world. I was incredibly lucky to go to college at UND. Seeing Derek Forbort’s point shot to tie the game against Alaska Anchorage with under one minute to play in the third period was my first great in person hockey moment. The Ralph Englestad Arena shook even louder than it did when Austin Poganski sent 12,000 fans home happy against Duluth with his game winning penalty shot in overtime.

Fans,today’s question is what was  your first hockey moment? It can be in person viewing, or watching on tv. Let us know in the comments.

Reasons to Love Hockey:109

Only 109 days until the San Jose Sharks try for their first Stanley Cup once again. Here is another reason why we love hockey.

The underdog stories!

Every year we see stories like Joe Pavelski lighting up the league. Pavelski is a seventh round draft pick from the University of Wisconsin. No one expected him to do this well. One of the best goalies in NHL history is Ed Belfour. Eddie the Eagle was not drafted and went on to have a great career. This year, two of UND’s best players in Troy Stecher and Drake Caggiula were not drafted. They both signed NHL deals.

UND’s third string goalie alum Tate Maris has won multiple games in the ECHL after not starting a game since his junior hockey days.We think Tate deserves a full time role somewhere in pro hockey this season.

His successor, Matt Hrynkiw won ten games for UND this year and saved their season once Cam Johnson and Matej Tomek could not play due to injury.

Comment below with some of your favorite underdog stories in hockey.The best part is, no one is wrong. The stars shine bright in hockey. Talent arises to the surface in the best players no matter their draft status.