Seeing The Trees Through The Forest

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Seeing The Trees Through The Forest

Post by ol'genfan on Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:56 pm

As a fan of junior hockey, and now having watched the Generals over three decades, I wanted to comment on the various things I have been reading in this forum.

I believe as fans, we sometimes cannot see the “trees through the forest” so to speak, and wanted to offer my observation with this year’s team. Many have commented if the team should be “sellers or buyers”, but I would like to look at the various positions individually before suggesting my opinion.

Goalies – For the GENS to have two experienced goalies at 19 and 18 is a good thing on a Junior team. However, neither goalies are truly a game changer but to win a championship, you need a goalie to steal you games. Altshuller has been protected with good offensive teams over his tenure here and Appleby is under developed having played in the backup role and the injury this year. Good goalies but not great goalies, not sure the present team can protect them during play-off hockey.

Defence – GENS defence maybe more defensive minded then past years (plus coaches system), however they are neither as big nor as experienced as you need to be to compete for a championship. I like Brown as a leader but he cannot shoulder the load as a big man with big minutes, nor is a 16 old MVS or Carlisle or Kuronen right now capable to step up to play when the going gets tough. Therefore, the Gens have 2 bigger experienced defensemen in Brown and Sullie, when you need at least 4 for a championship. Carlisle and Petch are a #5 – 7 on a championship team. The other 2 kids are just that, kids with a future, just not now.

Forwards – GENS have three top players but they have the best all round player in the OHL in Laughton, and I believe he is the single most on-ice reason on why the team is where it is. He controls both ends of the rink and can skate to dictate pace of play, and that is a rare thing even in junior. I believe that MDC is a great young player but still needs others to make things happen, since he does not have an edgy grit right now to his play he cannot impact the game to the degree the team needs. Cassels is the distant third of the trio, I would say that he is good skill wise, but for me, lacks the needed consistent urgency needed to reach the levels of MDC or Laughton.

Forwards – GENS next layer of depth upfront would be Sterk, Latour, Smith Dundas, Hughes, Wallace. This is based on experience and the roles that are needed to compete for a championship. Dividing it this way has nothing against the remaining unmentioned younger players but we are talking about a championship here. The remaining 16 – 17 yr. old rookies on the team will not get you there, so we talk about the 18 – 20 yr. olds, which are needed to win. None of them is drafted, therefore what do you say, do you have the depth with your 2nd tier forwards to win. Sterk is a small offensive junior forward but more of a perimeter player and unproven in play-off hockey, with Latour/Wallace/Hughes you get some small forward energy with ok finish with Latour. Wallace at 18 and Hughes at 20 are ok but ordinary in junior standards. As for Smith and Dundas, you have size and toughness as good role players, which is needed. They are a wash for me since Smith isn’t as good as he has played to date and Dundas isn’t as bad as he has played to date but will that get you to the Memorial Cup alone with your top nine forwards?

If the GENS are buyers, I would suggest it will be because of the weakness of the eastern division. As a fan, I would like to see them buying, and the one key area would be goal, but not sure, a true upgrade is available. Therefore, you would need to bolster your defence with bigger experienced defencemen like a Bell (but gone to London) so Carrick, Blujis, Mcivor, and Mercer maybe. Also, the need for at least two or three forwards upfront with some size, speed and finish like Faksa, Rychel, Sandlack, Kea and so on. I guess the more I type, the more I think that the GENS should sell because I don’t think management has the assets for 4- 5 key deals to get you there.

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Re: Seeing The Trees Through The Forest

Post by WILLSPEN1966 on Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:19 pm

ol'genfan wrote:As a fan of junior hockey, and now having watched the Generals over three decades, I wanted to comment on the various things I have been reading in this forum.

I believe as fans, we sometimes cannot see the “trees through the forest” so to speak, and wanted to offer my observation with this year’s team. Many have commented if the team should be “sellers or buyers”, but I would like to look at the various positions individually before suggesting my opinion.

Goalies – For the GENS to have two experienced goalies at 19 and 18 is a good thing on a Junior team. However, neither goalies are truly a game changer but to win a championship, you need a goalie to steal you games. Altshuller has been protected with good offensive teams over his tenure here and Appleby is under developed having played in the backup role and the injury this year. Good goalies but not great goalies, not sure the present team can protect them during play-off hockey.

Defence – GENS defence maybe more defensive minded then past years (plus coaches system), however they are neither as big nor as experienced as you need to be to compete for a championship. I like Brown as a leader but he cannot shoulder the load as a big man with big minutes, nor is a 16 old MVS or Carlisle or Kuronen right now capable to step up to play when the going gets tough. Therefore, the Gens have 2 bigger experienced defensemen in Brown and Sullie, when you need at least 4 for a championship. Carlisle and Petch are a #5 – 7 on a championship team.  The other 2 kids are just that, kids with a future, just not now.

Forwards – GENS have three top players but they have the best all round player in the OHL in Laughton, and I believe he is the single most on-ice reason on why the team is where it is. He controls both ends of the rink and can skate to dictate pace of play, and that is a rare thing even in junior. I believe that MDC is a great young player but still needs others to make things happen, since he does not have an edgy grit right now to his play he cannot impact the game to the degree the team needs.  Cassels is the distant third of the trio, I would say that he is good skill wise, but for me, lacks the needed consistent urgency needed to reach the levels of MDC or Laughton.

Forwards – GENS next layer of depth upfront would be Sterk, Latour, Smith Dundas, Hughes, Wallace. This is based on experience and the roles that are needed to compete for a championship. Dividing it this way has nothing against the remaining unmentioned younger players but we are talking about a championship here. The remaining 16 – 17 yr. old rookies on the team will not get you there, so we talk about the 18 – 20 yr. olds, which are needed to win. None of them is drafted, therefore what do you say, do you have the depth with your 2nd tier forwards to win. Sterk is a small offensive junior forward but more of a perimeter player and unproven in play-off hockey, with Latour/Wallace/Hughes you get some small forward energy with ok finish with Latour. Wallace at 18 and Hughes at 20 are ok but ordinary in junior standards. As for Smith and Dundas, you have size and toughness as good role players, which is needed. They are a wash for me since Smith isn’t as good as he has played to date and Dundas isn’t as bad as he has played to date but will that get you to the Memorial Cup alone with your top nine forwards?

If the GENS are buyers, I would suggest it will be because of the weakness of the eastern division. As a fan, I would like to see them buying, and the one key area would be goal, but not sure, a true upgrade is available. Therefore, you would need to bolster your defence with bigger experienced defencemen like a Bell (but gone to London) so Carrick, Blujis, Mcivor, and Mercer maybe. Also, the need for at least two or three forwards upfront with some size, speed and finish like Faksa, Rychel, Sandlack, Kea and so on. I guess the more I type, the more I think that the GENS should sell because I don’t think management has the assets for 4- 5 key deals to get you there.
I like Altshuller as the number one goalie. He's one of the leagues best. The defence is small and won't be able to handle the banging and crashing of the playoffs. The forwards again are small, if you shut down Laughton line then there isn't much after that. I believe this team is as good as it is because of the have boughten into what Smith is selling them as a coach. We've had better teams recently and done a lot worse. Size and depth are this teams weakness
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Re: Seeing The Trees Through The Forest

Post by jaycro on Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:44 pm

Ol'genfan...an excellent summary of the Gens' team composition this year. Good enough to win a round or two, but what's the point. I ,too, have watched the Gens since the late 1960s and I agree with everything you said which is why I concur with your conclusion to sell this year. Not sell the farm, not the young'uns, just our older, elite players. Moving Laughton, Suellentrop and Altschuller should get the Gens two or three younger 1st and 2nd line players and enough picks to have strong drafts by picking up 2-3 second rounders next year and the year after. I like Smith's systems, the players' work ethic and their apparent camaraderie or cohesiveness but lets not go into a gun battle with knives.]

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Re: Seeing The Trees Through The Forest

Post by oshgens2k2 on Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:38 pm

IMO we have tried that before with the Tavares deal. That didn't pan out for the club. I disagree strongly about altshuller. We haven't had a goalie like him in a long time. I've been watching the generals for a long time too and as far back as I remember I don't remember us being top 3 in goals against, powerplay and penalty kill. These three categories usually mean you are a pretty strong team. Rumours that faksa on way so offense will be added to. Let's go get it this year and let the west beat each other up.

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Re: Seeing The Trees Through The Forest

Post by jaycro on Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:19 pm

Faksa would help depending on the cost. They still need at least one big stay-at-home defenceman (again, at what cost?) to seriously compete. Those players don't/won't come cheap.

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Re: Seeing The Trees Through The Forest

Post by Macker88 on Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:43 pm

ol'genfan, I most definitely enjoyed reading your breakdown, I'm also gonna take a stab at it in the way you broke it down. I will have to say though I do agree with most things you've mentioned other then the goaltending. Altshuller is arguably the best goalie in the league. Yes Jake Paterson was selected to the World Junior team, but in my opinion he's not even the best goalie on Saginaw. Spencer Martin, Oscar Dansk, Matt Murray & Altshuller are in my opinion the best 4 goalies in the league.

Goalies - In my opinion we are set in net for the next few years. I think Daniel Altshuller is among the best goalies in the CHL and definitely a top 3 goalie in the OHL if not the best. This kid is a workhorse and doesn't seem to let it effect him. He's a money goalie, as he came up huge for the Generals in the Playoffs last season. Appleby often gets over looked because he plays sparingly, this kid is a big, athletic goalie who will have success in the OHL next year as a full time starter. Are there question marks with him? Yes of course as he has not been a full time starter, but that can be said of any goalie taking over the starting role on any club.

Defense - I think are D-Core is good, but not great and could definitely use a few upgrades. I think Josh Brown is a top pairing defensive defenceman who can contribute points here and there. What I don't like about Brown is he is the one constantly fighting on this years Generals squad. I respect his willingness to fight an stick up for teammates, but he's far to valuable to this team to be in the box for 5-10 minutes at a time. Suellentrop has been a rock since the day he got to Oshawa and he's a top 4 guy on any team. After those two, well Carlisle has been a pleasant surprise, his offense has really come around, but I still rank him as a 5 or 6 on a Cup contender. Petschenig has also really improved, he's physical and improved his skating, but again a guy I see as a 5 or a 6 on a top team. Kuronen is a good all around defensemen, but I find he telegraphs his passes way to much. He's another guy who is a 5 or 6 for me. Mitchell Vande Sompel has a great upside, he's a good skater, good offensively, but fairly weak defensively and not overly physical or strong. He's not going to do well playing similar minutes come playoff time. To me he's also a 5 or 6 at this point of his career. I think for the Generals to have a deep playoff run they're going to need to add two defensemen. A player like Trevor Carrick I think would be a great pick up as he plays in all situations. An then maybe a big guy like Kurtis MacDermid out of Owen Sound.

Offensively - I too think we have the best all around player in the OHL in Laughton. Dal Colle is a top 5 NHL pick, he's a big body who has great hands and is a pretty solid skater for his size. As he grows more into his frame and his skating improves, this kid is going to be an absolute beast of a hockey player. Cole Cassels has improved a lot this season, but I wouldn't consider him elite. He would be a 2nd line, 2nd power play guy on a top mem cup contender. Bradley Latour and Hunter Smith have been nice surprises. Both players offensive game has really popped up this year, but both are 3rd line at best players on a serious contender. Sterk, he's a great play making center, but come playoff time it will be interesting to see if he can handle the grind. Either way I think he will still be an asset on the power play. Dundas really needs to get his game together if he wants to be effective, his game when he's on, is exactly what the Gens need, but when his games off, its horrendous. One of Joe Manchurek, Jacob Busch or Sam Harding is really going to need to step come playoffs as well. These kids are all solid players going forward, but at this point they're fringe 3rd and 4th line OHLers. Hughes is good in the faceoff dot, reliable defensively and on the PK, but doesn't offer much as an OA. I think and upgrade over him would be needed if we want to seriously contend. OA and Import slots needed to be fully taken advantage of if you want to win a Mem Cup.

I think we could use a top 6 forward, an OA 3rd line winger, who has some offense and grit. An a 4th line guy who can play hockey but will drop the mits.

My issue is, do we have enough in the bank to Acquire a top 6 forward, a top 4 D and a depth player. As at least 3 of the 5 things i mentioned need to be addressed for sure. A depth defensemen and a fighter are more wants then needs.

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Re: Seeing The Trees Through The Forest

Post by jaycro on Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:53 pm

Macker88... I have got to stop agreeing with you on every post you make. I like the cut of your jib!

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Re: Seeing The Trees Through The Forest

Post by nerfherder on Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:37 am

Saw this on HFboards. Not sure it's worth much. Don't think we have the assets or want.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrontenacSens
Holy! I wonder what the deal was with Koekkoek. Where does he go now?
i heard he ll go to oshawa ,,,,,oshawa likley getting biggs back too ........vail to london


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Re: Seeing The Trees Through The Forest

Post by Macker88 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:11 am

Those HFboards usually aren't to reliable, but lots of the time there is some tidbit of truth to the rumors.

Slater Koekkoek, would be a great pickup for the Generals, and would be the exact fit they need. His injury history really scares me though, as with the exception of his rookie year in Peterborough, he has never played a full OHL season. It's important to note Twohey was not the GM who drafted Koekkoek as some have mentioned. Twohey was fired before the draft.

Brady Vail to London definitely makes sense, he's a prototypical Hunter player. He has 30 points in 26 games this season and would definitely help strengthens London's depth. He's a higher end player, but will likely come cheaper then the likes of a Ryan Hartman or Radek Faksa.

As for Tyler Biggs, the Marlies are stacked with forwards up front. Especially forwards who play a similar game as Biggs. I can make a case for him coming back and a case for him staying. I saw him play this past weekend vs Rochester and he actually got decent ice and scored a goal. He's been getting some PK time lately, but has mainly been centering the 4th line with Brad Staubitz and Jamie Devane or playing the Wing with Staubitz and Brad Ross centering them. He hasn't been a healthy scratch this season, but he also only plays about 6-7 minutes a game. I think Steve Spott is trying to give him opportunity in different situations to see if he's worth keeping for the rest of the season or if it would be smart to send him back to Oshawa for more seasoning. A few weeks ago I saw it as 60/40 in favor of the Marlies keeping him, at this point I see it as 60/40 for him heading back to Oshawa.

If Biggs was to come back and Koekkoek was acquired for non roster players here is the projected lineup.

Dal Colle - Laughton - Cassels
Biggs - Sterk - Latour
Dundas - Hughes - Smith
Manchurek - Harding - Wallace
X's Mcdade, Busch, Hore

Koekkoek - Brown
Suellentrop - Petschenig
Carlisle - Kuronen
Vande Sompel
X's Desrocher

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