Posts Tagged ‘Nashville Predators’

February was supposed to be moving month for the Cyclones. It was a month that would see them play 12 games in total, 10 of which would be at home. The Boys started the month 2 games above .500 (19-17-7) and battling for a playoff position and despite Their struggles at home this season there was no reason to think the Boys wouldn’t be making a move up the rankings. It wasn’t to be however as the Cyclones would post a .500 (5-5-2) for the month and finish right where they started, 2 games above .500 (24-22-9).

It all started innocently enough with an OT loss to South Carolina. It was a game the Cyclones probably should have won after leading 2-1 into the later stages of the 3rd period but take 5 of a possible 6 points from the South Carolina was a good sign. The wheels came off the bus in the next 2 games against Wheeling. The Nailers handed the Cyclones a 6-3 loss followed by a 6-3 loss. Then came the trades…several of them.

We’ll dive into the trades a little later but if you’re keeping score at home here is how it all went down. On February 7th the Cyclones acquired Paul McIlveen from Greenville for Chris Clackson. Then, not but 3 days later on the 10th, the Cyclones sent Sam D’Agostino and Christiaan Minella to Wheeling for Casey Pierro-Zabotel. Before the ink could even dry on the Pierro-Zabotel deal, Skalde acquired Samson Mahbod and Dan Eves from South Carolina in return for Ryan Del Monte. Things settled down until the end of the month when the Cyclones were required to send Paul McIlveen to Utah to complete the “future considerations” portion of the trade that brought Dylan Hunter to Cincinnati, er Milwaukee as the case may be (definitely more on this one later).

After the player swaps the over all play picked up and the Good Guys went 5-3-1 over the remaining 9 games. The can’t be considered a disappointment by any means, but it was a month that saw the ‘Clones leave some points on the table, as well as give some up to Division rivals like Kalamazoo.

And now on to the trades…

Clackson for McIlveen This was a big upgrade for the Cyclones. Clackson has a gritty, chippy nature to his game but in all honesty that’s about all he has. He isn’t a skilled offensive player and he’s average in his own zone. Basically, he’s that type of player Skalde already has a lot of…a grinder. McIlveen brought some more speed and offensive skill to the Cyclones. He is also a responsible defensively.

D’Agostino and Minella for Pierro-ZabotelThis trade wasn’t very popular as both D’Agostino and Minella young, solid ECHL level players, but fan favorites as well. D’Agostino is one of the quicker players the team has seen in a while and Minella brings energy and a natural physicality to his game. It was enjoyable to watch their games grow as the season progressed. The downside with the two is that their usage is limited. Neither Sam nor Christiaan saw extended power play or penalty kill time. This made the top 5 forwards see a lot of minutes and could have contributed to some the break downs that lead to late goals. Enter Pierro-Zabotel. Casey has the potential to be a game changing player. He brings plenty of offensive skill to the Squad, but more importantly, is proving to be responsible defensively. There were rumors out of Wheeling questioning his work ethic, but we haven’t seen anything in his game to raise any questions of this sort. Casey is strong on face offs and is capable of playing power play penalty kill minutes. Basically he adds quality and skill to the Cyclones cadre of forwards. Sam and Christiaan could have made for good building blocks for next season and it has disappointing to see them go, but solid ECHL level roll players like Christiaan and Sam aren’t that hard to find in the off season while players of Casey’s quality are and in the culture of the ECHL where contracts for players and coaches are typically 1 year deals, there is a lot of pressure to win now. There is no doubt the Cyclones are a better team with Casey on the Squad. We wish Sam and Christiaan the best of luck wherever their careers land them. Thanks for all your hardwork guys.

Ryan Del Monte for Samson Mahbod and Dan EvesAfter making the 2 for 1 deal for Pierro-Zabotel, and with a few of the guys a little nicked up, Skalde found his bench a little on the short side so in a move that was slightly reminiscent of sending Voakes (who was injured for much of the year) out West for Mathieu Aubin, Skalde stuck a deal with South Carolina sending Del Monte to the Stingrays in return for Dan Eves and Samson Mahbod. In the end this deal benefits the Cyclones pretty well. Mahbod’s fills the void left by the loss of D’Agostino, in fact he’s probably a step faster and has better hands. Mahbod Averaged more than a point per year through 5 seasons of play in the QMJHL. He’s bounced around in his first pro year, but has shown signs of what his potential could be putting up 20 points in 32 games. Eves brings in size and energy to replace what was lost when Minella was dealt. Eves is a 3rd year pro who had break out year last season for Trenton putting up 45 points in 59 games but has struggled to reach that pace this season. We were big fans of Del Monte’s game here on CycWords but let’s face it, he saw limited action with the Cyclones due to AHL opportunities and all indications where he would be getting more opportunities at that level. Essentially, the Squad was able to add to decent players for Del Monte who was a question mark on the season, not because of his play on the ice but because we were never sure if he’d be with the Team or in the AHL for a spell.

McIlveen fulfills “future considerations”This is the one that has the fan base screaming, unfortunately it was up to Utah and it could have been a lot worse. Over the summer, the Nashville Predators traded Ian McKenzie to Atlanta for defenseman Grant Lewis. Ok, no big deal there, but it created the need for Nashville/Milwaukee to add a depth forward and Dylan Hunter was the guy they wanted. The catch was Dylan Hunter’s player rights belonged to the Utah Grizzlies so the deal had to be made at the ECHL level. It’s our understanding, here at CycWords, that the Cyclones where basically asked to make the deal by Nashville/Milwaukee. The Cyclones ship Brett Motherwell off to Utah, done deal right? Sorry, Motherwell had all but signed an AHL deal with Bridgeport and Utah knew there was a high likelihood that Motherwell would never see time in a Grizzlies sweater, so they ask to have “future considerations” added to the deal. This is where the proceedings get ugly. From what we’ve been told, the deal stipulated that Utah would get a forward. The player could not be affiliated and the Cyclones could protect 2 of their non-affiliated players. The player that Utah wanted was Mathieu Aubin, luckily he impressed enough in his stint with Lake Erie that they wanted to keep him close and signed him to a deal. The Cyclones probably pushed for a cash buyout ot some point but Utah wouldn’t have it. They also inquired in to Dustin Sproat and Barret Ehgoetz. Skalde knew that Egho probably wouldn’t have reported and felt Sproat was just too important to the Squad so those 2 were protected. Apparently the deal was close to being completed shortly after McIlveen was acquired but Utah balked. Apparently the AHL deal Aubin signed raised some eyebrows and Utah wanted to get verification that Reynolds, Pierce and Robinson were indeed done for the year, feeling that we had put them on long term IR to protect them. In the end, McIlveen was the top performing, unaffiliated forward so that’s who they took.

The whole deal was a mess from the beginning and Skalde feels the deal could lead to some changes to the CBA to create structure to what “future considerations” are to keep things fair for all parties. Here’s the issue at hand; sure Motherwell never played for Utah, but there was a chance that Hunter could have stuck with Milwaukee from the beginning, never seeing time with the Cyclones. If this had been the case, the Cyclones would have still owed Utah a player. How is this a fair deal? As it stands, Hunter has seen limited time with the Cyclones due to assignment in Milwaukee, so how is fair for Utah to expect one of the Teams top forwards in return?

To conclude, it’s our understanding that the deal was created by Nashville/Milwaukee to fill their needs. Also, had the deal gone down a week or so earlier as was expected, McIlveen would have seen only limited action with the Cyclones and his loss wouldn’t seem so bad. Essentially the Cyclones gave up Chris Clackson, who is actually affiliated with Rochester, to fulfill the deal with Utah.

In other news…

The NHL trade deadline has brought another player to the Squad. The Florida Panthers had some dealings with the Washington Capitals and acquired the rights to Jake Hauswirth. Hauswirth is a big kid, 6’5” 205lbs and from what I recall from out games against the Stingrays he skates pretty well and should be a solid edition to the Squad.

Monday, March 7th is Clear Day for the AHL. We’ll have more information on Clear Day in an upcoming post.

The ECHL trade deadline is Friday, March 11th.

-Mike-

 

 

 

 

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We’ve been a little quiet over here at CycWords, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a lot going on. Since our last update, the Team has added several players and made a trade. Elsewhere, NHL camps have started, cuts have been made, with more on the way and with AHL camps starting this coming week, it won’t be too long before we can start to look up the food chain to see who might be falling our way from the affiliates. Here’s a quick rundown:

The Team officially announced the signing of Jonathan Higgins and the return of Doug Krantz. From reading the press release, it appears that Coach Skalde is high on Higgins’ physical play and thinks he’ll adapt well to the pro game. It will be great to have Krantz back on the blue line this season. Doug, who missed out on much of last season due to injuries, has a cannon of a shot and played solid defense while at the same time never hesitating to join the offensive rush.

The Cyclones will continue to be a tough team to play against with the return of Chris Morehouse and the signing of Anthony Iaquinto. Morehouse, who won our “Unsung Hero” award last season, could be described as a professional agitator. He throws players off their game, and is more than willing to engage opponents in affairs of a pugilistic nature should the opportunity arise. He works hard and leaves it all on the ice. In case you need a reminder of what Mr. Morehouse does best, check out this little nugget posted on the Cyclones YouTube page. With the exception of the 08-09 season, the Cyclones have had 2 players bringing a physical element to the Team; Anthony Iaquinto looks to join Morehouse in this department. I’m all for the having these kind of gritty, tough-guy type players on the Squad provided they aren’t liabilities as players. Morehouse proved he can be capable as a player and Iaquinto’s Junior numbers indicate he can contribute as a player and not just as a tough guy.

Coach Skalde has made his first transaction as head coach of the Cyclones in acquiring Dylan Hunter from Utah in return for Brett Motherwell and the dreaded “future considerations.” From a player perspective the deal seems like a wash; the Cyclones give up Motherwell, who spent a chunk of last season in the AHL, for Hunter, who has spent most of his career in the AHL. It’s likely that both players will spent as much time in the AHL as they do in the ECHL this season. The question for the trade is, what will the Cyclones have to give up in order to complete the trade? Will it be a player, cash, or 4 broken sticks and a case of tape? Time will tell. Should Hunter spend any length of time with the Club this season, he should provide an offensive element that was lacking last season.

The Cyclones have agreed to terms with J.C. Sawyer and David Sloane. They guy that I’m excited about here is David Sloane. Sloane is a 2nd year pro who transitioned directly from playing collegiately at Colgate to the AHL and even got a taste of the brass ring when he suited up for an NHL game with the Flyers. Last year, his 1st full season as a pro, saw him split time between the ECHL and AHL. Sloane is a big kid, 6’4″ 220lbs, who should be highly motivated to improve his game and advance his career. The Sawyer signing doesn’t really do anything for me. Sure the guy puts up points, which from the blue line is a bonus for any team, but if you look a little deeper, it looks like he’s a defensive liability. At the ECHL level Sawyer is -34 for his career. Under Chuck Weber the Cyclones were known for playing strong defense, if Coach Skalde subscribes to this theory, it will be interesting to see if Sawyer bring his defensive game up to match his scoring prowess.

Our friends over at LetsgoAmerks.com were kind enough to post Rochester’s training camp roster. Some familiar names include Max Lacoix, Ryan Del Monte, Matt Pierce and Brian O’Hanely. Also on the list is former Wheeling Nailer Tommy Goebel, who I wouldn’t mind seeing don a Cyclones sweater at some point in the season. I haven’t seen any reports of cuts from the Panthers’ training camp yet.

The Nashville Predators have trimmed their training cut roster sending several to Milwaukee. The former Cyclones making their way to Milwaukee are Jeremy Smith and in all likelihood, Chris Muller and Mark Van Guilder.

-Mike-

Leggo my Ehgo: Captain Barret Ehgoetz will be rejoining the Cyclones for a fifth season. Ehgoetz, 29, will be returning for his sixth professional season (prior to joining the Cyclones in 2006, he played for the Utah Grizzlies under then-assistant coach Chuck Weber). In his four seasons with Cincinnati, he has scored 81-152-233 in 271 regular season games (0.86 points per game), and 18-29-47 in 71 postseason games (0.66 ppg). According to cycloneshockey.com, Ehgoetz owns 21 team records, including: career scoring lead (233 points), games played (271), assists (152), shorthanded goals (eight) and shots on goal (696). In his time with the Cyclones, he has been consistently one of the best penalty killers, typically joined on a top PK unit with Scott Reynolds. His veteran presence and Selke-style play will continue to be huge for the Cyclones.

Catching a Predator: For the fourth consecutive season, the Cyclones will remain the ECHL affiliate for the Nashville Predators and Milwaukee Admirals. Last season, the Predators sent one player to Cincinnati (Jeremy Smith), Milwaukee sent four (Mark Van Guilder, Ian McKenzie, Reid Cashman, and Jason Jozsa), and one Cyclones player (Dustin Sproat) was given a PTO for the Admirals. With the move, the Cyclones formally announced their agreement with Montreal had come to an end.

Desjardins bids les Canadiens adieu: After four years as a member of the Montreal system, Cedrick Desjardins was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for goaltender Karri Ramo. According to Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette, the Habs traded the 24 year old netminder as a “favor” to him. Ramo is currently playing for the KHL’s Omsk, so Kelly Cup Co-MVP Robert Mayer will likely make the jump to Hamilton as Curtis Sanford’s backup. With the Lightning organization, he rejoins former Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher (Tampa head coach), and former Bulldogs GM Julien BriesBois (Norfolk GM).

Who’s in Goal? As of now, Nashville has five goaltenders professionally active in their system, which once again allows them to place a goaltender in Cincinnati. Pekka Rinne’s position as Preds starter is the only certainty. Unless they sign a formidable NHL backup, that leaves the backup position to a fight between Mark Dekanich, Chet Pickard, and new signee Anders Lindback. Seth over at OnTheForecheck has a great write up on the Preds’ goaltending situation, and by the looks of things, Jeremy Smith is likely to rejoin the Cyclones in October unless he has a strong camp and earns his way into a role in Milwaukee.

Montreal and Nashville’s rookie camp rosters have finally hit the web, and quite a few familiar faces will be making their way to their respective clubs.

MONTREAL: Among the 29 players to hit the ice in Brossard, Quebec with the Habs on September 7th are former league MVP David Desharnais, 2008 American Conference-clinching goal scorer Ryan Russell, 2008 Kelly Cup MVP Cedrick Desjardins, and forward/defenseman JT Wyman. [Full roster here.] Other names of note: Dany Masse & Robert Mayer. Masse, 21, is a QMJHL graduate who had 110 points in 68 games with Drummondville last year, before an injury knocked him out of the postseason. He isn’t expected to spend much time in Cincinnati, but could see some action early on while making up for lost time after missing this summer’s Canadiens prospect camp. Mayer, 19, went 26-25-4 (.900, 3.25) with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. The way the Canadiens’ depth chart looks, if Halak is not moved before the season, he could factor to be the fifth goaltender in the system and could see action in Cincinnati.

NASHVILLE: The Predators open their rookie camp up on September 8th with quite a few familiar names — ’08 Cup winner Ryan Maki, ’09 playoff point-per-game man Ian McKenzie, 26-goal-scorer Mark Van Guilder, as well Mark Santorelli and defenseman Mark Matheson who saw limited action in Cincinnati. They travel to Duluth, GA to battle the Atlanta rookies on September 14 & 15. [Full roster here.] Notable names: Jeremy Smith and Chet Pickard. Mark Dekanich split time in net with Drew MacIntyre in Milwaukee, but with the departure of MacIntyre to Atlanta, it appears to be between Pickard and Smith to fight for the second spot, with the other seeing time in Cincinnati. Smith, 20, went 15-18-5 with Niagara and Plymouth of the OHL, while Pickard went 35-12-3 with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. Chances are, Smith will make an appearance in Cincinnati if Pickard’s success translates to the professional ranks.

–Dannielle

That’s right, Cyclones fans (insert pulled pork joke here), our very own head coach Chuck Weber is assisting the Nashville Predators’ Developmental camp July 7-12th at Centennial Sportsplex in Nashville. Also in attendance at the camp will be Ian McKenzie and Mark Santorelli, two guys who saw time in the Cincinnati lineup in 2008-09. Keep an eye on the camp — some of these kids may be donning the red and gold  in the not too distant future. Especially keep an eye on the goaltending situation: the Predators have four kids in camp, a Finn and a Swede, both 21, and two kids out of the Canadian major junior ranks, one of which (Pickard) is projected to spend some time in Milwaukee and the other (Smith) is, I believe, out of junior eligibility and could look to fall in line in Cincinnati. I guess we’ll see!

–Dannielle