Monday, July 30, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Sam St. Laurent

Though this week's AGM definitely has a niche for keeping his fashion from going out of style; his style itself was something that was more of shuttling back and forth from the minors to the NHL. Even so, he got success here and there, but nothing truly lasting. This week, the profile of Sam St. Laurent.

It all started for St. Laurent with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL in the 1975-76 season, where he would play in 17 games and finish with a 4-8-2 record. The 1976-77 season got St. Laurent more time in the cage, finishing with a 5-9-0 record in 21 appearances. Chicoutimi gave St. Laurent the starting job in the 1977-78 season, playing in 60 games and compiling a disappointing 12-35-10 record. In his final junior season, St. Laurent played 70 games in the 1978-79 and would finish with a 23-31-9 record.

St. Laurent would sign with the Philadelphia Flyers before the 1979-80 and would be put into their system. St. Laurent would play parts of four seasons with the IHL's Toledo Goaldiggers, playing in 85 games in that span, but no record to be recorded. However, St. Laurent would move his way into the AHL with the Maine Mariners for a few seasons to start with seven games in the 1980-81 season (3-3-0), 25 games in the 1981-82 season (15-7-1), and 30 games in the 1982-83 season (12-12-4), while also appearing in 17 playoff games with an 8-9 record.

Due to the playoff success, St. Laurent would stay the full 1983-84 season with the Mariners, appearing in 38 games, finishing with a 14-18-4 record and then in the playoffs posting a 9-2 record in 12 games. St. Laurent stepped into a bigger role in the 1984-85 season with Maine, posting a 26-22-7 record in 55 appearances and going 5-5 in 10 playoff games.

Before the 1985-86 season, St. Laurent was shipped to the New Jersey Devils for future considerations, but he would spend most of that season back in Maine, where he would play in 50 games and finish with a 24-20-4 record. St. Laurent would go on to win the Harry "Hap" Holmes Award for fewest goals-against in the season, as well as the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Award for Most Outstanding Goaltender in the AHL. St. Laurent would also play in four games for New Jersey and finishing with a 2-1-0 record.

The Devils would trade St. Laurent to the Detroit Red Wings for Steve Richmond in the summer of 1986, which would land St. Laurent with the Adirondack Red Wings for the 1986-87 season, playing 25 games and posting a 7-13-0 record; then going 1-2-2 in six games with Detroit. It was another split season for St. Laurent in the 1987-88 season, playing in 32 games in Adirondack (12-14-4) and six games in Detroit (2-2-0), but have his season end in the first playoff game he played in. While the split season of 1988-89 happened, it was a good year for St. Laurent in the AHL, as he would go 20-11-3 in 34 games with Adirondack and then 11-5 in 16 playoff games, helping them win the Calder Cup and giving St. Laurent the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy for Playoff MVP. That same year with Detroit, St. Laurent went 0-1-1 in four games.

The 1989-90 season was a big split season for St. Laurent, as he would spend 13 games in Adirondack with a 10-2-1 record and then get called up to Detroit and play 14 games there with a 2-6-1 record.

During the summer of 1990, St. Laurent was traded to the New York Rangers for cash going to Detroit, but the 1990-91 season, St. Laurent would play with the Binghamton Rangers, where he would go 19-16-4 record in 45 games. It was a short 1991-92 season for St. Laurent, who would play only one game for the Canadian National Team (a loss), be an extra for the Canadian Olympic team (which he got a silver medal), and then one games with Binghamton-- a no decision. He would retired following that season.

St. Laurent has the eternal distinction of being the last goalie to wear a full fiberglass mask in North American professional hockey-- NHL and AHL.

Post playing career, St. Laurent was retained by the Rangers a goalie coach and consultant from 1993 until 2004, where he was credited with developing the likes of Mike Richter, Dan Cloutier, and Jason Labarbera. After a year of consulting in Germany, St. Laurent started to do private consultations via appointment only.

A last of as dying breed, literally, St. Laurent didn't have the best teams in front of him, but he was able to hit his groove later on his tenures with teams. Though the team success and personal success came, it seemed that he was never cut out for the NHL for a length of time, due to one thing or another. Even so, he'll always have a space in goalie history for his facial protection.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

David Poile and the Ghost of Offer Sheets Past

David Poile wasn't going to let history repeat itself.

No, it's not recent history with Ryan Suter leaving the Predators, it's the fact that he lost a future Hall of Famer to an offer sheet. Now, it's too early to say that Shea Weber is a Hall of Famer, but the style that he has is similiar to the one that Poile let get away back in the day.

In the summer of 1990, a young Washington Capital defenseman named Scott Stevens was offer sheeted by the St. Louis Blues and David Poile, the Caps GM at the time, didn't feel the need to match that and let Stevens go for first round Draft picks (five in total) and $100,000 in compensation. Of course, Stevens went on to become one of the most feared stay-at-home defenseman and three-time Stanley Cup winner, which would land him into the Hall of Fame.

You have to think that reliving that nightmare again wasn't going to be in the cards for Poile a second time, even though many thought Stevens was over the whole experience in DC. Even though Poile had an extra first rounder (two would be Brendan Witt and Sergei Gonchar), it still didn't help that void of Stevens-- hindsight being what it is.

Poile learned from that and probably valued Weber a little higher than Stevens because Weber is the captain and a big force to the team as a whole, while Stevens at the time was still in the shadow of Rod Langway in terms of notoriety. If Weber had been allowed to walk away, the fan base would have been in an uproar (rightfully so) and Poile may have been run out on a rail if they didn't make the playoffs this season. Luckily, Poile and the Caps made the playoffs years after Stevens' departure-- though nothing of true substance, sadly.

With the wisdom that Poile has gained and seeing what could happen, it was a good combination when it comes to actually matching the offer sheet by the Flyers. Also, the Rick Nash deal and seeing the backlash that a GM got for giving up his star player for a less-than-desirable return (according to some) probably helped Poile's case to the ownership that Weber is needed in order to help this franchise along and to keep their higher profile players around.

Granted, that is a lot of money for a guy like Weber, but he is still looking at his prime years ahead of him, he still can contribute on all side of the rink, and could very well help the Predators in the playoffs with each year of experience he gets. Hopefully the investment for the Predators work out-- though it could be damning to Poile, Weber, and the team if it doesn't.

In the end, Poile could be in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation now because of it. Only time and revisionist history will tell.

Monday, July 23, 2012

How Howson Was Hooped From The Start

He had to do it. The franchise face wasn't happy and he needed to deal with his unhappiness accordingly. For that, it seems that Scott Howson's future is on the clock-- if it wasn't already. While he didn't get a bad deal for Rick Nash, you have to wonder if he could have gotten more from the Rangers or someone else. The return of Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a first round pick is definitely an investment, can you actually draw people in with a team without one or two big stand-outs??

In any case, the big issue is what Howson needed to do-- because as I've said in the past; he was damned if he did, damned if he didn't. He probably didn't wanted to be known as the man who shipped away the franchise player in Columbus, but with Nash coming out before the trade deadline last February saying he wanted to be deal-- Howson really had no choice in the matter.

Yet, when you look at what he got back in returns and then remember when some GMs said that Howson was asking for the moon and more-- it makes you wonder if Howson really wanted this deal or if he settled. That will probably stream out in time, but as I alluded to earlier-- you have to think that Howson is on the clock with these moves. Not so much because it was a bad deal, but it's not the blockbuster that some were expecting from a name like Rick Nash, especially after the buzz that created from it all.

Then you have consider the deals that Howson made in his tenure and what they really brought to the grand scheme of the team, it seems like Howson has been way over his head from day one. In fact, this is the second captain that Howson has traded-- as he traded Adam Foote in 2008 back to the Avalanche. Overall, the trades that Howson has made have been spot deals that may help in depth and in the short term, but nothing that is ground breaking. In all honestly, the biggest deals the Blue Jackets have really made were maybe acquiring Sergei Fedorov and Darryl Sydor, both under Doug MacLean's tenure. You can make the case for Jeff Carter, but his tenure was unspectacular and he was moved less than a year into it; so it's up to Jack Johnson to make that trade solid.

Which makes me wonder if MacLean wasn't that bad of a GM, if it's the actual location of the team and the onus that the Blue Jackets have that makes them a bad destination for trade recipients and for free agents. This is a team that is very east for a Western Conference team, they are in one of the toughest divisions in the league, and they overall don't have a desirable reasoning for actually coming to one of the last expansion franchises that really hasn't show too much improvement, sans for their one playoff season.

With that as the possible reasoning, the fault really can't lie on the GMs, as their hands are really tied due to their small market appeal. Whether it be the money not being available to shell out to the free agents or just the area not being where players want to go to-- it's a damning thing for the franchise. Especially with trades, they are very underwhelming because the Jackets don't have the parts needed to bring in anyone who will contribute solidly, unless it's a salary cap dump for the other team-- see: Jeff Carter.

Scott Howson did what he could and even if it does improve the team the smallest amount, odds are he will be criticized and would have been regardless of what he got back in return or if he hadn't made the deal in the first place. It was a lose-lose situation and any GM in the position he was in wouldn't have been able to recover from it all. Not just because the franchise player has been dealt, but because the franchise itself couldn't attract the players to compliment the franchise player and entice him to want to play out the bulk of his career there.

Absurd Goalie Monday: Bill McKenzie

Getting to the NHL was touch back in the day. It was even tougher to stay in the NHL during the first expansion era due to how bad the teams were when they get expanded. However-- this AGM did the most out of bad situations, coming off of a stellar college career and then rolling with the punches to see if he could make it stick. This week, the profile of Bill McKenzie.

McKenzie started off in the US College route, playing for the Ohio State University starting in the 1969-70 season and ending his tenure three years later in the 1971-72 season. No records were given for those years, but McKenzie played 71 games in that time span; winning the 1972 CCHA Tournament MVP and the 1972 All-Tournament Team as the Ohio State won the CCHA. McKenzie would graduate in 1972 from the Ohio State.

Before the start of the 1972-73 season, McKenzie signed with the Detroit Red Wings. That season, McKenzie would play for the Port Huron Wings of the IHL for 45 games with two shutouts, then going 3-2 in the five playoff appearances. The 1973-74 season, McKenzie would play 13 games with Detroit-- finishing there with a 4-4-4 record, while going 8-13-2 in 29 games with the Virginia Wings of the AHL; as well as playing two games over in Britain with the London Lions. The 1974-75 season, McKenzie would again play 13 games with Detroit, but would put together a 1-9-2 record, while in Virginia; he would compile a 8-6-0 record in 14 games.

During the summer of 1975, McKenzie and Gary Bergman would be traded to the Kansas City Scouts for Peter McDuffe and Glen Burdon. McKenzie would spend the entire 1975-76 season with the Scouts, but put a disappointing 1-16-1 record together in 22 appearances.

The Scouts would move to Colorado to become the Rockies before the 1976-77 season and McKenzie would play in five games for them-- finishing with a 0-2-1 record. Also the season, McKenzie would play in the AHL with the Providence Reds for two games (0-1-1), as well as in the Central League with the Oklahoma City Blazers for six games (2-3-1) and then finishing strong with the Kansas City Blues for 10 games (7-2-1), then going 8-2 in the 10 playoff games to help the Blues win the Adams Cup, taking home the Max McNab Trophy for Playoff MVP.

McKenzie bounced around again in the 1977-78 season, playing in Colorado for 12 games (3-6-2), then to the AHL for the Hampton Gulls for 12 games (7-4-0) and then the Philadelphia Firebirds for five games (1-4-0). The 1978-79 season would have McKenzie playing in the Central League for the Tulsa Oilers, posting a 6-25-1 record in 35 games.

The 1979-80 season would have McKenzie having one last hurrah in the NHL with the Rockies, playing in 26 games and putting together a 9-12-3 record, while also being in the Central League for the Fort Worth Texans for nine games and putting up a 2-5-1 record. After that season, McKenzie would retire, tied for the most career and single-season shutout record for the Rockies, as well as the lowest GAA for a season and career.

Post-playing career, McKenzie went back to his Alma Mater at the Ohio State to be a volunteer assistant coach for the the men's and women's team until the 2009-10 season.

With many bumps in the roads in dealing with a lot of expansion team issues, the drive was still there for McKenzie, which showed when he helped the KC Blues to win the title after struggling with the three other teams. He persevered and showed his true colors when it came to loving the game and succeed at some levels, even if it wasn't the top level.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Will Past Players Cure Caps' Present Woes??

First, it was Dale Hunter. He left and then Adam Oates stepped in. In addition, Calle Johansson just got hired there to assist Oates. Add in Olaf Kolzig to the mix; you've got yourself a nice roster from the 1998 Washington Capitals Eastern Conference Championship team. However, this has been the coaches for the Capitals in the past 12 months (though Kolzig has been there longer as the associate goalie coach).

Is this a good step for the Caps?? It's great for the fans, as the nostalgia keeps on coming from the olden days when the Caps were all about hype, but never having the playoff success for the long-term. While reliving the olden times is something that may be good to some, this whole thing could be a smokescreen for the re-tooling and tinkering that the Caps have been going through for the past couple of seasons.

The fact that Oates is the fifth straight first-time NHL coach for the Caps could be a cause for alarm, regardless of how highly touted he is for the job. That said, there wasn't too many coaches out there on the open market that would have fit what the Caps needed; therefore it seems that Oates was the best candidate with what has out least, that's what most fans are hoping.

While Johansson did assistant coach in Sweden for a season, that was over five seasons ago and may not translate into the NHL game as well as many would hope. The good part about him coming, however, is the learning experience that the Caps defensemen will be able to get it. The guys that could get the most out of it may be the pairing of Karl Alzner and John Carlson-- though Alzner more than Carlson since his game is a more stay-at-home, which Johansson is renowned for in the Capitals folklore.

But I return to the smokescreen reference. It's almost as if the Caps are just parading out the old stars from happier times to lessen the blow when it comes to the performance of the team. While that could just be a wild thought process I'm having-- the excuse of, "Oh, it's a first year coach in his first job and he still has to work out the kinks to his players working in his system" is built in and may be more than some Caps fans to bear if there's a disappointing end to next season.

If this were all work out, it would be a great thing for the organization and the fans; but it's hard to get over the fact that the Caps have been on the cusp of something big-- but something just hasn't been able to get over that last hurdle. The inclusion of first-time coach after first-time coach may not be the thing that gets the team over the top. There's a time for rebuilding and tinkering around with a team's philosophy and to try out new thing. It's not typically the right route for a team who is only a few years removed from being the top of their conference and a President's Trophy winner.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Jake Forbes

While we're at a time with contracts being negotiated for free agency and a collective agreement being discussed in the boardrooms-- this week's AGM was able to experience both in his career when it comes to contract disputes and dealing with a work stoppage. This week, it's the profile of Jake Forbes.

Forbes started off in the 1916-17 season with the Toronto Aura Lee in Junior "A" going 6-0-0 in six games, while then going 3-1-0 in four games with the Aura Lees in the 1917-18 season, splitting that year with the Toronto Goodyears. The 1919-20 season, Forbes again split between the Aura Lee for six games (2-4-0) and some time with the Goodyears.

After those seasons were done, Forbes signed with the Toronto St. Pats and play in five games with a 2-3-0 record. In the 1920-21 season, Forbes appeared in 20 games for the St. Pats, going 13-7-0 and then 0-2 in the playoffs.

Yet, off the ice in the summer of 1921 is what made Forbes notable. Due to a disagreement with the St. Pats' management, one of which Forbes was looking for a $2,500 contract and the St. Pats were looking to give him far less-- Forbes became the first player in the NHL to hold-out for a contract and sit-out the entire season due to that hold-out. After the 1921-22 season, Toronto traded Forbes' rights to the Hamilton Tigers for cash.

In Forbes' first season with the Tigers in 1922-23, Forbes went 6-18-0 in his 24 appearances, while in the 1923-24 season, Forbes would improved to 9-16-0 in 24 games. Forbes would play in 30 games for the Tigers in the 1924-25 season, compiling a 19-10-1 record with six shutouts during the season. The Tigers would finish at the top of the NHL, but before the playoffs, the players-- including Forbes-- went on strike, refusing to play if they weren't compensated better. The league suspended all the players, fined them $200 a piece, and the Tigers were sold to a New York businessman and would be moved to New York.

Forbes would hold the all-time records for the Tigers in every category except most goals-allowed in a season and most losses, both are held by Howie Lockhart.

The 1925-26 season would be the start of Forbes with the New York Americans, where he would go 12-20-4 in 36 games. The 1926-27 season saw Forbes play 44 games and finish with a 17-25-2 record, while he would spend half of the 1927-28 season with the Americans going 3-11-2 in 16 games; but his contract would be loaned out to the Can-Am Pro League's Providence Reds, where he would play 13 games and the Niagara Falls Cataracts for eight games.

The 1928-29 season, Forbes would spend his time in the Can-Am League playing for the New Haven Eagles for 26 games with nine shutouts and posting a 1.06 GAA; then winning his only game he played for the Americans. The 1929-30 season, Forbes played 40 games with the Eagles and then tied the only game he played for the Americans, while in the 1930-31 season; Forbes played in 40 games for the Eagles and would be loaned out to the Philadelphia Quakers, but would lose both games he played in.

For the 1931-32 season, Forbes would split his Can-Am League season with seven games for the Bronx Tigers and three for the Springfield Indians, all the while he would play six games with the Americans and posting a 3-3-0 record. In the 1932-33 season, Forbes played only five games for the New Haven Eagles, while appearing in one game for the Americans, which was a tie.

Starting in the 1933-34 season, Forbes would start roaming around the International League, first by playing with the Windsor Bulldogs for 36 games, which included six shutouts. In the 1934-35 season, he played eight games for the Syracuse Stars, ending in a 5-3-0 record, then he would move onto the London Tecumsehs for eight games and posted a 4-3-1 record and a 2-3-0 record in five playoff games. The 1935-36 season had Forbes playing with the Rochester Cardinals to start with, going 2-3-0 in five games, then moving to the Syracuse Stars again for five games and finishing up with a 2-3-0 record before he would retire. 

After his playing career, Forbes would go onto be a wholesaler of fine china dinnerware in Hamilton before he would pass away on December 30th, 1985. 

While his career did have a lot of controversy around his career with a lot of stops and starts, Forbes was able to jump back into the fold as well as he could. Though, in one situation he got into on his own accord, but the second one was a group effort. His passion bounced him around from town to town, but he always kept some sort of motivation to keep going until he couldn't take it anymore.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Are The Sharks Circling For McLellan??

After the San Jose Sharks were eliminated, you knew that Todd McLellan was going to be on a short leash if he was retained. Well, with McLellan being retained, but his assistants not-- the question was whether or not the coaches hired would be those of help or possible competition. This time, it could be a little of both.

This past week, the Sharks have hired Stanley Cup winning coach Larry Robinson as their new "associate" coach, while former interim coach for the Phoenix Coyotes and defensive specialist Jim Johnson was hired on Tuesday as an assistant coach. The only thing that would make these hirings more damning for McLellan would be the dreaded "vote of confidence" being given. 

It's a shame that McLellan has to feel this heat, especially after he's appeared it the Conference Finals two of the four seasons he's been at the helm, though the other two playoff appearances have been first round exits. Granted, the additions could help out McLellan-- Robinson helping guide him on the right path to actually make him a coach that can get over that hump the Sharks have seemed to be stuck on. Johnson could be able to even out the penalty kill that was pretty craptastic during the season. This could definitely be a nice little motivator for him with no underlying tone to it.

Yet, it won't stop people like me from speculating on it all, especially when previous coaches in the past haven't been able to get to that next level. Ron Wilson and Darryl Sutter were eventually fired because of bad performances in the playoffs, but you have to believe that McLellan is a guy who has done a lot with this team-- but is it him that's not getting the results or the team not being able to knuckle-down and get the results that are needed to not only make the coach look good-- but make their franchise not look like walkovers. 

But it's the old adage of "you can't fire the players, so you fire the coach." For a team like the Sharks, it's a matter of getting over that seemingly eternal mental block that this team has had when it comes to getting to the Stanley Cup finals. While it's a tough task to accomplish, the reality of the situation is that the Sharks have been overvalued when it comes to being a dominant player for the Stanley Cup. They have a good team, but it's not one that should be given the praise that they have been given over the past couple of seasons. That will be there downfall-- not the coaching, not the players-- it's the hype. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Cleon Daskalakis

This week's AGM is a guy who really went through the wringer of Boston hockey, playing from bottom to the top for his position. Though he did get to play of his hometown teams, he didn't stay in the limelight for long. Maybe because of that, his post-playing ventures made sure that people who deserve the limelight get it for the right cause. This week, the profile of Cleon Daskalakis.

While Daskalakis started his career in the New England Junior League for the South Shore Bears in the 1979-80 season, he wasn't noticed until the 1980-81 season when he joined the Boston University Terriers-- playing eight games that season with a 4-2-0 record; as well as playing three games in the 1981 World Juniors with Team USA. Daskalakis returned to Boston University in the 1981-82 season, appearing in 20 games and going 9-6-3. The breakout seasons for Daskalakis would be his junior and senior seasons at BU, playing in 24 games during the 1982-83 season (15-7-1) and 35 games in the 1983-84 season (25-10-0). In the 1983-84 season, Daskalakis got NCAA East First All-American Team, ECAC First All-Star Team, and ECAC Player of the Year honors. 

His stock soaring, the Boston Bruins signed Daskalakis on June 1, 1984. Daskalakis spent the majority of the 1984-85 season in the AHL with the Hershey Bears, appearing 30 times and putting up a 9-13-4 record (plus being on the team that won the Calder Cup), while also appearing in eight games for the Bruins and finishing there with a 1-2-1 record. In the 1985-86 season, Daskalakis played the majority of the time in the AHL-- this time with the Moncton Golden Flames, going 19-14-6 record and then 4-1 in six playoff games; as well as going 0-2-0 in two appearances with the Bruins. Daskalakis ended up back in Moncton in the 1986-87 season, going 8-14-0 in 27 games-- plus putting up a 2-0-0 record in two games with Boston. 

With his contract expiring with Boston, the 1987-88 season became a whirlwind minor league hockey tour for Daskalakis, as he would play in the AHL with three different teams: three games for the Hershey Bears (1-1-0), six games for the Binghamton Whalers (2-2-1), and eight games for the Rochester Americans (4-3-0) before making a tour of the IHL with the Milwaukee Admirals for nine games (1-5-3). 

Daskalakis decided to try his hand overseas, playing the 1988-89 season with Jokerit Helsinki for 21 games, helping them win the Finnish Second League Championship, as well as playing in one game for Team USA in the World Championships before deciding to hang up the pads for good. In 1990, Daskalakis was named to the ECAC Goaltender of the Decade for the 1980s. In 1994, Daskalakis was inducted into the Boston University Hall of Fame. 

After his playing career, Daskalakis started up Celebrity Marketing Incorporated, which helps develop the "brand" and marketing aspect of sports figures to a wider variety of people. The Celebrities for Charity Foundation, which was helped along by Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, which helps celebrities maximize their charitable efforts, as well as bringing more attention to the charities themselves. 

Daskalakis was a local boy who made good and made it to the ultimate pinnacle, playing for his hometown team. While he didn't stay for the length he wanted to, the fact he got the chance to do something many others didn't is something to hang his hat on. Yet, from his experiences he has been able to give out to others in not only getting exposure for players, but getting exposures for places that need a hand-up. 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

On the Topic Of....Trade Talks

With the drama of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter now over and the free agency tank not on empty, but running on fumes-- it's now time to focus on who is going to be a tradeable asset. This summer seems to have quite the stock of assets that are just begging to be moved for one reason or another. However, the bigger names that could be traded could not be as desirable as the names who are just as comparable; but may have a little more overall upside than the names.

Case-in-point: Bobby Ryan and Rick Nash. These are two guys who many think will be moved this summer after turmoil with their current club, but which will be a better pick-up?? To be honest, when you look at the numbers-- both are comparable to each other and you'd probably get more out of them if they were surrounded with a better support team (though Ryan has it made with Perry and Getzlaf). But the bottom line coming down to it is whether or not a team has the assets and then want to depart with those assets in order to acquire one of the other. Of course, Ryan's asking price will probably be much lower than Nash and his salary hit will be much less and the contract is shorter. All of those will be a great selling feature with the two right wings pitted against each other.

Granted, Nash is the "sexy" name and will have fans bemoan the fact that they weren't able to get him. Nash, however, seems to be only the name. We haven't seen what he can do when playing with elite level players on the NHL stage, but one can assume that if Nash has a true #1 passing center, he'd reap the benefits. The San Jose Sharks name keep popping up from the attachment that Nash and Joe Thornton have-- but that was seven years ago and who knows if the the chemistry is still there.

Moving from the forwards, the name of Jay Bouwmeester is coming up, mostly because Jay Feaster gave Dennis Wideman an insane amount of money on an insane term; thus seemingly make Bouwmeester expendable. At two years left on his contract and a $6.68M cap hit, there's probably not going to be any teams burning up Feaster's phone lines. If anything, they'll make sure he stays hampered with that contract until the 2014 trade deadline. While Bouwmeester can be a great player when he applies himself, odds are teams wouldn't want to take on his streaky play, especially not in a contract year. Of course, should Feaster just give him away, that'd be attractive to some teams. Another option is for the Flames to bury him in the minors, as he only has a NTC, but very unlikely.

Yet, the biggest name, still, is Roberto Luongo. Since the Canucks playoff run ended, many were speculating on where his next destination would be because of his inability to get past Round One after being the Western Conference representative in the Stanley Cup Finals. Of course, that helped Cory Schneider break out and get a decent re-signing for his effort, but it also shows that the Canucks are willing to let go of Luongo, who has 10 years left on his contract and will have a cap hit of $5.33M for those seasons. Plus, considering he has a wacky NTC though it all-- it makes you wonder if any team would take the flier on him or not, especially when they know he can be great at times and horrible at times.

The biggest upside for Luongo is the lack of decent free agent goalies out there for a team that needs one. Rumor has it that Luongo only wants to go to the Panthers, but whether or not they are willing to give up on Jacob Markstrom just yet is another story. Of course, with the Panthers making the playoffs last year and coming within one goal of advancing to the second round-- Luongo could be the one thing that actually makes the Panthers true contenders in the Eastern Conference. That said-- both Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen are under contract next year-- Clemmensen for another year after next. It'd be a hard sell for the Panthers to get yet another goalie.

So, with the summer just starting/ending for free agency, you can bet that trade talks will be heating up sooner or later. Whether or not anyone gets moved is another story and whether it happens this month or closer to training camp is yet another story. At least we'll have something to talk about this summer....I think....other than that whole CBA crap.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Danny Lorenz

This week's AGM set records in junior and was the face of a franchise who wasn't all that good, but made a decent name for himself. However, he was drafted to a team with a wealth of goaltending prospects, which stifled his movement upward, hitting a glass ceiling in the minors. However, he did make the most of the situation and travelled the world a bit to boot. This week, the profile of Danny Lorenz.

Lorenz started his trek with the Burnaby Hawks of the BCHL in the 1985-86 season for 25 games, but would move to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL for the 1986-87 season; posting a 12-21-2 record in 38 appearances. Lorenz got the starting role in Seattle for the 1987-88 season, playing in 62 games and compiling a 20-37-2 record. Lorenz was drafted in the third round by the New York Islanders in the 1988 Draft, but would play in Seattle for the 1988-89 season, going 31-33-4 record in 68 games, which was enough to give him Goaltender of the Year honors in the WHL. Also in 1988-89, Lorenz played in four games for the AHL's Springfield Indians, going 2-1-0. The 1989-90 season saw Lorenz finish out his time in Seattle with a 37-15-2 record in 56 games and then going 6-7 in 13 playoff games.

Upon leaving the WHL, Lorenz held the all-time saves record during their WHL career with 6,958 (since broken by Seattle's Calvin Pickard in the 2011-12 season). Sadly, he also holds the record for most career goals given up with 974. With Seattle, Lorenz still holds most games played by a goalie, but behind Pickard in not only saves, but also minutes played.

In the 1990-91 season, Lorenz joined the Islanders organization splitting time between the AHL's Capital District Islanders (5-9-2) and the ECHL's Richmond Renegades (6-9-2), while spending two games with the New York Islanders, finishing with a 0-1-0 record. The 1991-92 season had Lorenz spend most of the time with Capital District, playing in 53 games and putting up a 22-22-7 record and 3-4 in the playoffs; while also going 0-2-0 in two games with New York. The 1992-93 season, Lorenz posted a 16-17-5 record in 44 games with Capital District (0-3 in four playoff games), while going 1-2-0 in four games on Long Island; while in the 1993-94 season, Lorenz split his season between the AHL's Springfield Indians (5-7-1) and the IHL's Salt Lake Golden Eagles (4-12-0).

In the summer of 1994, Lorenz signed with the Florida Panthers--who placed him in the IHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones for the 1994-95 season, where he would go 24-10-3 in his first season and 2-3 in five playoff games. In the 1995-96 season, Lorenz went 28-12-2 in 46 games, while going 1-2 in five playoff games.

Lorenz would move to the Milwaukee Admirals for the 1996-97 season, posting a 33-27-6 record in his first season, while going 0-3 in the playoffs. During the 1997-98 season, Lorenz compiled a 28-18-4 record in 54 appearances while going 5-5 in the playoffs.

For the first part of the 1998-99 season, Lorenz went to Germany to play in 22 games for Alder Mannheim, but would return late in the season to the IHL's Houston Aeros for seven games going 3-2-2 and then appearing in one playoff game, but no decision.

It was a globe-trotting season in the 1999-2000 campaign for Lorenz, who played the majority of his season playing in the ECHL with the Tallahassee Tiger Cats, going 15-12-2 in 33 games; as well as playing in the AHL for the Rochester Americans (0-2-1) and the West Coast League's Tacoma Sabercats (2-0-0). Lorenz would stay with the Tacoma Sabercats for the 2000-01 season, posting a 23-25-6 record , then 1-2 in the playoffs.

Starting in the 2001-02 season, Lorenz went across the pond to play in the British Leagues, starting in the Elite League with the Nottingham Panthers for 46 games, then moving to second-tier league with the Guildford Flames and Newcastle Vipers in the 2002-03 season. 

Lorenz moved back to North America for the 2003-04 season to play with the Central League's New Mexico Scorpions, playing in 32 games with a 17-10-3 record. After that season, he would hang up the pads for good. 

After his playing career, Lorenz went back to where his junior career began and is now the Director of Hockey in the Kent Valley Hockey Association in Kent, Washington; which is where the Seattle Thunderbirds actually play.

While he had a late charge in juniors, the fact he was in an organization where there was a surplus of young goalies made him expendable and lost in the shuffle. While he tried to get his game back in the minors, he could never reach the brass ring that was set out for him. However, he returned to his roots and his helping out the next wave of players coming out of the Pacific Northwest.