Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Big Sky Goes Bye Bye

For a team that ended its season a month and a half ago, the Thunderbirds have been awfully busy lately.  It goes back to winning the draft lottery in late March, then choosing Matthew Barzal with the #1 overall pick last week along with making nine other selections.  Then came the news Tuesday that the T-birds had acquired 20 year old goalie Brandon Glover in a trade with Calgary, sending a third round bantam pick in next year's draft to the Hitmen.

The wheeling and dealing didn't stop there though.  Wednesday the 'Birds sent 19 year old Jacob Doty to Medicine Hat in exchange for 17 year old left winger Riley Sheen.  Doty, the Billings, Montana native, was a crowd favorite at the ShoWare Center for his willingness to drop the gloves and stick up for his teammates.  

Jacob Doty

The team press release seemed to indicate Doty may have requested a trade, or it might have been a mutual parting of the ways.  I think the reality is Doty probably saw the writing on the wall.  Jacob was healthy all of last season, but far too often that meant he was a healthy scratch.  That's not a good sign for an 18 year old and it was probably a situation that wasn't going to change much if he remained with the club as a 19 year old.

The one thing Medicine Hat will get in Jacob is a hard worker who wants to improve his game. Doty never gave less then 100 percent with Seattle.  He worked hard last offseason to improve his skating, going so far as to spend his summer in Minnesota where he could find more ice time then he could in Billings.  The problem is, for all the hard work, the skating never got dramatically better. 

This move has the Steve Konowalchuk stamp all over it.  Coach K puts a premium on skating.  From all indications Sheen has good skating speed. He's much smaller then Doty but probably has a higher offensive ceiling and the T-birds need to find ways to generate more offense.  This goes back to something I blogged earlier this spring; Konowalchuk need to be able to get his type of players to fit into his system.  Doty just wasn't a fit.  We'll see if Sheen is a fit. 

Riley Sheen

This move certainly makes the group of forwards younger...getting almost as young as the group of defensemen.   It will be interesting to see how this sways the team's thinking when it comes to filling the last two 20 year old roster spots.  At the very least I think we will see the T-birds try to acquire an 18 or 19 year old high-scoring forward type in the CHL Import Draft in late June. 

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