Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Baker's Dozen

Another slow start doomed the T-birds to their 13th straight setback. Maybe converting on that early power play might have changed the complexion of the game. They looked good on the power play too. Just no puck luck.

Seattle's penalty killing has been pretty good the second half of the season. But you're bound to have an off-night and tonight was the night. Victoria, ranked just 17th in the WHL on the power play, ended up going 3-of-5 with the man advantage and that was the difference. I wonder if getting a couple of new players up to snuff on the team's PK systems threw off the chemistry?

The more I see of young 16 year old goalie Danny Mumaugh, the more I like. His game need refinement but you can see the raw talent. No question he can be a productive 'tender at the WHL level. He's not the biggest goalie but he seems very athletic and agile. He reminds me a bit of Cheveldave up in Kamloops.

I like this Andrew Johnson. One game is too small a sample size but if tonight was a glimpse of the way he plays, then that's a really nice trade. I think he can be a real big addition to Seattle's special teams, especially the power play. A good face off guy too and he seemed to have some early chemistry with Branden Troock. When this club is healthy and at full strength, look at the group of '94 born forwards (18 yr olds) they've assembled: Johnson, Troock, Hickman, Sheen, Honey, Lipsbergs and Delnov. That should equal two good scoring lines, plus one...for the rest of this season and next year as well.

Sometimes a change of scenery is all a player needs. By his own admission Johnson wasn't having the best of seasons with Moose Jaw. This is a player who was selected 23rd overall (first pick of the 2nd rd) by Moose Jaw in the 2009 Bantam Draft, so he was almost a first rounder. He was everywhere the puck was Saturday night. The T-birds have done well in trades with Moose Jaw in the recent past (Laich, Mojzis, McKenzie, Herman)so maybe this will end up the same way.

What I liked most about the T-birds moves at the trade deadline is they added without giving up significant assets. Yes, they did have to release Brendan Rouse and trade away a future 3rd and 4th rd Bantam pick, but Seattle held on to the two first round picks they'll have this spring and their high second round pick as well. So for the second straight draft, the Thunderbirds should end up with three of the top 30-35 picks.

Off to Kennewick to face the Americans on Sunday.

In memory of Bruce McDonald, 1971-2012

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