Things Looking Up

Dryden29
Dryden29

March 11th, 2018, 4:25 am #1

A couple of weeks ago I posted when the Hitmen were in 1st place in the Virtanen sweepstakes, wondering how in the world things had deteriorated to that.

Having watched our recent play, things looking up. We took 4 out of 6 pts last weekend (it easily could of been 6 out of 6) and on this trip we lost 2-3 to a stacked Bronco team, beat the Blades last night (and deserved it too) and lost in OT to the Raiders, who are, along with Everett, the hottest team in the league (although PA likely had a bit of an emotional hangover after beating MJ last night). Granted we were hanging on in the 3rd tonight, but we made it to OT and the 17 yr-old trio of Nielsen, Focht and Zamula came within a ace of winning it in OT.

That despondent post must have an impact. Or, more likely, the kids settling in and Ferguson earning his pay.

So this recent play will make the summer a little shorter (and help digest that upcoming season ticket bill). Speaking of Focht and Nielsen, they, along with Zimmerman looked great as a line yesterday and today - I can easily envision watching them the next 2 years.

How about Krebs a +9 with the Hitmen !? Certainly not flashy.

Armitage's play last Sunday and tonight puts him into the mix in the fall (though if PA got 44 shots tonight, I missed a whole whack of them). Toder played well, too. He and Zamula (who made a key pass on the game winner last night) going to give the staff some hard choices on d in September. Coleman playing like he wants back too.

I hope we continue this upbeat play over the last 4 games.
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Hockey Guy
Hockey Guy

March 11th, 2018, 9:41 am #2

You have it right, the way Nielsen + Focht have been playing together lately I think has and should have lots of fans excited. Add that with the Stotts + Kryski combination and the Kastelic + Coleman, we could have the set up of 3 very solid lines. Throw that in with our young D, should have a solid shutdown pair of Schiemann + Krebs who can match up against other teams top lines. And then hopefully Toder, Yeryomenko, Van de Leest, Esposito continue to develop. Throw in the fact that the Hitmen will have a high import selection things are looking pretty good for next year. Only question mark left to solve will be who will be in net come the start of next year.
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Timmy71
Timmy71

March 11th, 2018, 6:01 pm #3

I actually had my doubts earlier this year about Nielsen. Was not sure he was going to develop into that 20-25 goal guy for the team. His play has put my worries to rest, and along with Kryski, Focht, Stotts and Kastelic and a high import forward (I hope) gives the hitmen two really good scoring lines going into next season. With kids like Weisblatt, Campbell, and Zimmerman to go along with their top six, might be tough to crack that forward group next September. Hitmen's defence is solid with Yo Yo, Schmiemann, Van De Leest, Krebs, Toder, and Esposito along with 7th overall pick Luke Prokop being added to that group. The only question is who Chynoweth will bring in between the pipes. Armitage has earned a spot as a backup IMO, not ready for the #1 gig, but has played well enough that I would be comfortable having him backup the potential #1 guy whoever that might be. Might be time for Chynoweth to use one of those 2nd rounders ( I think they have 4 of them) to go out and get a young 17-18 kid that could potentially carry the mail for the next couple of years. I would like to see a good overage scorer added with Kryski and maybe Coleman as well to my wish list.
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Joined: September 14th, 2007, 7:51 pm

March 12th, 2018, 1:57 pm #4

You have it right, the way Nielsen + Focht have been playing together lately I think has and should have lots of fans excited. Add that with the Stotts + Kryski combination and the Kastelic + Coleman, we could have the set up of 3 very solid lines. Throw that in with our young D, should have a solid shutdown pair of Schiemann + Krebs who can match up against other teams top lines. And then hopefully Toder, Yeryomenko, Van de Leest, Esposito continue to develop. Throw in the fact that the Hitmen will have a high import selection things are looking pretty good for next year. Only question mark left to solve will be who will be in net come the start of next year.
Thing about that high import pick is, the Hitmen can't use it unless they release or trade Zamula or Yeryomenko first. Yeryomenko can be traded; I'm not sure if Zamula can or if we'd have to release him. First year imports like Zamula is can't be traded during their first years in the league but I'm not sure when during the off-season they stop being "first year imports".

You can't trade the import pick, you have to either use it or pass on your selection; and passing up a top-ten import pick like we'll have is foolish, there's an opportunity to get a good NHL drafted 18 year old there who can be an impact player here for two years. So I think one of the existing two guys has to go...the problem is, who? Zamula's play has improved enough since we got him that I think he has to be seriously considered for keeping. And Yeryomenko could be one of the best offensive defencemen in the league next year as a 19 year old. Do we have to look at trading him? You'll never get full value for an import. Same goes for Zamula, even IF we're allowed to trade him - likely won't get a lot.

Tough decision coming there....
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Hockey Guy
Hockey Guy

March 12th, 2018, 10:01 pm #5

I think the Hitmen front office does have some tough decisions to make. But in terms of managing assets, I think the wise decision would be to move Yeryomenko for a high to mid round draft pick and take a chance on Zamula. Like Alan has stated, I to agree that Zamula has taken strides to be considered to be kept. The way I see it, the Hitmen will be improved next year but won't be true contenders quite yet. I think the big year is when Nielsen, Focht, and Stotts will be 19. This will match up perfectly with Zamula as he would be 19 as well. At the same time if we let Zamula go, and keep Yeryomenko we would have to keep him as a two spotter which would be less than ideal, if he even considered coming back to the league as a 20.

Obviously losing Yeryomenko next year would be tough as he is one of the better offensive dman in the league and it would leave a big hole to fill on the PP. One of Toder or Zamula would have to take big strides next year to fill that void. Obviously there are pros and cons to both and Chynoweth will have a tough decision to make.
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