One of the things that we enjoyed doing back at the Short Shifts blog was calling out hockey writers who presented garbage to their readers. Frequent targets were the Iowa Chops media relations team, John Glennon from the Tennessean, and bloggers who give GOOD bloggers a bad name.
After reading this post from The Hockey News, I’m motivated to keep the tradition going, in a new feature we’re going to call “TAKING OUT THE TRASH”.
First off, I must give credit to Ms. Conduct at The Third Intermission (A Houston Aeros blog that has consistently been one of the best in the league), who posted a piece about this story on Thursday.
The Hockey News decided, hey, the season is about to start, so we’d better rank all the AHL teams. That’s what everyone else does, right? Make lists…and stuff.
This seems like the biggest waste of time in the world. Content for the sake of content. The AHL is a developmental league, and it’s doubtful that this Patrick Williams guy took the time to actually review the rosters of all 30 teams. He didn’t take a look at prospects making their debuts, or 2nd year players looking to take the next step in their development.
I imagine the prep that went into his post included a list of off-season transactions and a copy of last year’s standings. Nothing more.
So here are the rankings for the West Division, along with what fails the sniff test for “analysis”.
Chicago (5th overall): Darren Haydar and Jason Krog are reunited once more, giving the Wolves perhaps the most dangerous 1-2 punch in the AHL.
Anyone could have written that in their sleep. Ok, so that’s two guys on one line. Anything notable about the rest of the team?
San Antonio (7th overall): Phoenix Coyotes affiliate added Garrett Stafford and Nolan Yonkman on defense to go with netminder Matt Climie.
He drops Yonkman’s name? HA! Was he the missing link this whole time for the Rampage? They probably still will be improved, but it’ll be due to the development of some of their prospects (MacLean, Tikhonov) and some decent veteran talent added to compliment them (Stapleton, Kearns, Beaudoin)
Peoria (10th overall): The Rivermen have a shiny, new blueline with Dean Arsene, Ian Cole and Nathan Oystrick headlining it. Will rookie Jake Allen push Ben Bishop in net?
Ah, that shiny new blue line….which doesn’t have Jonas Junland on it anymore. They did give up the most goals of all teams in the division last year, but is 30 year old Dean Arsene (-12 last year) really that much to get excited about?
Oklahoma City (11th overall): Picking up sniper Alexandre Giroux plus proven veterans Martin Gerber, Brad Moran, Ben Ondrus and Richard Petiot will provide a cushion for an organization rebuilding at every level.
Gerber split time with former Admiral Jan Lasak in the KHL last year and he’s 36. It’ll be interesting to see if Giroux will have the same success outside of Hershey. Production-wise, Ben Ondrus isn’t exactly a “proven veteran”. But the team has a nice collection of 4A-type players.
Milwaukee (18th overall): A strong net tandem and typically solid defensive group will keep this club in games.
Care to drop any names? No? Ok. I guess that would have required some work. I understand.
Rockford (23rd overall): Not unlike the parent Chicago Blackhawks, the hockey world picked over Rockford’s roster in the summer.
AHL vets deciding to play elsewhere doesn’t exactly equate to the hockey world picking over Rockford’s roster. Yes, their top 7 scorers from last year are elsewhere, be it in the Blackhawks lineup or in another organization. But Rockford will boast some of the proceeds from the Hawks fire sale. They’ve got some former 60 point scorers on the team, and they’ll give their prospects the chance to shine right now. But to say that the hockey world picked apart their roster is just silly. Only one of the Admirals top seven scorers is returning (Blum), but we’re not blaming the hockey world…and we’re not panicking either!
Texas (24th overall): The Stars surprised many observers in giving Hershey a six-game fight in the Calder Cup final last season. But the off-season was not kind to the Stars.
The off-season was not kind to the Stars. In what way? Yeah, some guys signed with other teams. But they’re returning 15 guys who played with the team last year! And Brent Krahn will hopefully (for them) be healthy and ready to pick up right where he left off. They may regress towards the median a bit, but how do they go from Calder Cup runners-up to 24th out of 30 teams in the rankings?
Houston (27th overall): Much will depend on two goalies: newcomer Josh Tordjman and rookie Matt Hackett.
That’s the big analysis that justifies your selection of them as 27th best in the league? Goaltending didn’t seem to be the major problem last year, and Anton Khudobin should be back in the fold. Scoring a division worst 206 goals was the problem. If they can improve on that, they’ll likely finish higher than 27th overall.
Patrick Williams! Congratulations on your horrible article! (and you’re welcome for the web-traffic.)