Sunday, September 28, 2008

Side Note: The Pred's Goalie Situation

One thing that worries me is our past record with goalies.
Two seasons ago, Thomas Vokoun was struggling coming back from an injury. So Chris Mason played the majority of the games that season, in which he did amazing throughout them. Whenever Trotz would play Vokoun, we would lose and everyone would get pissed. Noticing this, Trotz gave Mason the number one goalie spot. Looking at Mason’s season, David Poile thought that Chris Mason was sufficient enough to be their number one. So he traded Thomas Vokoun off to Florida.

Little did he know that when given the number one position in the 07-08 season, Mason would completely blow it. Given that Mason wasn’t doing so hot, Trotz decided to play Ellis for a few games. Ellis went on a six game winning streak right off the bat. I remember whenever Trotz would start Mason and he would get scored on early in the game, you would hear shouts from the fans saying stuff like “Ellis could’ve stopped that!” and “Put in Ellis! What the hell are you thinking about?!” (The fans I heard most of the stuff coming from was mainly my father, my brother and I.) Eventually Trotz gave up on Mason and gave Ellis the number one goalie spot. Through the rest of the season Ellis was solid and went on to play 129 minutes of shutout hockey. In the playoffs Ellis had the best save percentage of all the goalies. He also racked up 225 saves during the 6 games against the Red Wings in the first round. 90 of those 225 were stopped in the last two games.

I feel that Ellis might turn out to be another Chris Mason or Thomas Vokoun. I hope I’m wrong.

Jackson Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


The following article by Buddy Oakes is a reprint from HockeyPrimeTime on 9-26-08

Predators Camp is Very Competitive with Open Roster Spots - Part One

The Predators are in a different situation this year than in their recent history in that there are actually several open roster spots on their NHL roster. With the freak out of Alexander Radulov, injuries to Steve Sullivan and Jed Ortmeyer, and several departures including Chris Mason, Marek Zidlichey, Jan Havlic, Martin Gelinas, Darcy Hordichuk, and Brandon Bochenski, there is serious competition in camp to stick with the Preds on opening day.

Many folks who don’t understand the dynamics of the Predators situation or don’t realize the strength of the Preds system mistakenly have been screaming “Fire sale” all summer. The reality is if you review the above list of departures, with the exception of Radulov, all of the players have reached their potential and have little additional upside. It goes to the theory of buying low and selling high.

The Predators system is full of many talented youngsters that need an opportunity to play at a higher level. David Polie would much rather be giving the Pred’s skilled future players an opportunity to compete rather than clogging the roster with higher paid, role players with little potential to do more than they have. Many would say this explanation translates to a ‘fire sale” but I disagree.

One area of the Predators lineups that appears set is the Defense. Seven of the top eight from last year have returned and barring injury would all make the roster. Of the youngsters the one player that has really distinguished himself is 19 yr old Vancouver Giants captain Jonathon Blum. He played well in the two rookie games earlier this week and played with confidence in the Preds opener last night. He is also scheduled to get another start tonight in Columbus as the only non-veteran in the six blue liners making the trip. I would imagine he is having the time of his life getting this much ice time before returning to his junior team for the season. He will return sooner than later after another year in Junior and playing in the world juniors in December.

When the Preds go to Milwaukee for extra defensemen, the first call ups will probably be from a group including Cody Franson, Teemu Lasko, Aleander Sulzer, and Robert Dietrich. All have played well in the rookie games as well and Lasko and Sulzer both carried themselves well in the game last night.

On the surface it would appear that the Predators are set in Goal with Dan Ellis at one and Pekka Rinne as the back up. After a shaky start last night Rinne may not be as much of a lock as it once appeared. They also have Drew MacIntyre on the roster who would be considered the third man on the depth chart entering camp. Ex Colgate goalie Mark Dekanich was very impressive playing a period last night giving up a goal only to fellow Pred Dan Hamhuis who accidentally scored for Atlanta in the closing minutes of the game trying to clear the puck from blue ice. Dekanich also played well in one of the rookie games earlier this week. Dekanich had one save last night (actually 3 in a flurry) that should have made the ESPN highlight reels.

Eighteen year old Chet Picard who was the second Preds pick in this years draft also looked good in the rookie games early this week. US Junior goalie Jeremy Smith has also been impressive in the rookie games. Needless to say, the Preds are as well stocked in goal as they have been at any time in their history.

That’s it for the Blueline and in Goal. I shall return with an analysis of the wide open competition at forward where there are open spots on the roster that will be had by someone.

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