AAA 2011 Ambrose O'Brien Final: #1 Quad City Mallards vs. #2 Regina Pat Canadians
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11-24-2011, 01:54 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
I really wanted to post some of my thoughts before now but as my laptop broke recently (sinking my AA draft list
) I've had much less opportunity to do so.
Just for a quick overview again, I think the two biggest strengths of my team are its scoring depth up front and the nice two-way ability my defense has. Guys like Kaleta, Savard, and Backes (not to mention the brief offensive success Smail, Couture, and Popein had too) bring some really nice scoring punch, without compromising a defensive focus, that many other bottom sixes cannot boast. That said I like 70s bottom six as much as anyone else's in this draft so my group certainly has their work cut out for them. And then on the back end, my only one-way players are the defensive-minded Sweeney and Snepsts. I think this luxury really makes my defense a formidable group as there's no definitive or clear weak matchup for opposing clubs to take advantage of, which I'm not sure is the case for my opponent but I'll get into those specifics later. The other main advantage to this makeup is that I shouldn't have any pairings who seem unable to move the puck out of their own zone. Sweeney wasn't offensive but he didn't have a poor first pass, but Snepsts on the other hand is probably one of the worst puck handling defenders in this draft. To help him out I put him with Dmitri Mironov, the more offensive-minded of the brothers, who is probably most apt top to help bail Snepsts out of any of my defenders.
I'm gonna skip our forwards for right now because I want to take a look at our defensive groups. As I said before that I think Regina's group may have some favorable matchups for my team so allow me to explain while I compare our defenders.
Bowman vs. Dewsbury
Contrasting styles but both the clear #1s of their group so we'll look at these two against one another. As much as I love Dewsbury, I mean he has a pretty complete package for the AAA level, Bowman has to get the nod here despite his one-way play. I can't speak to Bowman's physicality but certainly his offensive ability doesn't rival Dewsbury's. Despite this his impressive AST voting record, compared to Dewsbury's lack of a single AST vote, has to put him ahead. Bowman's a defensive guy but he should get the edge here over Dewsbury.
Sweeney vs. Makarov
A battle between contrasting one-way guys that I really must admit puzzles me a bit. I had Makarov in my sights for awhile but never with the intent of giving him top pairing minutes. Makarov had some really nice seasons in various domestic leagues but his lack of an international resume really underwhelms in a top pairing context to me at least. Offensively, Makarov is probably better than every Mallard blueliner but with his defensive game being so suspect you have to wonder how long it'll be before one of his mistakes comes back to bite him against a team with as much scoring punch as my own. To get back to the direct comparison though, Sweeney doesn't a candle to Makarov offensively and vice verse. With Bowman on his side Makarov is insulated very, very well but I think Sweeney is the better player here. He's used to logging a lot of minutes and playing a simple game which is all he'll have to do with Dewsbury on his pairing.
Jimmy Fowler vs Dmitri Mironov
The offensive elements of our second pairs. Fowler's career was quite short but still merits selection here, I think he compares to my own Dutch Gainor in a way despite the differences in their demises. Mironov has more of a two-way presence than what I can find of Fowler but they're both top pairing PP guys. They both also collected some AST votes at their peak. Fowler's short-lived career really limits the comparison here and I sorta see it as a push leaning towards Mironov with the obvious distinction being the difference in longevity.
Evgeny Paladiev vs Harold Snepsts
Our defensive-minded players who happen to be fairly limited by contrasting weaknesses. Paladiev simply wasn't strong enough to handle NHLers during his part in the Summit Series and Snepsts who was a poor skater and fairly limited with the puck on his stick. Despite his limitations, Snepsts still made an all-star game and received some AST votes in one year. Paladiev was a good shot blocker and a stalwart compared to some of his Soviet counterparts but you know coach Somnor is gonna have players like Rota , Sheppard, and Backes grind the hell out of Evgeny as the series progresses. As I said I believe these to be our two most limited players and should your speedier talents exploit Snepsts poor skating things could unfold very poorly for the Mallards. But I believe Snepsts to be the better of the two and think we'd both be safe in assuming Paladiev will wear down and Snepsts will rack up the turnovers as the series progresses.
This second pairing by Regina is the one I was alluding to when I said Quad City should have a favorable matchup. To my understanding, Fowler isn't really noted for his defensive game and you have to wonder if the offensively-inclined three-year pro is really the best choice to pair with Paladiev. If the Mallards can wear him down and only worry about Fowler keeping us from Collins then I think we should be in pretty good shape.
Art Wiebe vs Boris Mironov
Wiebe was defensive-minded guy with some pretty impressive GP numbers. Mironov more defensively focused but certainly still a two-way guy, especially in this comparison. Without a lot to go off of it's nearly impossible to make an objective judgment here. I'd like to brag about Mironov's short-lived status as a top-15 defender as the clear sign he's better here, which would work with pretty much every other bottom pairing defender in this draft I think, but with his longevity Wiebe probably was top-15 in the pre-expansion league at some point, though obviously one is more meaningful. They both also hold a limited amount of AST votes. I think Boris is probably better here, way more dynamic without compromising his defensive game.
Mark Hardy vs Poul Popiel
Our special teams guys who can do a little of everything. Popiel has limited NHL success before becoming one of the most accomplished defenders in the history of the WHA. Hardy was a consistent two-way presence who picked up a single AST one year. Popiel had two WHA 2nd AST finishes to his name. Popiel has the nicer peak but surely it has be downgraded a bit as most of it came in WHA. Hardy on the other hand never reached the same level but did so in the NHL, and for a longer amount of time. I'll leave it up to the voters to decide for themselves, do you want Popiel's peak in the WHA or Hardy's consistency in the NHL?
Last edited by Rob Scuderi: 11-25-2011 at
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