Not even Bulmer! He was in Kelowna. But yeah, that was a team full of pluggers where pretty much everyone was on the same page and Yeo really got every ounce of use out of everyone. Makes a difference. A team like that--lacking the skill but supremely cohesive and hard working--could end up winning it all.
Disappointed that Spurgeon won't get to go down to Houston due to waiver issues but at least Falk and Brodin will be there. I have a hard time believing that AHL signing Brian Connolly won't make the team either. He put up some great point totals the last couple years in the AHL.
Can't wait to watch the Barons. I can't believe how badly people are underrating this team. The team is stacked with prospects, solid AHL vets and a great coach. Todd Nelson completely turned the team around, after his first year the team was transformed. I'd advise others to take note of him because he's an up and coming coach who will be in the NHL very soon.
I also highly doubt Eberle and Nuge get targeted in the AHL considering many of the AHL star forwards are like 5'8 or so. Eberle was a point per game player during his short stint with the Falcons, and the Falcons were an absolute mess compared to the Barons. I can't fathom Eberle struggling, he will dominate.
Syracuse will likely win it. They are bringing back pretty much everybody from last years team plus a bunch of Tampas other top prospects. They weren't the most talented team but out worked every team they played last year. I expect to see more of the same.
Albany has Henrique, Larsson, Tedenby, and Josefson.
This team should be on the watch however you forgot Urbom. I really hope Josefson has a healthy season there and Tedenby gets his act together there. People here are underestimating a lot of teams now with OKC getting poster boy RNH and Eberle. However Danis was quite something last year for them.
The Admirals are another team, Duck's Affiliate now, that should be on the lookout, Holland made very good strides last year and Palmieri looks much better, DSP also getting more key role to get his offense up should help too. I believe Frederik Andersen is their goalie who was INSANE in the SEL and their back up is Bobkov who was well touted in the OHL and was respectable there.
The previous Calder cup champs Sens also should get a boost with Mika, Silfverburg and possibly the revival of Robin Lehner in their team. There are more I think but I can't remember off the top of my head.
All in all the teams I think that will be very good are:
Crunch(current champs), Marlies(Good mix of veteran & young prospects coming back), Devils (defense should better as well with Urbom in the mix if I am correct), B. Sens(much rides on the work of Lehner aside from good forward group), OKC(yes yes RNH & Eberle, but don't forget a MPS who wants more time and Hamilton who struggled, unsure if Hartikinen will be there?) & Admirals(good mix of everything)
Honorable mentions should go to the St. John Caps, Americans, & Icehogs.
If I forget someone I apologize going off my head atm lol.
Nino Niederreiter - Brock Nelson - Kirill Kabanov
David Ullstrom - Casey Cizkas - Colin McDonald
John Persson - Johan Sundstrom - Sean Backman
Mike Halmo - Jason Clark - Matt Watkins
Brandon Defazio - Max MacKay - Blair Riley
Calvin deHann - Travis Hamonic
Aaron Ness - Matt Donovan
Ty Wishart - Nathan McIver
Jon Landry - Marc Cantin
A totally false statement regarding Finley. He was invited to camp as a try out and turned that into a 3 year NHL contract. He was one of the Amerks' most reliable defenseman all year long.
Good skater for his size, physical and defended his teammates.
I was really disappointed with his dumb luck injuries and when Washington let him go. He was a bit of a project, but by all reports he was working hard when healthy. Glad he got some call up time with the Sabres last year and hope he keeps improving.
I don't know. I've heard a lot of great things about Mike Halmo. He's got a scoring touch while being a very physical player. If he gets 7+ goals and beats the crap out of the others, that's a solid 4th line player right there. Jason Clark should be replaced, he's not good at all from what I've seen of him. Watkins I know nothing about. I'm a big fan of Blair Riley, who's also a very good 4th liner with a small scoring touch.
The 3rd line is going to be real good with Sundstrom and Persson, two very good prospects. Sundstrom just played two years in the SEL and Persson had a really nice stint to end last season. He could score 20 goals on the 3rd line. Sean Backman is a good energy guy, solid #3 player on a line with two scorers.
My favorite part about Bridgeport is the defense (lines at training camp):