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Hartford Wolf Pack/Greenville Swamp Rabbits Thread *Part VII*

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Old
11-04-2016, 08:45 PM
  #51
Revel
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Who is playing Center on the Kovacs-Glass-Stromwall line?

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11-04-2016, 08:47 PM
  #52
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Hrivik looks like he got lost and wound up in the wrong arena. Maybe he ran out of gas as he was driving through CT to MSG. Jensen, Nieves, Graves, McIlrath look good at this level, but they don't look like they're too good for it. Hrivik does. The closest comparison I can think of is watching Stepan in the WJC where it looked like he was a man among boys. That's how Hrivik looked so far this season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Revel View Post
Who is playing Center on the Kovacs-Glass-Stromwall line?
I think that was just them changing. Kovacs is on the 4th line with Fogarty and Carey. Brown is playing between Glass and Stromwall.

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11-05-2016, 03:43 AM
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revel View Post
Who is playing Center on the Kovacs-Glass-Stromwall line?
Must be Kovac right?

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11-05-2016, 03:56 AM
  #54
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Re Gernander, for me it's very little about good or bad. It's more the general direction the coach takes the players. Gernander has fundamentally failed getting HFD to play any kind of puck possession style, he has tried but hasn't been able to pull it off. Instead they have reverted back to playing real old school hockey.

And it's not easy. More turnover of players. Less skill. Many other teams that are very N-S style, which puts huge pressure on Ds trying to move the puck.

But other AHL teams have been able to do so much more than Kenny G in this regard. Dallas Eakins for example had the Marlies play a very advanced system. In this regard, I Kenny G just isn't good.

The result of this is I think that a player coming in playing 20-40 games for Kenny G will get taught the challenges of the pro game, will get work in on flawed areas and so forth. Kenny G takes care of the fundamentals. But in no way will any young player playing for a longer time under Kenny pick up any modern ideas. You will never see someone like Hrivik come up looking like a breath of fresh air because he had played a modern style a few seasons and gotten ahead of the vets...

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11-05-2016, 06:58 AM
  #55
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Possibly/probably, I had hopes for him last season going into this summer, but to be honest, I really think he should have taken a big step this summer to stay on track.

I don't like the work Gernander is doing in HFD and playing as defensive they are, I am not sure Andersson benefits from that given that he is more a puck possession player. But his big issue is nonetheless his mobility. He has always been heavy-set. What I would have liked to see this summer are of course report about him showing up in ultra good shape and it showing on the ice in how well he would move. How much his agility had improved.

I would be surprised if he stayed for sure.
Totally agree. I started having serious doubts when he didn't dominate at Traverse. Oh well that's what farm systems are for.

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11-05-2016, 01:12 PM
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola View Post
Re Gernander, for me it's very little about good or bad. It's more the general direction the coach takes the players. Gernander has fundamentally failed getting HFD to play any kind of puck possession style, he has tried but hasn't been able to pull it off. Instead they have reverted back to playing real old school hockey.

And it's not easy. More turnover of players. Less skill. Many other teams that are very N-S style, which puts huge pressure on Ds trying to move the puck.

But other AHL teams have been able to do so much more than Kenny G in this regard. Dallas Eakins for example had the Marlies play a very advanced system. In this regard, I Kenny G just isn't good.

The result of this is I think that a player coming in playing 20-40 games for Kenny G will get taught the challenges of the pro game, will get work in on flawed areas and so forth. Kenny G takes care of the fundamentals. But in no way will any young player playing for a longer time under Kenny pick up any modern ideas. You will never see someone like Hrivik come up looking like a breath of fresh air because he had played a modern style a few seasons and gotten ahead of the vets...
Thing with Eakins was that his advanced system worked in the AHL because he had Kadri and Gardiner out skate the league's speed.

In the NHL that Corsi based system, with his swarm defense, failed miserably.

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11-05-2016, 03:29 PM
  #57
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Checked out Hartford for the first time this season, saw the Bridgeport game.

Here are my thoughts.

General

The lines-up and PP units were:
13 Jensen- 24 Nieves-9-Brown
7 Rambo- 15 Hrivik- 14 Fontain
21 Stromwall-17 McRae-51 Glass
10 Carey-Fogarthy-96 Kovac
-----------
22 Bodie-6 McI
55 Summers- 44 Paliotta
3 Gilmour- 27 Graves

PP1 (not 100% which unit should be labelled as being the No 1)
13 Jensen- 15 Hrivik- 7Rambo
3 Gilmour- 44 Paliotta

PP2
14 Fontain-24 27Nieves-9 Brown
22 Bodie-Graves

I don't want to make this a post about Gernander. But I got to touch upon the subject briefly. Every year there is talk about some Ds stinking in HFD, or some goalie being the worst ever or whatever. But HFD is just a very poorly coached hockey team. On a poorly coached team, especially Ds and goalies will get exposed. You could take the playbook used in like a game between Chicago and Philadelphia in 1991 and its the same Gernander is using today in HFD.

Some years he has had dream-team squads more or less, this time they have obviously focused a lot on bringing in kids that has something to prove. Seems like they were displeased by the attitude shown by the big names they had before. Its not surprising that when Kenny G barely can get a all-star roster to the POs, he will not do well with an avg. roster. There is no structure what so ever in HFDs game. Ds get the puck, look up, trys to spot who is open, and deliver the pass. Sometimes its a pass up the left side, sometime its a pass up the right side, sometimes its an airborn lift to center ice, sometimes its board out. The CSI guys couldn't find a trace of a set transition play ever made in HFD. They are so primitive in the attacking zone. I can't believe it.

If someone like Bodie, Hrivik or someone like that spends a lot of time under Gernander, they will just turn into poorly coached players.

Whatever, I've seen a handful of games per season since AHL.com started to broadcast them, that is what 10-12 years ago? I also exchanged VHS tapes with people and had some informal streams before that. This is how it has been under Kenny. I hate it. Under Schoney they were not good, but at least somewhat structured. Very old school though. Under McGill they were really really well drilled, but McGill focused too much on winning. I didn't see enough of them under Paddock to have much of an opinion. But it has just been a nightmare under Kenny...

Player notes

The more developed players in HFD are the best looking even taking into account that they are further into their development process.

Nik Jensen is playing very good hockey right now. Continued were he left off for Denmark last season. He is a good strong scoring winger. But how good? Good enough to score a lot in the NHL? Nah, that is probably a stretch. And this is the problem with Jensen. He doesn't play with a ton of intensity. he doesn't push possession much, he isn't great on the forecheck, doesn't stand out in the sense that he makes players around him better. He is not that effective offensively, needs a bit of room and a bigger role to deliver.

If he is to warrant a spot next to like Kevin Hayes in the NHL, he really got to delivers in terms of G's in that role. From many perspectives, he isn't a worse player than like an Ondraj Palat or Alex Killorn or someone like that. Nik Jensen has really grown as a player. But, from the perspective of playing in a bit smaller role -- he is unfortunately behind similar players on contenders in this league.

Like all of a sudden ppl goes down in NY and Jensen gets a shot in NY and just delivers. But I don't think its probable. He could definitely end up playing somewhere else though. He is a good player. You won't find a ton of 23 y/o's not in the NHL better than him.

Boo Nieves is Boo Nieves, still. Never will change. Wouldn't be surprised if he looked exactly like this on the ice when he was 45 y/o either. Full speed, hard work, far from stiff hands. Can only play the game with one gear in, the best way to defend against him is just to back down and he will skate into you or end up in the corners. But if you are not aware, he will blow past you. I think odds are good that he is going to play in the NHL one day, but right now I don't see him competing with the players we currently have on the roster.

Would also certainly not mind if we had a coach, a team mate to him, or whatever, that kind of could get through to him on some level. Like if he played with a young Zucc down there. Zucc could like sit down with him and tell him, I need this from you. And when I have the puck in these areas, you should do [...]. Get him to start to build a bit more of an offensive game. Or defensive game. Get him to expand his register a bit.

Marek Hrivik is not impressing me and that is kind of depressing given the enormous loyalty he has shown the organization. But if anyone is a victim of Kenny G, its Hrivik. He should be in the NHL or close to it given his conditions. But he isn't a stand-out, and he just doesn't play a smart hockey game. Jesper Fast is in the NHL for one reason, he gets it. He gets what a coach wants, what a team needs. Lets slow it down here, lets get a move on there, lets get a FO, lets clear it, lets take advantage of this situation and go with the risky option. Hrivik is like putting his head down like everyone else, try to do the best he can with crappy situations which HFD constantly put themselves in.

Tambellin has improved and I think he is playing OK hockey for HFD. Scored a real goal scorers goal for HFD last night. That nose for the net he has is really to like. But overall, I just would be surprised if he made it to the NHL. His shot is great and offensive instincts OK for a scorer I guess, but the other parts of his game is just not good. Long shot at best.

I compared Malte Strömwall with Michael Grabner when we signed the former, and I do think that kind of describe what kind of player he is. Strömwall is really talented, the speed is really good and his wrister is great. OTOH, he does not work very well with his teammates, he isn't egoistic or has low hockey IQ in any sense, but offensively he kind of like Grabner play his own game so to speak. I think in these areas, Strömwall is showing potential to get it to a NHL level.

But I think the problem for Strömwall is that he isn't 6'1 and a bit of a grinder, like Grabner and many guys in that mold in the NHL. Its not a mega flaw for him, he puts in the work, but its not a strength in any way. His game away from the puck. So I think he is a real long shot.

Robin Kovac is by far the youngest player on HFD. Being only 19 y/o, he is 3-6 years younger than the other "kids" we have down there. I think he is the best forward prospect we have down in HFD. But he is a skilled offensive player, not that much unlike say Buchnevich. And I am sure Buch would be a 4th lineer under Kenny G to at this stage. Like what is he supposed to do, nobody else is making any kind of structured plays, and here comes a kid that lives on understanding the game, reading a defense, and exposing any opening that might be out there.

Kovac is still young though, unless he on a private level is unhappy in the AHL, the plan is for him to spend some time there for sure. With time he will grow into a bigger role for the team no matter what, and hopefully along the way he can find someone to tag up with and find a partner in crime trying to create some order on the ice.

Chris Summers is hardly a prospect, but he is a good player. Good college player, he is a former captain from Michigan. Former 1st ronder. I remember him from Bobby Sangs WJCs. Played for US in the Czech Rep. The US was pretty so-so, it was the year they had JVR, MaxPac and co. Cherepanov played for Russia.

Anyway, this is a victim of how the game has changed. Big physical D. Like moves well. Solid with the puck. But this is not what the game is about anymore. Size and physicality really will not get someone into the NHL, not even remotely. Not even if they are good all over. And its important to remember that the AHL is full of these guys right now. Hence its not an easy league to play in. During the trapping era the talented midgets like Jason Krug, Rico Fata and the likes, terrorized the AHL and were over-represented at that level. Now there is a lot of bigger solid players down there.

Summers-Paliotta were Gernander's top pairing. Paliotta is OK too.

Mat Bodie has not developed at all under Gernander. I never quite agreed with the notion that he is too small for the NHL. But its a way too big problem when he isn't that good with the puck. And he isn't, like why would he have developed his passing game, his ability to transport the puck etc. under Gernander?

Ryan Graves is played at RD next to Bodie which I just hates. Graves was the biggest disappointment for me by far. On the off-side, he constantly is playing a stand still, short straight sprint, stand still, short straight sprint, type of skating game. He isn't moving much at all on the ice, and a NHL D just must be able to do that really well.

To explain, imagine an attacking team going up ice. How does a D have to react? First of all, he instantly have to take off skating backwards as fast as he can, because sometimes it will develop into a clear break and then no D will have any marginals. But, often there is a hick-up for the attacking team. A defending player just gets in the way. This makes the play slow down, and the D have to slow down, then often comes a second wave of the attack, and the D has to get going again. Very often, the puck ends up down behind the Ds. Sometimes after a dump, but often just after a pass is redirected to someone that is taken out/bumped off the play.

In all these situations, its just so valuable for a D to be able to carry speed under their skates. To not have to break and slow down when the play infront of them slows down, but to conserve the speed by going East/West a bit, and then get right back to that speed again when its needed. And then when they have to fetch a puck, its absolutely essential to be able to come in and like swoop up the puck and keep moving after it. Like a D that stands still, sets off in straight spring towards the boards to pick it up, and then heads up along the boards with the puck, or have to break to not skate into the boards, he will never get any time with it. He will only end up banging it against the boards again, because forecheckers is on those pucks instantly nowadays when you can't screen them in the neutral zone.

Any D playing on his off-side is hurt in this regard. They fetch pucks with their back-hand and not forehand. Imagine if a left handed D fetches a puck along the right boards in the mid of the defensive zone. He basically have to turn his back towards the ice. He has no where to go really.

And its also a natural flaw for Ryan Graves, he isn't very smooth on his skates. His lateral movement does not stand out in any way. This has always been said to be his biggest flaw.

By far the most prioritized part of the game for Ryan Graves -- should -- be to skate, skate and skate and then skate some more. Always trying to make a play when he fetch a puck. Always trying to work the forecheckers with the puck. Get them out of their comfort zone. But instead, he wasn't even involved in one single play like that all night. If AV would say one thing to Graves, it would be that he has to learn to make that first play out of his own end, but instead Graves is put in a situation where he only gets to hammer puck up along the boards with his back-hand.

I don't know what Beacon say who have seen all of HFDs games, but to me Dylan McIlrath looks very rusty. McI played great in Camp last season. Then he got to play a lot from late November to just before Christmas, like a 3 week period. Besides that period, he played more than 15 minutes TWICE, in early April during the rest of the season. I said back then that we must make an opening for him or we will risk ruining him, and that is basically what looks like we have done. Hopefully he can regain his form, get back to the top pairing with Bodie in HFD, and get a new shot in NY later this season.

John Gilmor is a good young D. I like a lot of parts of his game, overall probably the most complete D in HFD. OTOH, he is 23 y/o, and not like great at anything. Could have used a bit more speed under his skate, a little more action offensively. But its still young in his pro career. Lets give him some time.

Magnus Hellberg has a lot of schooling left to do. He is big, but even a big player have to work really hard to be able to keep that upperbody straight up, if they hunch forward when they are down on the ice they aren't big anymore. It might not stick out all that much with someone like Bishop and the other giants, but its very hard to make all the plays a goalie makes, and still stay that up right. In that area, and many other details, Hellberg isn't very well schooled. Not yet at least. Wouldn't hoist that big hope that Hellberg will pinn these things down and become a good keeper at the NHL level.

I know many absolutely love Skapski and even ranks him as one of our absolute best prospects, but to be honest I have never seen anything even remotely that promising from him. For me, he is still in the highly suspect category. But I have not seen a ton of him, I recon others who hold him higher have seen more of him. Anyway, I would lveo to see Halvarsson get a full year in ECHL with a ton of action, and be ready to step in as a clear No 1 in HFD next year. Like I said, I could be in the dark with Skapski, but currently I don't like the two we have to work with down there. Hank is getting older, don't make sense to me that we don't have someone more promising and especially more refined at that level...

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Old
11-05-2016, 10:42 PM
  #58
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Hartford got destroyed tonight. Hartford is bad. Hartford has won exactly one game in regulation and is in last place in the Atlantic Division.

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11-05-2016, 11:53 PM
  #59
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Agree with most of it, but I disagree with Hrivik and Summers. Summers sucks. Even in a trap era, he'd bevin the AHL. Hrivik, on the other hand, is very good. Best player on the team by a good margin and has the skills that translate to the NHL. He looks very similar to how Lindberg and Fast looked at the end of their AHL career: better than all others, dependable in all 3 zones. I have no doubt he can play in the NHL right now as a top-12 regular.

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11-06-2016, 12:03 AM
  #60
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Help me understand...Gernander has been the coach in Hartford for 10 years. He's been under the scrutiny of Ranger management for all that time. If he is that much of a ****show, how come the Rangers management hasn't figured that out and the HFBoards have? Seriously, I'd like to know. I don't have a horse in this race but if someone is that incompetent, sooner or later they get exposed.

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11-06-2016, 01:03 AM
  #61
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Any disagreements on the "prospects" in Hartford? Who should be added or subtracted?

Forwards:

Hrivik: NHL'er right now, probably 4th line, but maybe 3rd line. Might be better than some players we currently have on the roster like Lindberg or Jooris.

Jensen: Probably could be deserving of an NHL chance right now, but the Rangers have a lot of depth. On a team with less depth, he might have gotten a chance. A very good AHL'er, might be good enough for an NHL top 12, but also maybe not.

Nieves: Not that far away from NHL ready. Maybe near the end of the season. He has things to learn in the AHL, but its wasting time to think he will learn. He hasn't at any point in his career. His style is good enough to play in the NHL because he's such a good skater, but he's probably not more than a Grabner. Best case maybe Hagelin.

Stromwall and Tambellini: They have certain NHL tools, but neither do other things well enough for their tools to carry them to the NHL. Could turn into good AHL level players, but its unlikely they become more than 13F's. Maybe they get an NHL chance at some point, but they probably won't be good enough to play in an NHL Top 12.

Kovacs: Not anywhere close to NHL ready, but there are NHL tools, and he likely will get to the NHL. Don't think he has significant upside, but could be a good middle six winger. End of next season or beginning of the 18-19 season is when he should be NHL ready. This season is about learning to play every game at a higher level, adjusting to NA ice, and improving as the season goes along. If he can get up to the second line near the end of the season and he's earning that spot, thats a good season.

Defenseman:

McIlrath: Everyone has their own opinion. Not even worth discussing.

Graves: Not yet ready for the NHL, but he will play in the NHL, and has the potential to be a top 4D. Opinions differ on him, but his shot will likely be a huge weapon in the NHL and he has big offensive potential. Defensively, he's improving, but he's not NHL ready. Might get a few NHL games this season, otherwise next season is when he should start staking a claim for a spot on the NHL team.

Gilmour: Another player who will play in the NHL. Likely a fairly mobile bottom pairing PMD who isn't terrible defensively. Might be ready towards the end of this season, but he could use a season of professional hockey before he gets a chance in the NHL.

Goalies:

Hellberg: Good AHL goalie. Could probably get a chance in the NHL, but he's not good enough where you can project him being better than Raanta. I don't think there's much of a difference between the best AHL goalies and the worst NHL goalies. He could probably be a back up in the NHL for a few teams, but you probably aren't getting good back up production. Still kind of raw, but he's 25. Most likely found his level as good AHL goalie/bad NHL goalie, but with a few improvements, could be a decent enough NHL back up. Probably not worth the time investing playing time in past this season in the minors. If Raanta is picked in the expansion draft, probably not a bad idea to have him back up Hank, but Raanta is preferred.

Skapski: He was injured last season. I'm not going to hold that against him. He's a fairly polished goalie. Probably not that much worse than Hellberg, but he lacks upside. He's young, but you probably aren't getting more than a good back up. Not ready to get NHL games this season, needs AHL games. Let him split games with Hellberg this season, next season he takes over as #3 goalie for Rangers and AHL starter.

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11-06-2016, 02:09 AM
  #62
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Hellberg is not a top AHL goalie. He's a solid AHL goalie, no more.

Kovacs is now on the 4th line in Hartford, which tells you how far away from the NHL he is.

Jensen is a good AHLer, but he's not ready to be top-12 on any NHL team. His skills are also not translatable to the NHL because he's more of an offensive player, but he's so good enough to score in the NHL.

Nieves is a good player whose skills translate well to the pros. I see him as a third liner in the NHL in a couple of years.

Graves needs to figure out how to move with the puck, and shoot it faster and more accurately. He has a lot of good tools otherwise: as big as McIlrath, shoots over 100 mph, good defense, solid speed.

Skapski sucks.

Hrivik should be in the NHL right now.

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11-06-2016, 03:41 AM
  #63
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Wow the Pack have been a mess since Glass joined them huh?

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11-06-2016, 07:05 AM
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola View Post
Checked out Hartford for the first time this season, saw the Bridgeport game.

Here are my thoughts.

General

The lines-up and PP units were:
13 Jensen- 24 Nieves-9-Brown
7 Rambo- 15 Hrivik- 14 Fontain
21 Stromwall-17 McRae-51 Glass
10 Carey-Fogarthy-96 Kovac
-----------
22 Bodie-6 McI
55 Summers- 44 Paliotta
3 Gilmour- 27 Graves

PP1 (not 100% which unit should be labelled as being the No 1)
13 Jensen- 15 Hrivik- 7Rambo
3 Gilmour- 44 Paliotta

PP2
14 Fontain-24 27Nieves-9 Brown
22 Bodie-Graves

I don't want to make this a post about Gernander. But I got to touch upon the subject briefly. Every year there is talk about some Ds stinking in HFD, or some goalie being the worst ever or whatever. But HFD is just a very poorly coached hockey team. On a poorly coached team, especially Ds and goalies will get exposed. You could take the playbook used in like a game between Chicago and Philadelphia in 1991 and its the same Gernander is using today in HFD.

Some years he has had dream-team squads more or less, this time they have obviously focused a lot on bringing in kids that has something to prove. Seems like they were displeased by the attitude shown by the big names they had before. Its not surprising that when Kenny G barely can get a all-star roster to the POs, he will not do well with an avg. roster. There is no structure what so ever in HFDs game. Ds get the puck, look up, trys to spot who is open, and deliver the pass. Sometimes its a pass up the left side, sometime its a pass up the right side, sometimes its an airborn lift to center ice, sometimes its board out. The CSI guys couldn't find a trace of a set transition play ever made in HFD. They are so primitive in the attacking zone. I can't believe it.

If someone like Bodie, Hrivik or someone like that spends a lot of time under Gernander, they will just turn into poorly coached players.

Whatever, I've seen a handful of games per season since AHL.com started to broadcast them, that is what 10-12 years ago? I also exchanged VHS tapes with people and had some informal streams before that. This is how it has been under Kenny. I hate it. Under Schoney they were not good, but at least somewhat structured. Very old school though. Under McGill they were really really well drilled, but McGill focused too much on winning. I didn't see enough of them under Paddock to have much of an opinion. But it has just been a nightmare under Kenny...

Player notes

The more developed players in HFD are the best looking even taking into account that they are further into their development process.

Nik Jensen is playing very good hockey right now. Continued were he left off for Denmark last season. He is a good strong scoring winger. But how good? Good enough to score a lot in the NHL? Nah, that is probably a stretch. And this is the problem with Jensen. He doesn't play with a ton of intensity. he doesn't push possession much, he isn't great on the forecheck, doesn't stand out in the sense that he makes players around him better. He is not that effective offensively, needs a bit of room and a bigger role to deliver.

If he is to warrant a spot next to like Kevin Hayes in the NHL, he really got to delivers in terms of G's in that role. From many perspectives, he isn't a worse player than like an Ondraj Palat or Alex Killorn or someone like that. Nik Jensen has really grown as a player. But, from the perspective of playing in a bit smaller role -- he is unfortunately behind similar players on contenders in this league.

Like all of a sudden ppl goes down in NY and Jensen gets a shot in NY and just delivers. But I don't think its probable. He could definitely end up playing somewhere else though. He is a good player. You won't find a ton of 23 y/o's not in the NHL better than him.

Boo Nieves is Boo Nieves, still. Never will change. Wouldn't be surprised if he looked exactly like this on the ice when he was 45 y/o either. Full speed, hard work, far from stiff hands. Can only play the game with one gear in, the best way to defend against him is just to back down and he will skate into you or end up in the corners. But if you are not aware, he will blow past you. I think odds are good that he is going to play in the NHL one day, but right now I don't see him competing with the players we currently have on the roster.

Would also certainly not mind if we had a coach, a team mate to him, or whatever, that kind of could get through to him on some level. Like if he played with a young Zucc down there. Zucc could like sit down with him and tell him, I need this from you. And when I have the puck in these areas, you should do [...]. Get him to start to build a bit more of an offensive game. Or defensive game. Get him to expand his register a bit.

Marek Hrivik is not impressing me and that is kind of depressing given the enormous loyalty he has shown the organization. But if anyone is a victim of Kenny G, its Hrivik. He should be in the NHL or close to it given his conditions. But he isn't a stand-out, and he just doesn't play a smart hockey game. Jesper Fast is in the NHL for one reason, he gets it. He gets what a coach wants, what a team needs. Lets slow it down here, lets get a move on there, lets get a FO, lets clear it, lets take advantage of this situation and go with the risky option. Hrivik is like putting his head down like everyone else, try to do the best he can with crappy situations which HFD constantly put themselves in.

Tambellin has improved and I think he is playing OK hockey for HFD. Scored a real goal scorers goal for HFD last night. That nose for the net he has is really to like. But overall, I just would be surprised if he made it to the NHL. His shot is great and offensive instincts OK for a scorer I guess, but the other parts of his game is just not good. Long shot at best.

I compared Malte Strömwall with Michael Grabner when we signed the former, and I do think that kind of describe what kind of player he is. Strömwall is really talented, the speed is really good and his wrister is great. OTOH, he does not work very well with his teammates, he isn't egoistic or has low hockey IQ in any sense, but offensively he kind of like Grabner play his own game so to speak. I think in these areas, Strömwall is showing potential to get it to a NHL level.

But I think the problem for Strömwall is that he isn't 6'1 and a bit of a grinder, like Grabner and many guys in that mold in the NHL. Its not a mega flaw for him, he puts in the work, but its not a strength in any way. His game away from the puck. So I think he is a real long shot.

Robin Kovac is by far the youngest player on HFD. Being only 19 y/o, he is 3-6 years younger than the other "kids" we have down there. I think he is the best forward prospect we have down in HFD. But he is a skilled offensive player, not that much unlike say Buchnevich. And I am sure Buch would be a 4th lineer under Kenny G to at this stage. Like what is he supposed to do, nobody else is making any kind of structured plays, and here comes a kid that lives on understanding the game, reading a defense, and exposing any opening that might be out there.

Kovac is still young though, unless he on a private level is unhappy in the AHL, the plan is for him to spend some time there for sure. With time he will grow into a bigger role for the team no matter what, and hopefully along the way he can find someone to tag up with and find a partner in crime trying to create some order on the ice.

Chris Summers is hardly a prospect, but he is a good player. Good college player, he is a former captain from Michigan. Former 1st ronder. I remember him from Bobby Sangs WJCs. Played for US in the Czech Rep. The US was pretty so-so, it was the year they had JVR, MaxPac and co. Cherepanov played for Russia.

Anyway, this is a victim of how the game has changed. Big physical D. Like moves well. Solid with the puck. But this is not what the game is about anymore. Size and physicality really will not get someone into the NHL, not even remotely. Not even if they are good all over. And its important to remember that the AHL is full of these guys right now. Hence its not an easy league to play in. During the trapping era the talented midgets like Jason Krug, Rico Fata and the likes, terrorized the AHL and were over-represented at that level. Now there is a lot of bigger solid players down there.

Summers-Paliotta were Gernander's top pairing. Paliotta is OK too.

Mat Bodie has not developed at all under Gernander. I never quite agreed with the notion that he is too small for the NHL. But its a way too big problem when he isn't that good with the puck. And he isn't, like why would he have developed his passing game, his ability to transport the puck etc. under Gernander?

Ryan Graves is played at RD next to Bodie which I just hates. Graves was the biggest disappointment for me by far. On the off-side, he constantly is playing a stand still, short straight sprint, stand still, short straight sprint, type of skating game. He isn't moving much at all on the ice, and a NHL D just must be able to do that really well.

To explain, imagine an attacking team going up ice. How does a D have to react? First of all, he instantly have to take off skating backwards as fast as he can, because sometimes it will develop into a clear break and then no D will have any marginals. But, often there is a hick-up for the attacking team. A defending player just gets in the way. This makes the play slow down, and the D have to slow down, then often comes a second wave of the attack, and the D has to get going again. Very often, the puck ends up down behind the Ds. Sometimes after a dump, but often just after a pass is redirected to someone that is taken out/bumped off the play.

In all these situations, its just so valuable for a D to be able to carry speed under their skates. To not have to break and slow down when the play infront of them slows down, but to conserve the speed by going East/West a bit, and then get right back to that speed again when its needed. And then when they have to fetch a puck, its absolutely essential to be able to come in and like swoop up the puck and keep moving after it. Like a D that stands still, sets off in straight spring towards the boards to pick it up, and then heads up along the boards with the puck, or have to break to not skate into the boards, he will never get any time with it. He will only end up banging it against the boards again, because forecheckers is on those pucks instantly nowadays when you can't screen them in the neutral zone.

Any D playing on his off-side is hurt in this regard. They fetch pucks with their back-hand and not forehand. Imagine if a left handed D fetches a puck along the right boards in the mid of the defensive zone. He basically have to turn his back towards the ice. He has no where to go really.

And its also a natural flaw for Ryan Graves, he isn't very smooth on his skates. His lateral movement does not stand out in any way. This has always been said to be his biggest flaw.

By far the most prioritized part of the game for Ryan Graves -- should -- be to skate, skate and skate and then skate some more. Always trying to make a play when he fetch a puck. Always trying to work the forecheckers with the puck. Get them out of their comfort zone. But instead, he wasn't even involved in one single play like that all night. If AV would say one thing to Graves, it would be that he has to learn to make that first play out of his own end, but instead Graves is put in a situation where he only gets to hammer puck up along the boards with his back-hand.

I don't know what Beacon say who have seen all of HFDs games, but to me Dylan McIlrath looks very rusty. McI played great in Camp last season. Then he got to play a lot from late November to just before Christmas, like a 3 week period. Besides that period, he played more than 15 minutes TWICE, in early April during the rest of the season. I said back then that we must make an opening for him or we will risk ruining him, and that is basically what looks like we have done. Hopefully he can regain his form, get back to the top pairing with Bodie in HFD, and get a new shot in NY later this season.

John Gilmor is a good young D. I like a lot of parts of his game, overall probably the most complete D in HFD. OTOH, he is 23 y/o, and not like great at anything. Could have used a bit more speed under his skate, a little more action offensively. But its still young in his pro career. Lets give him some time.

Magnus Hellberg has a lot of schooling left to do. He is big, but even a big player have to work really hard to be able to keep that upperbody straight up, if they hunch forward when they are down on the ice they aren't big anymore. It might not stick out all that much with someone like Bishop and the other giants, but its very hard to make all the plays a goalie makes, and still stay that up right. In that area, and many other details, Hellberg isn't very well schooled. Not yet at least. Wouldn't hoist that big hope that Hellberg will pinn these things down and become a good keeper at the NHL level.

I know many absolutely love Skapski and even ranks him as one of our absolute best prospects, but to be honest I have never seen anything even remotely that promising from him. For me, he is still in the highly suspect category. But I have not seen a ton of him, I recon others who hold him higher have seen more of him. Anyway, I would lveo to see Halvarsson get a full year in ECHL with a ton of action, and be ready to step in as a clear No 1 in HFD next year. Like I said, I could be in the dark with Skapski, but currently I don't like the two we have to work with down there. Hank is getting older, don't make sense to me that we don't have someone more promising and especially more refined at that level...
After reading this Ola I wish they'd hire you to coach that team because I don't see a lot of happening with this team and it's pretty much the same gripe year after year. This year's Wolfpack team just seems awfully dysfunctional so far. We do have some young guys there but there are enough vets that they should be able to help them out.

I am so ****ing happy that Gernander hasn't gotten his hands on Buchnveich. He'd try to turn him into a checker. I get that Hrivik is having a good season there but anytime I've ever seen him playing NHL games--which have been mostly preseason--you don't see anything more than a 4th line checking guy and honestly Jesper Fast IMO blows him away as a hockey player.

Anyway you want guys like Graves, Nieves and Kovacs to be put in situations where they can gain confidence and develop because they could have a real future--but Kovacs on the 4th line is kind of WTF!--they should have left him in Sweden---seriously. He looked good at Traverse and pretty decent in preseason--he needs to play with good line mates and be put in offensive situations. I was thinking it was a bit early to be bringing him over.

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11-06-2016, 07:19 AM
  #65
Vitto79
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I may be a homer but that's a pretty good AHL D on paper no?

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11-06-2016, 08:20 AM
  #66
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Me to current Nhl scout well what's your honest opinion on Mcilrath ?

Answer
He is in the AHL because he didn't play a lot and that shows . Problem is he wasn't COACHED right .. When you have a horse you Run him not cage him..

Is he Nhl player material ?

Answer
Not with the confidence he has now

That's kinda sad to hear for me

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11-06-2016, 08:33 AM
  #67
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I may be a homer but that's a pretty good AHL D on paper no?
i want to think so , but

HWP have worst GA and GAA by far, yes its still early
http://theahl.com/team-stats

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11-06-2016, 10:40 AM
  #68
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Ola and Beacon

Thanks for the updates.


Beacon- I felt the same way with Hrivik early in the preseason. Really though he looked like a season NHL player. He made some mistakes, however overall he seemed to me an NHL player. Can't argue the results though. Very surprised he didn't get claimed off waivers.

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11-06-2016, 10:41 AM
  #69
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Me to current Nhl scout well what's your honest opinion on Mcilrath ?

Answer
He is in the AHL because he didn't play a lot and that shows . Problem is he wasn't COACHED right .. When you have a horse you Run him not cage him..

Is he Nhl player material ?

Answer
Not with the confidence he has now

That's kinda sad to hear for me
That sucks. I really hope he gets his chance elsewhere. I do think he can make it at the NHL level.

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11-06-2016, 04:00 PM
  #70
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Help me understand...Gernander has been the coach in Hartford for 10 years. He's been under the scrutiny of Ranger management for all that time. If he is that much of a ****show, how come the Rangers management hasn't figured that out and the HFBoards have? Seriously, I'd like to know. I don't have a horse in this race but if someone is that incompetent, sooner or later they get exposed.
I don't know, maybe the coaches in NY loves him lol. No threat to them...

From my point of view, is he literary a disaster? No I don't think so at least.

But like, John Tortorella survived a long time on the job in NY, got a new job in Vancouver and then Columbus. Tortorella plays a style that was invented by others and designed to not be destroyed by trapping teams. If you don't mess around with the puck in your own end or try to make plays with it in the neutral zone -- you will also not commit any give aways. All this in an era where it just seem so obvious that keeping possession of the puck if anything is what matters. Right? Like all other coaches in this league seem to think that. Why did it take so long for us to do something about him in NY? Why did he get a job in Vancouver? Why did he get a job in Columbus? Why did people put him in charge of the US World Cup team?

I have seen Gerander try many different things in HFD over the years, including having a D that moves the puck more. But like who have learned Gerander how to coach? He has learned from John Paddock, Jim Schoenfield and the likes. Early to mid 90's NHL coaches. And he obviously does not seem to have grasped what the game is about.

Then for sure, finding a AHL coach can be tricky. You want someone who is loyal to the organization and don't let a kid that needs patient rut to get a good record in the AHL to get a NHL job. You don't want to hire a new guy every other year. And so forth. So its understandable that there is hesitation to mess with the coaching situation. And like I said, I don't think its any major concerns for players just dipping their feet in HFD. But we should be able to do better.

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11-06-2016, 04:10 PM
  #71
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Then for sure, finding a AHL coach can be tricky. You want someone who is loyal to the organization and don't let a kid that needs patient rut to get a good record in the AHL to get a NHL job. You don't want to hire a new guy every other year. And so forth. So its understandable that there is hesitation to mess with the coaching situation. And like I said, I don't think its any major concerns for players just dipping their feet in HFD. But we should be able to do better.
You think there is any chance this new assistant takes over if the Pack just have an awful season?

I can see the Gorton/Greely regime making a change maybe binging in someone from the Boston area possibly from the collegiate ranks.

Not worried about Kovacs yet. Stinks he's on the fourth line now, but he's in a similar situation to Anisimov and Miller when they first played here.

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11-06-2016, 04:48 PM
  #72
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Glass + Summers are UFA after this season. They'll be gone, allowing some moves in the depth chart.

Brown/Jensen/Hellberg/Hughes/Donnay/Skapski/Hrivik are RFAs who may or may not be qualified. Paliotta probably will be.

Bodie may or may not be re-signed, but he's UFA. Fontaine might be.

Lots of depth rearrangement this coming offseason. Kovacs will move up the depth chart in Hartford.

It will be interesting to see if McCambridge takes over for Kenny G after this season.

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11-06-2016, 09:21 PM
  #73
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Glass + Summers are UFA after this season. They'll be gone, allowing some moves in the depth chart.
The problem is not too many vets, but too few. There's so much youth on the Pack that we see a ton of running around like chickens without a head. If you only watch NHL hockey, you don't understand how bad it is. The Pack look like some beer league squad made up of accountants who play 2 games a month to lose their beer gut. Half the team is out of position most of the time.

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11-06-2016, 09:23 PM
  #74
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The problem is not too many vets, but too few. There's so much youth on the Pack that we see a ton of running around like chickens without a head. If you only watch NHL hockey, you don't understand how bad it is. The Pack look like some beer league squad made up of accountants who play 2 games a month to lose their beer gut. Half the team is out of position most of the time.
Gotta wonder if they make a move for better vets for Hartford. Like what they did with Fontaine.

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11-07-2016, 06:21 AM
  #75
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You think there is any chance this new assistant takes over if the Pack just have an awful season?

I can see the Gorton/Greely regime making a change maybe binging in someone from the Boston area possibly from the collegiate ranks.

Not worried about Kovacs yet. Stinks he's on the fourth line now, but he's in a similar situation to Anisimov and Miller when they first played here.
Yeah and Zucc too. Think Gernander kept Zucc on a 4th line there for almost half a season, and Zucc was just coming off dominating an OG with all best players in it...

Not worried about Kovac either. Think he is a bit of an "invulnerable child" of a hockey player. Actually think Gernander can be a pretty ok coach for Robin granted that Robin can grow into a bit of a bigger role sooner rather than later.

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