the Heat are looking to have some good depth this year... the 13th and 14th forwards in my eyes are Watt and Grantham... newly signed Keith will likely be shipped to Utah... and on the blueline one of Breen, Meyers or Nyren will be shipped to Utah as well...
and we could have alot of scoring depth especially on the right side with Nemisz, Rheualt, Cameron and Chucko playing RW... I would think that one will move to their off wing pushing MacMillan down to the 4th line
I'm a Heat seasons ticket holder (this year and last), so I'll pop in here and post my thoughts, and comments as the season goes on. I think this season will be interesting. A lot of the veteran AHL'ers are gone so it really depends on the development of players like Wahl and Nemisz, as well as the new comers, I'm particularly interested in Cameron.
Last year the Heat had a lot of injuries so a few players may not have developed as quick as the organization had hoped.
I am also interested in what the Flames will do. They started the season with so many injuries that I think we will see a few bodies return as Calgary's m.a.s.h. unit begins to heal. I think the Heat will see the return of Sutter, Meyer, Stone, and hopefully for my and the Heat's sake T.J. Brodie. Last year the Heats biggest hole was a #1 dman. From what I saw in the pre-season Brodie could be that guy. Since he can be moved up and down without having to clear waivers, I could see him return to Abbotsford before Pardy, and it seems like a waste of talent to have Brodie playing bottom pairing minutes. In Abbotsford he would be a top pairing, top PP guy, but I guess we'll see.
Hocke News predicted them for last. Hopefully they can use that as motivation and improve on last years second round playoff run. Will be tough with no Backlund, but gives room for other guys to step up
Here's a brief update after 2 home games for the Heat.
Friday - 5-0 loss to Rockford. The Heat outplayed the Wolves in the first, but a bad bounce off the boards then a player made it 1-0, another bizarre play and fortunate bounce for the Wolves made it 2-0, then things started to unravel. Heat pushed back physically, but found themselves on the wrong side of a lot of penalty calls. Irving wasn't the problem, but he didn't make any great saves either.
Saturday 4-3 lose in OT to Rockford - Pretty even game all around. Heat didn't have a lot of player support in the offensive zone. It seemed every time a Heat player would cross the Wolves blueline they were all alone. Bancks and Wahl were probably the best Heat players, Armstrong had a great goal lifting the puck top self in close, and Watt smacked Exelby around in the only fight of the night.
Over all I think the Heat look young and probably need some time 15-20 games for a lot of their players to adjust to the pros. Chucko and Negrin are both out of the line-up (again) and will add AHL veteran presence, and as Flames get healthier the Heat will see the return of some more experienced players.
Next update after the 2 game series with the Rochester Americans
Brodie should get plenty of playing time in Abbotsford due, in part, to yet another injury to John Negrin. The bruising blueliner has surgery scheduled this week to clean up fragments of broken screws from a previous operation. Talk about hard luck.
Update on the Heat after a series with the Americans, and 1 game against the Admirals (I've sold my tickets for tonights game).
4-3 OT win to the Americans - This was a pretty good game, Heat squandered 2, 2 goal leads, but still won in OT. Patterson looked pretty good, he scored twice. His first was a perfect shot off far post and in, the second was a hustle play were he out skated the Amerk D and slipped the puck past a sliding Markstrom. Markstrom for those who care didn't play very well for Rochester. Rheault scored the OT winner, but didn't do too much in the previous 60 minutes.
2-1 Loss to the Americans - This was a slow defensive game. Not a lot of chances at either end. Amerks capitalized on 1 more chance then the Heat. I really like Bancks and Keith playing together.
3-2 Loss to the Admirals - The Heat looked terrible in the 1st period, but bounced back and played much better in the final 40 minutes. The first 2 Admiral goals were from point shots that got tipped, but Keetley should have had the 3rd goal, it was a wrist shot from the wing that went through him. Bouma had his best home game of the year, he was all over the ice, and had a goal, and man can TJ brodie skate. Once the rest of the team learn how to play off his speed, he'll rack up the points.
All in all, the Heat's biggest weakness is offensive support. Too many times the Heat forwards enter the offensive zone alone, and have to dump the puck in and wait. On D they look unimpressive. They didn't have Pelech in the line up (an injury in one of the American games). With Negrin and Pelech injured, and Palin, Kronwall, and Cole gone from last year the d is inexperienced and it shows.
I also don't like the way Playfair is putting together his lines. Last night he had Bancks (who has been their best player) centering the 3rd line? Cameron, a player with 78 pts, 81 pts, and 78 pts in his last 3 seasons in junior is playing 4th line while Cunning, and J.D. Watt get time on the 1st and 2nd lines?
If Seabrook can figure out how to hold the puck in at the point the Heat will be in a much better spot too. I think he miss played or had the puck jump over his stick at the blue line 6-7 times last night. Brutal.