I’ve been wondering this since the playoffs started and when the Blades lost the series to Kalamazoo, I asked this of you guys on Twitter.
Who do we want back next season?
Obviously, not every player can come back. Some will get better deals in Europe, an AHL gig, jump ship for some other ECHL team, or just retire.
To make things a little easier I’ve decided to exclude the guys with AHL contracts that had been sent down or signed in the middle of the year. This excludes guys like Staal, Graham, McKenzie, Janus, Lemieux, Spencer, etc. I also, decide to eliminate Imbeault, because he’s already stated he doesn’t want to come back.
So, who do I want back? Easy.
- Bobby Raymond- I have never hidden the fact that he was (and still is) my favorite skater this season. Aside from being reliable. I lived for those moments when he seemed to decide it was time to do something and would take off (seriously, he is insanely fast) end to end dodging the other teams players like they were nothing.
- Brad Snetsinger- I was very impressed by him in the short time he played with the Blades. The guy has put up some pretty numbers over the last few years. I’d love to see him put up some more in a Blades jersey.
- Mathieu Roy- How much has Roy grown as a player over the last few season? I can’t believe what an amazing player he’s turned into. Add to that his grittiness, gift for irritating the other team, and leadership abilities. What more can you want? I will be the happiest person on Earth if the Blades re-sign him.
- Drew Larman- He may have struggled a bit at the beginning of the season, but he really found his groove at the end. No one was as great at face-offs as him. It doesn’t hurt that the dude is fast and gritty either.
- David Fischer- Honestly, if you had asked me if I wanted him back next season in the early months of this season I would have said no. There was just something not quite right about his play. Without me noticing though, this guy became a solid, reliable defenseman.
- Matt Beca- I will throw a fit like a six year-old if he doesn’t come back. Really. Those one timers are a thing of beauty and the dude works his butt off every single shift.What more does a team need?
- Ross Carlson- I know in the story I linked to yesterday he said he wasn’t sure, but I’d still love to see him back. It won’t be an Everblades game without old reliable.
- J.F. David- I liked his style, he was a good veteran to have and a solid guy. It would be nice to see him play a full season, and maybe get some playoff time as well.
Mostly the new guys who joined at the end of the season, Dusty Collins, Tyler Helfrich, Evan Stephens, Deron Cousens, and Brad Good. I don’t feel like I saw any of these guy play enough to say I don’t want them back or say I saw anything impressive enough to convince me I have to see them come back. You can add Trevor Hendrikx to this list for the same reason.
Which goalie to bring back is a major conundrum for me. I still stand by my opinion that we must lock down a goalie with an ECHL contract. The problem is, who do we bring back? Mike Zacharias was solid, and was always in position. He just had a nasty habit of giving up tons of juicy rebounds rather than freezing the puck. Ryan Zapolski only played in one game. He was amazing in that game, but was that a one time thing? Is he worth the risk if we can get Zacharias? Do we even want Zacharias? I honestly don’t know.
No Thank Yous:
- Mike Egener- I know a lot of you guys loved him, but I just can’t. He had a nasty habit of taking very stupid penalties and I just can’t stand an undisciplined player. Especially when he has the C on his jersey. His injury issues are also more risk than I’m willing to deal with
-Mike Kennedy- This may be unfair as he didn’t play for a huge chunk of the season, but I was never amazed by him when he did play. I’d rather we have roster space to be honest.
- Scott Pitt- I know one person who will hate me forever for this, but I just didn’t see the guy play with any heart. It always seems tough for the guys right out of college, but he didn’t ever seem to try when he did play. I don’t mind being proven wrong about him though.
- Eric Olimb- Pretty much what I just said about Pitt. I was just not impressed.
Perhaps a Bit Crazy:
- Mitch Fadden- Since he was released by the Lightning he can sign with whomever he wants. I know he was released for a reason, but I’d love it if he could turn his life around and maybe find a little redemption here. If he can, I think he might be one of those Blades alumni that accomplish something great. But he has to turn his life around. I really can’t stress that enough.
As much as I’d love to see any of the AHL guys return (especially Alex Hutchings, I absolutely adore that little pest), I don’t want to. I want them to move on to the next step in their careers. I will mention that Bobby Goepfert only signed a one year contract with the Checkers. If they are idiotic enough to not bring him back I’d love to see us pick him up.
So, what do you guys think? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments. Even if you think I’m way off base.