Friday, September 18, 2009

A short preview of the 09-10 season

From Greg Harder's Slap Shots.

Here's an updated version of the team preview that appeared in our Pats supplement (a special pull-out section in Thursday's Leader-Post). There's nothing really new here but it does provide a basic overview.


Last season: 27-39-1-5, 10th in Eastern Conference; missed playoffs.
General manager: Brent Parker (15th season).
Head coach: Curtis Hunt (fifth).
Assistants: Shaun Sutter (first), Todd Strueby (fourth), Ryan Cyr (goalie coach, third).
Key losses: D Victor Bartley, LW Matt Robertson (both graduated).
The 20-year-olds: C Mitch Czibere, D Matt Delahey, RW Brett Leffler and LW Matt Strueby (one must go).
The imports: Veteran Slovak LW Tomas Hricina and rookie Czech LW Michal Poletin.
Key returnees: Regina’s fate hinges on the return of RW Jordan Eberle, D Colten Teubert and D Matt Delahey from NHL camps . . . RW Brett Leffler (33 goals) and LW Matt Strueby (25) need to build upon their breakout seasons, providing offensive support for Eberle and C Jordan Weal, last year’s top rookie in the Eastern Conference . . . Hricina has the physical tools for a breakout sophomore year . . . Hard-working RW Garrett Mitchell is ready to become a team leader . . . Alex Pym could be the key to the defence if he responds to a top-four role.
New faces: LW Jason Gardiner, 18 (trade from Tri-City) and C Brayden Metz, 19 (waiver claim from Moose Jaw) . . . Seven rookies — G Dawson Guhle, D Myles Bell, D Tyler Borstmayer, D Brandon Davidson, LW Lucas Froese, Poletin and C Andrew Rieder.
Watch for: Damien Ketlo to be under the microscope as Regina’s new starter after Linden Rowat was sent home to await a trade . . . Bell to be a fixture on the blueline at age 16.
Just notes: Hunt is back for his second stint with Regina after a year in the Ottawa Senators’ organization. He replaces Pats legend Dale Derkatch, who was fired after one season.
Did you know: Eberle and Teubert are expected to reprise their roles with Canada at the world juniors in Saskatoon and Regina.
The prognosis: Expectations are low for a lineup that’s eerily similar to last season’s underachieving group. However, the stabilizing influence of Hunt, combined with the presence of elite talent like Eberle, Teubert and Weal, should allow Regina to get back into the playoffs, perhaps even surprise some people.