13.Everett Silvertips: The Kevin Constatine era is officially behind us. Constatine was a controversial coaching figure in the state of Washington as he was often chastised for his trap coaching tactics.In all fairness to Constantine,who's now went to coach overseas this clouded perception he built up througout the years was outdated as over the last couple seasons the goal output from the 'Tips was in the middle half in 2017-2018. They were a team a year ago that pushed the pace enough to exceed their 229 goals for total and the bigger issue was they were talent deficient in the forward core. In comes Dennis Williams and I don't know exactly what kind of structure he prefers but regardless of the coaching philosophies, because the organization went all out in pursuit of the Ed Chynoweth by bringing in the likes of Aaron Irving, they're ear marked for a transitional season. In all likelihood I've seeded Everett too high but we'll see what Williams can pull out of his hat.
It goes without saying that the departures of Noah Juulsen and Aaron Irving are impossible shoes to fill. You can't continue on seamlessly when you lose arguably two of the top five defenceman in the dub last season but after examining who's coming back and which fresh faces will arrive and contend for a top six role I've come to the surmisation that the long term outlook is favourable. Primed for a breakout season is Gianni Fairbrother. I originally thought after the heroics he displayed for the Burnaby Winter Club that he would be a prime candidate to be a unforeseen roster inserton but evidently after reading between the lines it was clear that Everett was not in favor of having a sixteen year old back there when in their heart of hearts thought a pinnacle season was on the horizon. Fairbrother didn't sulk and headed back to a North Vancouver Midget club and showcased the type of talent and vision Silvertip nation can expect for years to come. In Silvertip terminology filtering way back in the archives the best comparable may be Shawn Heshka but with more offensive potential. If Williams wisely slows Fairbrother into the regular rotation he over the next year will evolve into a more consistent 5 on 5 player but where he'll be able to chip in right away is on the power play. A problem from my memory was under Constantine's 2016-2017 edition they had no threat from the back end on the power-play.Anyone who reads and claims Montreal Canadian prospect Noah Juulsen was proficient on the power play is delusional because as good as Noah in all other facets, generating offence on the man advantage is an area where Noah couldn't pull his weight. With a very young defence in the cards, Kevin Davis being the only true veteran with tangible WHL experience,coach Dennis will present plenty of specialty time for Gianni.It's his spot to lose. Speaking of that Kevin Davis, when he looks around at his counterparts he'll start thinking he's a senior citizen or something My projections have Davis(20), a probable team captain candidate,Wyatte Wylie(18), Fairbrother(17), Jake Christiansen(18), Montana Oneybuchi(17) and Ian Walker(17) which for Major junior standards is very young. Two initial thoughts....1)the ever hyped Max Goldade can't come soon enough and 2)Unless their's a disconnect between coaching staff and franchise goaltender Carter Hart then General Manager Gerry Davidson better find a way to snag a veteran over or Hart(and Davis) are going to receive enough bumps and bruises that will last a lifetime. Back to Davis who had an exceptional season will have to replicate the successes and act as a mentor for the youngens on this squad. Davis is Mr.reliable that without any hesitation can say will be on the top power play and penalty kill units. Logging 35 minutes a night is not out of the realm of possibilities.
The childlike defence will have to be buoyed by the forwards, but can it after equal amount of turnover upfront? Dominic Zwerger as an import was never coming back for his overage season however the loss of Eetu Tuulola stings because the decision to stay overseas wasn't a sure bet when the off-season began. Granted the Silvertips have two new imports scheduled to arrive in Pavel Azhgirey and Martin Fasko-Rudas and realizing one of the two has the chance of meeting or hopefully surpassing the value of Tuulola you always felt Tuulola was a safer bet as the Calgary Flames saw something they admired expending the 156th overall selection in the summer of 2016. The theme of this forward synopsis and realistically the entire organization will be proven talent. We know the galactic levels Patrick Bajkov can reach after finishing an outstanding season which saw the Nanaimo native lead the team in points with seventy eight but can he duplicate the feat with a different set of linemates? Conventional wisdom would state that the logical iniative would see him get paired with Matt Fonteyne on the top unit but taking into consideration the amount of inexperience throughout this lineup,will Williams split them apart searching for balanced scoring? Personally I would as even though they have pre existing chemistry, it's important for both Patrick and Matt to spread the wealth and show the ropes to some of the younger folk. A beneficiary of this line of thinking could be Ethan Browne. Browne not only is the brightest rearguard they possess in the farm but given the cyclic nature of junior hockey he will be counted on to be the present aswell. What if he's not ready you ask? Doesn't matter and can't matter and here's why: The NCAA-WHL recruitment war is at an all time high and simply put teams throughout the Western Hockey League can't afford a patient development because they know without assurances of prompt playing time it'll burn bridges that aren't repairable. To make matters worse in 2017 because this is a growing trend in Western Canada with these hockey academies laying claim to 95%(if not more) of the top prospects, word of mouth spreads fast and if a players family feels slighted by said organization then they will share their disappointment to the next parent who in all actuality will disapprove of their kid comittting to the league. Is it right or healthy for the game that this is happening? No and for someone like Browne who I'm not at all insinuating that he has extraordinate guarantees in place but to set an example for down the line. The sad reality as well is that often times jumping in when not ready drastically stunts development. I think back to the case of 2008 Kootenay Ice selection Brendan Hurley. Hurley throughout his turbulent tenure with the Ice demonstrated some endearing power forward tendencies and it did seem with the proper tutelage he could've thrived in the Western League but with Brendan thrust in as a sixteen year old he lost confidence early and never recovered. I hope the insistence to throw Ethane Brown in the fire won't prove to have the same consequences. A storyline I'm looking forward to following during training camp is the progression of Orrin Centazzo. Centazzo in a limited role showed signs of capability and what really stuck out like a sore thumb was the shot in his arsenal. The role he'll be allocated will be determined in the pre-season but similarly to Fairbrother whether or not he sees regular even strength action, put him in the hash with that Corey Perry-esque wrister and he instantly becomes an asset for the coaching staff. Skating needs work.
You can ascertain after scouring through this preview that problems and decisions are present throughout the lineup but the goaltending position ain't one of them. There's only one team a year that can lay claim to the Canadian Hockey League's top goaltender and the Silvertips have been blessed with that distinction the past couple of seasons and a three peat is destined. That is unless an intriguing scenario presents itself. For you friendly chaps that have been following this preview dilligently then you'll notice that the Tri-City Americans haven't been rated yet and spoiler alert....they're not coming any time soon. Where I'm going with this is, is it at all possible that two 'hated?' divisional rivals would engage in a blockbuster that could see Carter Hart get shipped off to the Ams to put the finishing touches on their championship run? It's been reported that after news broke that Americans goaltender Evan Sarthou chose to attend school and forego his last season and Patrick Dea now in camp, it's not a impossibility that if Dea can't shut the door a uniform change for Carter should at least not be laughed at.