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Old 04-05-2017, 09:14 AM
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Default IceDogs Report Card

Interesting assessment of our forwards by Matt & DJ:

What do people think?

Johnny Corneil: Corneil took a huge step forward this year, posting a 62 point season and erasing the doubts of many hockey pundits who believed his 40 point season the year before was a direct result of playing with Josh Ho-Sang. Johnny needed to be good as one of the few returning offensive forwards this year and he certainly was. Corneil will look to build on this season as an overage player next year and has to be the odds-on favorite to be the next Niagara Captain. Grade: A-

Ben Jones: After spending his entire rookie campaign on the fourth line, Ben Jones saw a huge jump in ice time this season thanks to a November trade of Graham Knott to the Windsor Spitfires. While many considered it a risk to make Jones the top line center at the time, the IceDogs management team clearly knew something the rest of the world didnít know. Jones elevated his play after joining a line with Corneil and rookie Akil Thomas and looked good in the process, finishing the year with 50 points in 63 games played. Jones was forced to match-up against the oppositionsí best centers on a nightly basis and showed why he was taken as a top 10 pick in 2015. Jones will be back centering the top line once again next year and looks to exceed a point per game threshold. Grade: B+

Akil Thomas: The charismatic Thomas went 12th overall in 2016 but showed the world that the scouting community may have missed on him this year. Thomas saw top line duty with Jones and Corneil and set club records as a rookie. The next step for the dynamic forward will be to get stronger over the center as it appeared at times throughout the year that he was labouring through some of the tougher parts of the schedule. Overall itís hard to complain about his rookie season and he may yet win the Rookie of the Year award. Grade: B+

Oliver Castleman: While Castleman was taken a year older than most in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection Draft class, the native of Gloucester, Ontario made the most of the opportunity he was given in Niagara. Castleman finished seventh in rookie scoring with 40 points and played a top six role for the majority of the season, while also seeing time on the penalty kill. The future is bright here and Castleman will be fun to watch next season. Grade: B

Kirill Maksimov: Maksimov arrived in Niagara at the trade deadline and thrived on the IceDogsí top powerplay unit. Maksimov had 22 points in 29 games in Niagara and really seemed to take his game to another level with the added responsibility. Kirill thrilled the Meridian Centre crowds with back-to-back hat tricks this year and should be in line for 30 goals next season. When you consider he also came with two draft picks, this trade is looking mighty fine for IceDogs Director of Player Personnel Joey Burke. Grade: B

Danial Singer: The diminutive local product had 27 points in 65 games, and looked the part of a solid winger in the league as the club goes forward. The talent is there but he will be in tough to move up in the lineup next season with the IceDogs looking very deep on the wing going into the 2017-18 season. Grade: B-

Kyle Langdon: Langdon is perhaps one of the hardest working players in the league and literally scraps for everything he gets. While not a big guy, the forward chipped in with 26 points while leading the team in penalty minutes. The gritty Langdon is also the clubís best penalty killer and his absence was noticeable when he was out of the lineup serving a suspension. Langdon will be a big part of the team going forward as he will be responsible for leading the penalty kill once again. Grade: B-

Ondrej Machala: The European import had 25 points in 56 games in his first North American season. The winger showed flashes of brilliance but was also struck with bouts of play where he was often invisible in games. The majority of those games took place before Christmas and he did enough to make people take notice that he could have a greater impact going forward. Grade: C

Justin Brack: Brack arrived in Niagara at the trade deadline and served as a great mentor for the IceDogsí younger players. The Orangeville, Ontario resident moved back to his natural position at center in Niagara and had 15 points in 27 games playing for Head Coach Dave Bell. While a university hockey career awaits Brack, the fact that he was able to show the younger guys how to play the right away will leave a lasting impression on the organization. Grade: B-

Matthew Philip: Philip was in the midst of a surprising rookie season before a shoulder injury ended his year prematurely. Philip has a great set of wheels and can get up and down the ice with the best of them in the league. His 21 points in 45 games were impressive, as was his ability to spend time as a rookie on the penalty kill. Philip has an opportunity to be a top-six forward on this club going forward and should be entertaining to watch as he takes the next steps in his development next year. Grade: C+

Pavel Demin: The Russian forward had a tough time adapting to North American hockey this year. Demin arrived in Niagara with little ability to speak and understand English, so he had to adapt to that as well as the smaller ice surface this year. By late 2016 Demin was relegated to fourth line duty and could never truly make the impact the organization had hoped he would when they selected him in the Import Draft Grade: D

Joshua Dame: The energy forward finally cracked the IceDogs roster in his third attempt, but was also relegated to fourth line duty most of the year. Dame was only able to post seven points in 61 games but there wasnít a member of the organization or fan base that could complain about the effort Dame gave every night. Grade: D+

Bradey Johnson: Johnson played 35 games for the IceDogs this season, registering only four points in the process. Much like Demin and Dame, Johnson often found himself on the fourth line but was the first of the group to move into the top nine when the team needed it. Itís truly hard to grade Johnson for this season given the ice time he received and the fact he had to step in halfway through the season. Grade: No grade given
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