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Mid Season Report Card
As the WorSharks head to Hershey as their six game road trip continues, the much delayed mid-season report card makes its appearance.The stats are as of last Wednesday’s game at Lowell, the grades are based on games played through February 2 vs Manchester.
Mike Iggulden - C (18g, 23a, 41pts, -4)
One would think the team leader in goals, assists, and points would earn himself an easy “A”, but that’s not the case here. Iggulden has had some issues in the last few weeks, many times taking off whole games or instead trying to get by on raw talent instead of 100% effort. Speculation is Iggulden is upset of being passed over for recall to San Jose. If that’s the case, all he’s done is prove the Sharks front office was right to not recall him. Longtime Worcester hockey fans are getting ready to dust off the David Haas Award for him.
Graham Mink - RW (12g, 19a, 31pts, -7)
Comparing his stats to last year you night think Mink is having an off year, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Despite not scoring as often as last season Mink has stepped up as the WorSharks first captain with an increase in physical play and leadership by example. Despite missing several games with a leg injury (one that looks like it may still bother him some) Mink continues to be one of the top pure power forwards in the AHL.
Tom Cavanagh - C (11g, 16a, 27 pts, -5)
One of the WorSharks most dependable forwards, Cavanagh is the prototypical hard working center that plays well on both sides of the red line. He is one of the few forwards that plays on both the power play and penalty kill, and can play whatever role is needed on all three regular strength lines. Cavanagh is just two goals short of his career high (12).
Lukas Kaspar - LW (13g, 10a, 23pts, -1)
Kaspar has really stepped up his play this season, becoming a much more complete player. Still prefers to use his quickness over taking the body, but certainly isn’t afraid to using his size and strength when needed. He has very deceptive quickness, and is able to go from gliding to full speed in just a couple strides. Sometimes he gets too fancy with the puck in the offensive end, and needs to trust his instincts a little more often. He has also improved defensively over last season.
Riley Armstrong - RW (13g, 10a, 23pts, +5)
Armstrong is one of those players that fans love when he’s on their team and hate when he’s on the opposition. The stereotypical pest, what Armstrong lacks in ability he more than makes up for with heart and determination. He plays very well along the boards, and is not afraid to dish out big hits and to push the limits of the rules to antagonize his opponent.
Nate Raduns - C (9g, 13a, 22pts, +5)
During the preseason game vs Providence, Nate Raduns name wasn’t even on the roster handed out to the media. I doubt there is a WorSharks fan that doesn’t know who he is now. Raduns started the regular season with five goals in his first four professional games, and despite a long goal scoring slump Raduns continues to improve his play on both ends of the ice. Raduns has seen time on all four regular strength lines, and is quickly becoming one of the WorSharks most dependable players.
Dan Spang - D (5g, 16a, 21pts, -7)
Will the real Dan Spang please stand up? Is he the tentative, turnover prone player we saw early in the season? Or is he the aggressive, offensive minded player we see now? There’s lots of questions, and only Spang can really answer them.
Patrick Traverse - D (6g, 14a, 20pts, -1)
Traverse is doing exactly what was expected of him, anchoring a fairly young defense corps and adding the occasional goal when the situation arises. He’s not very flashy; he just gets the job done. Like every player career AHLer he makes the occasional mistake, but the good clearly outweighs the bad.
Derek Joslin - D (6g, 14a, 20pts, -1)
When the season began it looked like Joslin was a little in awe at the speed of the pro game, and made lots of rookie mistakes in his own zone. His play as of late places shows he has all the speed and skills to play in the NHL. Joslin leads the WorSharks defense in power play goals scored, and in the last few games has distanced himself from Raduns as Worcester’s rookie of the year.
Tom Walsh - D (1g, 19a, 20pts, -4)
Walsh is the standard AHL depth defenseman. Has flashes of brilliance on both sides of the red line, and along with that comes the occasional brain cramp. A fairly good puck handler and doesn’t generally turn the puck over by making a bad pass. Not an overly physical player, Walsh often gets pushed around too easily in front of the net.
Dennis Packard - LW (5g, 10a, 15pts, 0)
It’s “what you see is what you get” with Packard, who is the standard third and fourth line AHL winger. While he won’t blind you with speed or awe you with ability, Packard doesn’t make many mistakes, making the most of the talent he has. He’s also one of the WorSharks better penalty killers, which is one of the reasons he stuck with the team after his PTO was up. Grade: C
T.J. Fox - F (8g, 5a, 13pts, -2)
As free agent out of Union College, fans were uncertain what the undrafted forward coming out of a small college would be able to do in the AHL. What he’s done is become a decent depth forward that has improved his game each month during the season. He still needs lots of improvement on both sides of the red line before anyone can even think of him playing in the NHL, but so far, so good. Grade: C
Devon Setoguchi - RW (3g, 10a, 13pts, +2)Setoguchi has split his time between San Jose and Worcester, and it may be best for his development if San Jose would just keep him in the AHL for the time being. Setoguchi has all the tools to be a top line winger in the NHL and it shows in his play in the AHL during his last assignment. What he needs is to play and mature as a professional. His grade is lowered slightly due to some uninspired play earlier in the season, but he only has to play to his potential to raise it to the max.
Ashton Rome - RW (4g, 8a, 12pts, -9)
What was supposed to be a break out year for Rome has turned into more of the same for the Sharks fifth round pick. While he’s scored as many points as last season in only 39 games, Rome really hasn’t shown much in the way of offensive or defensive play. Rome has the size and speed to be a very good player, and why he doesn’t use either of those abilities more is a mystery.
Brad Staubitz - D (2g, 9a, 11 pts, -3)
Staubitz has been moved to forward as of late at the Sharks search for a physical presence in its forward lines. Despite being a lifelong defenseman, Staubitz has shown this season and last in his opportunities at forward that he’s not out of place there. Often paired on defense with Walsh, the two complement each other’s play with Staubitz being the physical player in the pairing.
Josh Prudden - C (5g, 4a, 9pts, -3)
The WorSharks have announced Prudden has been released from his PTO, although no transaction has been reported by the AHL as of Saturday. Prudden has played well on all four lines, and can play the role of checker or scorer equally well. As one of the WorSharks best face off men, Prudden was often on the ice in key situations no matter where the face off was located.
Grade : B
Craig Valette - C (2g, 6a, 8pts, -9)
While not showing it on the score sheet, Valette has elevated his play to the next level from a game play stand point. Valette has shown a willingness to drop the gloves this season that he didn’t show last season, and his aggressive forechecking is the best on the team. Valette is the best penalty killer on the team, and is quickly cementing himself as the team’s best defensive forward.
Brennan Evans - D (0g, 6a, +1)
As a pure defenseman, any point Evans scores is a bonus. Evans is the team’s most physical player, and has dropped the gloves many times in defense of a teammate. He was slumping earlier in the season trying to do things that weren’t part of his game, but has come along as of late to being his plus/minus score back into black numbers.
Thomas Greiss - G (13-10-1, 3.06, .898)
Greiss hasn’t had the year anyone has hoped he would, but much of that may have to do with some less than stellar play in front of him at times. The WorSharks terrible penalty killing has also led to some fairly unimpressive stats for Greiss. One thing is for certain though, the WorSharks playoff hopes lay squarely on the shoulders of Greiss.
Taylor Dakers - G (4-9-1, 3.05, .893)
Dakers has had a “Jekyll and Hyde” type of season, with great games followed by games where it looked like he’d never played the position before. He needs to work on every aspect of his game, and based on published reports really needs to apply himself at practice. Dakers is a long way from being a bona-fide AHL goaltender, never mind playing in the NHL.
Dimitri Patzold - G (4-4-1, 2.94, .906)
Despite the .500 record Patzold has had more good games than bad, but is still wildly inconsistent. By bringing the WorSharks back from down 3-0 vs Manchester to a double overtime loss in game six in last season’s playoffs Patzold showed he can take his game to the next level, but has unfortunately not shown that level at all this season.
Roy Sommer - Head Coach (21-20-3-3)
While this isn’t the most talented team in the league, the WorSharks are much better than their record indicates. In far too many games this team is not prepared to play at the opening whistle, and there are virtually no adjustments made during the game. Their special teams play is only slight better than pathetic. Their line changes are ill-timed and poorly executed. Sommer also doesn’t seem to know when to utilize his timeout. How noticeable is it? When Sommer called his timeout with 70 seconds to go against Manchester recently, many fans let out a mock cheer. My instinct is to give a failing grade, but I know things could get worse. He’s to hoping they get better.