Monday, April 30, 2007

Chicago Steel 2007-08 Preview

Chicago posted the worst record in the league, but were the only bottom seed in the East to avoid the sweep. Chicago will bring back quite a bit of talent next season, and they have some quality players in their futures pool to choose from as well. Let's take a look at the potential returners for the Steel:

Key Departures:
Andy Miele-42 points with Chicago.
Sean Dolan-22 goals and 40 points.
Matt Godlewski-Team leader, plus 16 points.
Luka Vidmar-Emerged as one of the most reliable players on team.

Goalies (3):
Pat McGann (1987) - Could be a 3rd year veteran in net for the Steel.
Rob Madore (1988) - Excellent rookie campaign, though the numbers did not show it.
Nick Pisellini (1990) - Very young, but has the potential to be very good.

Goalie Evaluation:
Chicago should be pretty set at goal with Madore being their go to guy. McGann should be a serviceable backup as well. With Pisellini in the mix, I wouldn't be surprised if McGann would get traded, since he would be an overage player next season.

Defense (4):
Mike Dalhuisen (1989) - Big kid that won't shy away from contact or a fight. Has potential to be a solid defenseman.
Tim Buttery (1987) - One of the more productive Steel blueliners last season, Buttery should be in for a solid season.
Josh Bemis (1989) - This kid has a lot of promise, and should get more ice time.
Mike Walsh (1989) - Made some excellent strides towards the end of the season, should have a solid year.

Defense Evaluation:
Bemis has the most potential out of the bunch, but it take a little more time before he shows that. Buttery and Walsh will have to pick up the slack and lead the defense if Chicago wants to compete next season.

Forwards (10):
Mike DiPuma (1990) - Didn't play much, but has decent size.
James Knelman (1988) - One of the top players on the Holy Angels team. Should see a bigger role next season.
Tyler Murovich (1989) - Murovich has the potential to be a star in this league. He could easily be a top 15 scorer next season.
Richard Manley (1989) - Manley left the NTDP to come to Chicago, and had a pretty productive time.
Simon Olsson (1989) - Small, but feisty. Could find himself near the top of the league in PIM.
Dan Ryan (1987) - Third year veteran will have to lead his teammates.
Corey Chakeen (1989) - Had a decent rookie season, but should be able to get to the 35 point plateau next season.
Dan Durham (1989) - Once highly regarded, Durham must now find a way to prove his worth.
Dan Otto (1988) - Hampered by injuries for a good portion of the year, Otto will look to break out in his sophomore season.
Drew LeBlanc (1989) - Drew should be a top talent in the league next season. He will lead the Steel in scoring.

Forward Evaluation:
Good group of forwards coming back. They are young, but they all have a ton of potential. If all these players can play up to their potential, the Steel look like they could be a dangerous team next season. They will be led offensively by Murovich and LeBlanc. Manley could also be in for a big year. Coach Steve Poapst should have an easier time next season with this group.

Futures Evaluation:
Chicago has three futures players who can make an immediate impact next fall. Reid Ellingson (goalie), Trevor Nill (forward), and Max Nicastro (defense) could help the Steel next season. Chicago looks pretty stacked at goal with Madore there and Ellingson waiting for his shot.

Overall Grade: C+

I will be doing a team each day or so.

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