Saturday, May 17, 2008

Indiana Ice 2008-09 Preview

With a new face on the bench, the Ice will look to continue the success Charlie Skjodt had.

Note: I am going to continue with these without talking about draft picks or kids who were protected that weren't originally thought would be. So the rest of these will be as if the draft hadn't happened yet. This is simply because my intentions were to have these completed PRIOR to the draft. With all the other stuff taking place lately, these took a backseat to the coaching changes.

Key Departures:
John Kemp-One of the best players in the league.
Scott Darling-Team's top goalie.
John Carlson-Great player, soon to be 1st round NHL pick.
Paul Carey-30 goal scorer.
Brent Gwidt-One of the best two-way forwards in the league.
Gregory Squires-Top forward.

Goalie (0):

Goalie Evaluation:
The Ice lose both of their goalies to college, and will hope futures player Chris Paliafito can step up and fill that void. Paliafito played last season for the NAHL's Traverse City North Stars, so hopefully for the Ice's sake, that will help him in the long run. He did not have great numbers for the North Stars, but that team didn't appear to be that great anyhow.

Defense (3):
Ian Ruel (1990) - Big, tough defenseman.
Matt Smith (1988) - Not too flashy, but responsible in his own zone.
Corey Fienhage (1990) - Still raw, but has loads of potential.

Defense Evaluation:
The Ice return very few on the blue line, but there is a lot of potential there. Smith could be a leader for this group. Fienhage spent the last part of the season with the team after finishing with high school, so he should be ready for the long haul. Ruel missed a lot of games due to broken bones in his hand stemming from a fight at the Fall Classic. Indiana is usually very physical, and with the size of Ruel and Fienhage, that should be no different come next season.

Forwards (2):
Will MacDonald (1989) - Very fast and good with the puck, should have a lot of points.
Chris Darnell (1989) - Never saw him play.

Forward Evaluation:
The Ice lost a lot of power up front, and don't return much to compensate for that. MacDonald is very quick and should have added responsibilities now that there isn't so much fire power. Darnell played in just 11 games, so he's still very fresh to the USHL level of play.

Futures Evaluation:
Indiana's futures list is headed by Justin Jokinen, though it appears he is headed to Minnesota State. Kyle Bonis was released early last season, and turned into a goal scoring machine for the Traverse City North Stars. He notched 25 goals in 39 games, giving him a tie for the lead on the team in goals scored. Other players to keep an eye on are Ethan Werek and Mike Miller, both of whom are committed to college already.

Overall Evaluation: D

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