Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sioux City Musketeers 2008-09 Preview

The Musketeers start fresh this season, as they will no longer have Dave Siciliano behind the bench. Instead, they will have a couple fresh faces in Todd Knott and Rick Comley, Jr. This will definitely be an interesting season in Sioux City, to say the least.

Key Departures:
Joey Miller-Team captain, one of the hardest workers in the league.
Steve Quailer-Top rookie.
Josh Robinson-Quality goalie.
Matt Crandell-Best defenseman for Sioux City.

Goalies (1):
Steve Thompson (1988) - Good goalie, but played behind Robinson for a lot of the season.

Goalie Evaluation:
Thompson played pretty well in the games he did get to start, but didn't play much down the stretch and into the playoffs. Steve has plenty of juniors experience, including being the number 1 netminder in the BCHL a couple years back. This season, Thompson will be relied on a lot more, not only to lead the team in goal, but to help mentor whoever is brought in as the 2nd goalie.

Defense (5):
Danny Wurden (1989) - Just learning how to play a physical game.
Alex Stuart (1988) - Got beat too many times, needs to improve speed.
Seth Helgeson (1990) - Tall and lanky, has matured quite nicely.
Mac Watts (1989) - Small, but very physical and good at his position.
Michael Keenan (1989) - Very tenacious and gritty, doesn't make many mistakes.

Defense Evaluation:
The Musketeers return a strong core of players on defense. They will need someone to turn into a leader on the power play, as I don't feel they have anyone right now. Helgeson has the potential to be, as he was an offensive threat in high school. Mac Watts and Michael Keenan flew well under the radar and were quietly some of Sioux City's best on the blue line. Wurden had just begun to play a more physical game towards the end of the season, so if he continues with that, he should be much better all around.

Forwards (7):
Mitch Bruijsten (1989) - Needs to play more physical and wear a clear visor :)
Tom Serratore (1989) - Plays a very physical game, brings lots of energy.
Jake Johnson (1989) - Very quick, could shoot more.
Donnie Hallmark (1988) - Physical player, was able to score a lot of goals.
Tommy Olczyk (1990) - Kept getting better as the season went on.
Jarrod Mermis (1990) - Started scoring towards the end of the year, should build on that.
Stephane Da Costa (1989) - Could be one of the best in the league.

Forward Evaluation:
The Musketeers return a few studs, with a few big energy guys. Stephane Da Costa leads the group and could possibly be atop the league in points when it's all said and done. Bruijsten is quick and isn't afraid to go to the dirty areas for the puck, which makes him very valuable. The 4th line last season was a high energy line, but they never could score much. I look for that line to be a big part of next season, and it consists of Olczyk, Mermis, and Serratore. Johnson made the jump to the USHL following his high school season, and should benefit from getting those games in. With Knott on the bench, Hallmark should get to play more physical and scrap a little more, as well as contribute offensively.

Futures Evaluation:
Sioux City has a few players who could turn into something special. Leading the way is Dan Ford and Dakota Collins. Both have juniors experience and should be able to handle what the USHL has to offer. Adam Hout was Sioux City's first round selection last season, but was placed on the affiliated list. He is small, but very physical and ended up in the BCHL. Former NHLer, Randy Velischek, has a son on the Muskies futures list. Alex Velischek has already committed to Providence College.

Overall Evaluation: C+

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