Friday, January 9, 2009

Report Card: Des Moines Buccaneers

Team Record: 6-16-3

Total Points: 15

Goal Leader: Brett Bruneteau, Alex Chiasson - 10

Assist Leader: Ryan Walters - 15

Points Leader: Brett Bruneteau - 24

PIM Leader: Andrew Panzarella - 59

+/- Leader: Brett Skalski - -1

Wins Leader: Aaron Crandall - 5

Des Moines' goalie situation has been pretty bad all year long. They traded for Aaron Crandall at the entry draft, and I felt that was a great trade for Des Moines. Crandall started off poorly, but he apparently went back home for a week to work with his goalie coach there. Since his return, had played very well. Futures pick Michael Houser has taken over the backup role and Fredrik Bergman has been dealt to the NAHL's Owatonna Express. Houser has appeared in just 5 games, but he has been solid in his outings. He has posted very respectable numbers thus far, with a 2.76 GAA and a 92.1 save percentage. Houser looks to be a very nice find by the Buccaneers staff and should be dependable when called upon the rest of this season.

The Buccaneers have a couple of highly touted players on their blue line in Nick Pryor and Joey Gleason. Pryor is an NHL draft pick and has posted respectable numbers thus far. His +/- isn't pretty, but that's not all that judges a player. He likes to jump into the play, which may lead to a few of the minuses. Austin Handley is one of those defenseman, such as Ross Henry, that does his job night in and night out and doesn't get much attention for it. Andrew Panzarella made himself known for his fighting last season, but this season he has been a little more quiet on that end and has been a lot better in his own end.

Brett Bruneteau, Ryan Walters, and Alex Chiasson have been the leaders offensively. Walters is a highly touted player from Minnesota and he has been living up to the hype. He has posted 23 points in 25 games this season, good for second on the team. Chiasson is a player that I feel is extremely dangerous every time he touches the ice. He is very good with the puck and is an excellent sniper. Chris Knowlton hasn't produced like I thought he would have so far, but I believe he is a quality forward and can breakout at any point. Josh Balch started off blazing hot, but he slowed down a little. The Bucs have a lot of talent and offense up front, but they just seem too inconsistent. Their goalies have also been a letdown thus far, but I think both goalies are capable of playing well and helping the Buccaneers climb.

Team Grade: D

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