Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The 2010-2011 UAA Seawolves Senior Class

Tommy Grant, Nick Haddad, Kane Lafranchise, Craig Parkinson, Luka Vidmar  and Sean Wiles are the 6 members of the 2010-2011 Seawolves senior class.  A familiar tag to WCHA fans should be the moniker that pegs the WCHA as an "upperclassmen's league".  What that simply means is that the teams who's junior and senior classes perform most successfully are the teams that will have the most success in the league.  These six UAA skaters will have a lot to say about the success of the 2010-2011 Seawolves.

Let's take a look at what they bring as a group first.  Last season this group of players contributed 34 goals and 55 assists to a team that scored 87 goals and registered 142 assists.  That was just at 39% of the total team's goal scoring by class.  Not ugly, but not attractive either.  In order to lead this years UAA squad to a higher level of success they will ideally need to move that number  to the 45% range. That nominal improvement should be within their reach.

Tommy Grant is the most prolific scorer in this group.  As a sophomore he bagged 15 goals.  Last season that total dropped to 9.  Craig Parkinson has consistently provided secondary scoring to the team throughout his career; 7 goals as a freshman, 7 goals as a sophomore and 6 goals as a junior.  Sean Wiles has made great strides and finished with 9 goals last season.  Nick Haddad didn't notch his first collegiate goal until his sophomore season, but the 8 total he provided that season and the next didn't hurt the bottom line.  Kane Lafranchise's 3 goals per year from the blueline during his career has certainly helped the effort and Luka Vidmar's 2 last season were 66% of his career total.  

Each of these five players needs to have his best season wearing the Green & Gold.  If they do, then the Seawolves will win more games.  If they don't, then the Seawolves will lose more games.  That is perhaps a bit of an oversimplification and probably obvious.  But nonetheless, it's true.  Experience must lead this season.  And that means the experienced players must score more.

Tommy Grant:
Throughout Tommy's career he's been a bit of a streaky goal scorer.  Tommy has a nice set of tools that should serve him well at the next level of hockey.  He has size, speed and a quality shot.  Tommy is most effective as a scorer when he finds open ice away from the puck and can position himself for a playmaker who can feed him.  As a sophomore, Tommy had the smart passing from Paul Crowder to help him reach the 15 goal plateau.  Last season though his production dropped to single digits when no chemistry really developed between he and his linemates.  If he can develop some chemistry with a playmaking forward this season, he is capable of scoring 20+ goals.  And this year's team needs for that to happen.  His Bio on the UAA website ...

Nick Haddad:
Nick put quite a few pucks into the net as a junior player in the NAHL playing on one of the highest scoring lines in that league.  In his first three years at UAA, Nick has primarily filled roles.  He's a hard charging, very physical forward who never hesitates to hit the opponent in any area of the ice.  His wheels are more than adequate for the roles he's filled.  This season though, he'll need to find the net as he did in juniors to help the Seawolves.  I'm a bit doubtful that he will end up as some sort of primary goal scorer this season.  But if he can push last year's goal total toward double-digits then he'll be a key secondary scorer.  Regardless of what Nick provides to the bottom line, you can be sure that he is going to be one of the most energetic Seawolves on the ice at any time.  Nick found a regular role last season as a penalty killer and did well in those duties.  Expect to see him lots again this year when UAA is killing penalties.  His Bio on the UAA website ...

Kane Lafranchise:
I've had high expectations for Kane since he first pulled on a UAA sweater.  Kane is a tremendously smooth-skating, puck moving defenseman.  His first time passing is crisp and accurate; and when nobody is available to receive, Kane can adroitly carry the puck with speed through the neutral zone.  He sees the net well on the power play and has an accurate shot whether wrist shot or slap shot.  Kane will likely see lots of power play time this season.  His first time shots in those situations will be big factors in games this season.  The more of those that turn into goals the more success the team will have.  My high expectations for Kane haven't quite been realized.  He's been a solid performer and steady contributer.  He's made great plays from time to time.  The team needs all his tools performing at their highest potential this season.  I believe that he is capable of scoring more goals and can reach the double-digit milestone.  Let's hope my belief comes true eh?  His Bio on the UAA website ...

Craig Parkinson:
Parky can score more than 7 goals.  I liked seeing that number when he was a freshman.  To me it meant that higher numbers were to come.  Alas, they never did.  Why?  Primarily, because his defensive abilities have become more important to the team over the past couple of years.  Craig has seemed almost like he was mentoring younger players on the ice.  Last season he was often paired with freshman linemates.  I get the impression that Craig doesn't see himself as a shooter.  He should though.  Because he's got just as good a shot as anyone.  He does everything reasonably well whether it's establishing himself in front of an opponents net, digging the puck out of the corner or leading an odd-man rush.  And he has the hands to put the puck away in any of those situations.  Craig earns a lot of ice time in situational play because he has been statistically the best face-off man on the team.  But outside of winning draws this season, we'll need him to hopefully win some games with clutch goals here and there.  If he can find some goal scoring confidence, the flood gates could come open.  His Bio on the UAA website ...

Luka Vidmar:
Luka has become a solid journeyman D1 defenseman during his career here at UAA.  When Luka turned up to play hockey in the USHL he was a forward.  The Chicago Steel coaching staff turned him into a defenseman in his final year there and he flourished.  In an injury shortened 20 games last season Luka began to show he can contribute to the bottom line by scoring 2 goals and providing 10 assists.  If he can find a way to contribute at that same pace this season then he'll have proven to be an even more valuable asset.  Luka is a good skater with excellent vision and a knack for making good passes in the offensive zone.  He'll need to put all those things together in his last season.  His Bio on the UAA website ...

Sean Wiles:
Maybe it's unfair for me to point this out once again.  But I really didn't think Sean Wiles would be much of a success the first time I saw him skate in practice.  Boy oh boy did he ever prove me wrong.  I'm not unhappy to admit that at all.  Over the course of his career here at UAA, Sean has simply gotten better every year.  When Sean plays with confidence (and you can see it from the stands) he makes things happen.  Sean has learned how to use his size to his advantage and his skating has turned around 200% since his arrival here.  If there is a single player amongst this senior class that I wouldn't bet against, it'd be Sean.  As a freshman he scored 0 goals in just 15 games.  As a sophomore he skated in 30 games and went 3 goals and 7 assists then as a junior he bagged 9 goals with 8 assists.  I think this season Sean will score just as many goals as he makes up his mind to score.  His Bio on the UAA website ...

I've focused primarily here on what this class needs to provide offensively this season.  Naturally, what they do defensively is going to be just as important.  But that's pretty hard to quantify.

I'll be back in a few days (or so) with a preview of the junior class.

8 comments:

annabelle said...

I think the senior class is looking great. Last year there was so much hype on the senior class and in the end, the team came up short. This group of guys have been work horses on the ice for the last 3 years, each doing their jobs very well and as the team will be looking to them to push themselves harder, I believe they will.

Anonymous said...

That Tommy Grant is a TALL DRINK OF WATER! Move over girls he’s mine <3 <3 <3 <3

Suze said...

Great to see regular posts here Donald, thanks! A great senior class, let's hope this season they all stay healthy.

hockeygirl said...

WoWzA.. YoWzA.. :p

If games were won on looks, we'd already be scouting an area in the Sully to hang the Championship banner.

Hey Anonygirl @ 11:52: You're too funny!! :D

Donald Dunlop said...

Sigh ... move along ladies .. move along. It's not like it's a Sexy Hockey Calendar or something. It's just head shots.

Suze said...

Hey, after all the sexist stuff you have published here, I think the ladies are due!! ;)

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

Hmm wonder if we got new uniforms?

http://www.goseawolves.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=13400&SPID=6373&SPSID=58451

Donald Dunlop said...

Lyle Woods is back, we got new uniforms .. (thanks for the heads up) and there's twitter-pated wimminz getting the vapors here on my blog.

Link to the above referenced roster photo

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