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From the Rampage Desk: Week 8 - Revolving Door

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NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After a full week without games, the beloved Rampage take to the ice once again tonight & tomorrow vs the San Jose Barracuda. There’s a new defenseman, two new forwards and a few guys have been to the Avs and back leading in. 11 transactions were made this week and this might be just the beginning given the struggles of the parent club.

Injury/Roster Report

- Spencer Martin was returned after backing up Calvin last Saturday night in Colorado. Nathan Lieuwen was subsequently returned to the Eagles.

- Ryan Stanton was traded to Columbus even though he was injured and not skating yet. Coming the other way was defenseman Cody Goloubef, who was assigned to the Rampage right off the bat. Not sure if he’s going to be sticking around long but he’s going to be the sole RHD and hopefully a top puck-mover.

Goloubef is a medium-sized (6’1, 200#) RHD who the Jackets drafted out of Wisconsin in the 2nd round 2008. Since he turned pro in 2010 he’s bounced back and forth between the NHL and the A with 96 games for Columbus and 217 in the minors. He will slot into Stanton’s role of top D with plenty of special teams play and should provide some badly needed scoring from the blueline. Looks like he’s a little injury prone so he’ll fit right in. Assuming he shows well, I’m counting on a callup to the Avs before Christmas.

- Big Sam Henley and Gabe Bourque were called up to the Avs Wednesday, played Thursday vs Columbus and were sent back right after the game. Bourque had some good PK time and Sam scored a goal!

- Thomas Frazee from the Atlanta Gladiators, who participated in training camp with SA, was signed to a PTO on Thursday. He wore #96 in camp, which shouldn’t be a thing.

- Rocco Grimaldi was called up to the Avs late Friday afternoon

- Cole Sanford was recalled from the Eagles after Rocco split. He’s got 7G/8A in the ECHL so far. I really like that they gave him a chance to get accustomed to the pro game in Colorado before calling him up. Guys like Sanford, prolific overage scorers in Junior, don’t seem to do well if they’re plopped into bottom 6 roles in the AHL right away and don’t get a chance to do what they do best while learning how to deal with the speed & size of pro players. (see Bourke, Troy)

With the Avs hitting rockbottom, we’re probably going to see a bunch of callups so the staff can determine what they’ve got in reserve before they start trading everyone away or whatever they do to staunch the bleeding in Colorado. Things are pretty bleak with the parent club, not quite as bleak as they were in San Antonio last February/March but with lots more at stake. It’s almost inevitable that there will be some changes starting after New Years so that’s all going to trickle down to the Rampage. Whether that’s going to be a net positive or negative is anyone’s guess. From what I’ve seen of Coach Veilleux so far, even if it is a negative it won’t be for long.

- None of the injured are skating with the team yet, O’Brien was spotted by Rampage Nate doing dryland work with a big ol’ bandage on his nose. Reid Petryk was supposed to start skating this week. What we know:

UBI: O’Brien (schnozz)
LBI: Smith, Elson, Petryk (broken foot)
???: Bigras, Compher, Ranger

Fast Facts: Texas

TX 4 - SAR 3 (OT)

Shots: 29-21 (58%), 5v5 23-7 (76.7%) Corsi 39-32 (54.9%)
Special Teams: PP 1/6, PK 4/4
Kent Simpson stopped 17/21 (.810)
Goals: Lashoff (2), Nunn (5), Whitney (3)

Note: This game ended with a comically bad pinch by Anton Lindholm and a 2v0 going the other way. I like Lindholm but he has no business being out 3v3 or on the power play. He has 0 points for the year. I’ll say the same for Trent Vogelhuber, a great defensive center with 1 assist on the year. He should not be anywhere near the PP, 1st line or 3v3. Neither guy has even the slightest idea how to generate scoring, that’s not what they do. Don’t force it.

TX 3 - SAR 0

Shots: 28-31 (47.5%)
Special Teams: PP 0/4, PK 4/5
Kent Simpson stopped 28/31 (.903)
Goals: None

Note: This featured the 3rd shortie of the weekend given up by the atrocious power play, which was directly responsible for losing the first game. I can deal with futility, it’s a development league after all, but rule #1 - DO NO HARM.

Preview: San Jose

The Rampage and Cudas have faced off 3 times so far. SA won a 6-5 track meet, lost a defensive battle 3-1 and got smoked at home 4-0 a couple weeks ago. The Rampage are 2 games below .500 and a -8 on the season, San Jose is 2 games over and +8. A split would be the minimum required here, 2 wins in regulation is really the way to go. There’s a few easy games coming up, which is nice, but after that it’s MKE then 3 vs the Stars and 4 vs Tucson to finish off 2016. Brutal.

Lines/Pairs from Thursday Practice:

Whitney - Vogelhuber - Sislo
Greer - Nantel - Grimaldi
Bourke - Belzile - Nunn
Corbett - Perfetto - St Amant

Lindholm - Goloubef
Siemens - Boikov
Lashoff - Jardine/Geertsen

Marty/Simpson

Corbs won’t be playing at forward obviously, stick Frazee in that spot. My guess is that either Garry Nunn moves up to take Rocco’s spot and Sanford plays on the 3rd or they put Sanford right on the 2nd. I’d love to think with 8 defensemen we finally get rid of Matt “Minus 15” Lashoff but since he’s Hunny/Bruno/Hubie version 2016 that’s not happenin’. Sooner or later someone is going to the Eagles, at least Boikov looks safe for now but he’s got some work to do.

I’m sure plenty more work was done on the power play after giving up 3 goals and ending a net -2 last weekend. Again, I can deal with it sucking the big one. I can’t deal with idiots giving up 179 breakaways every game on the PP because they have the awareness of a common vole. This is 100% a personnel issue and not a system issue. Everyone knows who they are because it happens all the time, give someone else a chance.

Quarter-Season Snapshot

On the average most AHL teams are around 19 games played like the Rampage, which is exactly one-quarter of the schedule. Let’s take a look at where our guys stack up.

Record: 8-10-1, 17 points. Projects to 32-40-4, 68 points. Right now 88 points would be the cutoff so that needs a bunch of work.

Goals for: 44, 2.32/gm. 29th in the AHL
Goals Against: 52, 2.74/gm. 12th in the AHL

Shots for: 528, 27.78/gm. 25th in the AHL
Shots against: 512, 26.95/gm. 5th in the AHL

Sh%: 8.3%
Sv%: .898
PDO: 981

PP: 12.1% (27th) 99 times with man advantage leads league
PK: 86.4% (4th)
ST: 98.5

Every offensive category stands out as being very poor. They don’t generate shots on goal very well and the power play is horrifying so that 8.3% shooting percentage is actually pretty impressive. They take a fair amount of penalties but are very good at killing them. They are very good at suppressing shots but goalies not named Spencer Martin aren’t good at keeping them out of the net. That’s a little misleading since there are many odd-man rushes against. Clear that up and the goalies’ save percentage starts to normalize real quick.

Expanding the offensive production is where system runs into human nature. When the team opens up play they can create goals but that wonderful shot suppression goes in the crapper. I’ve said many times that balancing that is the biggest challenge facing Coach Veilleux (probably Coach Bednar too) this year. Keeping the defensive discipline while giving the offense enough rope is something that hasn’t found a happy medium yet. Until it does we’re in for more of the same. What’s going to change that is getting some of the wounded back in the lineup.

Schedule

Saturday vs San Jose 8pm ET - TEDDY BEAR TOSS
Sunday vs San Jose 4pm ET

All games on Ticket760

Links

Rampage Report with Dan Weiss

RWtH Live this week

Topher’s Analytics - Friday vs Texas and 14 season update

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Saturday’s game conflicts with Avs/Stars but Sunday’s is free and clear. Stop by and support your soon-to-be Avalanche bottom 6 and depth defense!