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From the Rampage Desk: Week 22 - Home Safe and Sound

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The beloved Rampage return home from the Rodeo Road Trip where they will stay for the majority of the remaining schedule. This weekend we see the Moose tonight and Ontario on Sunday afternoon.

News

- Reto Berra was waived on Sunday, cleared and re-assigned MOL permanently to the Rampage

- Marc-Andre Cliche was traded to the Islanders for winger Taylor Beck. Not on the wire yet but Beck is with the Rampage.

- Alex Belzile was called up from the Komets Thursday

Injury report

Dennis Everberg has missed the past few games with an undisclosed injury. He was practicing with the guys in a NC jersey on Thurs

Ben Street also was practicing in a NC jersey Thursday, still a few weeks away AFAIK

Nick Drazenovic was not on the ice, perhaps this was the impetus for calling up Belzile

Dan Weiss caught up with Duncan, he's still sore and has no timetable for a return. Interesting that we keep hearing "soreness" instead of "concussion-like symptoms".

Trade deadline

We've beaten the effects for the Avs to death, now let's take a crack at what this means to San Antonio, shall we?

Now: M-A Cliche is gone replaced by Taylor Beck

Beck is a good AHL power forward with pts/gm numbers in the Everberg/Hishon Range (~0.69). You can't really say the Rampage have struggled to score this year but they do lack skill in the area so it makes some sense. Beck is an RFA at season's end so the Avs can keep him if it looks like a good fit.

Clish was a good soldier this year but lacked durability at times. SA has now lost he at center along with Smitty, who was sort of a center so that's not optimum.

This summer: Conner Bleackley and Kyle Wood are now in the Coyotes' org

The Conner Bleackley story with the Avs is odd and latently political, I guess I'm kind of glad it's over. From just my personal knowledge and observations he was a decent hard-working center and therefore something the Rampage/Avs seem to need. From the rumors out there he was something entirely different including the final nail in Rick Pracey's coffin. They were not going to sign him so they moved him in the Boedker trade.

Kyle Wood is a guy I'm truly sorry to see leave the org, a big righty defenseman that can score is something every club wants. He had his warts, mainly skating and injury issues, but looked to be a fairly solid prospect which is why Arizona had been asking about him for a while and probably was a must to make the trade happen.

Long-term: The Avs are currently missing their 4th rd draft choice from this year and the 3rd from next year

I like having a full draft and I like following prospects so anything that takes away from that is a bit of a minus. I like that at least they made the 3rd from 2017 so at least we keep 6 in each draft for now. There was no hope of impact for either pick until 2018 at the earliest but there is hope that there's a strategy in place to fill the holes left here.

Conclusions:

The Beck deal is a slam dunk, Clish wasn't coming back on an NHL deal for sure, he gets a tryout and maybe another 2-way contract this summer.

Dean mentioned last weekend that the Avs were holding organizational meetings before the deadline in Denver with all the scouts and Dev Staff. No doubt in my mind that they know exactly who they are signing to ELCs next year and it wasn't going to be Bleacks and maybe not even Woody either. If you look at the amateur prospect depth chart it's possible that Sergei Boikov and Will Butcher were going to get signed and they didn't feel that making Wood the 3rd D with an ELC this year was the way to go. Maybe they have someone else they want to be the 3rd D ELC, we'll find out in May.

For the forward ELCs, Compher is a slam dunk and Julien Nantel looks primed to get one. Are they going to sign more? I'm sure they are. Perhaps Alexis Pepin impressed the staff enough to earn one, or better yet his teammate Jan Mandat who looks to be a safer bet. As always there could be someone totally off the radar that's going to come out of nowhere and be in camp this summer.

I'm interested to see how this summer goes with the bottom half of the Avs 50 contracts. The Pracey purge is complete if they want it to be and the development system will be all of their design now. Instead of the affiliation merry-go-round from last year, the Rampage and Komets are on board and known quantities. The way that the Komets have been used in the second half of the year is more of what I expect. Younger players getting more time in bigger roles in Ft Wayne rather than stagnating in the lower lines or 6th/7th D roles. While it's still going to be impossible to attract good AHL vets to San Antonio, if they can keep a few of their own RFA/UFA types around to guide the team it could be enough. I think without the top-tier vets on AHL contracts it's always going to be hard for San Antonio to be a major player in the playoff races but there's room for improvement even without them.

Komets

Komets are playing the Colorado Eagles on Sunday in Loveland. Go see them!

Recap: Gulls, Condors & Heat

Once again I was in the position of recapping a loss that has the Rampage displaying the same issues that have plagued them all season. The slow start, good momentum crushed by an ineffective PP, dumb penalties, horrifying turnovers, lack of finish, lack of skill, lack of speed, lack of forwards’ chemistry, defensemen floating, watching and out of position.

As always there were a couple of bright spots, for all the good they did the team. Zadorov was much better than last game and probably had his best game since missing time with an LBI a couple weeks ago. The first line put together the only goal of the night, scored by Hish and assisted by Mikko and Petey. The 2nd line was okay even tho’ Drazenovic was the usual boat anchor, Aggz and Martinsen combined for 5 SOG and some decent chances. Everyone on the team had a SOG except for the ineffective 4th line although half of these came in score effect time. The final tally was 38-37 SD but that’s misleading. Yogi wasn’t great but I can’t imagine what else he could have done, this one was on the team for sure.

The Rampage came out slow for the first 10 minutes Saturday as they are wont to do but picked it up soon after. The typical low-event 2nd followed capped by a whole lot of 5v3/PP that they didn’t capitalize on. A defensive clusterfuck put Bako up 3-2 midway through the 3rd but Mikko’s 20 goal of the season brought it to OT where Aggz scored on a breakaway with 22 seconds left to win it for the good guys.

I liked the new d-pairs, Z/Max & Gorms/Guenin, better complementary skills FWIW… Mikko scored his 20th goal on his 90th shot of the season, holy cow that’s efficient… Aggz had the game-winner plus 2 assists, excellent game for him… The 2nd line only had one goal from Hish but the 3 guys – Thompson (1), Hish (7), Borna (6) – were shooting from anywhere and generating good chances… Petryk had his 13th goal of the season, that’s a lot for an AHL contract…

Other than a horrifying stretch of the second period, which began with some turdling after Nikita tied the game at 1 and ended with a softie by Roman and 19 seconds later the nightly hideous error by Messrs Gormley & Clark, the Rampage actually looked quite good Sunday. Stockton goalie Kevin Poulin was incredible and stopped all but 2 out of 38 SA shots on net. Roman Will was pretty stout, stopping 38/41 against the AHL’s most prolific shot generators. Mikko Rantanen had 7 SOG, maybe 4 of them were point blank and on any other night he would have had a couple for sure. Just in general he played one of his better all-around games of the season, which is always fun to watch. Andrew Agozzino continued his hot streak with a goal and an assist. Zadorov had another good showing, I really think he was hampered by whatever LBI deal kept him out for a few games. He’s skating better and much more active in the offense in the past 3 games.

Preview: Moose/Reign

There's not a lot on the line anymore save for pride and next year's jobs. The Moose are bad, Ontario are really good and the Rampage struggle at home. Sounds like a fun weekend.

Some things I'd like to see for the last 18 games:

- Mikko still kicking ass
- Z kicking ass
- Borna shooting from everywhere. If I'm Dean, I'm telling him 5 SOG minimum or he's buying dinner for everyone
- Petryk keeping the pace from the last 30 games
- Bourke and Belzile going on a scoring tear
- Evs healthy again
- New D-pairings. Please! (call up Mason too)
- Yogi plays 16 games at least
- Give Big Sam some real wings to play with

Dean's never going to give up the fight in the standings as long as the Rampage are mathematically still in it, and he shouldn't, but there's something to be gained from playing guys that are going to be around next year rather than sticking with what hasn't worked all season. If SA is still in the same position a month from now, and there's no reason to think they won't be, we'll hopefully start seeing some ATOs practicing with the team and playing in games too.

Lines/Pairs from Sunday:

Aggz – Mikko – Pete
Thompson – Hish – Borna
Schumi – Draz – Bourke
Bordy – Big Sam – Mags

Gormley – Clark
Z – Guenin
Hubie – Max

Roman
Yogi

Scratches: Evs (inj), Clish (inj), Hamonic (nacho), Street (UBI), Duncan (UBI)

Schedule

Friday night against Manitoba 8:30 in the ET

Sunday afternoon against Ontario 5:00 in the ET

All games on Ticket 760

Next up

Ontario again Wednesday night

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No conflicts with the Avs so stop by and support your prospects and Nate Guenin. Enjoy!