Ins and Outs
(Season 3 to Season 4) Out: Kris Versteeg (traded), Ryan Wilson (traded), Nate Thompson (free agent, Moscow)
In: Ville Peltonen (free agent, from Copenhagen), Leon Draisaitl (draft), David Pastrnak (draft), Carl Soderburg (draft)
1. Why are they so angry all the time? They seem angry all the time, but they are not. Sometimes they sleep. Berlin gave up more goals than they scored in the first two seasons of the EURO League. That might be the root cause of their moodiness. But in Season 3, even with their little Smurf legs, they made huge strides, jumping from 18th to 3rd overall. Overall depth is what makes them difficult to play against. They almost never let you take a shift off. The forward group includes 11 skaters whose OV rating is 76 or higher. The only player not at that high level is fourth-line right wing Brian Flynn who can give Berlin’s competent penalty killers a blow if they need it. Defense features five 78 OV players and 73 OV players as the number 6 and 7 defensemen.
2. How great a pick was Logan Couture back in Season 1? Couture was the first Smurf and today the 25-year-old is the team captain. He is the top scorer in franchise history and among Berlin forwards, he’s the all-time leader in hits, blocked shots and takeaways. During Season 3, he was the league’s 8th leading scorer with 38 goals and 105 points. Only Joe Pavelski fired more shots on goal than Couture did last season and he was among the top 10 forwards in the league in the major defensive categories. It helped that General Manager Guybrush Threepwood traded for Loui Eriksson and Ryan Callahan in Season 2 to play along side Couture. It almost seems there are two of him every time Berlin plays because he plays on the top 5- and 4-man powerplay units as well as the top 2- and 1-forward penalty killing units. He is even penciled in as the guy to shoot first in shootouts. And he orders the pre- and post-game meals. This off season, Threepwood locked up his prized player to three more years and a player option at a relatively modest $4.4 million.
3. What can stop the Smurfs from reaching the Cup? Their height, for one. The Cup is usually on a table or podium. Paris, for two, but if any team can supplant the Eiffels at the top of the Southern Conference, it is the Smurfs. It doesn’t appear that Berlin is in danger of taking too many penalties because they never have before and the only new guy in the lineup (Ville Peltonen) has only accumulated 8 penalty minutes in two full seasons. Berlin’s biggest worries could be inconsistency and injuries. Goalie Jimmy Howard’s numbers have improved each season, but he has hit the 30-year mark in age. He stepped up his game when the playoffs occurred last year and he will be counted on to carry the team all the way this season.
Season Place PTS PP % PK % SPG SAPG GPG GAPG PIM
Season 3 3 107 20.7 83.8 34.32 27.62 3.74 2.95 9.82
Season 2 18 83 16.1 81.1 30.05 30.62 3.27 3.59 9.80
Season 1 16 87 18.3 81.1 30.56 28.84 3.17 3.24 6.37
Top Draft picks
Season 1: Logan Couture, C, current age 25. Games played 222; Points 257, -21
Season 2: Mikko Lehtonen, RW, age 21. GP 158, Pts 59, -10
Season 3: Aleksander Barkov, C, age 19. GP 1, Pts 1, -1
Season 4: Leon Draisaitl, C, age 18
Traded Mikhail Grigorenko, R.J. Umberger, Brayden Colburn and Round 2 pick later traded (Josh Morrissey?) to Madrid for Slava Voynov, Round 1 pick later traded to Stockholm in the Loui Eriksson deal and 2014 Round 2 pick (later traded) (Robert Hagg)
Traded Brian Campbell, 2014 Round 3 pick (Marko Dano) to Madrid for Erik Ersberg
Traded Colton Gillies to Helsinki for Jarkko Immonen
Traded Mikko Lehtonen and 2014 Round 1 pick (Madrid’s) (Sean Monahan) to Stockholm for Loui Eriksson
Traded Mikka Kiprusoff to Athens for Nathan Horton and 2014 Round 2 (Brian Flynn)
Traded Tim Erixon, Andrey Bykov and 2014 Round 2 pick (Robert Hagg) to London for Semyon Varlamov *Apparently missing some trades here, although that first trade with Madrid might actually be several.
Traded Joakim Lindstrom and Mathis Olimb to Milan for Matt Read and Gerhard Unterluggauer
Traded Semyon Varlamov and Jarkko Immonen to Oslo for Jimmy Howard
Traded Ryan Wilson to Munich for 2015 Round 3 pick (David Pastrnak)
Traded Kris Versteeg to Moscow for 2015 Round 1 pick (Leon Draisaitl)