GM: Geoffrey Paul (second GM in team’s history)
Coach: Ken Hitchcock
Last season: 16th overall, out of playoffs
Ins and Outs
(Season 4 to Season 5)
Out: Brenden Morrow (retired), Manny Malhotra (free agent), Marc-Andre Bergeron (free agent)
In: Jiri Hudler (free agent), Rasmus Ristolainen, D; Artemy Panarin (draft); Gregory Beron (draft), Erik Forssell (draft),
(Key players signed past Season 5)
Taylor Hall, LW; Jeff Skinner, C; Brandon Saad, LW; Martin Jones, G; Kevin Shattenkirk, D;
1. What is the key to the Dons’ season? The young team is a year older and most of their parts are 2 OV points better than they were at this time last season. That’s 2 OV multiplied by 17 or 18 players, by the way. But their success will hinge on how they replace Marc-Andre Fleury, London’s first player ever. Fleury left the team as a free agent and is playing in the other conference now. That leaves three inexperienced goalies as candidates for the top spot on the team. Martin Jones, a 24-year-old rookie with no EURO experience at all, may get tapped on the shoulder by coach Ken Hitchcock. Michal Neuvirth and Steve Mason, both 27, could get the call first. This will be an interesting story to watch this season. Hitchcock and GM Geoffrey Paul hope at least one of them can get them home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
2. What area needs to get better? London needs to cut a shot per game off their shots per game average, and gain a shot in their shots for average. That would make them about even in shots with their opponents. Hitchcock will look for the forward and defense combos that will accomplish that and it might take a few weeks. He has a good balance of players in the top 9 forwards – they should be able to send out three dangerous lines this season – and a well-balanced defense corps as well.
3. Do they have any secret weapons? Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner aren’t exactly secrets; they have been flying around in a London sweater since the league started. But a lot of people don’t know that if you give London an opportunity to get back into a game or win it in a shootout, those two guys will burn you. Hall was third in the league in power play goals last season. Eighteen of his career high 37 goals last year came while London’s foe was shorthanded. Skinner, meanwhile, is a specialist in shootout goals. He and Sam Gagner scored on 8 of 12 shots last season, and Skinner is the second-most-successful person in EURO history among players who have taken at least 20 shootout shots in his career, trailing only Sidney Crosby. Skinner scores at a 60 percent rate.
Season Place PTS PP % PK % SPG SAPG GPG GAPG PIM
Seaosn 4 16 81 16.2 81.5 29.68 31.62 3.12 3.40 8.61
Season 3 21 75 16.3 75.7 30.24 30.94 3.09 3.51 11.10
Season 2 23 56 16.2 77.2 26.96 34.29 2.66 3.84 11.24
Season 1 15 88 14.9 83.5 30.79 29.77 3.07 3.13 10.79
Top Draft picks
Season 1: Marc-Andre Fleury, G, current age 31. Games played: 261; Save Pct: 89.6
Season 2: Jimmie Ericsson, LW, age 22. GP 82, Pts 26, +3
Season 3: Braden Holtby, G, age 25. GP 114, Save pct: 90.4
Season 4: Martin Jones, G, age 24
Season 5: Artemy Panarin, RW, age 24.
Traded Semyon Varmalov to Berlin for Andrey Bykov, Tim Erixon and 2014 Round 2 pick (Robert Hagg)
Traded 2016 Round 3 pick to Minsk for Tobias Stephan
Traded Tobias Stephan to Minsk for 2016 Round 3 pick
* missing two trades, one which sent Bykov to Oslo.
Traded Tyler Seguin and Luca Sbisa to Oslo for Pavel Datsyuk and Shea Weber
Traded Braden Holtby to Stockholm for Sam Gagner, Michal Neuvirth and 2015 Round 1 pick (Nikita Kucherov)
Traded Shea Weber to Copenhagen for Kevin Shattenkirk, Teddy Purcell and Carl Gunnarsson
Traded Zach Bogosian to Stockholm for Dmitri Orlov and Jake Muzzin