GM: Guybrush Threepwood (only GM in team’s history)
Coach: Adam Oates
Last season: 2nd overall (defeated Prague, Bratislava and Paris, then lost to Belfast in Cup Finals)
Ins and Outs
(Season 5 to Season 6)
Out: Tony Martensson (free agent), Erik Ersberg (trade), Matthew Carle (free agent), Gerhard Unterluggauer (free agent), Ladislav Smid (free agent), Tom Gilbert (free agent), Tim Gleason (free agent)
In: Mike Green (free agent), Joni Pitkanen (free agent), Antoine Vermette (waivers), Timo Meier (draft), Anthony Beauvillier (draft), Niklas Svedberg (draft), Ville Varakas (free agent)
(Key players signed past Season 6)
1. How will two changes on defense affect the Smurfs? The Berlin Smurfs came very, very close to winning it all in Season 5. As good as they were, it’s just unfortunate for them that one of the best teams in the league’s history – Belfast – was at the top of their game. Not to make anyone a goat, but Rose in the league office said the other day, “If Gerhard Unterluggauer would have played up to his standards, I wonder what would have happened.” That Rose, she knows more than pierogis and floral housecoats, I must say. Maybe U-Lug had a lingering injury no one knew about. Maybe 32 years old is equal to 38 years old for him. Maybe he grew bored with Coach Adam Oates. For whatever reason, the Austrian defenseman’s numbers were down significantly in all areas from his previous years. He was subsequently allowed to search for a change of scenery through free agency and he landed elsewhere in the Schloder Division with the Geneva Generals. Matthew Carle also left, although he had one of his typical good years. Replacing them as incoming free agents are Joni Pitkanen and Mike Green. Pitkanen has scored more than 10 goals three times. The smooth-skating Green has not, but he should be able to tally more points in the potent Smurf lineup. Berlin only has six defensemen on the roster at the moment and only Alexander Edler is signed past this season. Looking at the salary chart, you get the feeling that it’s do or die for the group.
2. What was the most important move of the off season for Berlin ? The most crucial move was getting Jimmy Howard not to move. The Smurfs need their star goalie to get rest and stay healthy. We wouldn’t doubt it if General Manager Guybrush Threepwood hired an assistant to help Howard conserve energy. “Can I get your robe and slippers, Mr. Howard?” “Care for a delicious Smurfberry juice protein shake, Mr. Howard?” “Here, let me carry you upstairs, Mr, Howard. No need to overwork the legs.” With a 2.19 goals against average and a 91.5 save percentage, Howard was the best goalie in the league last season. But he got quite a workout, playing 68 games during the regular season and 24 more in the playoffs as Berlin played in four series. Howard is 32 which isn’t old by goalie standards, but it’s rare to see goalies put great seasons back-to-back. With an unproven, inexperienced Nicklas Svedberg as backup, the Smurfs will go as far as Howard can carry them.
3. What forwards will have the most pressure on them? Up front, Berlin’s forward lines will be much like they were in Season 5, when they led the league in shots on goal and were fifth in goals. They are relatively young as a group and shouldn’t see their numbers deteriorate much due to age. It wasn’t broke, so there was no need for Threepwood fix it. Berlin was able to re-sign Loui Ericsson but they lost Tony Martensson to free agency. It will be interesting to see how much the Smurfs will miss him. The GM had to be a disappointed in Martensson’s 36-point season, given the fact he put up 55 to 78 points with weaker teams in the previous three seasons. But Martensson is great at puck possession and his takeaways are always above his giveaways. Finn Aleksander Barkov will have the spotlight on him this season. For sure, Berlin will have two strong lines with Logan Couture, David Krejci, Ryan Callahan, Loui Eriksson, Patric Hornqvist and Jiri Tlusty getting many minutes, but it will be up to Barkov to make the third line go like Martensson used to. Nikolai Kulemin and Nathan Horton will probably be the very capable wingers on that line.
Season Place PTS PP % PK % SPG SAPG GPG GAPG PIM
Season 5 2 128 19.6 89.1 34.96 26.10 3.73 2.50 7.80
Season 4 6 106 19.7 83.8 33.17 26.79 3.62 2.74 8.46
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 27. Games played 384; Points 456, +31
Season 2: Mikko Lehtonen, RW, age 23. GP 318, Pts 104, +10
Season 3: Aleksander Barkov, C, age 21. GP 125, Pts 23, -3
Season 4: Leon Draisaitl, C, age 20
Season 5: Christian Dvorak, C/LW, age 19.
Season 6: Timo Meier, RW, 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)
Traded Matt Read to Edinburgh for Tony Martensson
Traded Slava Voynov, Martin Erat and 2017 Round 3 pick to Copenhagen for Dion Phaneuf
Traded 2016 Round 2 pick (Marc Peninou(name changed to Alexander Kerfoot)) to Edinburgh for 2017 Round 3 pick (Niklas Svedberg)
Traded Erik Ersberg to Stockholm for 2019 Round 2 pick
Traded Brian Flynn and 2018 Round 2 pick to Bern for 2018 Round 2 pick
After Season 6 started:
Signed Tim Gleason (free agent); claimed Martin Havlat (waivers)
Traded 2019 Round 2 pick to St. Petersburg for Stefan Ulmer
Traded David Pastrnak and 2018 Round 1 pick to Prague for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Traded 2018 Round 2 pick (formerly Bern’s) and 2019 Round 2 pick (formerly Stockholm’s) to London for Erik Forssell and 2018 Round 3 pick
Traded Leon Draisaitl to Bratislava for Siim Liivik
Traded Aleksander Barkov to Prague for Calvin Pickard