GM: Geoffrey Paul (second GM in team’s history)
Coach: Ken Hitchcock
Last season: 10th overall, defeated Helsinki in Round 1, lost to Belfast in Round 2
Ins and Outs
(Season 5 to Season 6)
Out: Daniel Sedin (free agent), Carl Gunnarsson (free agent), Devin Setoguchi (free agent), David Clarkson (free agent)
In: Rick Nash (free agent), Anders Lee (draft); Travis Konecny (draft), Jeremy Roy (draft),
(Key players signed past Season 6)
Rick Nash, RW; Taylor Hall, LW; Jeff Skinner, C; Brandon Saad, LW; Martin Jones, G; Kevin Shattenkirk, D;
1. Why did London leap in the standings? The Dons improved from 16th to 10th last season and appear to be trending upward. A big reason for the improvement is the simple fact that nearly the entire team has been together since they were 21-year-olds who took a collective beating every night. Now they are 25-year-olds – give or take a few years – and are coming into their own. Their goals per game average has gone up every year for four years and their goals against average has gone down over the same period. The Dons play an exciting, swashbuckling style of hockey and they are starting to put fans in the seats – both at home and on the road. In Websim terminology, London has five superstar (80OV) forwards, two superstar defensemen and a superstar goalie in Martin Jones. People will pay to watch them play. And there are 11 more future “superstars” ripening on the roster. It’s safe to say that the lean years are behind GM Geoffrey Paul and his team.
2. What will the addition of Rick Nash do for the Londoners? Sniper extraordinaire Rick Nash, 32, felt so good about the team’s future that he requested a no-trade clause in the long-term contract he signed with Paul out of free agency earlier this month. The big winger’s potential for lighting the lamp has made him a popular trade target, but he obviously wants some stability for himself and his family. The Nashes are pretty familiar with the British Isles by now. Originally drafted in the third round of the initial EURO draft, Nash started his career in Belfast, Ireland. After two seasons, he was traded to Stockholm, Sweden and after 26 games, he found himself in Spain. At the trade deadline the next season, Nash was back to the UK and Edinburgh. London is his fifth team. His best season was Season 3 with Stockholm and Madrid, when he scored 47 times and tallied 102 points. Last year, he scored 30 goals and 80 points. And he’s been Cal Ripken-like in his durability, missing just two games in five seasons. Nash will be the right winger on the top line with Taylor Hall on the left side. It looks like Jeff Skinner gets to start at center between them, and if he can’t distribute the puck well enough, plan B and C and pretty good options: Sam Gagner and Tyler Bozak. On the young team, Nash is a mature role model and a good bet to be named captain at some point.
3. Is defense their weakness ? Not really. They rank in the top half of the league in defensive statistics. But if they do allow too many shots and chances for the fans’ liking, don’t lay all the blame on the defensemen or goalie Jones. Except for Brandon Saad, Jeff Skinner and Michael Grabner, the forwards on London’s roster have goals on the mind and a mindset that screams, “Go ahead. Try to outscore us.” That attitude tends to lead to 3-on-2s and 2-on-1s the other way. Back on defense, Kevin Shattenkirk, 27, is a stud and the Dons will feel safe when he’s on the ice. Jake Muzzin, 26, and Dmitriy Orlov, 25, have good defensive instincts and they might be pivotal players for the team this year. Jamie McBain will get second or third pair ice time and he’s the oldest Don defenseman at age 28. If London gets off to a good start and is near the top of the Northern Conference, Paul might be tempted to acquire a more experienced defenseman to steady the defense.
Season Place PTS PP % PK % SPG SAPG GPG GAPG PIM
Season 5 10 93 16.6 79.4 28.82 30.26 3.26 3.00 7.99
Season 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 32. Games played: 312; Save Pct: 89.7
Season 2: Jimmie Ericsson, LW, age 23. GP 164, Pts 67, +15
Season 3: Braden Holtby, G, age 26. GP 184, Save pct: 90.1
Season 4: Martin Jones, G, age 25. GP 62, Save Pct. 91.0
Season 5: Artemy Panarin, RW, age 25. GP 47, Pts 24, +7
Season 6: Anders Lee, LW, 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
After Season 6 started:
Traded Erik Forssell and 2018 Round 3 pick to Berlin for 2018 Round 2 pick (Bern’s) and 2019 Round 2 pick (Stockholm’s)