city Zurich

GM: Dennis Sullo (4th GM in team’s history)

Coach: Peter Laviolette (replaced Paul MacLean after Season 4)

Last season: 15th overall, lost to Paris in Round 1

Ins and Outs (Season 5 to Season 6)

Out: Roberto Luongo (free agent), Devan Dubnyk (free agent), Patrick Thoresen (free agent), Alex Killorn (waivers), Matt Donovan (free agent)

In:  Cam Ward (free agent), Braydon Coburn (free agent), Ben Smith (waivers), John Gibson (draft), Markus Granlund (draft), Connor Murphy (draft)

In Place (Key players signed past Season 6)

Patrice Bergeron, C; Jacob Trouba, D; Ilya Kovalchuk, LW; Drew Stafford, RW; Janne Niskala, D




Three Questions

1. How was Niskala their top scoring defenseman? Supremely skilled Jacob Trouba, who started his EURO career to much fanfare in Helsinki before being traded to Zurich, suffered a sophomore slump last season. Lions management hopes that’s all it was because they paid Alexander Radulov to get him and he only put up 25 points on a team that was built to score goals. Offensive-minded powerplay specialist Tyson Barrie is two years older and he picked up the slack for Trouba, as did a defenseman not expected to be a big offensive contributor. Janne Niskala led the defense corps in scoring while dishing out 232 hits last season. Good for Niskala, but the Lions will need Trouba and Barrie to pass him on the scoring list. Aside from Barrie, all of the team’s defensemen are good at positioning and blocking shots, including off-season free agent acquisition Braydon Coburn, who will be hoping to supplant either Niskala or Mark Staal on the second pairing.

2. Do they still have skill up front? Even with trades that sent Patrick Kane and Alexander Radulov to the Northern Conference, Zurich still has plenty of skilled, well known forwards, led by faceoff wizard Patrice Bergeron and captain Ilya Kovalchuk. Drew Stafford, Jakub Voracek, Patrick Sharp, Jussi Jokinen, Tomas Tatar … we’re into the third line now … Michael Frolik  …. you get the picture. They also have Trouba, Barrie and Niskala working the puck up to them, so why aren’t they tearing up the league’s defense corps and goalies? Not enough shooting. That’s the simple answer. The team ranked 13th in the league in shots per game. Their goals per game average and their powerplay rate both ranked higher, which tells you Zurich’s snipers have a pretty good shooting rate when they get the chance. If they could get their shots up by 2 or 3 per game, they would again be among the league’s very best offensive teams.

3. Can Cam? Dennis Sullo, general manager, is giving goalie Cam Ward the figurative ball this year, hoping he’ll run farther with it than either Brian Elliott and Roberto Luongo could in the past. Ward will try to do what he did in Stockholm and then Athens: take a team deep into the playoffs. The 32-year-old Canadian goalie has played in at least 10 playoff games in all five seasons except for last season, when the Greeks were bounced out in Round 1 by Bratislava. He has a lifetime regular-season save percentage of 89.6 and that average goes up nearly a percentage point when you figure in his 70 playoff appearances. The Lions have made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, but they haven’t been able to go very far. Any casual observer would advise them to avoid the Rouge Eiffels at all costs. Zurich suffered first-round exits the first two times they made the playoffs. They lost to Ward and Athens in Season 2, and to Paris in Season 3. Then, in Season 4, it was a first-round win over Bern in Season 4, followed by a loss in the second round to Paris. And then last season, they lost in the first round to … you guessed it, Paris.


Season                 Place   PTS        PP %      PK %      SPG     SAPG     GPG     GAPG    PIM

Season 5              15        82          20.2        80.4    29.66      30.71        3.29    3.38        7.39

Season 4              9          96          19.0        81.3      31.60     28.98        3.60    3.22      9.71

Season 3             15         85          15.8        81.3      31.13      29.44        3.52    3.54    11.99

Season 2              8          97           17.7        83.1      30.04    28.27       3.26    2.91    11.27

Season 1             22         58           17.1       81.9       28.72     31.37       2.83     3.88    10.55

Top Draft picks

Season 1: Patrice Bergeron, C, currently age 31. GP 405, Pts 450, -53

Season 2: Alexander Radulov, RW, age 24. GP 297, Pts 254, +16

Season 3: Tyson Barrie, D, age 24.  GP 153,  Pts 59,  +15

Season 4: Tomas Tatar, LW, age 25.  GP 162,  Pts 102,  -9

Season 5: Alexander Weiss, D, age 23.  GP 29,  Pts 5,  -5

Trade History

Season 1 (picks without years listed are from initial draft)

Traded Brad Richards to St. Petersburg for Patrick Kane

Season 2

Obtained Tomas Kaberle, who had been with Moscow, but not sure if it was a trade or free agent signing

Season 4

Traded Brian Elliott to Copenhagen for Roberto Luongo

Traded Alexander Radulov to Helsinki for Jacob Trouba

Traded Martin Thornberg to Copenhagen for 2016 Round 3 pick (Michael Keranen)

Traded Patrick Kane to Minsk for Jakub Voracek, Nathan Beaulieu and 2016 Round 1 pick (Sandro Zurkirchen)

Traded 2019 Round 3 pick to Belfast for Devan Dubnyk

Season 5

After Season 5 started

Signed Ondrej Roman (free agent)

Signed Jimmy Hayes (free agent)

Season 6

After Season 6 started:

Traded Janne Niskala to Minsk for Dmitrij Jaskin

Signed Nick Palmieri (free agent); claimed Mark Giordano (waivers), claimed Jori Lehtera (waivers), lost Jimmy Hayes (waivers)

Season 7

Traded Ilya Kovalchuk to Zurich for Artem Anisimov, Brad Richards and 2019 Round 3 pick


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