GM: Gayle Rock (Fourth GM in team’s history)
Coach: Paul MacLean (replaced Dave Tippett after Season 4) (Tippett replaced Alain Vigneault after Season 3)
Last season: 13th overall, lost to Minsk in Round 1 of the playoffs
Ins and Outs (Season 5 to Season 6)
Out: Evander Kane (trade); Nardo Nagtzaam (trade), Keith Yandle (free agent), Matt Calvert (free agent), Brett Connelly (waivers), Steve Oleksy (sign as free agent, later waived and lost)
In: Alexander Ovechkin (trade), Cody Hodgson (trade), Matthew Carle (free agent), Jori Lehtera (draft),
In Place (Key players signed past Season 6)
Alexander Ovechkin, LW; Phil Kessel, RW; Hampus Lindholm, D; Jakub Silfverburg, RW; Brian Elliott, G
1. Is the goalie position something to worry about? Goaltending has never been a problem for the Fighting Irish. During the team’s first four years, Tim Thomas held down the position and he did a great job. Just before Season 5 started, Thomas was traded away at age 41 and Brian Elliott took over as a 30-year-old. The former Zurich and Copenhagen netminder had the best season of his career in terms of save percentage (91.2). That placed him behind only Jimmy Howard of Berlin and Carey Price of Belfast in the league’s top goalies list. Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that he had his lightest workload ever at 56 games played. He certainly answered all who questioned whether he was capable of being a starting goalie in the EURO League. Two 28-year-olds, Jonathan Bernier and Jake Allen, are backing him up and both have been biding their time in the organization for years. Coincidentally, or maybe not, Bernier also had his best save percentage ever while seeing his workload lessened last season.
2. One change in the off season. What does that mean? It means Dublin had a very dangerous top line of Phil Kessel, Ryan Kesler and Evander Kane and it has a better one now with Kesler, Kessel and Alexander Ovechkin. It might mean the new general manager, Gayle Rock, sees value and has faith in the supporting cast of forwards and defensemen she inherited. It might also mean the team is so tight to the salary cap or the owner’s budget that it can’t make many moves. The team did lose three-time all-star defenseman Keith Yandle to free agency, but Rock scooped up 32-year-old Matthew Carle from the best team in the Southern Conference. He will start on the top pair with James Wisniewski, who has always been a dangerous and capable Dman when healthy. The end of Season 6 will be a tense time for Rock. She will have no Type 3 unrestricted free agents to deal with unless Kessel and Elliott decide to pass on their player options. If one or both of those two decide to test the free agent market, then Rock will have significant holes to patch.
3. Problems? Depth and team defense. Kesler, Kessel and Ovechkin are not only the team’s best players, there are also the captains. They do it all for Coach Paul MacLean. To win, the Irish need more production from the other players on the team. This season, it will be up to late 20-something players like James Van Riemsdyk, Jakob Silfverberg, Jakub Petruzalek and newly-acquired Cody Hodgson to improve their games and catapult the team farther into the playoffs. The defense corps is loaded with guys who are good at moving the puck up ice and finding open forwards with their passes. But all six starters on the blueline are classified as offensive defensemen, which could make Elliott’s job tougher.
Season Place PTS PP % PK % SPG SAPG GPG GAPG PIM
Season 5 13 85 16.8 84.9 28.37 32.17 3.07 3.12 8.13
Season 4 20 71 20.9 81.3 29.43 33.35 2.88 3.73 10.15
Season 3 7 99 17.4 84.6 29.83 31.34 3.66 3.18 9.35
Season 2 7 98 19.5 84.9 31.22 30.45 3.56 3.11 9.98
Season 1 13 90 17.9 81.3 31.07 30.33 3.39 3.30 8.95
Top Draft picks
Season 1: Alexander Ovechkin, LW, current age 31. Games played: 401; Pts 406; -13
Season 2: Olexander Pobyedonostsev, D, age 30; GP 299; Pts 92; -82
Season 3: Jake Allen, G, age 25
Season 4: Brendan Perlini, LW, age 20
Season 5: Nardo Nagtzaam, C, age 22.
Season 6: Jori Lehtera, C, age 27.
Season 1 (picks without years listed are from initial draft)
Traded Round 7 pick (used to draft Chris Kunitz) , Round 22 pick (Bryan Allen) and $250,000 toGeneva for Round 8 pick (Olli Jokinen), Round 10 pick (Petr Sykora) and 2013 Round 2 (Ryan Murray)
Traded Round 9 pick (Joe Corvo) and Round 11 pick (Milan Hejduk), Round 13 pick (Josh Bailey) and $10,000 to Munich for Round 8 pick (Tomas Fleischmann), Round 10 pick (James Wisniewski) and Round 16 pick (Nikita Nikitin)
Traded Alexander Ovechkin and 2014 Round 1 pick (Darrell Nurse) to Moscow for Phil Kessel and Bobby Ryan
Traded Scott Hartnell, Tim Gleason, 2013 Round 1 pick (later traded) (Nail Yakupov), 2015 Round 1 pick (later traded) (Matt Nieto) and $5 million to Athens for Evander Kane and Alexander Sulzer
Traded 2013 Round 2 pick (Niclas Danielsson) and $1.35 million to Milan for Zbynek Michalek and Jaroslav Spacek
Traded Boone Jenner to Helsinki for Jakub Silfverberg and 2013 Round 2 pick (Olexander Podbyedonostsev)
Traded Tomas Fleischmann to Copenhagen for 2014 Round 1 pick (Jake Allen)
Traded Bobby Ryan to Stockholm for Jakub Petruzalek and James Van Riemsdyk
Traded 2017 Round 2 pick (Pavel Zacha) to Minsk for Renat Mamashev
Traded Tim Thomas and 2017 Round 1 pick (Noah Hanifin) to Copenhagen for Brian Elliott
Traded Evander Kane and Nardo Nagtzaam to Belfast for Alexander Ovechkin and Cody Hodgson
After Season 6 started: Traded 2018 Round 2 pick to Lisbon for Clarke MacArthur;
Claimed Colton Gillies (waivers), Mattias Tedenby (waivers)
Lost Jori Lehtera (waivers)
Claimed Brian Campbell on waiver and then lost him on waivers