Season 8 profile: Milan Guerriero

pro Milan

Farm Club:  H.C. Bolzano-Bozen (Italy) Foxes HCB_South_Tyrol_logo

GM: David Bell (2nd GM in team’s history)

Coach: Ken Hitchcock (replaced Bruce Boudreau after Season 6, who replaced Randy Carlyle after Season 3)

Last season: 11th overall. In playoffs, defeated Berlin, then lost to Bratislava.

Ins and Outs (Season 7 to Season 8)

Out: Ben Bishop (bought out), Andrew MacDonald (free agent), Marc-Andre Bourdon (free agent), Patrick Thoresen (free agent), Thomas Hickey (free agent), Drayson Bowman (free agent), Paul Postma (free agent)

In: Owen Tippett (draft), Erik Brannstrom (draft), Drake Caggiula (draft)

In Place (Key players signed past Season 8)

Andrew Hammond, G; Kyle Okposo, RW; Jaden Schwartz, C; Tyler Johnson, C; Matthew Tkachuk, RW;




Three Questions

1. Was it worth the wait, Guerriero fans? After four or five seasons of losing, Milan is surging up the standings. They were 11th best in the league last season and 7th in the Southern Conference. This season, they are in a new division and poised to challenge the Smurfs for the Schloder Division championship. A few years ago, Guerriero fans were told by General Manager David Bell to be patient – yeah, Italians being patient – and things would get better. Bell seems to be a man of his word. The recipe for success was not super complicated: stock up on young players and take some lumps until the young stars get revved up. The plan is working like a charm and producing a fun, exciting speed game – scattered at times – that has fans wanting more every time a game ends. Not too many teams can match Milan in terms of forward depth. Five of the six forwards on lines 3 and 4 have OV ratings of 77 or higher and the third line of Joakim Lindstrom, Peter Mueller and center Nick Bjugstad could be a dominant force this season.

2. Who is the real star of the team? If you look at the team from afar, goalie Andrew Hammond is probably the one who stands out the most, but Marcus Kruger is right behind him because of what he achieved in Season 7. Hammond is firmly cemented in place as the number one goalie in Italy. If you go by last year’s all-star game voting, then he is also the top goalie in the Southern Conference. Hammond has two seasons as Milan’s starter under his belt and his goals against average over that period is 2.87 with a 90.9 save percentage. A great goalie is a key component to any Cup challenging team and Milan has theirs. Swedish center Kruger was not expected to be the leading scorer of the team in Season 7. Coach Ken Hitchcock entrusted Kruger with a key role last season and Kruger made the most of his chance as center of the top line. He accumulated 50 assists and a team-leading 74 points with 122 takeaways. It was by far the best season for a player most see as a checking line center. Hitchcock looks like he will be shifting gears for Season 8 and giving slick Jaden Schwartz the top line center job  between captain Tyler Johnson and Kyle Okposo. Kruger will work between Tomas Zaborsky and Mathis Olimb on what should be a very balanced and competent second line. Hitch has to feel good with the knowledge that if Schwartz struggles or gets hurt, Kruger can slide into the top line role without missing a beat. Kruger and Schwartz, by the way, are both assistant captains on the Guerriero team.

3. What could go wrong for them? Like another young team, Edinburgh, Milan tends to throw the puck around too much, costing them turnovers and contributing to a deficit last season in the number of shots they allowed compared to the number of shots they got on the opponent’s net. That will get fixed with experience, but Coach Hitchcock has to be a little upset when he looks at the stats sheet and sees that only five players on the roster – none of them defensemen – had positive turnover ratios last season. In addition to telling his troops – even veteran Kyle Okposo – to be more careful with the puck, Hitchcock has a few other things on his coaching to-do list, like imploring Tomas Zaborsky to cool it on the penalties a little. The Slovakian has become the super pest of the team, and while his antics disrupt opponents, they also tend to give the Guerriero penalty killers more work than they’d like. And then there’s the task of finding someone to replace veteran defensemen Andrew MacDonald and Marc-Andre Bourdon, who both left as free agents during the off season. MacDonald wasn’t the best defenseman on the team, but he offered a good shot (11.5 shooting percentage). Rookies Josh Morrissey and Anthony DeAngelo will step into starting roles this year and Bell hopes they will prove to be improvements over MacDonald and Bourdon.


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

Season 7               11         89        15.9        83.9       29.18      32.01     2.98     3.04      7.28

Season 6              19          74        13.2        76.6       28.27      32.04     2.68     3.24               6.34

Season 5              23          58         17.7       80.1        27.56      31.96     2.45        3.52               7.80

Season 4              22         65          15.3        78.0       27.98      34.23    2.72        3.88               9.82

Season 3              22          62          13.3        81.3       26.88     31.39     2.72        3.71                11.62

Season 2              16          86         15.7        84.1       32.62     28.82     3.33        3.32                12.68

Season 1              7          101          19.8        85.6        31.23     27.30    3.74        3.15                11.41

Top Draft picks

Season 1: Gabriel Landeskog, LW, current age 26. Games played: 570; points: 527; -91

Season 2: Gerhard Unterluggauer, D, age 34. GP 461, Pts 173, +29

Season 3: Ben Bishop, G, age 31. GP 140, Save Pct. 88.3

Season 4: Tyler Johnson, C, age 27.  GP 328 Pts 221, -219

Season 5: Par Arlbrandt, RW, age 24.  GP 239, Pts 96, +14

Season 6: Andrew Hammond, G, age 28. GP 129, Save Pct 90.9

Season 7: Matthew Tkachuk, LW, age 20. GP 3; Pts 1, plus/minus 0

Season 8: Owen Tippett, W, age 18.

Trade History

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

Traded Round 6 pick (used to draft David Perron), Round 21 pick (Mike Green) and 2013 Round 1 pick (Ossi Vaananen) to Paris for Round 3 pick (used to draft Dustin Byfuglien), Round 20 pick (Jonathan Bernier) and Round 26 pick (Jeff Woywitka)

Traded Gabriel Landeskog to Madrid for Dustin Brown, Round 10 pick (Trevor Daley) and Round 11 pick (Chris Kreider)

Traded Round 20 pick (Jonathan Bernier) and Round 22 pick (Jakub Kindl) to St. Petersburg for Round 18 pick (Brandon Gormley)

Traded Round 20 pick (David Steckel) to Bratislava for 2013 Round 2 pick (later traded) (Olexander Podbyedonostsev)

Traded Andrew Cogliano to Edinburgh for 2013 Round 2 pick (Gerhard Unterluggauer)

Traded Zbynek Michalek and Jaroslav Spacek to Dublin for 2013 Round 2 pick (Niklas Danielsson) and $1.35 million

Traded Jordan Staal, Chris Kreider, 2013 Round 2 pick (Jonas Brodin) and $250,000 to Madrid for Henrik Sedin

Traded Brad Boyes to Athens for 2013 Round 3 pick (Magnus Johansson)

Traded Nik Antropov, 2013 Round 2 pick (Olexander Podbyedonostsev) and 2013 Round 3 pick (Matthew Dumba) to Helsinki for Jamie McGinn

Traded Viktor Stalberg, 2014 Round 1 pick (Cam Atkinson) and $1 million to St. Petersburg for Daniel Alfredsson

Traded Brian Rolston to Madrid for 2013 Round 2 pick (later traded) (Eliezer Sherbatov)

Traded Dustin Penner to Oslo for 2014 Round 3 (later traded) (Samuel Morin)

Season 2

Traded Antoine Vermette to Prague for Jay McClement and 2013 Round 2 pick (Dimitrios Kalyvas)

Traded 2013 Round 2 pick (Eliezer Sherbatov) to Helsinki for Mikkel Boedker

Traded Jason Garrison to Moscow for Vaclav Prospal and 2014 Round 2 pick (T.J. Brennan)

Season 3

Traded Dustin Brown and 2014 Round 2 pick (Marcus Foligno) to Stockholm for Kyle Okposo and 2014 Round 1 pick (Brendan Gallagher)

Traded Dustin Byfuglien to Athens for Marcus Kruger, Joel Armia, 2014 Round 1 pick (Ben Bishop) and 2015 Round 2 pick (Alex Stalock)

Traded Mike Richards and 2015 Round 2 pick (later traded to Madrid – Jake Virtanen) to Stockholm for Jaden Schwartz

Traded Ryan Callahan to Berlin for Matt Read and 2014 Round 2 pick (Josh Morrisey)

Traded Matt Moulson to Copenhagen for Tomas Zaborsky

Traded Dimitrios Kalyvas to Athens for Johnny Boychuk

Traded 2014 Round 3 pick (Valentin Zykov ) to Athens for 2017 Round 3 pick (later traded to Bratislava – Brendan Guhle)

Traded Gerhard Unterluggauer and Matt Read to Berlin for Joakim Lindstrom and Mathis Olimb

Traded Magnus Johansson to Stockholm for Thomas Hickey

Traded Antti Niemi to Gothenburg for 2015 Round 1 (Dan Dekeyser) and 2015 Round 3 pick (Alex Tuch)

Season 4

Season 5

After the start of Season 5:

Signed Sean Bergenheim (free agent)

Traded Jonathan Blum to Copenhagen for Brian Campbell and 2018 Round 3 pick (Phil Di Giuseppe)

Season 6

Traded 2017 Round 3 pick (Brendan Guhle) to Bratislava for 2018 Round 3 pick (Andrew Copp)

After Season 6 started: Traded Mikko Rantanen to Belfast for Robby Fabbri and 2019 Round 3 pick (Zurich’s) (Drake Caggiula)

Claimed Alex Killorn on waivers and then lost him on waivers

Signed Patrick Thoresen (free agent)

Season 7

Traded Niklas Danielsson to Lisbon for Nick Bjugstad

After season started: lost Chris Tanev (waivers)

Season 8

Traded 2019 Round 3 pick (Carter Hart) to Stockholm for 2020 Round 3 pick


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