Season 8 profile: Madrid Royals


pro Madrid

Team owner: Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, Queen of Spain. A former television journalist, she married King Felipe VI

Farm Club: HC Barcelona Barcelona

GM: Tony B (2nd GM in team’s history)

Coach: Dan Bylsma

Last season: 4th overall. In playoffs, lost to Lisbon

Ins and Outs (Season 7 to Season 8)

Out: Shea Weber (free agent), Andrej Meszaros (free agent), David Schlemko (free agent), Zach Boychuk (free agent), Andrew Cogliano (free agent), Yasin Ehliz (trade) Colin Greening (trade), Vojtech Nemec (waivers), Josh Jooris (free agent)

In: Craig Smith, (trade), Gabriel Bourque (trade), Niklas Hjalmarsson (free agent), Gareth Roberts (free agent), Luke Adam (free agent), Marc-Andre Bourdon (free agent), Ondrej Kase (free agent), Patrick Thoresen (free agent), Chris Wideman (free agent), Justin Bailey (free agent), Craig Cunningham (free agent), Byron Froese (free agent), Austin Czarnik (free agent), Andrew Bodnarchuk (free agent), Dylan Demelo (free agent), Zach Sill (free agent), Eeli Tolvanen (draft), Jordan Kyrou (draft), Steve Santini (draft)

In Place (Key players signed or restricted free agents past Season 8)

Erik Karlsson, D; Jonas Brodin, D; Gabriel Landeskog, LW; Derek Stepan, C; Robin Lehner, G




 Three Questions

1. I bet the Madrid Royals are furious at Lisbon H.C.  OK, that’s not a question, is it? It wasn’t, but technically, adding that last sentence made the whole entry end with a question mark, so it qualifies. Yes, Madrid fans, ownership, players, dogs … even Spanish butterflies are fuming over what Lisbon did to them at the end of last season. Madrid enjoyed its best season ever in Season 7 and hopes were running super high in Spain. The Royals came close to booting Bratislava from the top seed spot in the Southern Conference and that race came down to the final two games of the regular season. Maybe they were too focused on grabbing that top spot, maybe they overlooked the sixth seed, but for whatever reason, the Royals’ very promising season crashed to an abrupt end when Lisbon beat them handily in six games of the first round of the playoffs. Madrid’s normally strong offense sputtered for a few games against Kari Ramo and Lisbon and that proved costly. With Lisbon moving into the Demitra Division this year, that means more games between the two teams in what is probably the league’s hottest rivalry at the moment.

2. What’s with playing guys with lower OV ratings ahead of guys with higher OV ratings? Whether it is the genius of coach Dan Bylsma – the franchise’s only-ever  coach – or the influence of General Manager Tony B, Madrid seems to be excellent at finding chemistry between Royals players. Who doesn’t play Shea Weber and Erik Karlsson together every single game? The Royals, that’s who, and the strategy paid off because both superstar defensemen regularly had enough stamina to excel on the team’s special teams units because one of them would play only second-pairing minutes when the teams skated 5-on-5. At center, Patrik Berglund received more ice time than Derek Stepan or Sean Couturier … because he deserved it and because the team kept winning with him playing 21 minutes per game on average. Rookie Reto Suri played well enough in practice to earn him starts on the pro team, and he did well enough in the beginning of the season to warrant third-line duty. He finished with 32 points, which is impressive for a rookie who was a second-round draft pick for his team. One area of concern for the team is penalty killing. The Royals were near the top of the league in all team stats except for penalty killing. Sean Couturier is a no-brainer to get out there when a Royal skates to the box, but team execs are toying with the idea of changing things up and putting mostly newcomers on the SH units. Those players will surely be watched closely by Bylsma and Tony B.

3. There was a lot of turnover since last season. Good or bad? Like some other teams, the Royals struggle with finances and had to cut bait with a lot of players including a whale of a defenseman in Shea Weber. One trade and a lot of free agent departures/arrivals give Madrid a different look and feel this season. Overall, it looks like all the changes resulted in an improvement. Weber can’t be replaced, so expect defensive numbers to droop this season. But it’s not like the Royals signed people off the street to play for him. Newcomer Marc-Andre Bourdon is tough and good at tying up forwards and blocking shots. Having untried Colin Miller and Steven Santini in the lineup to start the season will not help win games or make goalie Robin Lehner feel more secure, but they are cheap, so they will help stay under the cap while they’re giving it the old college try and learning. The addition of Craig Smith, acquired in a trade with Munich, will help the Royals a lot. Smitty is offensive-minded and he has no glaring deficiencies aside from, perhaps, size. Bylsma has him penciled in on the second line with team captain and 40-goal man Gabriel Landeskog, as well as sterling center Sean Couturier. That trio would be the top line in a lot of cities. Ahead of them on the tentative depth chart are Blake Wheeler, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider, who are all coming off their best-ever seasons, each with at least 25 goals scored. Madrid doesn’t quite have Milan-type depth among its forwards, but the Royals will get wins some nights due to the play of their “Pat lines” centered by Patrik Berglund and Patrick Thoresen. Their left side is especially strong with Landeskog, Kreider and newcomers Luke Adam and Gareth Roberts.


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

Season 7                4           111        19.8        79.7      32.07        27.33        3.82        2.99        8.09

Season 6                6           105        18.8        86.6      32.23          27.91       3.21         2.82       9.13

Season 5              11              92        19.7         82.10     31.13         28.98       3.17         3.09       9.27

Season 4              17             81         19.5         83.6       30.77      32.00        2.99         3.40       10.79

Season 3              8               94          18.7        78.0        33.35     28.30        3.51         3.28       9.45

Season 2              17            83         17.4         83.9        31.72      28.74        3.15          3.33       9.76

Season 1              9              95          22.6        80.3        30.85       29.05        3.68        3.29        9.01

Top Draft picks

Season 1: Erik Karlsson, D, current age 28. Games played: 565; points: 375; -31

Season 2: Erik Ersberg, G, age 30. GP 80, Save Pct. 88.4

Season 3: Marko Dano, C, age 22. GP 206, Pts 83, -45

Season 4: Haydn Fleury, D, age 22

Season 5: Loic Lamperier, LW, age 23. GP 90, Pts 23, +11

Season 6: MacKenzie Blackwood, G, age 20.

Season 7: Josh Manson, D, age 25. GP 80, Points 20, +15

Season 8: Eeli Tolvanen, LW, age 18.

Trade History

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

Traded Max Pacioretty to Frankfurt for Round 7 pick (used to draft Slava Voynov),   Round 10 pick (later traded) (Trevor Daley) and 2013 Round 2 pick (Erik Ersberg)

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

Traded Sammi Pahlsson to Bern for Round 20 pick (Brandon Prust) and Round 22 pick (Mark Visentin)

Traded Michal Neuvirth, Nick Johnson and 2013 Round 1 pick (Martin Ruzicka) to Athens for Tomas Vokoun

Traded Henrik Sedin to Milan for Jordan Stall, Chris Kreider and 2013 Round 2 pick (Jonas Brodin)

Traded 2013 Round 2 pick (Eliezer Sherbatov) to Milan for Biran Rolston

Season 2

Traded Slava Voynov, 2014 Round 2 pick (traded later) (Robert Hagg), Round 1 pick (traded later) (Sean Monhan) to Berlin for R. J. Umberger, Brayden Coburn, Mikhail Grigorenko and a second-round pick(traded later) (Josh Morrissey?)

Traded Erik Ersberg to Berlin for Brian Campbell and 2014 Round 3 pick (Marko Dano)

Traded Saku Koivu to Prague for Chad Larose and 2015 Round 2 pick (Jake Virtanen)

* seem to be missing one trade that probably occurred in here somewhere

Season 3

Traded Jeff Carter, Ryan Johansen and 2015 Round 1 pick (Nikita Kucherov) to Stockholm for Rick Nash and 2015 Round 2 pick (Haydn Fleury)

Season 4

Traded Tomas Vokoun and 2015 Round 2 pick (Nikita Scherbak) to Stockholm for Jonas Hiller

Traded Rick Nash, Fedor Tyutin, Braydon Coburn and Patrick O’Sullivan to Edinburgh for Derek Stepan, Chris Stewart, Dan Winnick and Francois Beauchemin

Season 5

Traded Marko Dano and 2017 Round 2 pick to Copenhagen for Andrej Meszaros

Traded Jordan Staal to Minsk for Patrik Berglund and Nick Leddy

Traded Andrew Cogliano to Copenhagen for 2016 Round 2 pick (Reto Suri)

Traded Brian Campbell and 2017 Round 1 pick (Jean Gabriel Pageau) to Copenhagen for Brooks Laich, Andrew Cogliano and Nick Holden.

Season 6

Traded Nick Holden to Helsinki for Derek Roy and Carlo Colaiacovo

After Season 6 started:

Traded Lee Stempniak, Dan Winnik, Jonas Hiller and 2018 Round 1 pick to Copenhagen for Nathan Gerbe and Colin Greening

Traded Nick Leddy and Chris Stewart to Moscow for Blake Wheeler, Marc-Andre Bourdon and 2018 Round 3 pick

Lost Jonas Hiller (waivers)

Season 7

After season started: lost Roman Polak (waivers); signed Josh Jooris (free agent); signed Colin Miller (free agent)

Season 8

Traded Colin Greening, a 2020 Round 2 pick and a 2021 Round 2 pick to Munich for Craig Smith and Josh Bailey; lost Bailey on waivers

Traded Yasin Ehliz to Belfast for Gabriel Bourque

After Seaosn 8 started

Lost Luke Adam (waivers)


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