Owner: Bogdan Podarok, entrepeneur
Farm Club: Aalborg (Denmark) Pirates
GM: Austin Dwyer (3rd GM in team’s history)
Coach: Randy Carlyle (replaced Guy Boucher before Season 6)
Last season: 10th overall; In playoffs, lost to Copenhagen
Ins and Outs (Season 7 to Season 8)
Out: Dan Girardi (free agent), Kevin Dallman (free agent), Athony Nigro (free agent), Mike Cammalleri (free agent), Pascal Dupuis (free agent), Anders Lindback (free agent)
In: Pierre-Marc Bouchard (free agent), Ben Scrivens (free agent), Sebastien Uvira (free agent), Kailer Yamamoto (draft), Pierre-Olivier Joseph (draft)
In Place (Key players signed past Season 8)
Petr Vrana, LW; Jordan Eberle, RW; Adam Henrique, C; Marc-Eduoard Vlasic, D, John Carlson, D; Carl Hagelin, LW
1. How is the Season 8 Gothenberg team different from the 7 version? The top two scoring defensemen on the team – Dan Girardi and Kevin Dallman – refused to sign on the dotted line and then left, and General Manager Austin Dwyer was too busy fishing and hunting with Coach Randy Carlyle to sign veteran replacements. Actually, mean owner Bogdan Podarok laid down the law and wouldn’t permit Dwyer to start the season over budget, so the GM had little choice but to cut costs and then turn away from the luscious free agent market. The loss of Girardi and Dallman is the only real difference in the roster compared to last year’s, but it might be a significant one. There is no apparent plan to replace the loss in offense from the point. Anthony Nigro, a lower 6 forward who plays tenacious defense, also left the team but his relatively minor contribution to the team shouldn’t be too hard to replace this season. Girardi scored 7 goals and 40 points for Frolunda last season and Dallman scored an impressive 17 goals and 38 points. But both have picked up their sticks and hockey bags and moved to the Schloder Division. Like the other four Gothenburg Dmen from last season, Girardi and Dallman played in all 82 games. What does Dwyer feed his defensemen to make them so durable? Assuming it’s sill (herring dishes), fans hope the sill diet does the same for rookies Mikhail Pashnin and Alejandro Hernandez, who are currently 5th and 6th on the depth chart behind Marc-Eduoard Vlasic, John Carlson, Mark Fraser and Alec Martinez. Simply put, Vlasic and Carlson form as good a defense tandem as there is in the league. Fraser and Martinez are likely to occupy the second pairing slot, but just for fun, let’s say they don’t. Fraser is the league’s pre-eminent tough guy and young Pashnin plays like he’s trying to be Fraser’s Mini Me. If they get paired together, expect docile behavior from opposing forwards who enter the Gburg zone while the tough guys are the ice, but you can also expect their shifts to often be followed directly by Frolunda’s shorthanded unit. If Martinez and Hernandez form a defense duo, then Gothenburg will have two speedy skaters out there with names that sound better suited for the Madrid Royals.
2. How is Gothenburg’s offense? Frolunda has rarely had a problem with offense. They always tend to generate about 29 or 30 shots per game and last year they averaged 3.45 goals per season, which placed them 8th in the league in that category. Gothenburg had four 30-goal scorers last season. The forward crew can be characterized as fast, skilled and light. They do a decent job of taking the body, but they don’t have a lot of pounds to do much damage. Adam Henrique, 28, is the marquee player on the team and he does a good job everywhere on the ice. Four times he has scored 30 or more goals in the EURO and last year he came within three points of reaching the 100-point mark for the second time. On the defensive end of it, he finished tied for third in the league among forwards in takeaways, had a plus 52 turnover ratio and he was tied for fifth among forwards in blocked shots with 85. He simply does everything for Gothenburg. Having Jordan Eberle on his right wing helps Henrique’s offensive numbers. The 28-year-old Canadian is a five-time 30 goal scorer coming off back-to-back 35-goal seasons. Season 7 was his best, at 90 points and 259 shots, and he and Henrique should be able to ramp up a little more this season with speedster and 30-goal scorer Petr Vrana on their left side. Carl Hagelin (37 goals in Season 7) headlines the second line with Mikko Koivu and Cal Clutterbuck, and the other two lines are solid defensively, and overall, they are better than the league’s average third and fourth lines.
3. What could hurt Frolunda’s record this season? Goalie Pekka Rinne is 36 years old now and last year he showed signs of slowing down, dropping below 90 percent in saves for the first time in his 7-year career. Fans in western Sweden hope that was a statistical anomaly rather than the start of a trend line. But if he is glove-saving into the sunset, his teammates will have to pick him up and clear rebounds and players like they never have before. Rinne is costing the team $9 million in cap space and he would be a fool not to renew through a player option next season. Carlyle and Dwyer need two more good years from the fabulous Finn because the Kharlamov Division allows few errors. Minsk remains the team to beat, but the two other Scandinavian teams – Helsinki and Stockholm – along with Moscow will give Frolunda 18 hard battles this year. How Gothenburg fares against those three division rivals will determine how close they get to the Cup this season.
Season Place PTS PP % PK % SPG SAPG GPG GAPG PIM
Season 7 10 92 20.5 80.9 29.96 29.39 3.45 3.32 10.20
Season 6 7 96 18.2 83.8 29.55 29.02 3.12 2.91 10.63
Season 5 17 80 16.50 82.20 28.93 31.80 2.84 3.16 10.73
Season 4 8 104 18.6 79.4 29.73 29.84 3.56 2.87 8.06
Season 3 11 91 18.9 83.4 28.96 30.91 3.41 3.46 10.98
Season 2 15 86 17.4 84.6 30.12 30.93 3.44 3.50 11.02
Season 1 14 88 17.4 86.6 30.74 28.65 3.26 3.13 7.95
Top Draft picks
Season 1: Adam Henrique, C, current age 28. Games played: 561; points: 564; -22
Season 2: Petr Vrana, LW, age 27. GP 464, Pts 256; +27
Season 3: Beau Bennett, RW, age 26. GP 349, Pts 105; -15
Season 4: none
Season 5: Linus Klasen, LW, age 24. GP 17; Pts 6; +3
Season 6: Oliver Kylington, D, 20.
Season 7: Kieffer Bellows, LW/C, age 19.
Season 8: Kailer Yamamoto, RW, age 18.
Traded Sam Gagner, 2014 Round 1 pick (traded later) (used to draft Jonathan Drouin) and 2015 Round 2 pick (David Savard) to Stockholm for Eric Staal
* missing one trade, probably in this period.
Traded Milan Lucic, 2016 Round 1 pick and 2017 Round 1 pick to Minsk for Zach Parise
Traded Devante Smith-Pelly, Ales Hemsky and 2016 Round 2 pick to St. Petersburg for Martin St. Louis
Traded 2015 Round 1 pick (Dan Dekeyser) and 2015 Round 3 pick (Alex Tuch) to Milan for Antti Niemi
Traded Morgan Rielly, Eric Gelinas and 2017 Round 2 pick to Oslo for Ryan Suter
Traded Martin St. Louis, Antti Niemi, Erik Johnson, Scott Harrington, Zack Phillips, 2016 Round 3 pick (Andreas Englund), 2017 Round 3 pick and 2018 Round 1 pick to St. Petersburg for Pekka Rinne, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Blake Wheeler
Traded Zach Parise to Lisbon for 2016 Round 1 pick (Linus Klasen)
Traded Ryan Suter and Blake Wheeler to Moscow for Kevin Dallman and 2016 Round 1 pick (Olli Palola)
Traded 2018 Round 3 pick to Moscow for Aleksey Morozov
After Season 5 started
Signed Frazer McLaren (free agent)
Traded 2019 RD 3 pick to Copenhagen for Anthony Nigro (formerly named Chris Legge)
Claimed Louis Leblanc (waivers)
Traded Patrick Marleau to Munich for Braydon Coburn and 2017 Round 3 pick (Oliver Kylington)
Traded Eric Staal to Stockholm for Mikko Koivu
After season started: signed Mike Cammalleri (free agent), signed Pascal Dupuis (free agent)