94’s south of the 49th

With the news that Reid Gow is leaving the WHL instead of playing his overage season, I figured we could take a look at the overage situation around the US Division:

Everett:

G Daniel Cotton (suspended indefinitely by team last season)
D Ben Betker
F Kohl Bauml
F Zane Jones
F Jujhar Khaira (signed by Edmonton Oilers)
F Brayden Low

Everett’s choice isn’t too difficult. One would think they aren’t keeping 3 overage forwards so Betker should be safe. They are set in goal without Cotton so he won’t be back. Just a matter of deciding between the 3 forwards and which 2 you are keeping. Purely on stats, Jones would be the one let go but he’s also the biggest of the 3 and brings some size to the forward lines. Low has similar size and slightly better stats. Bauml was 9th on the team in scoring last year and they will need that with the offense that is leaving. They make look for an upgrade for either Betker or Low but for now they stand pat.

Prediction: Betker, Bauml, Low

Portland:

D Mathew Dumba (signed by Minnesota Wild)
D Josh Hanson
D Derrick Pouliot (signed by Pittsburgh Penguins)
F Adam De Champlain
F Trace Elson
F Taylor Leier (signed by Philadelphia Flyers)
F Brendan Leipsic (signed by Nashville Predators)

Portland has 3 20’s. Elson was taken in the 2014 bantam draft with a 10th round pick so his stay may not be long, depending on how he performs. The Winterhawks making a move seems more like a when than an if and will probably be a defenseman to shore up the blue line. They might also try to add a forward as Portland will always consider itself to be a contender and would be buying rather than selling or¬†treading water.

Prediction: Hanson, De Champlain

Seattle:

G Taran Kozun
D Adam Henry
D Evan Wardley
F Justin Hickman
F Connor Honey (only 7GP during 13-14 season due to injury)
F Russell Maxwell (left WHL, will not play overage season)
F Sam McKechnie
F Branden Troock (signed with Dallas)
F Jaimen Yakubowski

Seattle still has some work cut out for it. We’ve covered this situation in detail before and the only thing that has really changed since then is Troock is definitely not coming back. Hickman performed well on his ATO with Bridgeport (AHL) but not enough to earn a contract. (It’s still possible he could receive one but he went to Winnipeg’s development camp so one could infer the relationship with Bridgeport is over for now.) Kozun, Wardley and Hickman were invited to NHL development camps and it will be interesting to see if any of those camp showings were good enough to earn an AHL contract. If Hickman joins the Jets in Penticton for the Canucks Young Stars tournament, that may be an indication of their interest in him. The miss on signing Dante Fabbro for this season hurt but the signing of Sahvan Khaira mitigates that loss somewhat and may put a defenseman back on the available market. The prediction here is very fluid and has changed over time. A lot hinges on whether last year’s captain returns.

Prediction: Kozun, Wardley, Hickman

Spokane:

D Reid Gow (left WHL, will not play overage season)
F Connor Chartier
F Marcus Messier
F Carter Proft (signed in Germany)
F Liam Stewart

Spokane has 3. They aren’t super young on defense but a 20 back there would have helped. The Chiefs traded overager Cole Wedman to Moose Jaw earlier in the offseason but they probably would have thought harder about that had they known then that Gow was not returning. This isn’t a year that Spokane makes a deep run so they may stick with what they have and hope the chemistry built with the rearguards carries over to next season.

Prediction: Chartier, Messier, Stewart

Tri-City:

D Justin Hamonic
F Lucas Nickles
F Jackson Playfair

The Americans have their 3. Tri-City is another team that isn’t going to make a deep playoff run this season so they will most likely stay with what they have. Playfair could be expendable if Tri-City finds someone they can pick up that has a higher offensive upside but they aren’t going to give up anything to get it.

Prediction: Hamonic, Nickels, Playfair

 

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