The St.John’s IceCaps find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture as of now, and the team has lost three of its last four following a five-game winning streak.
The IceCaps are a solid mix of up-and-coming B-level prospects and AHL veterans, and one of the brightest arrows on the club is rookie pro goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, while the early returns on Keaton Ellerby and Scott Kosmachuk are underwhelming.
Ben Chiarot, Julien Brouillette and recently Patrice Cormier have all made the move up to Winnipeg. The recalls, coupled with a struggling offence (shutout three games in a row last week) will make for a difficult week that ends a four-game home stand against the Providence Bruins (10-11-2). The IceCaps face the struggling Toronto Marlies (8-13-2) on the road over the weekend.
ST.JOHN’S ICECAPS CURRENT STATS
- Chase Balisy 23GP 7-11-18
- John Albert 26GP 6-11-17
- Eric O’Dell 23GP 7-7-14
- Carl Klingberg 26GP 6-8-14
- Will O’Neill 26GP 6-6-12
- Patrice Cormier 17GP 4-6-10 (NHL)
- Ben Chiarot 24GP 4-5-9 (NHL)
- JC Lipon 25GP 1-8-9
- Brenden Kichton 26GP 3-4-7
- Keaton Ellerby 18GP 0-6-6
- Scott Kosmachuk 25GP 2-4-6
- Kris Fredheim 19GP 2-3-5
- Austen Brassard 25GP 1-4-5
- Julien Brouillette 11GP 2-2-4
- Ryan Olsen 26GP 2-2-4
- Kyle MacKinnon 15GP 1-2-3
- Nicolas Blanchard 18GP 0-3-3
- Blair Riley 24GP 1-2-3
- Julian Melchiori 26GP 0-2-2
- Mike Cornell 3GP 0-1-1
- Ben Walker 10GP 0-1-1
- Jordan Hill 11GP 0-1-1
- Jason Jaffray 1GP 0-0-0
- Patrick Holland 7GP 0-0-0
- Brandon MacLean 10GP 0-0-0
- Connor Hellebuyck 18GP 10-6-2, 2.26 GAA, .934
- Peter Budaj 9GP 0-4-3, 3.25 GAA, .896
- Jussi Olkinuora 1GP 0-1-0, 6.07 GAA, .824
It’s interesting to see Chase Balisy leading the team in points. The free agent signee and Nashville Predators castoff is off to a great start in his pro career, and could warrant a call-up before seasons end.
Other good arrows go for Carl Klingberg, Will O’Neill and Ben Chairot. Players that got a taste of NHL last year in John Albert and Eric O’Dell are where I expected them to be, and I think it’s strange that O’Dell didn’t get the call ahead of Cormier.
Scott Kosmachuk is off to a slow start in his pro-career, something that shouldn’t be that big of a worry as many players from junior have an adjusting period, but considering some believed he could play in the NHL this year, there’s an alarm going off somewhere.
Another disappointment has to be the newly-acquired Patrick Holland. Holland was acquired along with Peter Budaj in the Eric Tangradi deal prior to the season opener, and both players have struggled to be a force on the farm club. Holland played five NHL games last year, and is a third-year pro. Holland has been held off the scoresheet in seven games.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE NEXT WEEK
The IceCaps will be facing a team that has beaten them three times already. The Providence Bruins have one win in the shootout, overtime and regulation, outscoring the IceCaps 9-4.
The IceCaps are likely looking forward to playing the Marlies, considering they have won the first two games, outscoring the baby Leafs 5-2.
While the IceCaps haven’t been scoring a whole lot lately, they also haven’t been letting many in, allowing less than two goals in the past 11 games.
CURRENT ICECAPS DEPTH CHART
Dec 5: 1-0 L, @ Worcester
Dec 6: 3-2 W, @ Worcester