Kamloops Pylons: The Tenth Year (2020-2021) – A Great Season Followed by Another Slap in the Face

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Notable Events

  • Pylons Season Record: 56-22-3
  • Peoria Rivermen Season Record: 33-33-10
  • Owner wanted 56 wins and to make it to the conference finals. Just barely pulled that off!
  • G J. Lahti was brought up to serve as J. Allen’s backup.
  • I had the 2nd and 3rd overall picks in this year’s draft! :D
  • The preceeding point was due to a crazy amount of trades during the season. Whew.
  • Some MASSIVE blows to the Pylons occured after this season, making the eleventh year look terrifying.

Trades/Acquisitions During the Season

To help patch up holes in the Pylon’s defense (and keeping with my plan to have a younger team), I signed a couple of free agents during the offseason, D Yves Chartrand (79B-, 3 years @0.550), and D Pascal Fortier (78B-; 3 years at $0.550). In addition, I signed a veteran free agent to help produce some offense: RW Marian Gaborik, an 84 overall, for 2 years at $2.235.

I also made a trade near the beginning of the season (just a few games in) with Minnesota. I traded RW T. Rattie and D B. Ferriero in exchange for C Jordan Staal (87 overall), which I think was a great trade considering Staal still has several years left on his contract and Rattie was not producing as well as I would have liked. The kicker is that a few months later I claimed B. Ferriero back on waivers! Not because I wanted him back or regretted trading him, but just because I thought it was funny. It’s a good thing I’m not a GM in real life.

On Feb. 26, 2021, I signed free agent G Brian Elliot (who was an original Pylon player!), an 84 overall, for 3 years at $1.15. This was solely for trading, as I intended to try and obtain some fantastic draft picks for this year.

Shortly afterwards, I traded RW T. Burke and RW J. Bootland to San Jose for their 1st round pick. So, yes, I traded one of my 2 first round picks from the 8th year to get another 1st round pick. But bear with me here. Besides, Bootland wasn’t that wonderful.

I then signed free agent C Doug Baier (77B-).

On Mar. 2 I traded 4 unsigned rookies (the rights to them) and C D. Betts and D G. Modano to Boston for their 5th round pick. All of these players were useless, and I really wanted to clean them out.

At the trade deadline I traded G Brian Elliot to the LA Kings in exchange for the ’22 3rd round pick and C C. Eakin (79C; 1 year remaining). I just wanted the draft pick, honestly. Although I was hoping Elliot would fetch a second round pick. Too bad.

I then traded the newly acquired C. Eakin to Anaheim for their ’22 5th round pick. Why? Because Eakin was useless. I WANT DRAFT PICKS.

Finally, I traded LW D. Jacina to Detroit for C J. McGrattan. Or, rather, the rights to both players. Neither player had a contract, so this trade wasn’t exactly a big deal.

Whew! Moving on.

Player Season Stats

# Pos Player GP G A PTS PIMS +/-
1 C R. Johanson 82 50 74 124 56 66
2 LW K. Smith 82 45 73 118 78 56
3 C C. Pedlar 82 29 62 91 80 35
4 (+2) RW J. Skinner 82 29 58 87 8 54
5 LW T. Giesbrecht 82 36 43 79 143 22
6 (+1) C P. Bergeron 82 23 32 55 8 3
7 (N) C J. Staal 85 15 32 47 56 27
8 D A. Edler 82 11 26 37 80 33
9 (N) RW M. Gaborik 82 19 15 34 8 8
10 (+4) RW A. Zlobin 76 7 15 22 2 -4
11 (+1) D M. Weber 82 3 17 20 70 46
12 (-3) C E. Locke 71 3 16 19 2 0
13 (+2) C F. Beauvillier 82 5 14 19 18 -2
14 (N) D Y. Racine 81 7 11 18 19 26
15 (+4) D V. Nikitin 78 2 14 16 87 16
16 (+4) LW D. Komachi 69 9 3 12 4 -10
17 (-1) D O. Baldwin 24 1 10 11 6 21
18 (N) D C. Forney 73 0 6 6 152 22
19 (+2) RW K. Shaw 18 0 3 3 0 -2
20 (-2) D B. Olson 71 0 3 3 180 15
21 (N) LW M. Rupert 13 0 2 2 0 -1

 

Player GP GAA W L GA SV% SA SO PTS
J. Allen 62 2.22 42 16 133 0.922 1695 5 3
J. Lahti 19 2.74 13 4 50 0.898 492 1 0
S. Wedgewood 8 5.08 1 3 21 0.796 103 0 0

 

Lineup Entering the Playoffs

 

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
K. Smith (PWF; 92) R. Johanson (SNP; 97) J. Skinner (SNP; 90)
T. Giesbrecht (PLY; 93) C. Pedlar (TWF; 93) J. Staal (TWF; 87)
E. Locke (PLY; 87) P. Bergeron (TWF; 88) M. Gaborik (SNP; 85)
K. Shaw (TWF; 83) F. Beauvillier (PLY; 83) A. Zlobin (PLY; 83)

 

Left Defense Right Defense
A. Edler (OFD; 85) M. Weber (DFD; 85)
B. Olson (TGH; 83) V. Nikitin (TGH; 84)
Y. Racine (DFD; 81) C. Forney (TGH; 82)

 

J. Allen (HYB; 92)

J. Lahti (BUT; 84)

The Playoffs

Peoria with their dismal record did not make the playoffs this year :( . But, of course, the Pylons did! Let’s see how they did.

First round against the Phoenix Coyotes! W 2-3; W 2-1. Bergeron was then injured 2 games in, and Locke was shifted to play as the 3rd line centre. We then won 5-1; W 2-0. A sweep! Thankfully, Bergeron was ready to go in time for round 2.

Second round was versus the Edmonton Oilers. They proved more of a challenge: W 3-7; L 2-1; W 4-1; W 5-1; L 3-1; L 2-1; W 0-5.

For the conference final: The Columbus Bluejackets! A little unexpected. W 0-3; L 3-2; W 4-2; L 0-3; W 0-1; W 3-0.

Now onto the Stanley cup final. Versus… guess. Nope, the Montreal Canadiens. Okay! L 1-0; L 6-3; W 4-1; W 4-2; W 2-4; W 5-1.

So we won the Stanley cup! Again! I’m actually sort of shocked. Let me tell you right now though, next season it’s not going to be that easy.

2021 Draft

  1. 2nd Overall pick: LW Stefan Pahlsson (69B-) … AND 3rd overall pick: D Terrance Hale  
  2. G F. O’Donnell (69C)
  3. D Jody Healey
  4. RW Lee Von Arx
  5. LW Steve Huxley (69B-); C Marvin Ramsay; D Steven Konowalchuk.
  6. D Devin Peat
  7. LW Isaac Pavelski

My second round pick was acquired for a trade with Columbus. I traded them D B. Olson, D B. Ferriero (man this guy gets around), and D D. Shields for Washington’s 2nd round pick. Might seem a bit lopsided, but I wanted to clear out some of my mediocre defense players so that the ones with higher potential could play more.

Re-Signed

  • G J. Lahti (5 years @ $2.5) :D
  • D T. Hale (1st round pick!) (3 years @ $0.870)
  • D D. Peat (6th round pick!) (3 years @ $0.870)
  • D S. Konowalchuk (5th round pick!) (3 years @ $0.815)
  • D V. Nikitin (3 years @ $2)
  • D M. Weber (3 years @ $2.910)
  • D Y. Racine (5 years @ $1.960)
  • RW L. Von Arx (4th round pick!) (3 years @ $0.815)
  • LW S. Pahlsson (1st round pick!) (3 years @ $0.790)
  • LW S. Huxley (5th round pick) (3 years @ 0.790)
  • C F. Beauvillier (5 years @ $2.695)
  • G F. O’Donnell (2nd round pick) (3 years @ 0.760)
  • RW A. Zlobin (2 years @ $3). I was reluctant to pay Zlobin what he wanted (~3.5 million a year), but since I wanted to play him on the second line I thought I’d give him a shot to prove himself.

I’m really hoping my draft picks will go far here… especially the 2nd and 3rd overall picks. Conklin (my top 10 pick from last season) produces constant trade offers, so I have high hopes from him, let me tell you. Fingers crossed I got some good ones!

I let go:

  • RW Kassian
  • LW Komachi
  • LW Sloan
  • RW Malkin
  • G Wedgewood
  • RW J. Skinner

Skinner was particularly hard to let go of, but he wanted 1 year at $7.1 million and I just couldn’t do it. I offered him 2 years at $6.5 million and he wouldn’t hear it. So much for not being greedy :( He was a part of the Pylons for some time!!

Notable Retired Players

  • M. Gaborik (KAM)
  • A. Edler (KAM)
  • P. Bergeron (KAM)

Now that is a hard hit to the pylons in terms of both offense and defense… Locke will have to fill the void for Bergeron, Zlobin will be expected to pick up the pace to compensate for Gaborik, and honestly… I don’t know how to plug the hole left behind by Edler who was a stellar defensemen throughout both of his times with the Pylons. Oh boy.

Player Development

Renamed from the “Rookie Report” :p

  • Locke is an 85C-, and I think he’s hit his limit. He might improve a bit more, but I think it’s unlikely. He IS only 27 though…
  • LW L. Conklin, my top 10 pick from last season who was not yet AHL-eligible, is still a 72B- overall. He will play as a Riverman next season, and hopefully will start to develop!! I have high hopes for this kid, Hale, and Pahlsson.
  • RW J. Guerin is a 73B-.
  • D J. Fortin is 72B-, and will play for the Rivermen next season. (up 1)
  • D M. Battaglia is a 72B-.
  • C P. Laatikainen is a 79C, he seems to have hit his limit.
  • C D. Baier is a 79B- up from 77.
  • G J. Lahti is now an 84C overall, and I feel that he will probably improve a bit more. I’ll give him some more play time in the NHL next season and hopefully he will continue to develop. If not, he’s still a pretty decent backup!

I plan to do a post looking back on my draft picks over the last 10 years for my year 11 report! And it’s done! Click here to see it

Closing Remarks

You know what’s really scary about next season? Not only the loss of Bergeron, Skinner, and Edler (think of how great those players were), but also the fact that it’s the last year of both R. Johanson and C. Pedlar’s contracts. Oh god. They are going to want lots more money… on the bright side, I have a lot of cap space available now, and the Pylons are getting a lot younger! This is only the beginning of a lot of radical changes for the Pylons, I sense a major trade on the horizon for next season. I also sense a much more challenging time in the playoffs, as next season will have to involve some rebuilding and a stronger presence of rookies on the team. Zlobin, Locke, and Beauvillier (my favourite draft picks thus far) will have to pick up the slack and prove to me they’re worth their new NHL-worthy contracts. Locke is now the 3rd line center, and Zlobin will be moved up to the second line giving him an opportunity to play with some great line mates (Giesbrecht and Pedlar) and hopefully shine. Hopefully. I’m a little worried about next season.

So what is the “slap in the face” I’m referring to in the title? The loss of Bergeron, Edler, Skinner, and Gaborik. This coming on the tail of losing Roy and Ehrhoff… christ. People need to stop retiring/asking for way too much money. MUST CONTINUE GETTING YOUNGER.

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