Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Springfield Falcons '08-09 Preview, The Defensemen

This years Springfield Falcons blueline will be heavy in Oilers prospects with only 1 veteran AHL d-man in the mix. A mixture or brawn and skill, this defensive corps has the makings of a great group. Let's have a look at the likely key contributers from the Springfield blueline...

The D-Men

Taylor Chorney-A slick puck moving d-man, Taylor Chorney will make Falcons fans quickly forget the power play artistry of TJ Kemp. Chorney is set to be a key contributor on the PP, expect Chorney and the Falcons forwards to hit it off offensively. Chorney's puck moving ability in the offensive zone should generate a pile of assists. Chorney should be on the teams top pairing and he will be one of the first call-ups for the Oilers.

Theo Peckham-The 20 year old ball of hate on skates will likely pair up with Chorney on the teams top defensive pairing. Chorney brings the skill and Peckham brings the pain. This will be a huge year in Peckham's development, if he has a similar learning curve this season as he has the last 2 seasons, he will be displacing an NHL veteran before the year ends. Known for his thunderous hits and his ill temper, Peckham is so much more than a no skilled goon. Theo brings a solid breakout pass and a good arsenal of shots from the point to his rough and tumble style of play.

Cody Wild-Wild will probably be in the teams top 4 unless Mathieu Roy starts the year in Springfield. A puck rusher, Wild would probably be best paired with a defensive defenseman so that he can work his magic while his partner holds down the fort defensively. He'll probably start the year on the second PP unit, but expect Wild to pile up some points with his aggressive offensive mentality.

Bryan Young
-Bryan Young is entering his 3rd pro season this year. He has seen a handful of NHL games, but he has yet to dominate the AHL game. Outside of Theo Peckham, Young is the teams hardest hitter on the blueline. While Young doesn't bring the pugilistic prowess of Peckham, he does bring a no nonsense and hard nosed game to the rink. Young will be playing for a 2nd pro contract this year. It's time for him to step up his game as players like Wild, Bisaillon, and eventually Jeff Petry come through the prospect ranks.

Sebastien Bisaillon
-The hard shooting QMJHL graduate is looking to pick up where he left off after sustaining a major injury last season. If he can get back up to speed, expect him to be a fixture on the PP where his shot will be a featured weapon. Having slick passers like Chorney and Wild flanking him on the PP should help Bisaillon get some hard shots on goal almost at will. It will be interesting to see if he can return to form, if he can, expect him to climb the NHL depth chart.

Mathieu Roy
-If Roy is sent down, he won't be very happy about it. At this point he likely believes that he is above the AHL level. For that reason, if he is sent down, I hope that he is claimed on waivers so that younger and more promising players get the heavy developmental minutes. Roy has proven to be no better than a bottom pairing NHL defenseman and best utilized as a 7th defenseman.

Jake Taylor-The veteran that shares the same name as the veteran catcher on the Major League movies, Taylor will be looked upon as a veteran steadying presence for the young but promising defensemen on the club. It is unknown if Taylor is guaranteed a spot in the top 6, or whether or not he will only sub in when some of the young d-men struggles. However his 6'4" frame is a big plus on a smallish Falcons blueline.

Josef Hrabal
-Unfortunately for Hrabal, he was injured in the Oilers first rookie game against Calgary. It appears as if he will be out long term. A puck moving d-man with RSL (now known as the KHL) experience, Hrabal could've been a solidifying force on the blueline. Instead his injury has opened up more opportunities for Wild and Bisaillon.

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