While NHL training camps are just starting to get into action the CHL has been underway with the QMJHL playing for the last two weeks and the WHL just getting started this past week. Even though the OHL begins this coming weekend, we still have plenty of news to cover for the CHL teams located here in the National Capital Region!
The Gatineau Olympiques have finished off the second week of hockey in the 2014-2015 season with another win and another loss. The team's five points puts the Olympiques third in the West Division, a mere one point behind first and second. Only Shawinigan, who has gone 3-0-0-1 in their first four games, is ahead of them by two points (or more).
4 - 3 Win at Blainville-Boisbriand
Gatineau started its week on the road playing the Armada at Blainville-Boisbriand. In the first period the Olympiques were playing from behind after being outshot and outscored. It was in the second period when things tipped in Gatineau's favour as they grabbed the lead and held on to it for the rest of the game. The final score was 4-3 in regular time for Gatineau with goals scored by Louick Marcotte (2x), Yakov Trenin and Felix Paquet. Goaltender Nicolas Lachance made 30 of 33 saves for the Olympiques, good enough for a quality start.
5 - 2 Loss at Victoriaville
On Sunday Gatineau was not able to keep up its winning momentum as the Olympiques played the Tigres in Victoriaville. While the game was close through the first two periods, including Gatineau taking the lead part way through the second, it was three goals against on 12 shots that ended up costing the Olympiques the game. Gatineau lost 5-2 with the pair of goals scored by Louick and Pascal Laberge. Goaltender Lachance registered a really bad start only making 21 saves on 25 shots.
If you followed me on twitter last season, one thing I would post occasionally was fancystats estimates for the different CHL leagues. As each different CHL league starts the 2014-2015, I can start producing these estimates again. Keep in mind it takes a large number of games for the random noise and variance within the data to regress to the norm. That being said, with only 4 games for most teams, here is how the QMJHL teams stack up in possession-close estimates (similar to Fenwick).
As a plug for one of my personal projects, last year I tweeted these numbers as I did not have a place to keep them updated. I am starting a stats website for the CHL leagues which can be found here which I intend to have both team and player level data. It's still in the early stages of development and has a working demo at the moment.
Players to Watch
During the early stages of the season most success can be attributed to small sample sizes and random chance. But that does not mean we can't watch some of these draft eligible prospects and hope for the best for them as they start looking towards the NHL. So far import Yakov Trenin leads the team in points with two goals and three assists. Only Louick Marcotte has more goals than Trenin with three. Points are nice but I prefer to look at shots as they are better predictors of long term success and so far leading the team is young first rounder Alexandre Alain with 14 SOG in four games. Right behind him is Jonathan Bourcier and Joey Richard with 11 each.
This week Gatineau plays three games starting off at home against Cape Breton on Thursday before taking off for two games on the road. On Saturday Gatineau will be play Rouyn-Noranda and then on Sunday a matinee against Val-d'Or.
Ottawa, along with the rest of the OHL still has yet to play a game. Since there were no pre-season games this week there has not been much news on the 67's. I will also provide fancystats estimates for the OHL. In the meantime, watch this beauty of a toe-drag that lead to a goal by 67's Dante Salituro.
It isn't long until Ottawa plays its first game; the 67's start this Friday with a game at Kingston at 7:00pm!
A season preview written by the guys at OHL Prospects, who covered the 67's, said:
Honestly, I've got a feeling about this year's 67's team, that they'll be better than I'm predicting them to be. I could actually see them up as high as 4th or 5th. BUT, a lot of things will need to happen in order for the 67's to find that kind of success and I'm just not sure they're at that level yet. However, I did feel it necessary to at least state that I think this team scares me the most about making me look bad about my predictions (ala Oshawa last year). At forward, I love the make up of this team and I'm going to try and get out to see them several times this year. They're incredibly well balanced up front. Smaller skilled players (Konecny, Salituro, Tyanulin), combined with big wingers to do the dirty work (Bell, Hill, Todd, Addison, etc). And all of their forwards play hard, with vigor. They'll be a difficult team to match up against because of their speed and forechecking ability. It's the defensive side of things where it gets murky. Ottawa was not good defensively last year. No question about it. Those same players are back this year and they're being asked to take major steps forward. Will Jacob Middleton and Alex Lintuniemi be the defensive leaders they're capable of being? Will Troy Henley emerge as the top talent he was touted to be? Will Zack Pittman fit right in? So many questions, and the reality is that not all of them are likely to be answered in a positive way. When you combine that with the fact that Ottawa will be going with an unproven starter (either Herbst or Lazarev), it screams potential disaster (Trudeau was a saving grace last year for Ottawa). All that said, if everything goes right for this team and everyone takes the steps forward that they should, this team could be very scary. Definitely a boom or bust type year depending on how the defense develops.
Pre-season draft rankings are starting to be released around the internet such as this one on TSN. While Gatineau did not have a player in the top 40, the 67's did, with Konecny ranked 11th by Craig Button and eighth by McKeen's Hockey.