Ex-Cougars Playoff boundby Tom Baker | May 14, 2013, 10:26 PM ET
Stockholm GM Tom Baker had hoped his team would compete for a playoff spot in the 2012/2013 SICHL season. Craig Anderson was brought in as the team's starting goalie. Cougars signed free agent Vincent Lecavalier to add some scoring depth, but after a brutal start it became evident that the Cougars needed a complete makeover. Thus began a series of trades that will help some SICHL teams in their quest for the 2013 Continental Cup.
The makeover began when Matt Moulson was shipped to Victoria for 2009 Norsemen 1st round pick Jacob Josefson and the Norsemens 3rd round pick in 2013. Moulson put up impressive numbers in Victoria scoring 37 goals and was a stellar +53 in 66 games.
Ryan Kesler and Paul Martin (UFA) were sent to Las Vegas for Oscar Klefbom plus Las Vegas 1st pick in 2013. Paul Martin was the last remaining player from the Cougars day one roster and holds the franchises record for games played at 656. Martin's pending free agent status was a big factor in his trade. Kesler will be missed, but Klefbom and the 1st rounder fit with the re-build plan.
The Cougars final deal was with the Falcon's. This deal will be judged as the make-it or break-it deal of the re-build. Heading to Winnipeg were Vincent Lecavalier, Braydon Coburn, Kyle Brodziac and Craig Anderson. Anderson had instant success in Winnipeg posting a 17-1 record .952 save % and a stingy 1.43 GAA. Lecavalier put up 71 points in 44 games. Coburn +52, and Brodziac +31. In return Stockholm received three players who are key to the successful re-build. 19 year old potential superstar Jeff Skinner, durable winger Kyle Clifford and shut down D-man Luke Schenn.
Each of the former Cougar's have made an impact with their new teams. The city of Stockholm wish's the former Cougar's success in the upcoming SICHL playoffs.
It will be a few seasons before the Cougars makeover can be judged a success or failure. The Cougars are likely to be bottom dwellers in the World Conferance for at least two or three seasons. The picks acquired by GM Baker need to be used wisely. Oscar Klefbom, and Jacob Josefson need to develop as projected. Lots of questions hover around the future of the franchise.
In unrelated news the Cougars are pleased to announce that two key prospects have signed entry level deals with the club. Welcome to Stockholm 2010 1st round pick Vladamir Tarasenko and 2011 1st round pick Jonas Brodin. Both players are key to the re-build of the franchise. Cougars own the 4th overall pick in the entry draft, after the Empire won the draft lottery. Congrats to the Empire.
Good luck to the playoff teams.