28-In-28: The Colonials!by SICHL Insider | August 25, 2015, 10:12 PM ET
"Well I love that dirty water, oh Boston you’re my home" - The Standells
Off to Beantown to look at the Colonials. Oh myyyy, what happened last season! This was a team with so much promise, so deep and a team which was ranked the #1 team in all of the SICHL last season before it kicked off. The destruction of this team was of epic proportion. Something like 16 trades! This team looked completely different by season's end. It did make the playoffs but made a quick exit at the hands of the Aces. So what did the Colonials end up with after all these deals? A few pretty solid assets and a boatload of UFAs to be! Let's look close at what this team has and what will they need to be competitive next season.
Colonials current cash position -$3M Revenue:
- The team had 89.5% attendance last season which is 9th in the league.
- Boston generated a little over $68M in non-playoff revenue ranking them 7th in the SICHL.
- Their $3781 per seat places them 1st in the SICHL!! Congratulation Colonials.
- Costulator predicts the Colonials revenue to remain consistent this season as the team continues on its track to win a continental cup.
- Boston had playoff revenue last season and Costulator is predicting they make the playoffs this upcoming season.
- Expected Season Revenue $68M with anticipated playoff revenues
Based on the roster here is the Costulators forecast of the Colonials expenditures:
- Current Roster 40M, Expected farm team costs 1M.
- Franchise Player 6M, RFA resignings 18M.
- There are 2 forward roster spots that can be filled within the Colonials depth in rookies.
- Expected team expenditures in the $68-74M range.
- Forecast Bank Balance for the Colonials = -$6.5M + anticipated playoff revenue
Unrestricted Free Agents:
There are nine players heading to unrestricted free agency, not the worst case scenario in the league but not good nonetheless. I expect Gary to sign Ryan Kesler using the FP provision and see him in a 2nd line role this coming season. The biggest challenge will be replacing some of these UFAs as seven of them played on the pro roster last year, which could prove difficult considering the team is in a negative cash balance situation. It is expected Petr Mrazek will back-up Rask filling the loss of Nabokov. In reality this team needs to sign/trade for 5-6 forwards, mostly of the bottom six type. Either way, she’s an ugly scene in Beantown.
Restricted Free Agents:
Boston is also looking at nine restricted free agents going into the offseason. It will be important for GM Graves to lock up Rask, Johansen, Larsson and Landeskog. They are expected to land huge paydays based on their talent levels. Not sure if Boston tries to qualify these guys or just try sign them long term? To a lesser extent, I would expect Gary to also sign Leblanc, Kassian, McGinn and McCollum.
The biggest strength on this team is its young core of players. Specifically Johansen, MacKinnon, Landeskog and Pietrangelo. This is a team that went from a very rich and deep system to a team stripped of assets over the course of the season. Why did that happen? Well one GM summed it up best: “Ah, Mr. Panic Button himself. I lost count of all the trades. He can’t have kept more than half his team from the start of last season (actually less than half). It’ll be fun watching him scramble to fill all the holes left by his billion UFAs. Best of luck Gary!”
From a top six forward perspective the team is in good shape:
Parise – Johansen – Oshie
Landeskog – Kesler - MacKinnon
Top four defense should be fine with Pietrangelo, Hjalmarsson, Hamonic and Erhoff. Although I am not a fan of Erhoff as a top 4 guy. Rumor has it that the Colonials have a trade in place to solidify the D once the trade freeze has been lifted. It also appears that Adam Larsson (drafted 3rd overall in 2011) is starting to turn the corner and could yet turn out to be a top 4 d-man the team projected when they drafted him. The Colonials are still hoping for a Victor Hedman type transition in young Larsson. Gleason/Larsson should be the bottom pairing in 15/16. Still need some depth at this position to cover injuries. FYI, the Colonials still have the wrong Justin Falk (not Justin Faulk)!
Goaltending is rock solid with Rask between the pipes and young Petr Mrazek should be ready to assume the backup role. Mrazek has the potential to assume the #1 job down the line, but more about him in the “in the system” segment!
The biggest issue is replacing the near non-existent bottom six and getting some defensive depth with the financial shortfall and lack of assets. So we will see if Gary has any tricks up his sleeve. However, Travis Zajac and Hemsky form 2/3 of the third line.
In the System:
Top 3 prospects include:
1. Petr Mrazek - Not a large goalie but very athletic. A competitor who thrives under pressure. Can make the big saves when he is down and out. Can be a starting goalie down the road. Good upside. Will most likely backup Rask this season in Boston.
2. John Quenneville - Projects to be a 2nd/3rd line forward. Solid playmaker who's strong on the skates. Excels at puck possession. Very patient with the puck and uses his teammates in the play. Could possibly see John with the GHA Barons in 16/17.
3. Ryan MacInnis - He is much more than just Al's kid, MacInnis is a solid 2-way forward with a heavy shot. Has good hockey sense and understands the game. MacInnis had 62 points with the Kitchener Rangers last season and was one of the OHL's best players on the PK! Ryan is still a few years away from the SICHL.
Speaking of Gustafsson, he could turn into a sleeper pick for this team. He is a skilled defenseman with some nice offensive skills. Can quarterback the powerplay and able to log big minutes. He has good vision and an edge to his game. Good release. He had a career best 29 points in 55 GP with the Frolunda HC in Sweden last season. He could see SICHL action as early as next season.
Gary has six picks in the SICHL draft but they are all mid to late round picks. He has advertised selling some of those picks to inject some cash into the bank account, so we’ll see if that happens before draft day.
When asked about the team’s current situation, GM Graves had this quote to offer up: “Last year’s fiasco was a result of impatience (hating the fact this team was losing), greed (wanted that Cup) and my ADHD moments kicking in. No regrets at this point looking back. “What happened, happened” to quote one of my favorite TV shows - Lost. I think we have in place a solid core to build around. Yes, I have a lot of work to do this offseason. I have had discussions with several GMs with some just kicking tires and some which have resulted in potential deals. I will work hard to get the finances in order and I intend on building the system back up again.”
I managed to speak with one of GM Graves rivals and he was pretty quick to offer up this beauty quote!
"Oh, Boston. How do you plan on icing a complete lineup next year? You have no money (in fact you owe the man over $3M) and a billion UFAs.
Okay you have Nathan Mackinnon and he’s pretty good, but are you seriously going to be relying Zack Kassian and Christian Thomas to fill your lineup? Or Adam Larsson on defence? Is Petr Mrazek going to be your backup? Despite the fact you list him as your top prospect, he is not ready for the big league. How do you plan on winning? Or do you plan on being another typical Boston team and cheating your way to a championship? You know the Sim is watching, it knows what you’re doing. Or are you going to mimic the Red Sox and ride your roster into the deep dark depths of league’s standings? On the plus side if you take the Red Sox approach you can hang out with the Revolution and argue over the cheating nature of the Patriots. Perhaps, if you had not thrown our tea into the harbour and rubbed it in our faces (stupid Tea Party Place, worst arena name in the league) we would have been nicer during this review. But alas it is time to show why you are the colony and we are the colonizers!"
Well we agree there is work to do here. It isn't all gloom and doom. Gary has to step back, be patient and trade when it makes sense! Remember Boston, it's a marathon not a race to become a cup contender! There are no prizes for the most trades in a season! This will be a playoff team in 15/16, however, I see the team falling into the 6-8th place range.