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Post Mortem: Grading Another Disaster

by Matt MacInnis | May 1, 2016, 7:47 PM ET

For the third consecutive season, a star-studded Vancouver Island Norsemen team has failed to reach the post-season. Here’s how the team performed.

Goaltender

Jonathan Quick: He was a workhorse, appearing in 72 games, and finishing with a winning record of 37-25-7. But his .918 save percentage and 2.47 GAA were only a little better than league average, and his single shutout showed he didn’t win the team many games. Grade: B

Matthew Murray: The heir apparent to Quick, Murray appeared in his first 6 SICHL games this season, looking tremendous. He went 3-1-1 with a 1.96 GAA and sparkling .934 save percentage. It’s a small sample size, but things look good beyond the Quick era.  That said, many expect him to face tough competition for the backup job from Joonas Korpisalo next year. Grade: A

Curtis McElhinney: Picked up off waivers, he didn’t even live up to those lowly expectations. He struggled terribly in limited backup action, going 0-2-2 with a .856 save percentage and 4.78 GAA.  He was traded for a future 5th round draft pick midseason to make space for Murray. Grade: F

Jason Missiaen: The former 6th rounder got into 3 games, putting up a surprisingly decent 2.82 GAA in 170 minutes of action.  This probably is the end of the road though for the 6’8 monster, who isn’t expected to be with the team next season. Grade: C+

Ilya Bryzgalov: In a heart-warming moment, the club recalled Bryz to play his final SICHL game in the Norsemen’s last game of the season.  He promptly got lit up and retreated to the bench. He is reportedly still frightened of Bears. Grade: F

Defence

Duncan Keith: Led the team’s blueline with 31 poins, but also was an abysmal -10 and QB’d a terrible PP (22nd in the league).  It was a disastrous season for Keith, who has not yielded the return the team hoped for when it moved a top 10 pick and Tanev for him. Grade: D

Erik Johnson: What could have been. EJ missed 30 games with an injury might have been what sunk the team’s season. The Norsemen were in a playoff position when he went down, but struggled mightily in his absence.  His +10 rating was strong for the team, and he contributed at both ends.  Grade: A-

Ryan Ellis: He didn’t scored much (one goal, 12 points), but the dimunative blueliner led the team with an impressive +21 rating.  If he can bring his offensive game up, Ellis may be a major contributor for this team. Grade: B+

Mike Weber: The bruiser appeared in 60 games due to injury, racking up 9 points and 85 PIMs. He was an even player on the season, and a stalwart on the PK. However, his one-way contributions and poor puck handling did hamstring the team at times. Grade: C+

Alex Edler: Once a fan favourite, Edler was traded midway through the season for Luke Schenn, in what was a move to unload a UFA for a younger player with more years of team control. Edler was a minus player at the time for the Norsemen, and had just nine points in 44 games.  He has played considerably better as a Cougar and promises to be vital to their playoff run. Grade: C

Dalton Prout: Played in about half the games, and ended up with seven assists and a plus five rating. Prout was there, and wasn’t a liability, but he didn’t make the team better either. Grade: C+

Carl Gunnarsson: Likely played 67 games largely because of his age and contract situation, but was fine. Much like Prout, he was adequate without being meaningful. Grade: C+

Hampus Lindholm: Got into 41 games of SICHL experience, which will be critical heading into next season when he’s expected to leap into the team’s top four, and perhaps even play on the top pairing. However, his rookie campaign was disappointing. Grade: C-

Luke Schenn: The team thought he could help turn them around. Instead he appeared listless in 28 games, basically being irrelevant. Four points, only 9 PIMs and a minus-one rating.  He needs to step it up next season or he’ll be gone. Grade: D

Adam McQuad: Played nine games and then was waived late in the year as a salary dump. Grade: F

Forwards

Jamie Benn: The team MVP with 90 points and 42 games.  He was the third leading scorer in the SICHL and set personal bests in basically every category. Grade: A+

Sidney Crosby: Got off to a slow start but rallied with 76 points in 82 games – a good season but not what the club needed from him. For the second straight season, Crosby’s underperformed and it cost the team. Grade: B

Ryan Getzlaf: 70 points in 76 games, but he really wasn’t the same when he came back from his injury. Prior to getting hurt, Getzlaf had been a two-way monster. Hopefully he returns to form next season – if he’s even with the franchise. Rumour has it Getzlaf will be dealt this off-season. Grade: B+

Nick Bjugstad: The young third line centre contributed offensively with 43 points and was solid in his own zone. His production was good for the limited opportunities he was given. Grade: B+

Adam Henrique: 16 goals, 38 points and a plus-nine rating from the LW position was a good showing by Henrique, who flourished in an elevated role after the team bailed on the season and started trading veterans. Grade: B+

Henrik Zetterberg: The long-time Norsemen was dealt late in the season after missing substantial time due to injuries. He was moved to enable the team to FP TJ Oshie in the off-season, a move that will be analyzed and re-analyzed all off-season. Grade: A-

Carl Hagelin: The speedster was terrible defensively and didn’t contribute nearly enough offensively. He’ll need to be better next eyar. Grade: C

Shane Doan: The veteran was moved for picks, but played solid while here, even if he didn’t scored enough. Grade: C+

Alex Burrows: Moved in a last-minute deadline deal for a late pic, Burrows was a victim of a numbers/financial game. Grade: C+

TJ Oshie: Traded for midway through the season to spark the team, he did the opposite. He was an abysmal minus-13 and scored just 15 points in 51 games despite lining up on the top line and PP units. Grade: F

Emerson Etem: The team was surprisingly stable with the unpredictable rookie on the ice (plus-10), but he only put the puck in 7 times in 52 games. Grade: C+

Teemu Pulkinnen: He started hot when he was called up for good at the end of the year, but finished worse than ice cold. 10 points in 24 GP. Grade: B-

Jim Slater: His career with the franchise comes to an end (his second stint) after holding down the 4th line the past two seasons. He’s filled the role alright, but hasn’t brought anything to the table. Grade: C+

Josh Bailey: The former first rounder was dealt for Oshie, after several disappointing seasons with the Norsemen. Grade: D

Dale Weise: He won a spot on the 4th line during the pre-season, and then couldn’t be demoted due to his contract situation. Weise is expected to be a major contributor on the third line next year. Grade: F

Jesse Joensuu: Started well with the big club, and ended up surprisingly playing 20 games in the SICHL. Likely his final games in the league: Grade: C

Matt Cooke: 30 GP, just three points for the team. He was traded late in the season along with Zetterberg for two young players and a 2017 2nd rounder. Grade: C-

Incomplete: Gabriel Dumont (5GP), William Karlsson (3GP), Max Lapierre (4GP), Oscar Lindberg (3 GP), Justin Vaive (1 GP) and Max Friberg (1 GP)

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