Rollercoaster Season Endsby Ryan Torrie | May 2, 2018, 3:42 PM ET
In what many predicted as a season of turmoil for the Dublin Shamrocks, turned into a season of fun for players and fans. Prior to the season the SICHL Power Ranking Gurus had ranked the Shamrocks the worst team in the SICHL, even below the Rockies and Gladiators (two teams currently battling it out for last place). But over the course of 82 games, the Shamrocks were able to shed that last place label and come within 6 points of a playoff spot. They even battled it out until the last week of the season.
The fun came to an end last night with 8-4 loss to the Vancouver Island Norsemen. Following the game, there was a sense that it would be the last game for many of these players in a Shamrocks uniform. The club is currently in debt, which makes it difficult to bring back any of their current UFAs and the signal from management is the team is heading in a different direction next season.
Before looking forward, let’s take a quick review of the season.
The Shamrocks improved on last season’s performance with a 37-35-10 record. Alexander Steen finished with 81 points (36 goals and 45 assists) which puts him in the top 10 in SICHL scoring and top 3 for goals.
The Glasgow Rangers won their division in the GHA and will be heading to the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Special teams killed the Shamrocks this season. The power play could never get anything going and finished 26th overall, while the PK finished 16th overall.
Never-ending changes to the roster had a huge impact on the moral of several players this season. A total of 56 players played for the Shamrocks one point this season.
Injuries: Several teams were hit with significant injuries this season including the Shamrocks. At one point during the season, the Shamrocks had 10 players injured.
Goaltending: Boy was it ugly. Even when there were decent starters, the goalies could never help out the team. Following the trades of Scott Darling, Jhonas Enroth and Troy Grosenick, the Shamrock goalies combined for a 13-16-1 record, 3.47 G.A.A and a .883 save percentage.
Debt: The Shamrocks are currently sitting at -28 million in their bank account. This debt will limit the team’s ability to compete next season.
With seven UFAs this off-season and several more RFAs, it is expected that next year’s Shamrock team will be quite younger and less skilled than this year’s team. Management has not indicated which current UFA may be franchised, but there is wide speculation that they may not franchise anyone.
There is also speculation that management may trade a couple of veterans in order to get out of debt, but it really depends on what happens with the Expansion draft. The Shamrocks have the ability to protect a number of players for the draft thus limiting their changes of losing an important asset.
There are reports that the Shamrock management has increased their scouting staff for next season in order evaluate the 2019 draft prospects.
The fans should be ready for some pain next season as the next season will be one of the ages and will likely test the fan base's patience but there is light at the end of the long tunnel.