Record Breaking Year for Acadiaby Guy Flaming | May 14, 2010, 12:01 AM ET
"There's no question that we're very proud of what this collection of players was able to accomplish in the regular season this year," said GM Guy Flaming, "Several guys had career highs, we've completely obliterated our team record book and we challenged for the Conference title right down the the two games." Indeed it was a strong year for the Golden Bears - 116 points, 24 points better than their previous best finish in SICHL play. The Bears scored 70 more goals than in 2006-07, their most productive season until this year. On an individual basis, it was a breakout year for more than half of the roster. Rookie David Krejci claimed the rookie scoring title with 87 points, his 57 assists established a new benchmark for a single player on the team. The previous high was held by Ryan Smyth who had 42. Six other players on the team this year surpassed the old team record - an obvious sign that there was much more emphasis on offence this season in Acadia. "I have to give a ton of credit to my linemates - Cammy and Claude were tremendous this year," Krejci said. Smyth saw a number of his offensive records fall this season. Mike Cammalleri eclipsed his single season point mark with 92 points, Smyth had 80. Cammalleri's 44 goals was 4 more than Smyth had in his best year. "It is what it is," shrugged Smyth when asked about his fallen records, "Records are meant to be broken and even though we take it one day at a time, you eventually have to cross that bridge when you get to it. I just try to help out the team anyway that I can." Former captain Jason Smith set the bar with a regular season +21 rating but rookie Claude Giroux made it look easy this year and held onto a +37. Defenceman Freddy Meyer, the product of what has to be Flaming's best trade since joining the SICHL half a decade ago, set a new record for power play goals. Meyer's 17 lamplighters was 4 more than Cammalleri scored a couple of years back. "The short term return on that deal has definitely been tremendous," said Flaming who sent farm hand Brent Sopel to Stockholm in exchange for Meyer way back in the first week of the season. Meyer failed to make the Cougars but got a opportunity with Acadia and never looked back netting 73 points as the top scoring Bears defenceman. Sopel spent the entire season on the farm for Stockholm. "It felt great to get the chance and right away I felt really comfortable in the system and things just worked out really well for me," said Meyer. "After 4 years in Stockholm and not getting to play a major role there, I'm really thankful that I was traded... and I don't think I ever thought that would be something that I'd ever say." Impending UFA Shawn Horcoff had a career year with 75 points. Mike Knuble, another UFA this summer, bettered his season high by a single point ending the campaign with 33 goals and 68 points. Defenceman Jan Hejda, another UFA, chipped in way more than anyone expected - 58 points this year. Tom Gilbert, the subject of a lot of trade rumors earlier in the year, found his form in the second half and ended up with 52 points, nearly double his production from 2008-09. "We're really happy with the way things went this year but we're not satisfied," said veteran David Legwand, "We haven't won anything yet." The Acadia Golden Bears know that they will take on the Brandon Wheat Kings in the opening round of the SICHL playoffs. Their season series ended up split 2-2 so it could make for a very interesting series. Bear Tracks: Acadia signed several prospects to contracts for next year - the list includes goaltenders Dustin Tokarski and Devan Dubnyk, defencemen Johan Motin and Alex Plante, wingers Scott Parse, Michal Grabner and Colin McDonald as well as center Ryan O'Reilly. "We really like the way some of our young players have performed at the lower levels this past year and so we signed a bunch of them and we'll see how they compete at camp in the fall," said Flaming, "I really think Jimmy Howard will challenge for the starting job next year - he might make Tim Thomas expendable as a UFA. Guys like Gilbert Brule, Peter Mueller and Rich Peverley could all take a run at the roster at the center position. T.J. Galiardi and Dustin Byfuglien might be ready for promotions too." "Right now I have Ladislav Smid's named penciled into my top 6 for next year; he was terrific n our farm. So was Kris Russell and you know what? Marc-Andre Bergeron spent the entire season with our minor league affiliate and didn't complain a bit. I think he's going to have something to prove next year... and that will be good news for us."