28-In-28: Da Bears

So it begins, 28 teams in 28 days! The first team on the docket is the Acadia Golden Bears.
by SICHL Insider | August 1, 2015, 9:20 PM ET

So it begins, 28 teams in 28 days! The first team on the docket is the Acadia Golden Bears. The Bears are coming fresh off a near perfect season with it's 2014/15 trifecta taking the Canadian Conference Championship, Commisioners trophy and the big prize, the Continental Cup! One has to wonder if there are any holes in the armour and is this a team built to last. Well let's take a look.

Finances (edited with Costulator data):

No worries here. The team has a healthy $70M in the bank and has the funds to resign all pending free agent players and could be an active player in Free Agency.

Golden Bears current cash position $70.4M

Revenue:

  • The team had 87.4% attendance last season which is 12th best in the league.
  • Acadia generated a little over $71M in non-playoff revenue ranking them 2nd best in the SICHL!!
  • Their $3241 per seat places them bottom 10 in the league.
  • Costulator predicts the Bears revenue to increase slighty this season.
  • Acadia had playoff revenue last season and Costulator is predicting that Acadia makes the playoffs this upcoming season.
 

Expenditures:

Based on the roster here is the Costulators forecast of the Golden Bears expenditures:

  • Current roster 38.6M, Expected farm team costs 2M.
  • Franchise Player 7M, RFA resignings 26M.
  • The Golden Bears don't have to sign high level UFA's but it is expected they will sign a couple of mid-level forwards and perhaps a D-man. 8.5M.
  • Expected team expenditures in the $80-83M range.
  • Forecast Bank Balance for the Golden Bears = $60M + playoff revenue.
 

Unrestricted Free Agents:

The biggest challenge for the Bears will be deciding on who to keep as Franchise Player. The team will lose all but one of the five players to Unrestricted Free Agency:

Marty St. Louis, Roberto Luongo, Rob Scuderi, Andrew Ference and Brooks Orpik.

Holtby believes he is ready for primetime and feels he can handle the #1 duties. St. Louis has indicated to friends and family that this coming season maybe his last and the Bears have three quality D-men in the system (McNabb, Ristolainen and Trouba) that'll want to play full time in the SICHL.

When asked about his current FA situation, Guy responded by saying "The biggest question facing us for 2015-16 is probably in regard to our franchise player. Marty St. Louis is an outstanding leader and can still contribute as a top 6 player for any team in the SICHL but we have lots of forwards and guys knocking on the door for their shot. Brooks Orpik is a strong veteran presence for us on the blueline and with a few of our guys leaving as UFAs, that will be important to have. Yet Roberto Luongo is also a candidate and he just had a massive season for us, maybe his best ever. The question there is if we want to hold Braden Holtby back another year or if he's ready to take the job and run with it. Having two star goalies in this league is a huge asset... like I said, tough question for me right now."

Restricted Free Agents:

12 RFAs to sign with names such as Neal, Eberle, Desharnais, Petry and Dubinsky. The biggest raise could go to Sean Couturier coming off his entry level deal. Expect his agent to seek somewhere in the 4-5 million per season range for him. There is a chance that Guy may qualify him rather than sign him long term.

Strength/Weakness:

Depending on what Guy does with his FP, the position of strength could be in goal. Holtby and Luongo could be a dynamic duo. Having Giroux is also a plus as he is the anchor on the 1st line and makes everyone around him better. Overall this team has no real weakness, but will most likely lose a lot of it's leadership in the locker if St. Louis, Orpik and Ference walk. The loss of St. Louis would also weaken the team from the RW position. Look to Guy to fill those holes via trade or Free Agency.

In the System:

Top 3 prospects include:

1. Rasmus Ristolainen (D) - Great size at 6'4" and 219, posesses a big shot and skates well. All-round Dman with upside. Top pairing potential. Could be pushing for a spot

2. Martin Jones (G) - Big athletic goalie who covers a lot of the net. Good puck control and gives up few rebounds. Good upside. Needs to prove he can handle 60 plus game workload. Potential #1.

3. Scott Laughton (C) - Well rounded two-way center, plays an agressive game for his size. He's got a little of everything, including the skills, he's smart, quickness, physical and good defensively.

In additional to the aforementioned, the Bears have several players pushing for jobs with the GHA Villains including but not limited to: D Shayne Gostisbehere, G Sam Brittain, Dillon Simpson, RW Stefan Noesen, C Rocco Grimaldi and G Anthony Stolarz.

Closing notes:

The Bears have 13 picks in the SICHL Draft scheduled for the fall with 2 first round (#6 and #28) and 4 second round selections. A pretty deep system will only get better.

With 97 players in the system minus 4 UFAs, Guy could be looking to move some players out to keep under the 100 player system cap.

When asked his overall opinion of his team, GM Flaming said "I'm pretty satisfied when I look at my current roster, the players on our minor league affiliate and the prospects in our pipeline. I look at our goalie prospects and honestly believe that 10 of them will one day play in the SICHL. On the blueline, we have puck movers, stay at home guys, tough guys, leaders...a very nice assortment. When it comes to the forwards, we've put an emphasis on drafting speed and skill with size and character also factoring in highly and I think we've done a good job in that regard."

In talking with another GM, he had this to say about Guy's team "Can you say dynasty. This team has what it takes; from top to bottom, they are loaded with talent. The worst part is most of that talent is so young it will be around for a long time. The biggest challenge Acadia will face in the coming years is the 100-player limit. Must be a nice problem to have."

Love him, or hate him, Guy has run a pretty good ship in Saint John, NB! Apparently Guy has been enjoying this offseason a little more than normal, and not too stressed about his finely tuned team. He has been doing a little fishing, reading and when asked what relaxes him the most, well he says "I start my day listening to the Nielson and Fraser show on TSN1260!".

The Bears are still a pretty well rounded team and no reason to think they won't be competing for a division title. They should once again be considered a contender for the Cup.

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