Farewell 2020/21 Season, Hello 2021/22 Season

What is next for the Hamilton Steelhawks as they try to climb back up the SICHL mountain?
by Chris Fekete | May 25, 2021, 4:22 PM ET

Let's be honest here, as soon as the preseason rankings were out, it was well known that the Steelhawks were going to be in for one painful season. Let's call a spade a spade. Their defense were AHL/ECHL caliber, the goaltending was sub par and the offence didn't have much to write home about. Low and behold, the team finished the season at 21-54-7. They scored 179 goals which was last in the league (1 behind the Norsemen) and they allowed 290 goals (3rd worst behind the Grunge and Gladiators). When you arent scoring goals and you're bleeding goals against, odds are nine times out of 10, you're going to lose. However, let's try to put things into a positive spin, it can't get any worse.

The organization continues to stockpile prospects and draft picks. Rewind to the 2020 draft, the Steelhawks selected Jamie Drysdale, Jake Sanderson, Tyson Foerster and Yegor Chinakhov. Now you would think for a club that is rebuilding, 4 draft picks isn't enough but I'm always about quality over quantity. Chinakhov was drafted in the other league in the mid 1st round, yet GM Fekete grabbed him at 34th in the SICHL draft. Foerster has all the makings to be a top 6 forward and Chris will continue to be patient with him and watch him develop. Now, we get into the glorious strength of position: Defence. Now right now, the D is a sight for sore eyes, let's be clear on that but wait another 2 seasons and all of a sudden, the D becomes one of the best in the entire SICHL. Okay, maybe that is pushing it a bit but it is definitely going to be an area where other GM's around the league become very envious: Jamie Drysdale, Cam York, Alexander Romanov, Jake Sanderson, Cal Foote, Otto Leskinen/Jonathan Aspirot. The defence will be set for the next 10 years. It's very important to build from the backend and I feel like the last couple drafts, I have achieved that. Now it is time to start shifting my attention to the forwards.

Before any trades, free agent signings, buyouts, etc take place, this is what the Steelhawks roster looks like heading into next season:

Forwards

Robertson - Kampf - Pitlick

Wood - L'Esperance - Gagner

Maltsev - Quine - Carr

Twarynski - Poturalski - Kuhnhackl

Defence

Gunnarsson - Stone

Yelesin - Foote

Aspirot - Rubins

Goaltending

Elliott

Daccord

 

Definitely a lot of work to be done, that is for sure. The forward depth needs an overhaul, the defence needs some capable pro roster players and they could also use a proven number one goalie so Elliott can be the backup and Daccord can be the starter for the Cheese Pucks. As for the upcoming SICHL Draft, the Steelhawks were the third worst team in the league but have the 5th best odds to win the lottery (9%). This means that the Steelhawks could be drafting anywhere from 1st to 6th overall. We shall see where the lottery balls land and take it from there. This year's draft will definitely be different as their really isnt a consensus number one overall. Owen Power has been on many, Matthew Beniers, Brandt Clarke to name a few. We are looking forward to the lottery draft as well as the entry draft. The Steelhawks have a total of 11 draft picks: 3 1sts, 2 2nds, 4 3rds and 2 4ths. To sum it up, 5 picks in the top 58, 9 in the top 87. This is the chance to shine and take advantage of these opportunitites.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to wish Dustin Nielson, Eric Schneider, Jeff Prozeller and Ian Constable the best of luck in the Conference Finals. Congratulations to you 4 for making it this far. As for the other 24 GM's (excluding myself), best of luck this off-season and it is an honour to be in this league with you all.

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