Saturday, March 29, 2014

It's Elimination Evening

Friday night turned out to be elimination night for 3 prospects as playoff series came to an end and in some cases a not-so happy ending. One prospect is getting to move on but his team has advanced to play the top team in their conference.

Ryan Pulock (NYI 2013 1st) and his Brandon Wheat Kings completed their 4 game sweep of Kyle Burroughs (NYI 2013 7th) and his Regina Pats with a 5-1 win in Brandon. In many cases when a 7th seed like Brandon takes out a division winner like Regina was then it is considered a major upset. That is not the case here as Brandon really wasn't a legit 7th seed as they were rocked by injuries during the last couple of months after leading the WHL's East Division.

They got healthy and players finished off their suspensions at the right time as going back to the end of the regular season, Brandon is riding a 7 game winning streak with 6 of those wins coming at the expense of the Pats. Regina was the team that was hurt by injuries by the time the playoffs got underway and to be honest even if both teams were healthy I doubt that Regina still would have won this series.

Ryan Pulock was scoreless for the 2nd straight game after going 2-2-4 in the first 2 games. Pulock though played some solid defense and helped keep Regina from developing any kind of offensive flow. For the Pats, Kyle Burroughs had a secondary assist for what turned out to be his only point of the playoffs. Burroughs missed 14 games this season due to a variety of injuries but despite that was able to have a career season with new highs in goals, assist and points going 8-32-40.

He will return next season as the captain of the Pats but he is going to need to show he can avoid the nagging injuries that cost him time this season. Burroughs will need to increase his upper body strength as much as he can for next season.

Ryan Pulock and the Wheat Kings as the 7th seed will advance to play the Edmonton Oil Kings once the other WHL playoff seasons finish up. Edmonton escaped Prince Albert in a couple of close calls and they won't be able to do the same with Pulock and his Wheat Kings. Edmonton does have the depth to out last Brandon so the longer the season the better Edmonton's chances are.

Brandon needs to jump on the Oil Kings and make them pay for every mistake they make if they wish to beat the Oil Kings. The do not want to go a long series with an experienced Edmonton team.

We are also saying good bye for the season to Victor Crus Rydberg (NYI 2013 5th) of the Plymouth Whalers as his team was eliminated by the Guelph Storm 8-3 losing the series 4-1. This was a mismatch from the very beginning as Guelph finished the season with the best record in the OHL while Plymouth was the 8th seed in the OHL's Eastern Conference. Crus Rydberg who spent most of the season as the Whaler's first line center ended his season with a 12-35-37 regular season and a 1-2-3 in the playoffs.

The Islanders have the right to sign Crus Rydberg and send him to Bridgeport for next season because they drafted him before the Whalers took him in the Import Draft. My suggestion would be to leave him in Plymouth for another year where he can continue his development while not burning a year of an Entry Level Contract.

Crus Rydberg needs to work on his upper body strength so he can win more of those corner battles; he also will need to play more "North American" which means if he has a shot take it and don't defer to try to make the perfect play. Crus Rydberg is a diamond in the rough and with the right amount of polish could turn into a NHLer.

Finally we won't have to wonder if Anthony Duclair (NYR 2013 3rd) will play again this season as his Quebec Remparts were eliminated by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 6-2 to lose the series 4-1. Duclair who suffered his concussion back on February 28th, never recovered enough to even begin hockey practices as the QMJHL has a rule about a player needing to be symptom free for 7 straight days before being allowed to return to the ice.

It isn't a fair way for Duclair to end the season where he was clearly the best Ranger prospect after going 50-49-99. And maybe this is best for Duclair's long term recovery.

No comments: