Last week, we revealed our first quarter grades for the forwards on the
Hamilton Bulldogs. Today, it’s the second half, focusing on the defencemen
and goaltenders. Both of these were areas that were supposed to be
strengths for the Bulldogs but some of the players that were expected to be
catalysts have struggled through the early going of the season.
Players must have played in at least five games to receive a grade.
Stats are as of games played through November 23rd.
Robert Mayer: C-: He’s in his fourth season with the Bulldogs and
still is struggling to keep his GAA below 3.00 and his SV% at .900.
Granted, a couple of poor starts skew the stats a little bit but he has not been
the go-to goalie that Sylvain Lefebvre naively believed he could be…although
the coach somehow has yet to
figure that out.
Stats: 7 GP, 1-4-2 record, 3.39 GAA, .891 SV%
Dustin Tokarski: A-: He had some struggles early on as he couldn’t
find a rhythm thanks to the time share situation he found himself in for reasons
that defy logic. Fortunately he has now emerged as the go-to number one
goalie and has been instrumental in the team finding their way back to the .500
Stats: 14 GP, 8-3-1 record, 1.91 GAA, .935 SV%
Nathan Beaulieu: C+: After finishing off the season on a hot streak
last year, it was hoped that he’d pick up where he left off. Instead,
history from last year repeated itself as Beaulieu struggled early on; getting
sent back and forth repeatedly to and from Montreal surely didn’t help the
cause. His play has picked up in recent games, providing some hope that
he’s coming around.
Stats: 13 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, -4 rating, 6 PIMS, 37 SOG
Joel Chouinard: C: He was brought in primarily for depth purposes but
with the injuries on both Hamilton and Montreal’s blueline, Chouinard has found
himself as a regular up until the last couple of weeks. He primarily has
been a third pairing player but has logged minutes without hurting the team too
badly which is pretty much what he was signed to do.
Stats: 16 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, even rating, 4 PIMS, 16
Morgan Ellis: B-: Ellis didn’t get off to a good start as he struggled
to get into the lineup early, even playing behind the blueliners on AHL-only
contracts. His fortunes changed late in October though; he got into the
lineup regularly and has moved up the depth chart onto the second pairing.
It’s too early to say he’s turned it around after a rough rookie campaign but
it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Stats: 13 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, +6 rating, 2 PIMS, 9 SOG
Nathan McIver: C: As one of the top penalty minute getters last year,
it was assumed that he’d be the designated pugilist on the team. That
hasn’t happened all that often but at the same time, McIver has shown he can
play more than a typical ‘goon defenceman.’ He’s nearing the end of his
25-game tryout and I’d say he has earned a second one.
Stats: 10 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, even rating, 29 PIMS, 5 SOG
Magnus Nygren: B-: The Swedish blueliner got off to a strong start
both offensively and defensively but tailed off in both areas before being
saddled with a concussion. His departure back to the Swedish league is a
big loss for Hamilton’s defence corps but if the SHL season ends before the
Bulldogs’ one, he could potentially return late in the year. That would be
a nice boost for a run to the playoffs.
Stats: 16 GP, 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points, -9 rating, 14 PIMS, 47 SOG
Greg Pateryn: A: Of the three prominent second year d-men, he was the
one that received the least amount of attention. Coincidentally, he has
been the one that has deserved the most praise on the back end so far. He
has become their go-to guy in all situations and if there was to be injury on
Montreal’s blueline, he’s the one most deserving of a callup at the moments.
Stats: 12 GP, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, +7 rating, 17 PIMS, 30 SOG
Drew Schiestel: C+: Of the three defencemen on minor league deals, he
has had the biggest impact on the team. Schiestel isn’t playing at the
level he was back when he was an All-Star but he has shown he’s worthy of at
least some minutes on a regular basis. The local factor notwithstanding,
he has been a decent depth pickup so far.
Stats: 16 GP, 0 goals, 5 assists, 5 points, even rating, 6 PIMS, 17
Jarred Tinordi: C- In my opinion, he has been the biggest
disappointment on the farm in the early going. He didn’t respond well to
being sent down by the Habs and has only made small improvements since then.
One of the keys for him this year was to assert himself physically on more of a
regular basis. There’s a case to be made that he has done that less than
last year. Not all is lost as he’s still early in his second year but he
has underwhelmed nonetheless.
Stats: 14 GP, 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points, even rating, 6 PIMS, 19
N/A grade: Darren Dietz (not enough GP)