Earlier this month, the Hamilton Bulldogs hit the halfway point of their
season in a very similar situation to where they were at the quarter pole,
hovering around a .500 points percentage and just on the outside looking it at a
playoff spot. Not surprisingly for a team in a situation like this, there
have been some good performances and some not-so-good ones. We take a look
at the good and the bad in our second quarter grades, starting with the goalies
Players must have played in at least 5/19 games to receive a grade.
Mike Condon: A: While Charles Hudon has received pretty much all of
the attention in terms of top rookie performances, Condon has made a case to be
in the discussion for Hamilton’s top rookie, if not their MVP. He was in a
timeshare for this quarter despite playing considerably better than MacDonald;
add that to the ever-growing list of puzzling decisions by the coaching staff.
It’s a lot of pressure but this team will only go as far as Condon takes them.
Stats: 9 GP, 4-3-2 record, 1.97 GAA, .938 SV%, 1 SO
Joey MacDonald: C+: ‘Consistently mediocre’ would be an apt way to
describe MacDonald’s career and his 2014-15 season as well. He’s not
stealing games for the Bulldogs but he’s not costing the team either.
Merely adequate isn’t going to be enough for this team to get back into a
playoff spot though so while MacDonald should still serve a purpose in the second half,
he shouldn’t be splitting the games either.
Stats: 8 GP, 3-3-2 record, 3.17 GAA, .906 SV%, 0 SO
N/A (not enough GP): Dustin Tokarski
Davis Drewiske: B+: When he was with LA and Montreal, there wasn’t
anything flashy about his game, he was just a passable depth player. In
the minors, there still isn’t anything flashy but Drewiske has become arguably
their most consistent and reliable defender, in large part because you know what
you’re going to get from him every night. If (or when) the injury bug
strikes, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he got a chance with the Canadiens
in a 6/7 role.
Stats: 19 GP, 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points, even rating, 12 PIMS, 33
Nathan Beaulieu: B+: After being bumped down on the depth chart,
Beaulieu found himself in Hamilton for a brief stint. Unlike his previous
times with the Bulldogs, he made the most of it instead of just going through
the motions while waiting to get back to the big club (and we all know how he
has played since this time). He was a threat both offensively and
defensively while logging significant minutes and certainly made the most of it.
Stats: 5 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, -2 rating, 0 PIMS, 14 shots
Greg Pateryn: B-: On the plus side, he improved offensively after a
very slow start to the season. On the negative side, he couldn’t
have done much worse so noting that he did better isn’t saying much.
Overall, Pateryn has to be considered a big disappointment in the first half as
it seems as if his NHL aspirations are drifting farther and farther away.
If he wants to get to Montreal this year, he needs to be more than just a
defensive blueliner which is what he is quickly becoming with Hamilton.
Stats: 19 GP, 0 goals, 7 assists, 7 points, even rating, 32 PIMS, 23
Mac Bennett: B-: A big step for him in the second quarter was that he
suited up in every game (after being scratched five times in the early going of
the season). He has spent a lot of time with his old college partner (Pateryn)
in 5-on-5 situations and as a result, his defensive game has come along.
What hasn’t though is his offensive skill-set. I pegged Bennett as a
player who likely would put up more points in the pros than at the college level
but that has yet to come to fruition.
Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, +1 rating, 2 PIMS, 19 shots
Darren Dietz: C+: Remember when Dietz was impressing Montreal’s
coaches resulting in him being one of the last cuts from training camp?
That seems so far away now. Dietz has been used in a variety of situations
all year and has yet to really stand out in any of them. On the flip side,
he hasn’t overly struggled either. I’d like to see him use his strong shot
more often while playing more physical in the second half of the year.
That’s his ticket to the big club if he can put it together.
Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, -1 rating, 27 PIMS, 21
Jarred Tinordi: C: We finally saw Beaulieu break through and earn what
seems to be a get-out-of-Hamilton-for-good card but Tinordi hasn’t played well
enough to earn that full-time promotion yet. When he was sent down, the
hope was that he’d learn to play with more of a mean streak and while that
happened in spurts, it hasn’t happened enough. On top of working on that,
improvements in other skills (skating, passing, etc) would help improve his
standing as well.
Stats: 16 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, -2 rating, 27 PIMS, 16
Joe Finley: C: Finley has played on the third pairing for most of the
year with his primary role being to fight more than anything else. (I’ve
never understood why the coaches want a 15+ minute per game goon but that’s a
rant for another day.) He has filled that role adequately but as the
Bulldogs start to play more important games down the stretch, Finley will need
to bring more than punching skills to the table if he wants to help in a playoff
Stats: 17 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, -2 rating, 38 PIMS, 10
N/A (not enough GP): Bryan Allen, David Makowski, Magnus Nygren