Evansville IceMen Season Overview

EvansvilleIceMenCHL

Evansville has played 20 games now and while many BSens (and Sens) fans can be excused for being indifferent to the ECHL affiliate, it is an important part of the system so it’s worth paying attention too.  The IceMen are 7-12-1, which puts them 5th in the Midwest Division and tied for 28th in the entire ECHL.  The team has scored 50 goals (tied for last in the league, last in goals-per-game), while giving up 69 goals against (21st in the league); the team is 10-64 (15.6%) on the PP (23rd in the league), and 48-64 (75%) on the PK (29th in the league).  Coach Sims has a very weird approach to the PK, throwing virtually any forward on it and that’s hurt the effectiveness.
Record when:
Plus 9 or more shot differential: 0-3-1
Negative 8 or more shot differential: 2-3-0
Scoring a PP goal: 4-5-0
Allowing a PP goal: 5-7-1

Roster changes: trading rookie Joe Zarbo (to Colorado, 14-3-3-6) for former IceMan Nathan Moon; acquiring the atrocious Samuel Noreau‘s ECHL rights only to trade him for Mathieu Brisebois (who played 1 game and was then traded); losing Chris Carlisle and Scott Greenham to Binghamton for significant amounts of time.  Stats (games-goals-assists-points, shots-on-goal, power-play-points; I included plus/minus for defensemen), Grades: A=above and beyond expectations, B=exceeds expectations, C=meets expectations, D=below expectations, F=god awful:
[A note for those unfamiliar with the ECHL: there are only 3 forward lines plus an extra forward]

Daultan Leveille 19-11-4-15 SOG 49 PPP 5 Grade C
Had an unimpressive start with selfish play and a lack of production, but now firmly leads the team in production which is what you’d expect out of a former first-round pick; he’s not great defensively, but at this stage of his career that’s not going to change; inexplicably he’s often on the PK and has been on-ice for the most PP goals against of anyone on the team

Justin MacDonald 20-6-7-13 SOG 60 PPP 1 Grade B
The FHL star is roughly on par with his pace from the end of last season when Evansville brought him up, which illustrates his production wasn’t a fluke or a result of garbage-time when the team was well out of the playoffs; he had a very slow start (8-0-1-1), possibly because of all the different line combinations he played on (until he settled on the 2nd line with Sims and Moon he’d been in 7 different combos through 11 games), but he leads the team in even strength scoring

Tyson Fawcett 20-10-2-12 SOG 44 PPP 3 Grade C
Another player with a slow start to the season (10-3-0-3), he’s now settled onto a regular first line (with Leveille and Wideman) and he’s about where you’d expect his production to be; he’s a small, quick player, but like Leveille above he’s not great on the PK and has been lite up almost as much as his linemate in that capacity (second most among forwards)

Troy Rutkowski 20-1-10-11 SOG 31 Even PPP 3 Grade B
The first prospect on the list (and the first defensemen), he’s on pace for a career high in points despite a slow start; he’s had five different partners, but for 9 of the last 10 games he’s been the safety valve for the largely useless Himselson; solid on the PK, he’s tied with Rumble for being on-ice for the most PP goals-for among blueliners; he’s also the only threat at even strength on the defensecorps (twice as many points as the next highest);  he’s the only blueliner in Evansville worthy of a call-up

Ryan Penny 17-3-7-10 SOG 23 PPP 2 Grade B
The QMJHL rookie played well enough to get a call-up to Binghamton; he’s bounced around the lineup, but spent most of his time centering the third line (14 games); after a bit of a slow start (5-0-1-1) he’s been a regular contributor; of note, he has the worst plus/minus on the team

Alex Wideman 16-2-7-9 SOG 42 PPP 3 Grade C
Should have started the season here, the speedy winger has been a first-line player for all but one of his games; his production is pretty regular, although it’s difficult to figure out how much he benefits from TOI and who he plays with

Jordan Sims 14-3-5-8 SOG 35 PPP 2 Grade C
The coaches son, he’s centered the 2nd line the past 11 games; he had a terrible start (6-0-1-1), but his production has improved (playing with talented linemates gives him a boost, clearly); Daddy lets him play on both special teams, but as much as I want to criticize the obvious special treatment he’s competent at least

Nathan Moon 15-0-7-7 SOG 46 PPP 2 Grade D
Acquired from Colorado, he had a slow start in Evansville, but has been stapled on the second line (the past 9 games with Sims and MacDonald); not nearly as good as expected from his previous seasons in the ECHL (0.86 points per game normally, whereas he’s currently 0.46), he’s been competent at best

Alex Guptill 13-5-1-6 SOG 39 PPP 2 Grade D
When he was sent down he started off as a selfish and unproductive player and while things have improved these are not the numbers of someone who is going to see the AHL again any time soon; he’s spent most of his games on the third line (10)

Sebastian Strandberg 14-1-5-6 SOG 15 Grade C
A solid, smallish player from Sweden, he’s very good defensively and has some offensive touch; unfortunately for him, without his advocate in assistant coach Johan Lundskog around, he’s been scratched pretty regularly for inferior players (like Anthoine or Dunn)

Andrew Himelson 19-0-6-6 SOG 35 -10 PPP 2 Grade F
A huge disappointment (Evansville traded for him); an undersized defenseman who doesn’t play defense; when he was paired with Humphries (7 games) it was comically bad, but 9 of the last 10 he’s had Rutkowski to clean up after him; he has the worst plus/minus among defensemen

Vincent Dunn 14-3-2-5 SOG 25 Grade F
I knew he was going to be bad, but not this bad; a third-liner when he’s played, he doesn’t do anything particularly well

Matthew Zay 12-2-3-5 SOG 24 Grade C
Missed a chunk of the season due to injury and since returning he’s been the regular third line center (7 games) and done well in that role

Chris Rumble 16-1-4-5 SOG 34 -5 PPP 3 Grade C
Another player who had a slow start, the last 9 games he’s been paired with Carlson and while he doesn’t do much offensively at even strength, it’s a safe place for the rookie to grow into his game

Jarret Lukin 6-0-3-3 SOG 6 Grade incomplete
The veteran has spent most of the season on the shelf, but when he’s played it’s been on the third line where he’s been solid (albeit awful on the PK)

Michael Trebish 16-0-3-3 SOG 8 +1 Grade F
I’m not a fan, despite him being the only plus on the defensecorps (luck in my opinion); why is he bad?  Positioning, decision making; he’s tied for the lead among blueliners for on-ice PP goals against (including the last five in a row), and he’s responsible for the most goals against on his team (5 by my count); he’s spent most of the season with Humphries (13 games)

Spencer Humphries 20-0-3-3 SOG 28 -1 Grade D
Slightly better than Trebish, he’s one of those “good in the corners” guys; started the season with Himelson (7 games) and since then with Trebish (the latter pairing is better than the first); he’s pretty bad on the PK, but especially when with his partner above

Mark Anthoine 7-0-2-2 SOG 11 Grade D
I have no idea what he brings to the table; he was stapled to the pressbox most of the season, but in the absence of Lundskog he’s been playing as the extra forward and accomplishing nothing

Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel 3-0-1-1 SOG 0 +1 Grade incomplete
Spent most of the season injured, but looked good in the games he played (makes good decisions)

Matt Hussey 8-0-1-1 SOG 22 Grade F
Absolute garbage–a selfish player with limited talent–the team took too long in releasing him

Jonathan Carlsson 20-0-1-1 SOG 11 -6 Grade C
Veteran Swede has minimal offensive skills, but plays a very safe, steady game; he’s had five partners, but Rumble has been the most frequent (11 games); while he’s tied with Trebish for the lead in on-ice goals against on the PK, that’s largely the fault of his partners (Himelson for nearly half of them, as well as Humphries and Trebish)–almost all of those goals were at the beginning of the season

Samuel Noreau 3-0-0-0 2 -3 Grade F
Looked like he didn’t want to be here and thankfully was moved on (continuing his awful play in Norfolk)

Mathieu Brisebois 1-0-0-0 SOG 1 -2 Grade incomplete
Via Norfolk he was awful in his only game and is now in Tulsa

Scott Greenham 1-2-0 2.03 .939 Grade A
Brilliant before getting injured–single-handedly kept the team in games–now with Binghamton due to the ripple effect of Hammond‘s injury

Christoffer Bengtsberg 2-4-0 2.48 .914 Grade B
Played well before getting hurt

Matt Zenzola 1-0-0 2.00 .935 Grade incomplete
SPHL goaltender won the IceMen’s last game and was solid in doing so

Cody Reichard 2-2-0 3.73 .900 Grade D
A man without a team, he rattled off two impressive starts before reality set in and he was lite up badly (a team worst 8 bad goals against this season), then suffered a concussion

Keegan Asmundsen 1-4-1 4.58 .864 Grade F
An absolute disaster when he’s played (6 bad goals), so much so that callups start instead of him as much as possible

Dustin Carlson 0-0-0 5.72 .808 Grade F
Horrendous numbers; he was supposed to be former Sens prospect Francois Brassard, but the ECHL labyrinthine visa process prevented that from happening (granted Brassard‘s numbers in Peoria are not impressive)

While there’s been no stability in net for the second half of their season, the lineup has been stable for the past 10 games or so.  Here’s a look at the splits:
First ten games: 3-7-0, GF 17, GA 28, PP 3-29 (10.3%), PK 26-31 (83.8%)
Next ten: 4-5-1, GF 32, GA 41, PP 7-35 (20%), PK 22-33 (0.66%)

It’s the same defensecorps the whole season, so the main issues are 1) goaltender injuries, 2) a lack of scoring when the good goalies were healthy.  What’s improved the production for the IceMen includes: having Wideman and Guptill added to the roster (increased depth); acquiring Moon; releasing Hussey (who played on the first or second line while he was on the roster); and an end to the constantly changing lines.  As it stands there’s no forward who stands out as a worthy call-up for Binghamton, although if I had to pick one it would be MacDonald.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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1 Comment

  1. […] haven’t updated Evansville in literally forever, so here’s a look: the team is 15-14-7 since my last update, which is a modest improvement […]


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