Welcome to the sixth and final installment of our 2016-17 Everett Silvertips Season Review.
You can check out the previous five posts below:
Part 2: The overagers
Part 3: The coaching
Part 4: The future overagers
Part 5: The other returnees
Today we’ll look at some issues the team needs to address and what prospects might be waiting in the wings to make an impact next season.
However, first it’s time for our daily check-in with the 2016-17 Silvertips who are competing in the AHL playoffs. Captain Noah Juulsen’s season is officially complete after the St. John’s IceCaps lost 2-1 in overtime to the Syracuse Crunch Friday to win that series three games to one. Juulsen had a shot and was minus-one for the game. He also appeared in Game 3.
Carter Hart is with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but isn’t expected to dress for Game 4 Saturday as the Phantoms recalled Mark Dekanich from the ECHL’s Reading Royals.
It might seem like a cliche, but the Tips will once again have to focus on offense. That’s been the case for the past several seasons – though we don’t know who the new head coach will be or how he might impact the offense. The Tips lose their second-leading point producer in overager Dominic Zwerger, and will lose 1997-born defenseman Juulsen to the pro ranks. Juulsen scored a career-best 12 goals from the blue line this season and added 22 assists, the second-most of his career.
Those are two big holes to fill, but Everett should have leading scorer Patrick Bajkov (78 points), top-scoring defenseman Kevin Davis (59 points), and top-line center Matt Fonteyne (47 points) back as overagers barring something unexpected happening.
As far as the returning younger players, Riley Sutter (20 goals, 19 assists), Eetu Tuulola (18 goals, 13 assists), Sean Richards (eight goals, 15 assists) and Connor Dewar (14 goals, 16 assists) are all candidates to see their numbers go up with one more summer of development.
Look for physical forward Dawson Butt to make an impact as a 17-year-old after he led the Junior Silvertips 16-U team in scoring. He also appeared in three regular-season games with the Tips:
It also seems likely both Ethan Browne and Mark Liwiski, Everett’s first- and third-round picks in the 2016 bantam draft should compete for roster spots.
Here are the career stats for Browne who debuted as a 15-year-old in a game Tri-City this past season:
And here are the stats for Liwiski who brings a high degree of physicality and skill:
Fellow forward Conrad Mitchell, Everett’s seventh-round pick in last year’s bantam draft is already 6-5 and could be force in the future after averaging a point per game:
The Tips have a number of young defensemen who are expected to be strong players in the league. Next season will be a chance for Montana Onyebuchi and Ian Walker to take on a bigger role after spending their 16-year-old rookie campaigns with the Tips. Both are already 6-2 and presumably still growing.
Gianni Fairbrother is another 2000-born blueliner who spent most of the season playing in the BCMML and should make the team after appearing in three regular-season games. The Tips also have 2000-born Kyle Walker signed to a WHL standard player agreement.
The Tips also inked their goaltender of the future in Dustin Wolf in January. Wolf, a California native, spurned offers from the U.S. National Development Team Program and multiple Division I schools to play for the Tips.
Wolf will presumably back up Hart next season and should get plenty of opportunities. Hart will miss at least the first weekend of the regular season due to Philadelphia Flyers training camp, and figures to make Team Canada’s roster for the World Junior Championship again in December.
The Tips also have Dorrin Luding under club control. Luding served as the backup during Hart’s WJC absence last season and spent most of the season with the Valley West Hawks of the BCMML.
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter.