2009-10 preview: overview

Five days ago I was going to write something different for this essay.

However, the firing of head coach John Becanic changes everything.

The 2009-10 season was supposed to be crystal clear for Everett, with as many as 20 players returning from this past season. The construction of the team and the way it played were basically set.

But now that’s all changed.

Who knows what the new coach is going to do. Who knows what kind of philosophies he’s going to employ, or what type of players will fit into those philosophies. Admittedly, the general manager is the one who determines the makeup of the roster, but the coach is the one who determines how those players are used.

Here’s an extreme example of how things could be different: There’s no guarantee the kid line is going to remain intact. If Becanic was back I assure you Kellan Tochkin, Byron Froese and Tyler Maxwell would be back together next season. But the new coach did not spend a whole season watching those three as a unit. Sure, he’s going to be told about it and encouraged to maintain the status quo in that regard. But say all three get drafted to the NHL in June, show a little rust during their short time together in August before heading off to NHL camps, then come back at different times. Without having seen the magic in person, isn’t it possible the new coach will come to his own conclusions about line pairings?

Suffice it to say that most assumptions regarding the Tips for next season should be checked at the door.

But there’s one assumption I’m sure will stick: Everett should be a better team next season than it was this season.

I don’t think there’s ever been an Everett team that had this many potential returning players. It’s about double number of full-time returning players who began this season with the team (11), and almost three times as many as the Tips finished the season with (7). Can you believe the Tips had just seven players — Shane Harper, Zack Dailey, Jesse Burt, Taylor Ellington, Mike Alexander, Graham Potuer and Chris de la Lande — from last season’s team on the roster when the season ended?

And it’s not like the 20 possible returners are low-impact players. The list includes the top five scorers from this season, as well as both goaltenders. Only the defense is taking much of a hit, and the Tips should be able to counter some of the losses with two high picks in the import draft.

Therefore, expectations will be raised next season. How far they end up being raised remains to be seen. But whoever the new coach ends up being, he will have some pressure to succeed from the start.

Next up: 2009-10 preview: overagers and vets

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