THE HAMILTON BULLDOGS CHALLENGE

Aug 1st, 2011 | By | Category: Hockey-General News, Latest News, St. John's IceCaps

‘I’m going to give you 23 players in the American Hockey League and you have to win.’”            GM Pierre Gauthier to new Hamilton Bulldogs coach Clement Jodoin.

Clement Jodoin - Hamilton Bulldogs Head Coach

Pressure?   What pressure?  Clement Jodoin becomes the fourth Bulldogs head coach in four years.   Last season’s Hamilton coaches were promoted to the Canadiens in July.  Two of their top scorers and one of the team’s best defencemen took off for Europe and  two of the AHL’s best goaltenders took advantage of unrestricted free agency to sign elsewhere.   

Gauthier expects Jodoin to produce a winner on a team that will carry eleven players who weren’t in Hamilton last season including six rookies.  The previous three head coaches, Don Lever, Guy Boucher and Randy Cunneyworth produced, in order, a Calder Cup championship, a loss in the AHL finals and a loss in game seven of the league semi-final.  Coaches don’t win without players and, in each instance, Lever, Boucher and Cunneyworth were handed the talent with which to win. 

Some of Pierre Gauthier’s late moves this last season indicate that a winning atmosphere is a priority for his minor league franchise.   He acquired Nigel Dawes and goaltender Drew MacIntyre to fill a major void left by injuries and the promotions of David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty, Ryan White and Yannick Weber plus the season ending injury to number one goaltender Curtis Sanford, .  Without Dawes and MacIntyre, Hamilton would not have pushed the Calder Cup semi-final to the final two minutes of game seven against the Houston Aeros.

Gone from last season’s regular Hamilton lineup for various reasons are Dawes and MacIntyre along with  forwards J.T. Wyman, Ben Maxwell, Dustin Boyd, and Ryan Russell plus defencemen Kyle Klubertanz and Mathieu Carle as well as Sanford.

Gauthier was able to keep the players he wanted however plus bring in some veteran help in 33 year old Brian Willsie, a 30 goal scorer with Hershey last season and goaltender Nathan Lawson, a 27-year-old out of the Islanders organization. He also brought the high-scoring Brock Trotter back from Riga of the KHL.

Forwards Andreas Engqvist and Aaron Palushaj are still there.  So are defencemen Brendon Nash and Frederic St. Denis along with a number of prospects in varying stages of development.  When the season opens one or two of them will probably fill out the Canadiens roster which now stands at twenty-one.  The rest will be Jodoin’s challenge.

There are six rookies under contract to the Canadiens including 2009 first round draft pick Louis Leblanc and Swiss defenceman Rafael Diaz.

The Canadiens size, or lack of it, has become a constant NHL talking point.  Not a problem on the Hamilton roster where there are ten players 6’2” or over led by the 6’6” Alex Henry.  Forwards Andrew Conboy, Michael Blunden and Andreas Engqvist are 6’4”.  Brendon Nash, Mark Mitera and rookie Joe Stejskal at 6’3”.  At 6’2” are Alexander Avtsin and Ian Shultz. 

The Hamilton Bulldogs depth chart –         (** = rookie) 

       :LW                          Centre                  RW

Brock Trotter              Louis Leblanc**     Aaron Palushaj 

Phillippe Lefebvre**   Andreas Enqvist    Brian Willsie

Andrew Conboy         Joonas Nattinen** Alexander Avtsin

Dany Masse              Gabriel Dumont     Michael Blunden

Hunter Bishop           Olivier Fortier        Alain Berger**

                                                                       Ian Schultz

Defence        Brendon Nash             Frederic St. Denis

                      Alex Henry                   Raphael Diaz**

                      Joe Stejskal**               Mark Mittera

Goal                         Nathan Lawson

                                 Peter Delmas

                                 Robert Mayer

Returning Bulldogs 2010-11 Individual Stats

# Player GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SHG SOG SH%
28 Aaron Palushaj 68 22 35 57 22 42 6 0 160 13.8
4 Brendon Nash 75 5 25 30 22 58 3 0 81 6.2
22 Andreas Engqvist 71 10 15 25 8 18 3 0 137 7.3
12 Andrew Conboy 64 13 10 23 3 116 1 0 106 12.3
32 Frederic St. Denis 76 5 18 23 16 34 3 0 108 4.6
14 Olivier Fortier 68 9 11 20 1 20 5 0 99 9.1
26 Alexander Avtsin 58 5 15 20 2 22 1 0 88 5.7
40 Gabriel Dumont 64 5 13 18 -4 79 0 0 128 3.9
5 Alex Henry 80 1 13 14 6 96 0 0 44 2.3
18 Dany Masse 36 3 6 9 2 18 0 0 37 8.1
61 Hunter Bishop 34 4 4 8 7 10 0 0 55 7.3
24 Ian Schultz 45 3 1 4 -5 49 0 0 54 5.6
                       
45 Peter Delmas 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
54 Joe Stejskal 7 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0 3 0.0
35 Robert Mayer 21 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0.0
  BENCH 80 6       12     6  
  TOTALS 80 226 364 584 151 1200 59 5 2419 0.091

 

# Goalies GP Mins W L SL SO GA GAA SVS SV%
45 Peter Delmas 2 125 1 0 1 0 4 1.92 56 0.933
35 Robert Mayer 21 1215 9 10 2 0 62 3.06 501 0.890
  TOTALS 80 4854 44 29 7 6 178 2.20 2108 0.922

Also –

C-Louis Leblanc  Montreal (QMJHL) 51GP  26-32 = 58pts.  Plus-20

C/RW-Brock Trotter – Riga (KHL) 49GP  9-17=26 pts.  Plus-3

LW-Phillippe Lefebvre-Montreal (QMJHL)- 60GP  19-24=46pts. Plus 26

C-Joonas Nattinen – HPK (Finland) 21GP  0-2=2 pts.  Minus-8

RW-Alain Berger – Oshawa (OHL) 65GP  29-23=52  plus-19

RW-Michael Blunden-Springfield (AHL) 37GP  12-9=21   minus-6

RW-Brian Willsie- Hershey (AHL) 76GP  30-38= 68pts.  Plus-27

D-Michael Mitera – Syracuse(AHL  71GP  6-16=22   minus-5

D-Rafael Diaz – Zug (Swiss)  45GP  12-27=39  plus-11

G-Nathan Lawson (NYIslanders) 10G  1-4-2   4.96GAA  .893 savde%

G-Peter Delmas – Wheeling (ECHL)  15-6-2    2.03GAA  .28save%

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