Kingston Frontenacs 2010-2011 Season Post Mortem
Final Record: 29-30-4-5
Key Graduates: Taylor Doherty, Sean Jones, Mitch Gaulton, Nathan Moon, Philip Grubauer, Ethan Werek
Key Returnees for Next Season: Alex Gudbranson, Michal Cajkovsky, Mitch Lebar, Charles Sarault, Cory Durocher, Derek Froats
Possible Early NHL Graduates: Erik Gudbranson
Draft Position: 8
Offseason Needs: A Culture Change
Plan for Next Year: What can I say about the Kingston Frontenacs that hasn`t been said by just about every OHL commentator?
What’s important to understand is that I’m not picking on Kingston. I love the city of Kingston. In fact, my harping on the Fronts franchise is much more of a disappointment than it is a dislike. It’s a beautiful city with a first class facility and a franchise with a lot of history in this league. There is no, read me, zero , reason why this franchise shouldn’t be in line to host a Memorial Cup
Except for the big reason. This franchise hasn’t won a playoff series in thirteen years. The OHL will never award the CHL’s showcase to a market only to have them pull a Hamilton Dukes (which ought to be an OHL trivia question) and the Fronts are a constant threat to do just that.
Where do you start with the Frontenacs? Let’s take the players out of the equation right off. I will flat out guarantee, that this collection of talent, if helmed by the Hunters or Steve Spott or Dave Cameron experiences more than five games of this year’s playoffs.
The onus for fixing Kingston has to fall on the hockey operations department. In the past, General Manager Larry Mavety has been a popular target. That’s understandable. The inability to get a Brock Higgs or Wes O’Neill or more recently, Robert Polesello to report is a failing that a top flight franchise can’t accept. Yes, even the League’s best run franchises don’t land 100 percent of their prospect targets but these are just a few of the recent shortcomings in Kingston. That having been said, it’s tough to lay this year on Mavety. The additions of Ryan Spooner, Mitch Gaulton and Sean Jones very easily should have been enough to put this team over the top.
If all the talent was there, then the conclusion has to be that it wasn’t utilized effectively. This falls on the coaching talent. Gilmour has been criticized for everything from the powerplay’s performance to the length of shifts. Some will point out that Gilmour is a rather inexperienced coach compared to many of his OHL counterparts and is likely still experiencing the growing pains associated with being a person in a new job. But Gilmour’s been behind the bench in the Limestone City for more than two seasons now, he’s either got to start growing as a coach, or he’s got to be subject to the same scrutiny any other coach would be.
Next year, the Fronts will be in a quasi-rebuild. Much of their top flight talent will move on this offseason leaving Ryan Spooner the keys to the K-Rock with a lunch pail gang surrounding him.
If I Could Make One Trade:
To Kingston: Chris Marchese, Connor Crisp, draft pick
To Erie: Ryan Spooner
The Fronts don't have the firepower to compete next year and don't have the kind of reliable prospect pipeline that can afford them the luxury of surrounding Ryan Spooner with talent. What they can do, is make Alex Gudbranson the centre of a rebuild. The biggest way to expedite that is trading Spooner. In this scenario, the Frontenacs return a good young centre and a power forward with potential for Spooner.
What the Otters get out of the deal is plain and simple superstar firepower. Spooner could be a 100+ point player next year. He replaces what the Otters lose this year with the graduations of Phil Varone and Anthony Luciani. It also allows them to do this without giving up Adam Pelech, the rookie defenseman who became a pillar of strength for the Otters as the season wore on.