London Knights 2010-2011 Season Post Mortem
Final Record: 34-29-4-1
Key Graduates: Igor Bobkov, Stephen Sanza
Key Returnees for Next Season: Vladislav Namestnikov, Jared Knight, Andreas Athanasiou, Ryan Rupert Seth Griffith, Scott Harrington, Reid McNeill, Dane Fox, Colin Martin
Possible Early NHL Graduates: Jarred Tinordi
Draft Position: 9
Offseason Needs: Top tier goaltending, powerplay quarterback
Plan for Next Year: It’s rare that we see the Knights do so poorly or exit the playoffs so early. But the loss of most of last season’s firepower without anything to replace it was due to cause a deficit. General Manager Mark Hunter made some very good moves at this year’s deadline by trading Captain Michael D’Orazio and forwards Chris DeSousa and Daniel Erlich. The Knights recuperated most of the second round picks they lost two years ago when they traded for John Tavares and Michael Del Zotto.
So, London is in very good shape going forward and they’re under no requirement to mortgage big to bring in a powerplay quarterback next year, they’re almost better off drafting and developing one to age and mature with Athanasiou, Harrington and the Rupert twins. While Namestnikov and Tinordi will both be in their last Major Junior seasons next year ( in Tinordi’s case, he may no return from the pros), I don’t think the Knights have the long term goaltending to compete next season. And they can’t afford to bring in a big time powerplay quarterback and a serious starting goaltender in the same season.
Michael Houser has had his good moments. He has the skill, on some nights, to be a starter but he’s not a game stealer. Houser isn’t consistent. The question in London is whether you think it’s more plausible to find a starting goaltender who’s better than Houser or a powerplay quarterback. It’s probably easier, the way the graduations seem to be working this offseason, it’s probably easier to insert a powerplay quarterback into this line up than it is to insert a starting goaltender.
If I Could Make One Trade:
To London: Stephen Silas
To Belleville: Chris Tierney, draft picks
The Knights are probably a piece away from being a very competitive team next season and that piece is a big time puck-moving defender. Stephen Silas would probably be a sixty point two-way defender in London. He can run a powerplay very well and he's one of the best passers among the league's defensemen.
The Bulls get a good playmaking centre in Chris Tierney who was London's first round pick in 2010. It adds another young piece to a core that, if it comes together for the 2012-2013 season could b e a big time competitor for the OHL East crown.