Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 2010-2011 Season Post-Mortem

The Hounds came off a strong campaign in 2009-2010 that saw them capture the fifth seed in the West. This year, the dismal Hounds plummeted back into the cellar of the OHL West and look forward to finding the road to redemption next season.

Final Record: 24-36-5-3

Key Graduates: Vern Cooper, Dylan King

Key Returnees for Next Season: Daniel Catenacci, Nick Cousins, Gianluca Curcuruto, Ryan Sproul, Brett Findlay, Carson Dubchak, David Broll, Matt Murray, Brock Beukeboom

Possible Early NHL Graduates: None

Draft Position: 3

Offseason Needs: Defensive depth

Plan For Next Year: It might seem contradictory to point out that a team that needs defensive depth should trade its top defensive defender, but that’s probably the wisest move the Hounds could make in the offseason. They’re probably going to have Catenacci, Cousins and Broll for two more seasons which means they have to be competitive for that second year. Brock Beukeboom is unlikely to be in the league when that happens. You can use Brock Beukeboom to bring in a player or two that might actually do some good for your organization when you’re ready to compete.

As it stands, there’s a lot to like about the Hounds’ forwards for next season. Catenacci and Cousins bring a nice combination of speed, tenacity and offensive acumen. David Broll is a much needed big body presence who can fight, throw big hits and park himself in front of the net on the powerplay. Throwing in some guys like Carson Dubchak and Brett Findlay behind them gives the Hounds a couple solid scoring lines.

Big Matt Murray is the Hounds’ future in goal. He’s got some great raw skill and even brings to mind Steve Mason’s early appearances in London. Having Chris Perugini supporting him is a wise move that should stabilize the situation in goal so that the Hounds’ fortunes aren’t necessarily tied to the growing pains of a talented young goaltender.

Gianluca Curcuruto and Ryan Sproul have all the makings of a top defensive pairing in this league. But if you trade Brock Beukeboom, as you should, and you lose Dylan King to graduation; you’re left with Derek Hartwick and Colin Miller as a second pairing. There needs to be more serious young depth in the Soo on the blue-line.

If I Could Make One Trade:

To Sault Ste. Marie: Luke Mercer, draft picks
To Niagara: Brock Beukeboom

Mercer makes the Hounds back end younger but it also gives them a reliable depth defenseman with some puck skill. Something they clearly lack when you get beyond Curcuruto and Sproul. This is a move designed to make you a competitor when Catenacci, Cousins and Broll are in their last year in the League. It also acts as something of a safeguard against losing Curcuruto to early NHL Graduation.

For the Ice Dogs, they're gonna lose defenseman Tim Billingsley to graduation this year but next season is their best chance to run the table in the OHL and go to the Memorial Cup. Brock Beukeboom is more than an able replacement for Billingsley and will take some of the onus off emerging puck mover Jesse Graham.