The Cincinnati Cyclones have gotten off the mat and made a huge push for the lead in the Midwest Division. Do they have the pieces to knock Fort Wayne off as division champion? And what about the curious case of the Indy Fuel, now that Scott Hillman is gone. What will they do? We attempt to answer those burning questions and more.
FORT WAYNE KOMETS:
Overall Record: 33-19-4-1, 71 pts (1st in Midwest Division, 3rd in Western Conference)
Home Record: 18-6-3-0
Road Record: 15-13-1-1
Last 10 Games: 5-4-1-0
Greatest Need: The Komets are battling the call-up issue right now. Gone are forwards Cody Corbett, Alex Belzile and defenseman Mason Geertsen. To complicate issues, the team has been without Joe Perry and Drew Daniels — two of their better players and are not expected to return. Furthermore, defense has been getting worked over in the last few games. In the last 10 games, they have allowed 3.5 goals per game. So, out of all that, the greatest need for the Komets right now, is on the blueline.
Prediction for the Deadline: This really hinges on what the Franke brothers decide to do with Joe Perry. It really is an interesting situation. If they move a player of his caliber, it could fetch a decent return on the trade market and the team could use a defenseman and some depth scoring if they are to make a deep run in the playoffs. I think the team gives Drew Daniels all the time he needs to sort out his issues.
Overall Record: 31-20-3-3, 68 pts (2nd in Midwest Division, 6th in Western Conference)
Home Record: 20-5-1-3
Road Record: 11-15-2-0
Last 10 Games: 8-1-0-1
Greatest Need: With Garrett Noonan being in Milwaukee, there seems to be a void on the Cyclones blueline when it comes to offensive defensemen. Brett Wysopal and Riley Weselowski has filled in the void to some degree, but if there is an opportunity to upgrade that area, then Matt Macdonald look to make the move.
Prediction for the Deadline: All the right pieces seem to be in the right place right now, according to Sin Bin Cyclones correspondent Dakota Johnson. He feels that if there is going to be any move at all, it’ll be on the defensive side depending on how long the team expects Garrett Noonan to be up with Milwaukee of the AHL.
QUAD CITY MALLARDS:
Overall Record: 26-24-4-2, 58 pts (3rd in Midwest Division, 9th in Western Conference)
Home Record: 18-10-2-0
Road Record: 8-14-2-2
Last 10 Games: 5-4-1-0
Greatest Need: Inconsistency on the back end and in net have been the main issues for the Mallards. Rookie netminder Brody Hoffman has struggled at times, which is to be expected, but Steve Michalek and P.J. Musico have not taken the lead in net when they have been with the club. Jake Baker is currently injured, but the Mallards have not been doing a good job of clamping down defensively when the situation arises.
Prediction for the Deadline: The addition of Jordan Knackstedt to the Mallards lineup will help them offensively. And with Iowa a long way from the American Hockey League playoffs, they may get some more help on the back end, should the Mallards make the tournament. But they have to get there first. I think Terry Ruskowski has a move or two up his sleeve, particularly on the back end.
Overall Record: 27-30-2-0, 56 pts (4th in Midwest Division, 10th in Western Conference)
Home Record: 16-13-0-0
Road Record: 11-17-2-0
Last 10 Games: 3-7-0-0
Greatest Need: Consistency. Indy has been a topsy-turvy team all season and the lack of progress is likely what cost Scott Hillman his job.
Prediction for the Deadline: With Bernie John now at the helm, I would not expect Indy to be huge movers at the deadline. If they are, that is likely a sign that they are looking at mimicking what Missouri did last year, by acquiring assets for the offseason.
Overall Record: 22-26-6-2, 52 pts (5th in Midwest Division, 11th in Western Conference)
Home Record: 12-11-4-2
Road Record: 10-15-2-0
Last 10 Games: 4-3-2-1
Greatest Need: Evansville’s greatest need is for fresh bodies. The team and their AHL counterpart, Binghamton Senators, have been really banged up this season. Provided the IceMen get some of their injured guys back, that will be as good as adding a player via trade down the stretch. The IceMen have some solid players up front; with Jordan Sims, Daultan Leville, Nathan Moon and Tyson Fawcett carrying the load so far.
Prediction for the Deadline: With a huge stretch of games coming to end the season, it will be interesting to see how aggressive Al Sims and company are to get this team into the playoffs. The IceMen start the week nine points out of the eighth spot with 16 games remaining. They will take on the Oilers once, Fuel twice and Mallards three more times down the stretch. I think Evansville will be quiet, but don’t be surprised if Sims makes a move or two.
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