The Central Division is full of storylines heading into this deadline day. Toledo has been in the pole position of the Central Division all season, but do they have the physicality to compete with Fort Wayne, Allen and Colorado? Can Quad City and Kalamazoo make a move to shore up their squads and what move will Oilers head coach Jason Christie make to get Tulsa back into a playoff position and potentially, keep his job?
Overall Record: 41-13-2-1, 85 pts (Clinched playoff berth, 1st in Central Division, 1st in Western Conference)
Home Record: 20-5-1-1
Road Record: 21-8-1-0
Last 10 Games: 9-1-0-0
Greatest Need: A valuable defenseman. A close second…a rugged forward.
Prediction for the Deadline: Toledo is a team that has dominated the ECHL this season. To get ready for a long playoff run, the Walleye may look to add somebody on the back end to sure up their defensive side of the game. One persistent knock on the Walleye has been their lack of physicality to compete with the likes of Allen or Colorado. They may look to acquire a rugged forward to give some space for their stars when the ice starts to shrink in the playoffs.
FORT WAYNE KOMETS:
Overall Record: 35-15-5-2, 77 pts (2nd in Central Division, 4th in Western Conference)
Home Record: 23-5-0-1
Road Record: 12-10-5-1
Last 10 Games: 7-1-0-2
Greatest Need: Offensive Defenseman
Prediction for the Deadline: With no affiliation, Komets have surprised everyone with how well they are doing in the standings, currently occupying the second position in the division, fourth in the conference. While Jason Binkley has carried the load for Fort Wayne on the back end, the team could use an additional offensive defenseman to round out the defense. As constructed, I think the Komets may be content with their roster and stand pat at the deadline.
QUAD CITY MALLARDS:
Overall Record: 32-22-1-2, 67 pts (3rd in Central Division, 6th in Western Conference)
Home Record: 15-10-1-2
Road Record: 17-12-0-0
Last 10 Games: 5-4-1-0
Greatest Need: Another scorer or shutdown defenseman
Prediction for the Deadline: The Mallards are the clear winners of the Mike Monfredo for Josh MacDonald trade, and that seems to have helped buoy the Mallards offensively. But something that has happened far too often this season, the have trouble playing when they have the lead; it seems like they get complacent and lack a killer instinct. In the last five games, in which the Mallards have gone 2-2-1, the Mallards are scoring an average of 3.4 goals per game, while allowing an average of 3.2 goals per game. A shutdown defenseman may be able to help with the consistency issue, while tightening the defense. Currently, the Mallards have multiple players on loan to teams in the American Hockey League, and will probably stay quiet during the trade deadline.
Overall Record: 30-25-1-3, 64 pts (4th in Central Division, 8th in Western Conference)
Home Record: 15-11-1-2
Road Record: 15-14-0-1
Last 10 Games: 6-4-0-0
Greatest Need: Better PP
Prediction for the Deadline: The good times are rolling in Southwest Michigan, but the glaring area that needs work is on the power play, where Kalamazoo has the second-worst power play in the ECHL (32 PPG on 257 chances — a 12.45% conversion rate.) An offensive defenseman might help the puck distribution on the back end, but it is hard to imagine them being active.
Overall Record: 26-29-5-1, 58 pts (5th in Central Division, 11th in Western Conference)
Home Record: 15-14-4-0
Road Record: 11-15-1-1
Last 10 Games: 2-6-1-0
Greatest Need: Offense & Consistent goaltending
Prediction for the Deadline: The Oilers are a staggering 2-22-4 when scoring two or fewer goals in a game this season and that stat will likely be what keeps them out of the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the second straight season under head coach Jason Christie, unless he makes a huge move to bring in at least one proven scorer. The Oilers did bring in P.J. Musico to stabilize the goaltending situation because it is unlikely Jamie Phillips will be back down in Tulsa this season.
Overall Record: 17-34-3-1, 38 pts (5th in Central Division, 13th in Western Conference)
Home Record: 10-20-0-0
Road Record: 7-14-3-1
Last 10 Games: 2-8-0-0
Greatest Need: Defense. The Thunder have been soft on defense all season and it shows. Through 55 games, the Thunder have allowed 3.89 goals per game.
Prediction for the Deadline: With not many tradable assets other than the playing rights to Alexis Loiseau, it is hard to see Head Coach Malcolm Cameron being active at the deadline. The team does have several future considerations deals outstanding from the summer and season, so we will have to see what return he gets back on those.
Overall Record: 15-37-3-2, 35 pts (6th in Central Division, 14th in Western Conference)
Home Record: 9-16-2-0
Road Record: 6-20-1-2
Last 10 Games: 1-7-2-0
Greatest Need: Shutdown defenseman
Prediction for the Deadline: The Fuel has been out of contention for a playoff spot for a while now so it’s possible that they stay quiet on this year’s deadline. They could also attempt to make a move to start building for next season. Regardless, defense is an issue for the Fuel so if any moves are made, it should be on the back end.
The Sin Bin’s Mark Grainda and Matthew Harding assisted on this piece.
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