BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Steelheads are just days away from the start of their season.
With the Steelheads season fast approaching, I wanted to take a look back at last year’s team statistics, and also look into what to expect for this season. There are many players to be excited about this year, head coach Everett Sheen is very excited for the season to start, and I will give a little bit of my own perspective on what to watch for this season as well as how I think the team is going to do.
Nuts and Bolts:
Record: 41-25-4-2 — 88 pts.
Division/Conference Finish: 2nd in Mountain/4th in Western Conference
Playoff Finish: Lost in 2nd round
Record vs. Division: 33-21-4-2
Record vs. Conference: 37-24-4-2
Goals For Per Game: Average: 3.35 League Rank: T-5th
Goals Against Per Game: Average: 2.82 League Rank: 4th
Power Play: 55GF/293 attempts, League Rank: 9th
Penalty Kill: 49GA/301 attempts, League Rank: 9th
- How will having two former players, turn coaches affect the Steelheads this season?
- With 14 returning players, do the Steelheads pick up where they left off last season or will there be a re-acclimation process to start?
- Do either Colton Point or Tomas Sholl take the next step in their development and finish the season with the AHL Texas Stars?
Three players to keep your eye on this season are Eric Sweetman, Tomas Sholl, and Colton Saucerman.
Sweetman returns to the ice after being injured in the latter part of last season. When healthy, Sweetman is an offensive defenseman and the quarterback on the Steelheads power play. Additionally, on most nights he is responsible for containing the opposition’s top offensive unit. Having the third-year pro back on the blueline will be a stabilizing force for the Steelheads.
Sholl had a stellar year for Idaho in 2018-19, earning him a spot on the league’s All-Rookie and second All-Star teams, as well as a trip to the ECHL All-Star Classic. He was rewarded for that with an AHL contract with the Texas Stars in the offseason.
Saucerman spent a large chunk of the 2018-19 season in Utica but made his presence felt on the blueline in the Kelly Cup Playoffs by being a steadying influence on the Steelheads blueline. He is quick to turn defense into offense and this will prove valuable this coming season. This comes in handy during penalty kills.
Gone but Not Forgotten:
The three players with the most impact that left are Kale Kessy, Ryan Faragher and Alexander Dahl.
Kessy is the prototypical power forward, putting up 33 points in 35 games (11G, 22A) and 289 penalty minutes. His size and playmaking ability will be missed in Boise this season.
Ryan Faragher was the Steelheads starting goalie at the beginning of last season and put up some decent numbers, going 8-8-2 with a 3.16 goals against average, an .892 save percentage and a shutout.
Lastly, Dahl moves on after spending two seasons in Idaho, where he put up 48 points.
Sin Bin Swami Sez:
I think the Steelheads made a lot of positive moves in the offseason. Watching the players interact with the new coaching staff and seeing what they will bring to the table will be exciting as well. Overall, I think with the changes that were made in the offseason, the Steelheads have a good chance of making the playoffs yet again.