Memorial Cup 2012: Facts, Figures and Forecasts

The 2012 Memorial Cup is quickly approaching (we at The Hockey Writers are eagerly excited), with the tournament opener coming on Friday night, and it may go down in history as one of the deepest in recent memory.  With many NHL draft picks and hopefuls between the four teams, as well as bragging rights as Canadian Hockey League champions, it is quite an exciting time.  The Memorial Cup is one of the hardest trophies in all of sports to win.  Each of the league champions had to endure arduous playoff schedules, respectively winning the J. Ross Robertson Cup (OHL), President’s Cup (QMJHL) and Ed Chynoweth Cup (WHL) along the way.  After those playoff series, it could almost be too much to bear to have to play even longer but every CHL player knows that this is what they strive for from the beginning of the year.

This year’s Memorial Cup tournament is held in Shawinigan, Quebec, at the Centre Bionest, hosted by the Cataractes.  Remarkably, they are not going into this tournament as the QMJHL playoff champions or even as the runner-up in the finals.  Thankfully for them, they have the good fortune of being the host team so they knew that they would go no matter what happened this season.  The teams who are going to the Memorial Cup as league champions, however, are actually not that surprising.  Each one had the best regular-season record during the season and, while playoff series can usually have upsets, that did not happen with any of these teams.  That being said, it does not discredit that the difficulty that each team had on their way to the Memorial Cup.

Many questions are now being asked. Who are these teams looking to win the Memorial Cup? Who are players to look for?  What can fans expect?  Hopefully, those questions will all be answered in some way in the coming weeks and then some.  We must look at how each team got to this point and what they can do to cement themselves as the top team in the Canadian Hockey League.

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Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL Champions)

Head Coach: Derek Laxdal

General Manager: Bob Green

Michael St. Croix

Michael St. Croix. (Photo: OHL Images)

Regular Season Record: 50-15-3-4

Leading Scorer: Michael St. Croix (105 pts.)

Leading Goalie: Laurent Brossoit (42-13-5, 2.47 GAA, .914 SV%, 3 SO)

WHL Championships: 3 (1971, 1972, 2012) *

Memorial Cup Championships: None

* NOTE: This includes both incarnations of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

 

NHL Alumni

Tomáš Vincour.

Laurent Brossoit

Laurent Brossoit.

NHL Draft Picks & Prospects

Keegan Lowe (Carolina Hurricanes), Kristiāns Pelšs (Edmonton Oilers), Laurent Brossoit (Calgary Flames), Mark Pysyk (Buffalo Sabres), Martin Gernát (Edmonton Oilers), Michael St. Croix (New York Rangers), Travis Ewanyk (Edmonton Oilers).

2012 NHL Entry Draft Hopefuls

Dylan Wruck, Griffin Reinhart, Henrik Samuelsson, Klarc Wilson, Mitchell Moroz.

 

Mark Pysyk

Mark Pysyk. (Photo: Lisa McRitchie/Kukla's Korner)

Playoffs

Conference Quarter-Finals: Won over Kootenay Ice, 4 games to 0

Conference Semifinals: Won over Brandon Wheat Kings, 4 games to 0

Conference Finals: Won over Moose Jaw Warriors, 4 games to 1

League Finals: Won over Portland Winterhawks, 4 games to 3

MVP: Laurent Brossoit (16-4, 2.04 GAA, .933 SV%, 2 SO)

Facts to Consider

Kristians Pelss

Kristiāns Pelšs. (Photo: Lisa McRitchie/Kukla's Korner)

  • The Edmonton Oil Kings have scored by committee all throughout the playoffs.  They had four players in the top 20 in playoff scoring and 11 overall in the top 50. The scoring was not solely the responsibility of Michael St. Croix, Klarc Wilson and Tyler Maxwell.  Many of their contributions came from rookies Henrik Samuelsson and Curtis Lazar, as well as veterans Stéphane Legault and Rhett Rachinski.  Lazar and St. Croix led the Oil Kings in scoring with 19 points apiece.
  • The Oil Kings have been fairly disciplined throughout the playoffs.  Many of their top scorers had only single-digit penalty minute totals, allowing for their power play to succeed.  Their top four scorers had 24 penalty minutes between them, the same amount Mitchell Moroz had all on his own.
  • The Oil Kings have been sound defensively throughout the playoffs.  All but three of their players were on the positive side of the plus-minus ledger.  The only players to be even or a minus were Ryan Dech, Tristan Sieben and Cole Benson, who only played in seven games between them.
  • Goaltender Laurent Brossoit has carried on his solid play from the regular season into the playoffs.  He did not get his first loss in the postseason until Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Moose Jaw Warriors.  In addition to being named playoff MVP, Brossoit also recorded two assists during the playoffs.
INTERESTING TRIVIA: Six players on the team — defenceman Keegan Lowe and forwards Cole Benson, Klarc Wilson, Rhett Rachinski, Stéphane Legault and Tristan Sieben – were actually born in Edmonton, making the WHL championship — and now possibly a Memorial Cup — all the more poignant.


THW Says: “
Edmonton is one of those teams that just finds a way. Laurent Brossoit had a pretty good regular season but has played great in the playoffs. He got hot at the right time and it will be interesting to see how the Oil Kings stack up defensively….that could be their weak link.” ~ Chris Wassel

*

London Knights (OHL Champions)

Head Coach: Mark Hunter

General Manager: Mark Hunter

Seth Griffith

Seth Griffith. (Photo: OHL Images)

Regular Season Record: 49-18-0-1

Leading Scorer: Seth Griffith (85 pts.)

Leading Goalie: Michael Houser (46-15-1, 2.47 GAA, .925 SV%, 6 SO)

OHL Championships: 2 (2005, 2012)

Memorial Cup Championships: 1 (2005)

 

NHL Draft Picks & Prospects

Austin Watson (Nashville Predators), Greg McKegg (Toronto Maple Leafs), Jared Knight (Boston Bruins), Jarred Tinordi (Montréal Canadiens), Scott Harrington (Pittsburgh Penguins), Vladislav Namestnikov (Tampa Bay Lightning).

Olli Maatta

Olli Määttä. (Photo: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

2012 NHL Entry Draft Hopefuls

Andreas Athanasiou, Brett Welychka, Chris Tierney, Josh Anderson, Matt Rupert, Michael Houser, Olli Määttä, Ryan Rupert.

NHL Alumni

Brandon Prust, Corey Perry, David Bolland, John Carlson, John Erskine, John Tavares, Kyle Quincey, Michael Del Zotto, Patrick Kane, Rick Nash, Sam Gagner, Sergei Kostitsyn, Steve Mason.

 

Michael Houser

Michael Houser. (Photo: OHL Images)

Playoffs

Conference Quarter-Finals: Won over Windsor Spitfires, 4 games to 0

Conference Semifinals: Won over Saginaw Spirit, 4 games to 2

Conference Finals: Won over Kitchener Rangers, 4 games to 0

League Finals: Won over Niagara IceDogs, 4 games to 1

MVP: Austin Watson (3 powerplay goals, 2 insurance goals, +10)

Facts to Consider

  • Despite the number of NHL draft picks on their roster, the London Knights have had incredible contribution from players who are not yet drafted.  Forward Seth Griffith, who slipped through the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and defenceman Olli Määttä, who is highly ranked for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, co-led the team in scoring with 23 points apiece in 19 playoff games.  As well, Michael Houser continued his fantastic play that garnered him OHL top goalie and most valuable player honours.

    Austin Watson

    Austin Watson. (Photo: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

  • Three players on the Knights’ current roster have family connections to the Memorial Cup.  Jarred Tinordi’s father Mark played at the Memorial Cup in 1983 as a member of the WHL’s Lethbridge Broncos.  Max Domi’s father Tie participated at the 1989 Memorial Cup with the Peterborough Petes.  Tyler Ferry’s brother Steve won a Memorial Cup with London in 2005.
  • The Knights were the only team in the OHL to have five players in the top 20 in playoff scoring and four players in the top 20 in playoff penalty minutes.  Ryan Rupert was the only one to be on both lists (15 points, 31 penalty minutes).

INTERESTING TRIVIA: Five players on the London Knights’ roster were undrafted free agent signings.  Goaltender Michael Houser, defencemen Tommy Hughes and Tyler Ferry, and forwards Colin Martin and Josh Anderson were all never drafted to the OHL.

THW Says: “Bolstered by one of the hottest goalies in the CHL, Michael Houser, and a deep defence that includes Jarred Tinordi and Scott Harrington, the London Knights are a tough team to score goals against. What the team’s offense lacks in flash, it more than makes up for in depth and timeliness.” ~ Derek Neumeier

*

Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL Champions)

Head Coach: Gerard Gallant

Danick Gauthier

Danick Gauthier. (Photo: saintjohnseadogs.com/David Connell Photography)

General Manager: Mike Kelly

Regular Season Record: 50-15-0-3

Leading Scorer: Danick Gauthier (86 pts.)

Leading Goalie: Mathieu Corbeil (37-10-1, 2.38 GAA, .911 SV%, 6 SO)

QMJHL Championships: 2 (2011, 2012)

Memorial Cup Championships: 1 (2011)

 

NHL Draft Picks & Prospects

Charles-Olivier Roussel (Nashville Predators), Charlie Coyle (Minnesota Wild), Danick Gauthier (Tampa Bay Lightning), Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers), Mathieu Corbeil-Thériault (Columbus Blue Jackets), Nathan Beaulieu (Montréal Canadiens), Ryan Tesink (St. Louis Blues), Stanislav Galiev (Washington Capitals), Stephen MacAulay (St. Louis Blues), Tomáš Jurčo (Detroit Red Wings), Zack Phillips (Minnesota Wild).

Charlie Coyle

Charlie Coyle. (Photo: saintjohnseadogs.com/David Connell Photography)

2012 NHL Entry Draft Hopefuls

Aidan Kelly, Devon Oliver-Dares, Jason Cameron, Sébastien Auger.

NHL Alumni

Mike Hoffman, Simon Després, Yann Sauvé.

Jonathan Huberdeau

Jonathan Huberdeau. (Photo: saintjohnseadogs.com/David Connell Photography)

 

Playoffs

Octofinals: Won over Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, 4 games to 0

Quarter-finals: Won over Baie-Comeau Drakkar, 4 games to 0

Semifinals: Won over Chicoutimi Saguenéens, 4 games to 1

Finals: Won over Rimouski Océanic, 4 games to 0

MVP: Charlie Coyle (5 game-winning goals, 4 first goals)

 

Tomas Jurco

Tomáš Jurčo. (Photo: saintjohnseadogs.com/David Connell Photography)

Facts to Consider

  • During the 2012 QMJHL playoffs, the Saint John Sea Dogs outscored their opponents 103-39.  In all but one game, they allowed four or fewer goals.  The only game in which they allowed five was the only game they lost during the playoffs, game 3 of the semifinals against Chicoutimi, which they lost 5-4 in overtime.
  • The Sea Dogs split their four-game series against the host Shawinigan Cataractes during the regular season.  Both times that the Sea Dogs were victorious, they won by only one goal.  Both times that the Cataractes were victorious, it was by a wide margin (three goals in one game, four in another).  To add, each team had a win in the other team’s arena.
  • The Sea Dogs are one of the oldest and most experienced teams in the 2012 Memorial Cup tournament.  Oliver Cooper is the only player on the roster going to the tournament born in 1995.  Their eight-man defence corps has seven blueliners born in 1992 and one 1991-born overager, Charles-Olivier Roussel.
INTERESTING TRIVIA: The Saint John Sea Dogs are looking to be the first team from the QMJHL since the 1980-81 Cornwall Royals to repeat as Memorial Cup champions.


THW Says:
 “The QMJHL Champions, the Saint John Sea Dogs, are the defending Memorial Cup Champions. Boasting a 16-1 record this spring, the team is stacked with highly talented players like Jonathan Huberdeau, Nathan Beaulieu, Charlie Coyle, Zack Phillips, Tomáš Jurčo and Stanislav Galiev. Saint John finished the regular season with 103 points despite missing Jurčo, Huberdeau and Beaulieu during the World Junior Championship. Coyle with 34 points in 17 playoff games and Huberdeau (21 points in 15 playoff games) are the key players to follow.” ~ Fred Poulin

*

Shawinigan Cataractes (Hosts)

Head Coach: Éric Veilleux

Anton Zlobin

Anton Zlobin. (Photo: Ghyslaine Poudrier)

General Manager: Martin Mondou

Regular Season Record: 45-16-3-4

Leading Scorer: Anton Zlobin (76 pts.)

Leading Goalie: Alex Dubeau (20-7-3, 2.45 GAA, .911 SV%, 4 SO)

QMJHL Championships: None

Memorial Cup Championships: None (but had previously hosted it in 1985)

 

Michael Bournival

Michaël Bournival. (Photo: Ghyslaine Poudrier)

NHL Draft Picks & Prospects

Brandon Gormley (Phoenix Coyotes), Dillon Donnelly (Colorado Avalanche), Jonathan Racine (Florida Panthers), Kirill Kabanov (New York Islanders), Michaël Bournival (Montréal Canadiens), Michael Chaput (Columbus Blue Jackets), Morgan Ellis (Montréal Canadiens), Yannick Veilleux (St. Louis Blues).

2012 NHL Entry Draft Hopefuls

Alex Dubeau, Alexandre Grandmaison, Anton Zlobin, Félix-Antoine Bergeron, Justin Haché.

NHL Alumni

Alexandre Bolduc, Alexandre Burrows, Jason Pominville, Marc-André Bergeron, Pascal Dupuis, Patrick Lalime, Radim Vrbata, Stéphane Robidas, Zbyněk Michálek.

Brandon Gormley

Brandon Gormley. (Photo: Ghyslaine Poudrier)

 

Playoffs

Octofinals: Won over Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, 4 games to 0

Quarter-finals: Lost to Chicoutimi Saguenéens, 4 games to 3

Facts to Consider

  • This year’s edition of the Shawinigan Cataractes, happily, are not the only team in Memorial Cup history to host the tournament despite being eliminated from the playoffs.  Unfortunately, the other team to do so — the 1990-91 Beauport Harfangs — did not even garner a berth in the tournament, with the champion Chicoutimi Saguenéens and the runner-up Drummondville Voltigeurs, acquiring the two QMJHL spots.  The rule was changed shortly after, guaranteeing that the home team is guaranteed a berth regardless of what happens in the playoffs.

    Loik Poudrier

    Loïk Poudrier. (Photo: Ghyslaine Poudrier)

  • Brandon Gormley has been successful with being consistent in his point production when it matters.  Despite the outcome not being to his liking, Gormley was a point per game at the 2010 Memorial Cup with the Moncton Wildcats (three points in three games), at the 2012 World Juniors (six points in six games) and during the 2012 QMJHL playoffs (seven points in seven games), despite Shawinigan’s early exit.  He had to miss contests after suffering a skate blade cut to the side of his neck.
  • Despite the Cataractes’ early exit, Loïk Poudrier still managed to lead the QMJHL playoffs with three shorthanded goals.  To put that into perspective, he had the same amount of shorthanded markers as the Saint John Sea Dogs had as a whole in nearly half the amount of games.

 

INTERESTING TRIVIA: Cataractes forwards Anton Zlobin and Yannick Veilleux were both born on the same day: February 22, 1993.

http://youtu.be/Nt29UhZlM9Y

THW Says: “A wild card, the Shawinigan Cataractes, finished 2nd overall during the regular season despite being ousted in the 2nd round by the surprising Chicoutimi Sagueneens. With marquee veterans such as Michaël Bournival, Brandon Gormley, Anton Zlobin, Kirill Kabanov and Morgan Ellis, the Cataractes won’t be an easy prey, but their goaltending is unpredictable to say the least. The veterans will need to play a more consistent game in order for Shawinigan to stand a chance to win the tournament, especially after a one-month hiatus.” ~ Fred Poulin

 

Margann Laurissa

Margann Laurissa

Margann Laurissa is based out of Kingston, Ontario. She contributes profiles to MyNHLDraft.com on a regular basis.
Margann Laurissa
Margann Laurissa

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