What’s next for Hounds?

April 9, 2014

Anyone call for Erie Otters to sweep Soo Greyhounds in four straight in the second round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs?

I know I didn’t.

Maybe I was being a homer — though I am not known for giving the Houndtown discount — but I did feel the Soo had the team to take Erie in a seven-game series.

And it’s not as though I underestimated the Otters, being fully aware of the Erie scoring machine that can trigger Dane Fox, Connor Brown, Connor McDavid and Andre Burakovsky.

Rather, I was of the notion that the depth of the Hounds — especially over four lines — as well as their goaltending would provide enough of an edge.

Well, as we know, it didn’t.

Erie showed superior speed, was able to keep the Soo away from the danger zones — and Otters goalie Devin Williams played better than many thought he would.

What’s next for the Hounds, as in the 2014-2015 season?

With 1993 birth dates, overage forwards Tyler Gaudet, Andrew Fritsch and Patrick Watling have all exhausted their OHL eligibility and will not be easily replaced for next season.

Gaudet scored 26 goals, Fritsch netted 24 and Watling potted 18 this season.

From within, potential overage candidates for the 2014-2015 campaign are defenceman Alex Gudbranson, forwards Jorgen Karterud, Bryan Moore, Dylan Corson and Jean Dupuy and goalie Matt Murray.

Under contract to the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League and having already played four seasons in the OHL, the feeling is that Murray will be playing pro in 2014-2015.

Of the others, Moore and Gudbranson loom as the most-attractive of the potential overagers.

Among the younger players, forwards Sergey Tolchinsky, Jared McCann, Blake Speers, David Miller and Michael Bunting and defencemen Darnell Nurse and Tyler Ganly top the list of eligible returnees.

Nurse, however, could well make the Edmonton Oilers as a 19-year old.

Looming as the major question mark as we look ahead to next season is the Hounds goaltending.

Brandon Halverson is young — he’s a 1996 birth year — and the rookie had decent numbers as Murray’s backup this season with a 12-6-1 record, 2.96 goals against average and .904 save percentage.

Is the big puckstopper from Traverse City ready to become a no. 1 goalie in the OHL?

Good question.

PHOTO: Big defenceman Alex Gudbranson is a potential overager for the Greyhounds for next season. (Photo by Ali Pearson.)

What you think about “What’s next for Hounds?”

  1. I think that Halverson is ready to assume the duties of #1! The fantastic experience that our young returnee’s had and their contributions cannot not be denied! I think the standard was again set for what it means to be a “Greyhound”!

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