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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Season Preview: @VeryBarrieColts on the @OHLBarrieColts.

We took a moment to ask our very own Ryan Noble a few questions about the Barrie Colts of the OHL. Barrie's team has had some NHL'ers such as Kyle Clifford, Tanner Pearson and first overall draft pick Aaron Ekblad who was selected at the last NHL draft by the Florida Panthers. Ryan writes about the Barrie Colts over at his blog which he calls 'A Very Barrie Colts Blog'.

For more about the Barrie Colts and to keep up with some of Ryan's other work be sure to follow A Very Barrie Colts Blog on Twitter and Facebook!

So, what did your team do this summer?

They seemed to mostly Instagram pictures of them fishing and hoping that some silly local blog didn’t photoshop a cat on their head.. Oh, you mean the team and not just the players? Well, a lot of drafting was done. Not only did our captain Aaron Ekblad get drafted first overall by the Florida Panthers (bragging), but Brendan Lemieux and Kevin Labanc were also selected in this years NHL draft.

(Andrew Mangiapane: One of many who got the cat treatment)

We did a little drafting of our own though. We picked up Rasmus Andersson in the first round of this years CHL Import Draft. Last year, Anderson played in Sweden in the HockeyAllscenskan which is the second highest league in Sweden (after the SHL). Playing for Malmö, Anderson finished the season with 10 assists and 13 points in 43 games. He also represented his home country of Sweden in the World Junior Championship-18 where he got 4 points in 7 games. 

What is the biggest surprise this off-season?

No big surprises really. Other than Lemieux not getting selected until the 2nd round. I really was shocked that he wasn’t picked much earlier in the draft. I think he will end up being a great pick up for Buffalo in the near future.

What would be one change (or more) you would have made?

We went from being a team with Aaron Ekblad to a team that likely won’t have Aaron Ekblad. For anyone who has spent any time watching him, they will know how huge of a loss that is. Luckily, we do have some solid guys on our blue line and with Anderson who is expected to have a solid debut season with the Colts, it really is up to anyone to step up and become the top guy back there. As far as what they could have done, I think they did that by picking up Anderson to help fill up the blue line with some skill.

Who is going to be your “dark horse” break out player this year?

Not sure if “dark horse” is how I would describe him, however I really think that C.J Garcia is going to have a huge role on this team this season. Last season was his second year with the team and he showed great improvement. Not only did he significantly drop his penalty minutes, but he finished the season with 9 points in 52 games. In this years pre season he looked like a stud. He was making big hits, had great vision and passing abilities and managed to keep the front of his goalies net clear of opposing players. Not only that but he showed great willingness to block shots, and this was only preseason. The Colts have a hole to fill on their blue line and though Garcia might not be able to replace Ekblad, I think that he will be able to still have an incredible year and in my opinion, he is the guy to watch.

What is your team’s biggest need this season?

We need players who are going to step up and get some goals for us. A lot of talk about the team losing Ekblad kind of takes away from the fact we lost a lot of skill up front as well. After losing over agers Zach Hall, Mitchell Theoret and Tyson Fawcett, as well as leading scorer Andreas Athanasiou who will turn pro this season within the Detroit Red Wings organization, we need guys to make up for this lost goal production. Those players make up for 4 of our 5 top players for points last season. I am looking at guys like Andrew Mangiapane, Joseph Blandisi and Garrett Hooey to really step up and make up for that lost production. 

I know it’s early but any trade deadline predictions?

No… That being said, they will likely trade Garcia because I have confessed my love for his game going into this season. This happens often.

What are your predictions for your team this year?

I think that though it will be a tough season for the Colts, it won’t be a bad one. I expect that the team will make the playoffs and I expect a similar run to last season. I think that Jonathan Laser is going to step up huge this season for the team and will grow into not only a top defenseman on the team but a leader. If we get Lemieux and Labanc much this season, I think that they will help develop the new leaders of the team and I sincerely think that Laser could be that guy to take over, even if it is just from the blue line.

And perhaps my boldest prediction is we will see many more VIP pool parties with Brendan Lemieux and friends.. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice read. Spent quite a few years going to school in Barrie in the 00's. Team was very popular then and had decent success. Plus the BMC was a nice rink. Hopefully they can continue the good work from last season, even if Ekblad isn't around.


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