KEY DEPARTURES- G-Nick Foley, F-Scott Page, F-Julian Smith, D Marcus Smith
PROBABLE ADDITIONS- F-Patrick Jarrett, F-Mark Cranley, D-Andrew Dwyer, F-Blair Jarrett, G-Matt Collaton or G-Justin Dumont, D Sean McMorrow, RW Mike Wehrstedt, D Brent Labre
KEY FACTORS FOR SUCCESS IN 2000-2001
1. IMPROVED DEFENSE- The Mississauga Ice Dogs once again lead the OHL with 346 goals against. This area was by far the most noticable reason for Mississauga losses on most nights. Hopefully, with the return of veterans B.J Ketcheson and Omar Ennaffati and the emergence of young talents such as David Dalliday, John Jarram and Andrew Yardy, the Ice Dogs can stop the flow of opposition pucks into their net.
2. IMPROVED POWER PLAY- With a meager 13.7% success rate, the Ice Dogs weren’t much of a threat with the man advantage. Quite often they looked confused and disorganised. The lack of a Power Play quarterback contributes to this problem. Although rookie Marcus Smith showed flashes of potential in this regard in the handful of games he played, he has since been traded for more defensive defensemen in Sean McMorrow and Brent Labre. With gifted offensive players such as Lou Dockenson, Chad Wiseman, Jason Spezza and now Patrick Jarrett, there is no reason why their Power Play should not improve.
3. GOALTENDING- If your team has bad defense and can’t score with the man advantage then you know that your goaltender is going to be the busiest man in the rink. Last season, both Overager Nick Foley and rookie Mike Mole played great. However, when a team allows the second and third shot on their goalie who has already made a great save, quite often they’ll pay for that. Goaltending was the least of the Ice Dogs problems last season. With the departure of Foley, Mole will grab the reins of the number one man. A repeat of last year’s performance by Mole and his backup is what this team needs.
4. PENALTY KILLING- The Ice Dogs also trailed the league in Penalty killing percentage, only killing off 72.7% of the power plays levied against them. They do have some very capable defensive forwards in Chris Thaler and Darrell Cowen; however, their defense as noted above is a liability in these situations. The additions of Sean McMorrow and Brent Labre from Kitchener are an attempt to address their glaring deficiencies on the blueline.