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Summer Blog

Summer Blog Entry: June 15, 2018

06/15/2018 6:00 AM - Adrian Denny

Players can officially sign with teams beginning on Saturday for the 2018-2019 season. Head Coach Tim Branham has verbal agreements with several returning players and will issue them contracts to sign and return for the upcoming season. If we get any contracts approved by the league over the weekend, I’ll tweet them out from my personal account @GrizzliesVoice.

During the final regular season series with Colorado in March at Maverik Center, several people told me they hoped that the Grizzlies could get Joey Ratelle, acquired from Colorado Wednesday, for “next year”.  Branham was one step ahead of them with Colorado still owing Utah the Future Considerations part of the trade that also brought Jake Marchment and Gage Ausmus to Utah. There are rare instances when you’re playing against a player that you confidentially know will soon be a member of your team, including when he gets a hat trick against you as Ratelle did on March 23. In most future consideration scenarios though, the player is not determined until the date that the trade is completed.  Back in January of 2015, the Grizzlies and Stockton were deep into negotiations about bringing Ryan Hayes to Utah when the two teams met January 9 and 10 at Maverik Center as Hayes competed in his final days as a member of the Thunder. 

If you missed Wednesday’s announcement, read more here

If you missed my Joey Ratelle feature for Grizzlies TV, click here

The team the Grizzlies will see the most next season in Idaho, traded a player that I’ve always felt was extremely dangerous in big situations against Utah; with Will Merchant going to Greenville to complete a future considerations trade with them.

The Grizzlies will have one new member of the Hockey Operations department next year, the official announcement will come soon.

Summer Blog Entry: June 8, 2018

06/08/2018 10:14 AM - Adrian Denny

The Grizzlies will announce the completion of a big trade next week; adding the rights to one of the top players against them this past season. I’ve been working on a feature with Head Coach Tim Branham for Grizzlies TV which should be ready for Grizzlies TV Tuesday on the new acquisition. 

If you missed it a few weeks ago, Head Coach Tim Branham is holding a Professional Tryout Camp August 11-12 at the Utah Olympic Oval. We hear from hundreds of people both locally and throughout the world every year who want to tryout for a chance to play professional hockey; so here’s the chance. Last season, Tim was in a meeting in his office on a game day and an individual who was apparently at Maverik Center playing with his Men’s Hockey League, entered without notice and told Tim he was ready to play for the Grizzlies.

H.T. Lenz, who played for the Grizzlies during the 2014-2015 regular season, is the Manger of Hockey Analytics for the Washington Capitals who won their first Stanley Cup on Thursday. 

Colorado and Florida will play game seven of the Kelly Cup Finals on Saturday. According to ECHL Director of Communications Joe Babik, it is the first time since 2008 that the ECHL has outlasted the Stanley Cup Final and it was also a team involving Las Vegas as Cincinnati defeated the Wranglers for the Kelly Cup one day after Detroit defeated Pittsburgh for the Stanley Cup.

Nine of Colorado’s 23 playoff games have gone to overtime and they are 7-2 in overtime.  Again, from Joe Babik, the last time game seven of the Kelly Cup Finals was decided in overtime was in 1999 when Mississippi, coached by current Minnesota Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau defeated Richmond in double overtime.
Another Mountain Division affiliation renewal this past week as Kansas City and Calgary have renewed their agreement after their first year together in 2017-2018.

Summer Blog Entry: June 1, 2018

06/01/2018 3:27 PM - Adrian Denny

After the usual quiet time of the offseason, things will start to get significantly more active at Maverik Center.

The Grizzlies have one additional trade to complete, in which they will be receiving a player to complete an earlier trade that involved future considerations. That will be finalized by June 15. This will be the team’s busiest offseason in the last several years.

There are currently several dozen names on the white board in Head Coach Tim Branham’s office in terms of players that are targeted for return, pursued through free agency or could be assigned through affiliation. As usual, it will be harder to make the team out of Training Camp than it was the previous year and 2018-2019 has already begun to develop some very high expectations.

The last former Utah player to get eliminated in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs was Aaron Dell as his San Jose Sharks were eliminated in six games by Vegas, which currently stands as the longest series that Vegas has been involved in. Dell saw his first professional playoff action in that series with a 2.57 Goals-Against-Average and a .928 Save Percentage in two relief outings of Martin Jones.

ECHL Division News: Tulsa (St Louis) and Wichita (Edmonton) have announced affiliation extensions.

All seven coaches in the division from 17-18 are currently still in place. 

Early season sales on Grizzlies Ticket Packages are already ahead of last season’s pace at this time. Even more impressive, was that the team set a record for Ticket Package sales last year.

Game Day Blog Entry: April 7, 2018

04/07/2018 6:43 AM - Adrian Denny
-Utah looks to close the season with three-straight wins at home.
-Utah has closed out the regular season with a win in ten-straight seasons.
Last Night
-Kyle Thomas became the 12th Utah player to score two goals in a game this season, Ryan Walters has done it twice.
-15 of Utah’s 16 skaters had at least one shot with Ryan Walters having six and Kyle Thomas having five.
-Four of Utah’s five goal scorers had multi-point games in Kyle Thomas (one goal, one assist), James Melindy (one goal, one assist), Jake Marchment (one goal, one assist) and Ryan Walters (one goal, one assist). 
-The game was five-on-five for 54 of 60 minutes and all regulation goals were scored five-on-five with only three power-plays as Kansas City went 0-2 and Utah went 0-1.
-Each team scored one in the first, two in the second and two in the third.
-Utah improved to 5-1-0-1 against the Central Division last night.
All 72
-Ryan Misiak will be the only Utah player to play in all 72 games. 
-Jake Marchment played in all 49 games with Colorado before being reassigned to Utah on February 15 and played in all 22 games with the Grizzlies.
-Mathieu Aubin played in 72 games in 2014-2015 and 2016-2017 becoming the first Utah player to do it since 2007-2008.
With A Goal
-Ryan Walters looks to become the first Utah skater since Paul McIlveen in 2011-2012 to have 30 goals in a season.
-It would give Utah a 30-goal scorer for only the fourth time in the last 17 seasons.
Year Five
-The Grizzlies look for a win tonight to finish 178-136-45 in their first five seasons under Tim Branham.
-Utah will draw their fourth-straight crowd of over 7,000 fans tonight and their fifth in the last seven games.

Game Day Blog Entry April 6, 2018

04/06/2018 9:25 AM - Adrian Denny

This Situation
-The Grizzlies and Kansas City close the regular season against each other for the second time in two seasons.

- The Grizzlies, averaging over 7,500 fans in their last five weekend games and fifth in the 27-team ECHL overall in attendance at 5,463 fans-per-game return home for their final two regular season home games.
-Utah finished seventh last year in attendance at 5,360 fans-per-game, they are fourth among returning teams in the ECHL with expansion Jacksonville also in the top five.
-Utah has outshot the opposition by 25 shots in the last four games after Wednesday’s 32-23 effort.
Against Kansas City
-Utah went 3-1 last year against Kansas City and 2-1 at Maverik Center in the final games of the regular season.
-The series started and ended with 5-3 Utah wins on December 27 and April 8 between a 2-1 Utah overtime win on April 5 and a 3-2 loss on April 7.
-Utah looks for a win to eliminate Kansas City from playoff contention for a second-straight year.
-Last year’s 2-1 overtime win on April 5 eliminated Kansas City from postseason contention for the second time in three years.
-The two teams will be Mountain Division opponents once again next year after a season apart in 2016-2017 as the Mavericks went to the Central Division.
Last Year
-Both Utah and Kansas City were 2-11 on the power-play against the other with Utah going 5-5 at Maverik Center as the final two games saw just five combined power-plays.
What A Run
-The Grizzlies run of ten-straight seasons of qualifying for the playoffs, which is the second longest in the ECHL, the fifth longest in affiliated professional hockey and in the State of Utah will come to an end this season.
Entering 2017-2018 Playoff Streaks
-Idaho Steelheads (WCHL, ECHL) 1997-1998 (21-straight seasons)
-Wilkes Barre Scranton (AHL) 2002-2003-Present (16-straight seasons)
-Colorado Eagles (CHL, WCHL) 2003-2004-Present (15-Straight Seasons)
-Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) 2005-2006-Present (13-Straight Seasons)
-Utah Grizzlies, South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) 2007-2008 (10-Straight Seasons)
Trending Up
-Charley Graaskamp has four assists in his last five games since missing 28 of 29 games injured.
-Jake Marchment, who hasn’t gone more than two games scoreless with Utah since being acquired on February 15, has one goal and three assists in his last four games and eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 20 games with the Grizzlies.
-Brendan Harms is Utah’s third leading scorer with 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points in 40 games since December 29 after being healthy scratched in five-straight games after two goals and six assists for eight points in his first 20 games.
Even After 9 Games Away
-Austin Ortega still leads the ECHL in scoring since January 6 with 17 goals and 28 assists for 45 points in 29 games despite being called-up on March 12.

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