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Colorado Raptors Offseason review, Pre-Season Review and Expectation going into S50.
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Raptors Colorado Raptors Offseason review, Pre-Season Review and Expectation going into S50 Raptors


With the S50 regular season well underway for the SMJHL I thought it was prime time do a season preview for the Colorado Raptors. To start off we will quickly go through the offseason moves as well as player updates to get a feeling for how the locker room was like going into this historic season.


Offseason

After a disappointing early finish to the last season, going down in the first round against the Anchorage Armada in seven games, the general feeling in the locker room was that of frustration and defeat. This didn’t last long however as most players seemed to agree that they would be making a splash in the coming season and with the addition of two big veterans to the lineup, the team seems poised to make a deep playoff run.

After losing their starting goalie (Knox Booth) due to him being called up to the big league, it was clear that the raptors needed to either hit a homerun in the draft or trade for a goalie. They ended up going for the latter and traded for the Detroit Falcons goalie Emiko Specter (@MantoRune).



Specter had a fantastic season and her performance between the pipes was a big part of the Falcons finishing first overall in the regular season. She finished 3rd overall in save percentages last year, 1st overall in GAA, 1st overall in shutouts with a whopping 6 shutout performances and led the league in wins with 25. This addition might be the most important acquisition of the off-season for any team in the league, at least to this writer. When speaking to some of the players in the organisation, it seemed like Specter fit into the locker room hand in glove, another important element to the success of the team. If the Raptors make a deep run in the playoffs, keep an eye on Specter because she is the kind of goalie that is more than capable of stealing a few games or an entire series.


The second big addition to the Raptors lineup for this coming season is former Anaheim Outlaws power forward, Anthony Archer (@Zach). The archetypical power forward, Archer is a heart and soul kind of guy who plays a rough and tumble game which is something you don’t see all too often in the league anymore. Last season he played on the Outlaws second line where he racked up 22 even strength points (12 goals, 10 assists). This is exactly the kind of veteran depth that teams need to succeed in an ever growing and evolving league. So far it looks like he will be slotted in on the Raptors third line as well as on one of the powerplay units.

The Raptors also re-signed some old familiar faces in Miller (@BayJingT) (RW), Nugget (@mtorino) (LW), Peralta (@GoldenKnight) © and Siecker (@HeatSiecker) (D) as well as adding a new backup goaltender in Shiqa Vitalievich (@NylarthePhoenix) to the squad.

Colorado didn’t make much of a splash in the draft this season, but then again they really didn’t need to with such a stacked roster. Instead they opted to trade away some of their drafts to improve the current roster as well as adding more picks down the line. They had only two picks in the draft, going with the exciting young center Henrik Lundqvist Jr (@FreakinAnime) (28th OA) from Sweden as well as George Constanza (@fonziGG) (34th OA), a promising two-way defenseman from the United States. Due to the stacked roster that the Raptors are presenting this year they will likely not have a ton of ice time this season, mostly likely playing on the 4th line and the 3rd D-pairing respectively.

Pre-Season

The Pre-season gave fans of Colorado a lot of reasons for optimism for the coming season. They finished first in the standings with a record of 34-15-1, quite an impressive record considering where they finished the previous season. That being said, this is just the pre-season and a lot can happen between the end of a pre-season and the start of the playoffs. What is most impressive about this team on to me is the forward depth.

The top 6 put up some staggering offensive numbers 5 on 5. The top line, consisting of Kane (@NONAME), Crudelli (@jason97) and Valentine-Okoli (@ProjectSaint), put up a mind boggling combined 60 goals (plus/minus of +36) and the second line putting up another 35 (plus/minus of -3) in just 50 games played. If the second line, consisting of Atreides (@OrbitingDeath), Lekberg Osterman and Urawa (@uhh) (all three of which are entering their sophomore season after being drafted 8th, 3rd and 9th OA respectively in the SHL entry draft), can shore up their two-way play, then team is looking like an absolute juggernaut. The bottom 6 put up more modest numbers with the third line of Coitus-Wagg (@Jaemistightdabs), Archer (@Zach) and Last-Name (@gurbs) combining for 22 goals (even plus/minus) and the fourth line, consisting of Peralta (@GoldenKnight), Lundqvist Jr (@FreakinAnime) and Miller (@BayJingT) adding another 7 (even plus/minus). What perhaps the most impressive about this bottom 6 is that they were an even +/- when playing 5 on 5, a very promising stat.

Moving on now to defense, Colorado is deep in this area as well. Let’s go through the 5 on 5 statistics from the pre-season. The top pairing of Wolfe (@iRockstar) and Bohne (@wumaduce) proved that they are amongst the best pairings in the league, scoring a combined 9 goals as well as finishing with a combined plus/minus of +13. The second pairing of the veteran Siecker (@HeatSiecker) and sophomore Kuster (@kuschy) promises to be another strong pairing for the team, together they put up 4 goals and combined for a plus/minus of +7. Finally we come to the third d-pairing of Gorbachenko (@The BreakBot) and Costanza (@fonziGG), they also combined for 4 goals and put up a whopping combined plus/minus of +21.

Powerplay specialists

Throughout the pre-season a trend started to emerge amongst certain players on the roster, namely Kane (@NONAME), Atreides (@OrbitingDeath), Lekberg Osterman, Last-Name (@gurbs) and Wolfe (@iRockstar). These Five players all scored 10 or more points on the powerplay in the last 50 games. Wolfe was perhaps the most impressive, scoring 11 goals and adding 4 helpers on the man advantage. More than likely you won’t be seeing them on the same powerplay unit but look for these players to keep adding offensive numbers on the man advantage.

Expectations

The expectations are high for Colorado coming into the regular season. They have a fantastic and deep core, both on forward and defense and they traded for arguably the best goalie available in the SMJHL. GM @hhh81 and Co-GM @NONAME have really done a fantastic job in turning this team into a serious contender. Fans are expecting nothing less than for the team to bring home a cup and from what we have heard, the feeling inside the locker room is mutual. Anything less than a push to the finals would be an underachievement in most fans opinion but with a league as deep and as talented as the one we are witnessing right now you can never take anything for granted. The Raptors will have to battle every step of the way but to this writer and to the fans back in Colorado, the Raptors are a favourite for the cup this season.



1200 words, ready to be graded.
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Raptors

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Raptors Let's go

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yaaaa buddy Raptors

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#5

Yay Raptors

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