Soo Greyhounds / Soo News, St. Joseph Islander Review

Thunderbirds Hire Jordan Smith as Assistant Coach/Soo Greyhounds 2022-23 Challenge

With the recent announcement of the departure of defensive coach Jordan Smith to the Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL) as Assistant Coach and the loss of some major players ; what will the 2022-2023 season look like for the Hounds? 

Sure the Hounds inked GM Kyle Raftis to a few more years but his years as a permanent Soo resident may not be that long lasting. These contracts always have buy out clauses so will Kyle be here in two years or so? you’re guess is as good as mine.

When you are as skilled of a hockey man as Kyle is the offers will be coming his way. I’m sure a few professional organizations have already dangled a carrot.. but not big enough….yet….to pull him from the Dog Pound.

Since the two Kyles (Dubas/Raftis) have led this organization there is no doubt that they (team) were always competitive and have jumpstarted the careers of many many players into the professional ranks. This makes a great city to come to as a player and it also makes for great entertainment. The only problem is that this team has not gone all the way in decades. This team has jumped high enough over the years but always clipped the bar with the blade of their skate.

I have to admit I do not enjoy the first month of junior hockey as much as the rest; there are too many unknowns. Will this player join the team if coming from Europe…and when? Will this player or that player be returned to us (Hounds) from a pro camp and if so…………when? 

I know it is a part of the system but it is just one of my pet peeves.

Getting back to hockey; the Hounds will be losing some big names in Jack Thompson and O’Rourke. They have gone out and acquired overage Ryan Thompson to stop the bleed on defense as Calisti is also set to move on.

With the departure of Rory Kerins and Tye Kartye the Hounds will have some big wholes to fill up front as well. 

IMPORT-ANT CRITERIA

Up front Raftis and his scouts hope that Noel Nordh from Sweden can add some punch and grit. He was selected 44th overall via the Import Draft. This big 17 year old this will put his 6’1″ frame on the right side of the ice. He is currently listed as about 187 lbs but I am sure by the beginning of the season he will be hovering around 200.

With the Hounds success over the years it should be a given that he will report but as we know with players like Rasmus Kupari who decided to play in his native Finland instead of coming to Canada; these picks are nice on paper but there is still work to be done. In my opinion, given the track record of the Hounds GM, we will see him in the Soo this year. Currently he is still listed as Brynas IF property.

There is also the small chance that if the above can’t be inked that the Hounds try and get 2021 Import pick Julian Lutz from Germany to report. Julian played 15 games last year for EHC Muchen which for lack of a better term….is a men’s league. The Hounds are definitely looking for size up front as this kid is also over 6 ft and in the 185 lb arena.

The other area to chat about I guess would be goaltending. The Hounds need a number 1 goalie and not a guessing game. Tucker Tynan, Landon Miller, and Samuel Ivanov are all set to battle at camp next month. My guess is that as much as I like Tynan; I wouldn’t want to hold an OA spot with a goaltender. Usually a team that is in position to go all the way would use that spot as such. The Hounds are rebuilding again this year and even if star player Tanner Dickinson returns from his tryout with Springfield the Hounds might be a long ways away from contending.  By the way; the fact that Jordan Smith will be Assistant Coach of Springfield also leads me to speculate that his input on Dickinson may be the clincher.

Goaltending; how will it pan out?  I don’t know, but this area for sure is up for grabs.

WHO CAN IT BE KNOCKING AT YOUR DOOR……? 

Now John Dean and Jamie Tardif are excellent coaches that really earn their pay but for the Hounds to contend there will have to be more than a couple moves by Raftis.

This also brings to question; who will be the Hounds next associate coach? ?? Click Here ?? He will have to be defensive minded, experienced, and have a “new school” way of coaching. I am sure interviews are under way and that very soon someone will be named and added to the Hounds payroll. 

Now since relocating just outside of the Soo it would definitely be more of a challenge for me to get the games. I have been a fan via season ticket or game day for many decades. This year after finally adjusting to watching the games online over the past few seasons I will be re-ordering my subscription (CHL.ca) and doing the same this year.

I am also buffering the concept of having a Greyhounds Game Day grub and pub view at one of the few restaurants here on St Joes Island. I have heard much good feedback and if we can get 15-20 fans out for some grub and watch the game on the big screen I think it would be great for the fellowship.

Anyway, I know I haven’t touched on everything that has happened over the past few weeks with signings etc but I will in due time. With only a few weeks (more or less) from training camp I am starting to get the itch. If you enjoy the Hounds and out of the box writing style keep coming back. 

Go Hounds Go !!

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