Summer Blog Entry: June 29-July 12, 2018
06/29/2018 10:55 AM - Adrian Denny
Head Coach/General Manager Tim Branham will issue up to eight qualifying offers for the 2018-2019 season Sunday to players from last year’s roster. That list will be announced on Monday.
Tim and I are scheduled to be on Talkin' Sports with my TV Broadcast Partner Adam Mikulich on KMYU tonight at 10:37 p.m. (Friday) and Sunday night at 10:35 p.m. on 2 News Talkin' Sports. We'll have all of the video from it posted online as well from KUTV.com.
Former Grizzlies forward David Oliver is the Director of Player Development for the Colorado Avalanche and was with Avalanche Assistant General Manager Craig Billington when the Grizzlies new affiliate made their first visit to Utah a few months ago. Oliver split the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 seasons between the Dallas Stars and Utah. He joined the Avalanche in 2007-2008 after completing his playing career and assumed his current position in 2014. He started as the General Manager of their AHL affiliate in Lake Erie. He works with Billington in overseeing the development of all of the franchise's prospects in the professional, junior and college ranks in both North America and Europe. So as the Grizzlies started talking with Colorado, they were beginning with someone who had been in the building for parts of two seasons as a player and already was familiar with the organization.
The one thing that stuck out to me yesterday before the press conference in Tim’s office was when Billington once again reiterated that the Avalanche will look at all of the players in Utah as their players/prospects regardless of whether they are under contract with Colorado or Utah and their development staff will be active in coaching all of our players during their frequent visits to Maverik Center.
During the press conference Billington said they were able to work a good system with Colorado as their ECHL affiliate of winning while developing players. “We like to think over the last few years, specifically with Chris Stewart and the Eagles that we’ve been able to find a formula to develop and win; which is really challenging a lot of times in affiliations. Talking with Tim and spending a lot of time with him to work off of that blue print to have a successful team here in Utah and really develop some key players is what our plan is to do.”
There was lots of great stuff in Thursday’s press conference. Watch for “Colorado Cuts” on Grizzlies Social Media in the coming days with some of the best items covered.
The Grizzlies now will be affiliated with the Colorado Eagles, who are the new AHL expansion team and will serve as the Avs’ AHL affiliate. The two teams played each other from 2011-2018 and Grizzlies CEO Kevin Bruder joked in Thursday’s press conference that the Grizzlies did have a winning record against Colorado. The all-time series from a Utah perspective stood at the Grizzlies with a 40-31-13 record against the Eagles in the ECHL.
No Friday Blog next week over Fourth of July Weekend, back on July 13, 2018.
Summer Blog Entry: June 22, 2018
06/22/2018 10:02 AM - Adrian Denny
Grizzlies Head Coach/General Manager Tim Branham will be attending the NHL draft in Dallas this weekend and will be tweeting from there as well @TimJBranham.
Notable Grizzlies from 2017-2018 that were drafted in the NHL include:
Gage Ausmus by San Jose in 2013
Alex Dostie by Anaheim in 2016
Jake Marchment by Los Angeles in 2014
Michael Pelech by Los Angeles in 2009
Sean Maguire by Pittsburgh in 2012
Branham was drafted by Vancouver in 2000.
Kevin Boyle, who went 9-6 with Utah in 2016-2017, signed a two-year contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.
ICYMI, the Grizzlies announced their first four signings of the offseason Monday in: Jake Marchment, Brendan Harms, Ryan Misiak and Mitch Maxwell.
Click here to watch my Grizzlies TV feature with Head Coach Tim Branham and highlights of all four players.
My stylist Kari, yesterday at the West Valley City Supercuts, said she’s looking forward to Misiak’s return as he’s one of her regular customers during the season.
The most common question I get asked year-round is “what do you do in the offseason.” I still work Monday-Friday in the Grizzlies Front Office just like during the regular season. My broadcast partner Tyson Whiting has a much more interesting answer. Last Friday, Tyson started broadcasting for our Elmore Sports Group team in Idaho Falls. The Chukars are the Pioneer League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Loaded with starting pitching and leading the league in offense, the Chukars are off to a 5-2 start. They’ll be playing the Orem Owlz at Brent Brown Ballpark Saturday-Monday and then back in Utah the next weekend to play the Ogden Raptors.
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.