Saturday, October 8, 2011

2012 Champions: Jardine Rediscovered and Goalie Preview

The Mavericks have reported that Ryan Jardine has returned for his second season with the organization.  The veteran had 54 points (23-31=54) and played in all 66 games last year for the Mavs.  Jardine has a two-way contract and could see some time with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL this season.  The Wolves are the new "AAA" affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks and the Mavs first affiliation to a high-level professional organization.  It will be good to have Jardine's presence on the ice, especially with all of the new faces.  He understands head coach Scott Hillman's system, and can maybe help to integrate the multitude of new forwards.

In addition, Mike Berry has been released to make room for Jardine.  So, forget Berry is in the lineup and just pencil in Jardine instead.  This sounds like a mutual agreement, since Berry will surely get an opportunity elsewhere.  It's easy to assume Berry believed the Mavs were getting top-heavy among the forwards.  This can be seen as a good or bad thing, of course, as the organization is getting better and even very good players feel they may not get a legitimate opportunity.  But, it can be bad because an overzealous front office may have upset Berry and prompted him to look for work elsewhere.  You don't want to upset the stars, they're fragile.  Either way, good luck to him in all of his future endeavors.  Therefore, the Mavericks have lost their top two point scorers from a year ago.  But, they get Jardine and all of those other guys.  So, we got that goin' for us, which is nice.

Chances Jardine gets called up to Chicago at some point?  Eh, probably pretty good.  Alas, that's the reality of an affiliation.  Quality players can get taken away by better competition.

For those of you asking for the whereabouts of Nick Sirota, he is currently playing with the Kalamazoo K-Wings of the ECHL, which, oddly enough, are also affiliates of the Canucks.  So, a good player leaves the league that wants to be the "AA" of hockey to go to a competing "AA" league.  Alrighty then...

Goalie preview after the jump.
First, in order of signing.

Jakub Macek, from Slovakia, begins his first season in America.  Although his professional European resumé isn't incredibly deep, the Mavericks want to give him a shot.  At only 24 years old, he has nothing to lose.  He may be the odd one out in camp though, as the Mavs bring back two familiar faces.

Gerry Festa returns for a third season with the Mavs.  He is one of just a handful of players that have been with the organization since the beginning.  Goalies have come and gone for the Mavs, but he has been the constant bench presence.  He will have a lot to prove in camp to hold down the backup job from now on.  A 3.11 goals against average last season isn't terrible coming off of the bench, and his .894 save percentage is certainly starter worthy on some clubs in the CHL.  Provided he continues to post solid stats, he could see a lot of starting time due to the two-way contract of...

Charlie Effinger!  Ol' Charlie is back, sporting a two-way contract that could allow him to see some time in Chicago.  Effinger led the Mavs to the second round of the playoffs in 2010, then split for Newcastle, UK and the Elite League (the UK's highest level of hockey competition).  He was 14-39-2 (!) with Newcastle, and obviously did not see time in the playoffs.  He will look to recapture the magic of 2009-10 where he was 17-6-2 in CHL regular season play.  The Canucks are not in need of goaltenders, and the Wolves currently have two solid goalies on their roster, so it appears Effinger's future depends on how he plays.

Maybe, just maybe, the goaltenders are the weak link in the impending championship run for the Mavs.  The organization appears to have spent most of their time adding forwards and rehabbing the defense and just pieced the net minders together as an after-thought.  Let's hope not, but it's hard not to look past Effinger's poor showing in Europe and Macek's lack of experience.

My guess: Effinger starts with the Mavs, Festa and Macek switch off as backup until someone is dealt down the line.  Effinger stays at the CHL level for a majority of the season.

Training camp starts next week and the first game is October 21st! 

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