Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tyson Strachan Vs Utica Comets 11/25/2016 (Grade B-)

Tonight's 5-2 loss to the Comets was disappointing on many levels. Tonight's roster lacked the forward depth to allow the Amerks to compete for a full 60 minutes. In what has developed into a common trend for the Amerks there was almost no physical play. Nick Baptiste was a glaring bright spot tonight. He was on a mission to make things happen tonight and looked by far the best player on the ice for the Amerks. His silky smooth mitts have now netted him 9 goals and 3 Assists in just 11 games at the AHL level.

Tyson Strachan had a lot of things I wanted to see him fix about his game on Wednesday. He needed to be more physical in front of the net, turn the puck over less and be more efficient starting the breakout. From the very beginning of the night he made significant strides.  He was very conservative passing in the zone and sent every thing up the boards. Also he did a much better job clearing players from the front of the net and keeping their stick off the ice. Unfortunately Strachan's night ended prematurely. He took a shot directly in the face at the twelve minute mark in the 3rd. Based on the amount of blood on the ice it was very clear he was not going to return.

I was pleasantly surprised by how active Strachan's stick was tonight. He made a few very nice poke checks at the blue line tonight causing turnovers. He also made a nice interception that led to an odd man rush and deflected a few cross ice passes on the kill tonight. Overall Strachan played a good defensive game, but his lack of a physical presence is unacceptable. At 6 feet 215 pounds Strachan can't afford to play the style of hockey he does.  He doesn't move quick enough not play the body in open ice. It almost cost the Amerks a goal when he got beat in the slot trying to poke check the puck away early, but Ullmark was up to the task. He faced a similar situation in the second period and whiffed on the hit at center ice, falling to the ground, and giving the Comets an odd man rush.

I'm going to give Strachan a B- tonight but I'm grading him on a bit of a curve. He had a lot to fix after what I saw from him Wednesday and I was happy to see that he did so very quickly. Strachan has virtually no offensive value and is extremely conservative pinching on the point, but if paired with the right defensive partner, I think he can be an effective player. If he is paired with Burgdoerfer or Fedun I think he can do very well, if he adopts a physical style of play.

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