Patrick DesRochers is off to a shaky start this year. His statistics look so poor mostly due to an 8-4 loss he suffered a couple of weeks ago when he allowed all eight goals on 30 shots. He played decent in both games this weekend, losing in Worcester (4-2 with 30 saves) and winning against Manchester (5-4 with 28 saves).
He’s done a better job in controlling rebounds this season. Being a butterfly style goalie, he’s down on the ice a lot, so the majority of goals he allow are top shelf. He does not play the puck very well and needs to stay in the net more often until he improves on that. DesRochers certainly doesn’t look like a former first-round pick and has a long way to go if he plans on making it to the NHL.
Kirill Safronov is still very sound defensively, leading the team with a plus-minus rating of +9. The second-year professional leads all defensemen on the team in scoring with seven points (one goal, six assists). Safronov has seen a lot of time on the power play this season. Safronov has been called up with the Coyotes but hasn’t played in any games yet.
Dan Focht defensive play has improved greatly over the last couple of seasons, but he’s still slow and doesn’t contribute anything to the offense (he’s scored only four goals in over 200 professional games). He’s a big guy at 6’6″ and 240 pounds, however he doesn’t fight very well. Focht has a tendency to take a lot of unnecessary minor penalties. It doesn’t appear as if he’ll ever be a consistent player at the NHL level.
David Cullen is a small, offensive-minded defenseman with good speed. He led all defensemen on the team last season in points with 42 (13 goals, 29 assists). Cullen receives a lot of ice time during the power play, which is when he records most of his points. His defense was weak last season, prompting many fans to wonder if he would make a better forward than a defenseman. He’s only appeared in five games with the Falcons this season and is currently on recall to Phoenix.
Ramzi Abid only appeared in 17 games last season due to injuries, so he is classified as a rookie this season. He struggled early on, but recorded points in his first six games back in the line-up in January. Abid is a feisty player who doesn’t shy away from the rough stuff, although he tends to be undisciplined at times. He was expected to be a key part of the team’s offense this season, yet he’s been a healthy scratch three times. Abid’s ice time seems to be diminishing as of late. He’s tallied one goal and two assists in eight games played.
Jason Jaspers has gotten off to a rapid start this season. In seven games played (he’s missed a few due to injury), he’s recorded five goals (four goals, one assist). He needs to shoot the puck more often. Jaspers has only had eight shots-on-goal, half of which have gone in the net. In addition to his offense, he played solid defensively as well.
Branko Radivojevic strength appears to be in his skating as he possesses good speed. He’s picked up a goal and five assists in 11 games played. His only goal was a shorthanded empty net tally.
Erik Westrum was nominated as rookie of the month by the Falcons. Westrum has seen a lot of ice time on the power play. Both of his goals were scored in the same game, an 8-4 loss to Lowell.
Peter Fabus hasn’t seen much ice time and has been a healthy scratch five times this season. Fabus has seen more ice time lately, playing in the past four games. He’s been held scoreless in all six games he’s appeared in. I’ve only seen him play in three games this season.
Martin Grenier is a physical player who’s been involved in three fights in the last four games. Like Fabus, I haven’t seen Grenier play much this season. From what I’ve seen of him, he appears to be a bit of a hothead, as he’s not afraid to get the faces of opposing players. Of the players currently on the team (excluding the goalies), he ranks second to last in shots-on-goal with just three.
Goran Bezina has been shaky defensively so far, ranking last on the team with a plus-minus rating of -13. Bezina’s poor decisions with the puck have led to goals for the opponent, especially early on in the season. He’s shooting the puck a lot (24 shots-on-goal), but he only has one goal and an assist on the season.
Doug Manners contributed to this report. Doug Manners is the webmaster for FALCONS-HOCKEY.com and covers all Falcons games.