The Sharpshooter Press: Playing For Keeps

Hello everyone! My name is Tony Pomposelli and I'm the newly selected GM for the Saskatoon Sharpshooters. Before I get started, I'd like to thank Chris for giving me the opportunity to join the IceHL and this is something I could not be more excited about! I plan to be blogging here frequently about the Sharpshooters and other IceHL-related topics.

As a new GM, I face many new challenges as I have to prepare for very high-caliber competition, get used to the settings of the league and actually deal with something I have never dealt with before—a keeper league.

This being said, figuring out the right keepers while keeping within a pre-designated set of standards can be a challenge for teams, especially if you have some solid players.

For my selections, I took into consideration several things:

  • What players have the potential to put out the most points?
  • Who ranks among the top talent in the NHL?
  • Of the players who have lower potential, if we want them back, are we going to have a reasonable shot of getting them back if we let them go?
  • What positions have the most/least depth? That is, what areas can we expect to have an easier time to fall back on if we miss out on someone good during a draft run?
  • What areas in previous drafts have I paid the least attention to or gotten cannibalized on the most?

That being said, I took a look at last year's roster and had to make some tough choices, and I'm hoping this works out for the best.


The franchise will retain Daniel Sedin and Patrick Sharp as its returning forwards for the upcoming season. The two led forwards in scoring on Saskatoon last year, are among the top talent in the NHL, and can be top-flight assets for forwards. Now, looking at players, I realized this league puts more of a premium on scoring than secondary stats, forcing me to switch things up. In previous leagues, +/-, SOG and PIMs actually made a difference, so having to focus on less stats is new for me, and a bit odd, seeing as I used to do well based on those statistics.

Two other considerations:

  • Tomas Fleischmann—Fleischmann's awesome 196 points from last year makes him a player worthy of consideration to keep, but there's lingering concern that his season in Florida was a flash in the pan. Is a repeat going to happen next season?
  • Brad Marchand—Marchand had a nice 173-point year, and Boston is always good during the regular season, but there's usually a good amount of centers available. Plus, for a league that doesn't put premiums on specific positions (C/LW/RW), this could be helpful.


Saskatoon makes a very difficult decision in bringing back Dan Boyle for the 2012-13 campaign. This decision was not tough based on that I didn't want him, but that he had two very good teammates that warranted serious consideration. But in the end, the decision was made based on his ability to produce points across the board rather than specializing in one area significantly.

Two other considerations:

  • Francois Beauchemin—Beauchemin's 251-point season led the Sharpshooters overall, and the vast majority of his points came in blocked shots. Take away the blocked shots, and Beauchemin's point total drops to a painful 57.
  • Matt Carle—Carle acts as middleman to Boyle and Beauchemin. Not as good of a scorer as Boyle, but blocks less than Beauchemin. The big question is will his stats remain similar in Tampa Bay?


Jimmy Howard will be our returning stud for the upcoming season. Every team needs at least one guaranteed goalie that they can hang their hat on. Howard is far and away that goalie considering his previous competition on Saskatoon of Ben Bishop. Improving on Howard will be much tougher than it would be to improve upon our backup situation. Consider this as well: 16 teams may have a maximum of two goalies each, for a total of 32 goalies. That means 2 backup goaltenders will be drafted. With that low of a number, it's likely we can work on getting a second starter, especially if you consider how many teams use a 1A/1B system as well.

Around the League

Looking at the other teams, keeping rules in mind, here is who I would give the nod to on my league's opposition—if I were coming in to become the GM of that team instead of the Sharpshooters.

Seattle Aviators 
Anze Kopitar, Marian Hossa, Patrice Bergeron and Pekka Rinne

Alaska Huskies
Alex Ovechkin, Bobby Ryan, Jason Spezza and Ryan McDonaugh

California Wave 
Steve Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Ilya Kovalchuk and Antti Niemi (GM Jon Wold announced his picks as these four)

Portland Pioneers 
Phil Kessel, Jarome Iginla, Patrick Kane and Miikka Kiprusoff

Vancouver Lumberjacks
Martin St. Louis, James Neal, Alex Pietrangelo and Jonas Hiller

Calgary Cavalry 
Michael Ryder, Mike Fisher, Ryan Suter and Ilya Bryzgalov

Edmonton Kodiaks 
Patrik Elias, Brian Campbell, Alexander Edler and Henrik Sedin

Regina Renegades
Brad Richards, David Backes, Dennis Wideman and Marc-Andre Fleury

Winnipeg Winterhawks 
Sidney Crosby, Erik Karlsson, Jason Garrison and Carey Price

Boulder Beasts Evgeni Malkin, Joe Pavelski, Jamie Benn and Jonathan Quick

Dallas Outlaws
Zach Parise, Shea Weber, Rick Nash and Corey Crawford

Houston Hellcats Pavel Datsyuk, Martin Erat, Zdeno Chara and Cam Ward (GM James Leggett announced his picks, and three of these players were selected; instead of Erat, he took Derek Stepan)

New Orleans Gators 
Claude Giroux, Erik Cole, Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Lundqvist

Salt Lake City Scorpions 
Corey Perry, Marian Gaborik, Milan Michalek and Martin Brodeur

Who would you keep if you were a GM? Agree or disagree with my picks? Take a look at all the IceHL WEST rosters at and let's chat about it!