Batting .500 Is Not That Bad Right?

Now that the ink is finally dry ; Soo Greyhounds fans that have been following the Nick Malik saga can finally let out a big deep breath. As one of the top rated goalies going into the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the young Czech Republic National has committed to joining the Dogs as Wawa News reported earlier today.

It has been quite the waiting process though. Since being drafted 50th overall in the Import Draft, I’ve waited patiently for him to report. To say the least, it’s been tic tok tic tok as we’ve waited and waited and waited. “He’s not coming !!” many would say, but I never lost faith… I knew in my heart of hearts he was coming, but when?

What kept me confident was the fact that GM Kyle Raftis kept using words or phrases like “optimistic”, “very optimistic”, “confident”, “can’t see why he wouldn’t report” regarding Nick signing with the Dogs. Kyle guards his words like a Greyhound guards his bone; ferociously.

I did have a really reliable source who in fact confirmed with me just before Christmas that Malik would indeed be coming. A deal according to my source said that an agreement had been struck early in the season for Nick to remain in the Czech Republic and play for Frydek-Mistek of the elite Czech2 league, and then after the World Juniors he would report. This all made sense with Kyle sticking to his confident, but clever words and wording. Anyway, let’s welcome Nick who will probably arrive in the Soo by early next week and fit nicely into a Hound uniform. I believe he will most likely get his first start next weekend when the Hounds play back to back games against the Saginaw Spirit. Welcome to SSM Nick, and thanks J.P. for helping to grease the wheel early in the process.

In respect to what happens with Ethan Taylor; at the time of writing it is unclear as he is still on the Hounds roster on the Soo Greyhounds website with Malik and Brkin. One scenario is that he may go and play with the Greyhounds minor affiliate team for the rest of the year. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine.

In other trade deadline news, the Hounds have dealt away forward Brett Jacklin who was released earlier this season and played for the Laurentian Voyageurs. Brett who was still Soo Greyhound property must have caught some eyes, as the Sudbury Wolves called on his services. This transaction will not cause much movement as he remains in the Nickel City, but a tier closer to his goal of playing NHL hockey. The Soo Greyhound received draft picks for the transaction.

On the back-end, the Hounds sent defenseman, Holden Wale to the Kitchener Rangers to shore up their blueline. This transaction will allow Hound rookie, Matthew Halushak some more minutes to develop as he has only appeared in 12 games so far this year. This deal as well as the above resulted in the no player swap and draft picks going to the Greyhounds.

Regarding Barrett Hayton, I admit that I was wrong in my hunch that he would be sent back here to be traded to a contender.. My record up in the majors by striking out on this one is 1-2 (50% or .500) as I did correctly pin the tail on the donkey on the Malik deal. In my previous article I said that if I was wrong on one or both of those predictions I would admit it …and I just did Emoji; hey you can’t win’em all right?

Anyway, I thought Barrett would develop more by playing another thirty games in junior, and adding to the games he has played in Arizona and the World Juniors, he would be that much better. But who am I to be critical of this move ? I don’t write his cheques ;  but going back to Arizona to sit in the press box in my humble opinion doesn’t make much sense. We will see what Arizona’s strategy is and in any event, Congrats Barrett and no hard feelings about the helmet incident of 2020Emoji EmojiEmoji.

Now, I think many of us got lost in the Barrett and Malik situation in regards to bolstering our team near the trade deadline. I think we kinda forgot (God knows how) that we have one of the top left wingers in the league coming back after missing many games. J.P. …Jaromir Pytlik is a strong game changer and will challenge for the Hounds scoring title if he catches on fire like we know he can. Jaromir will be like adding a player at the deadline as he has been absent for the last 8 games. The Hounds during that stretch played good hockey and beat some really good teams. With Pytlik back in the lineup, things can and will only get better for a team that a lot of pundits picked as bottom feeders this year. The Hounds will once again challenge not only for a Division title, but a good finish high in the Conference is not unobtainable in my opinion.

Get ready Soo Greyhound fans, because we are starting the road down the stretch and all the uncertainty is over. Playoff hockey for the 8th straight season is on the horizon.

Now for a PSA ; there are more than one Soo Greyhounds Fan pages out there. If the one you are in breeds toxicity and censorship… maybe find another one, as we all know there are other fish in the sea. Fans in the know will get this EmojiEmojiEmoji

Go Hounds Go !!

Ernest Skinner