By Dennis Allen, Jr.
Friday’s 5-2 loss to the Comets was disappointing on many levels. The roster lacked the forward depth to allow Rochester 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 the one bright spot tonight. He was on a mission to make things happen and looked by far the best player on the ice for the Americans. His silky smooth mitts have now netted him 9 goals and 3 Assists in just 11 games at the AHL level.
Tyson Strachan improved upon many things from Wednesday night’s performance. 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 game 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 causing several turnovers. He also made a nice interception that led to an odd man rush and deflected a few cross ice passes on the kill. 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 paired with Burgdoerfer or Fedun I think he can do very well, if he adopts a more physical style of play.
Lets Go Amerks contributor Dennis Allen Jr. will be posting a scouting report on a different player each home game (and the odd road game) he attends. You can see his previous scouting reports at: http://rocscouting.blogspot.com …… and be sure to follow him @RocScout14
Dennis is an aspiring scout wrapping up his associates program for sport management.