Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Football Is Back!

We managed to survive 6 months without football. Plus when you factor in how terrible 2015 was, its been many many (many many) more months since we saw meaningful football. So you can understand how utterly ecstatic I am that football is back. Even if the only taste of it I get is reading others' camp reports. (Those of you in Saskatoon have not idea how envious I am).

There's only so much you can glean from the first day of practice but given how desperate we all are for football talk I will glean as many shreds as I can.

I'll start with the wave of transactions the Riders announced to start Sunday. 21 players were added to the roster, 4 were cut (Jones getting an early start on the easiest part of any coach's job) and 4 were added to the retired list. I'm sure you are probably wondering what in the hell is with all the retirements. Retirements at this point generally mean that the player either decided not to report or wasn't in shape. By having them "retire" rather than simply cutting them, we retain their rights for the duration of the contract (i.e. can't be vultured by others in case they ever change their mind).

What else do the transactions tell us?
- The fact that we only brought 4 QBs to camp tell me that they really believe that one of the 3 back-ups can be a legit number 2. If there was uncertainty there would be more competition. My sense is BJ Coleman is the one they are hoping for.

- Its looking more and more likely that Curtis Steele will the starting RB. With Devrin Young gone there is only Cobb and Cyrus to compete. I think we will opt for Steele early just because he will be a more reliable blocker than a rookie. I don't rule out a young RB being worked in and taking over at some point.

- Our secondary is anything but set. 8 more DBs were added, leaving us with 18 in camp. We are looking at a ton of options from the make-up of the back 5

- Chris Jones is not bound by what position a player had played. He will put them anywhere he thinks they can be of value (and confuse the hell out of the rest of us in the process). AC Leonard is a TE but Jones has him with the D-line (as he did in mini camp). Jordan Reaves is a WR and he's with the DBs (again something that was done in mini camp). Our supplemental draft pick Kevin Francis is a WR/TE but you'll find him with the linebackers. DB Qudarius Ford was playing WR. Lastly, Tre'Von Armstead is an OL/TE but is currently with the D-line. I assume at some point Jones will have Thaddeus Coleman kicking FGs and Brett Smith long snapping.

- Not on the transaction list was hold-out Josiah St John. We are at an impasse with his agent in contract negotiations. We started at $53k but are apparently willing to go up to the $80k that last year's top OL draftees got. They want $400k over 3 years... not sure if they will supply the lube in that deal or just buy us a nice dinner when its done.

Everything is subject to change as camp progresses but here are some nuggets of info from day 1:
- Fulton and Coleman were the starting tackles (something I expect to continue into the season)

- Irvin and White were the DTs. Irvin is a lock for one spot. White is among many options that will be auditioned (Hazime, Rayford and Williams are also in the mix).

- Starting secondary was Gainey-Brooks-Newman-Hollins-Shuler. Brooks is impressing early which is great news for us.

- Only surprise among the starting receivers was Ryan Lankford. Be interesting who joins Roosevelt and Chiles as the 3rd starting import WR

That's all  got for now but rest assured, like the rest of you, I will be glued to every tidbit of info that comes out of camp and will be breaking down what it means for you. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Defensive and Special Teams Primer

Monday, I previewed the battled on the offensive side of the ball. Today we turn our attention the defense and special teams.

2015 was one of the worst defensive efforts (if you can even call it an effort) I have ever seen. So there was little push back when Chris Jones completely dismantled the unit. Odds are there will be only two defensive starters left from the 2015 team when 2016 opens (Knox and Hollins). With new personnel and arguably the top defensive mind in the CFL calling the shots there is great hope for 2016. I mean short of all their pants simultaneously falling down while they create a human carpet to lead the ball carrier to the endzone, it’s not like it can get worse.

Defensive Line
Normally when a team replaces their entire D-line, it is a huge cause for concern. For the Riders however, they have assembled a pretty impressive group. Lemon and Capicciotti will be the starting DE’s… at least until Eric Norwood gets healthy and a downright scary rotation of pass rushers ensues. Corvey Irvin will fill one of the DT spots. With the “retirement” of George, the other DT spot will be Caesar Rayford’s to lose. His main competition/only will be Jonathan Williams beyond that there is only really the Canadian trio of Hazime, Agbaje and Connop. It will be interesting to see if Dylan Ainsworth finally gets a legit chance to show his stuff for a new coach as he and Hazime are who I have pencilled in as the rotation guys. Aside from Rayford, guy to watch for me is Marcus White. Going to be tough to crack this team at DE but he has until Norwood is healthy to show he can turn the flashes we saw last year in consistent production.

The starters (barring a new recruit turning out to be a phenom) are set and it’s a damn good group with Greg Jones in the middle, Jeff Knox on one side and Otha Foster one the other. The thing to watch will be if we actually have anyone to provide depth and cover on special teams. Currently only we have one import (Samuel Eguavoen) and two Canadians (Kankolongo and Ogbongbemiga… maybe we haven’t signed any other LBs because these took used up all the letters we had left) on the roster. You will likely see a guy like Marte Sears and another moved up from the DBs. Those are the guys to watch to see if Jones can uncover another Dexter McCoil.

Defensive Back
While I believe our front 7 will be strong right out of the gate, I have my concerns about our secondary early on. I’m sure Jones will eventually mould them into a strong unit but there are a whole lot of concerns amongst our projected starters. Halfbacks will be Tyree Hollins (who I believe will be a stud but is only in his second year and first at HB) and Derrius Brooks (who should be another good one but didn’t play football last year).  I assume Graig Newman is the safety (a position that he has never played at the pro level for any meaningful time). Though Newman is more talented than Cauchy Muamba who Jones turned into a useful safety so maybe I need to worry less there. Ed Gainey gets one CB spot (I don’t like Ed Gainey and hope he gets beat out in camp… though I sadly feel his veteran presence will be needed at least early). The last CB spot will be an open competition between guys like David Barks, Curtis Brown and Dan Schuler. I’ll be watching them to see if at least one can turn into a reliable DB.

Special Teams

Jorgen Hus will be the long snapper. He’s the guy no one notices or cares about until a snap gets botched. The battle to watch will be at kicker. If I’m a betting man (and I most certainly am) Tyler Crapigna will be our placekicker with van Gylswyk handling the punting. But neither will just be handed the job van Gylswyk can placekick too and Josh Bartel is in the mix at punter (though I expect his contribution to be limited to a rousing game of knifey spoony).

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Offensive Primer

Training Camp is now less than a week away. If I had any kind of budget this is where I would have a gospel choir singing Alleluia. Unfortunately, such choirs apparently don't accept leftover chinese food and Canadian Tire money as payment so you have to settle for me yelling ALLELUIA! Football will soon be back!

To get prepped for Training Camp I will be doing some positional previews looking at the battles to keep an eye on and the newcomers to watch. Today we start with the offense.

Darian Durant will retake his rightful place under centre and hopefully stay there for far longer than he has for the past two seasons. It will certainly be worth watching how he adjusts to a new offensive scheme. Though if you look at his career, adjusting to a new OC has pretty much been a yearly event for him. The more interesting battle will be for the back-up role. Even if you look back on Durant's last full season in 2013, we still needed our back-up to step in for a game or two. So while I don't expect them to play much, odds are good whoever wins the back-up role will see some time. Right now its a battle between the returning Brett Smith and newcomer BJ Coleman (though I assume 1 or 2 more QBs will be at training camp). Smith was an exciting player last season but he has some flaws in his game that it would take a last call level of drunkenness to completely over look. He will need to show he has progressed as a QB, otherwise I could see Coleman as the guy. He certainly got some mini-camp hype.

Running Back
For me this is one of the more compelling battles to watch. I assume Kendial Lawrence will be the back-up RB/kick returner/Corey Holmes-type utility guy. But there is still a void at the starter spot and the battle is wide open. One could argue that Curtis Steele is the guy to beat but I have said many times that I don't think he can be an every down back.The guys for me to watch are Malcolm Cyrus and Devrin Young.

Certain to be the most talked about battle in the coming weeks... said no one ever. Spencer Moore likely keeps his spot (mostly because there is no other competition) and I'm okay with that because I think Moore is a good player in the roles he is asked to fill. I'll include Matt Walter here though he will likely be part fullback part back-up RB.

Offensive Line
Brendon LaBatte will play left guard... that is the only sure thing. There was going to be two sure things, the other being Bruce Campbell lining up at left tackle but his sudden retirement threw us into borderline panic mode. Odds are good that Clark and Best keep their starting spots along the interior but that is not a guarantee with guys like Andrew Jones, Aaron Picton and possibly Josiah St John around. I have even mused that Jarriel King at guard is a possibility (albeit a very unlikely one). The battle for both tackle spots will be the one to watch. Very unlikely that St John will be ready to start in year one so that leaves 6 imports competing for 2 spots (including Xavier Fulton who we will be brining back). I have Thaddeus Coleman and King as the leading candidates but would honestly not rule anyone out. One guy I will be watching is Tre'Von Armstead. He's got a troubled past including allegations of sexual assault and dismissal from Baylor for violating team rules. At 6'7 311 lbs he's got the size (though oddly enough was used as a Tight End at Baylor prior to his dismissal).

In terms of Canadian WRs, things look pretty set. We have Bagg, Demski and Chambers with Haidara for depth. Only thing to really watch here is if Chris Jones can turn draft pick Joshua Stanford into someone who once again cares about football. But on the import side of things (I'm crusty and resistant to change so don't expect me to adopt the "international" terminology any time soon), its anything but set. You can pencil John Chiles in among the starters. I would also say that another spot is Naaman Roosevelt's to lose. It will be nice to see him in a training camp where he is not being overtly repressed in favour of over the hill veterans. The retirements of Kelley and Price open some huge opportunities for new recruits. Clarence Denmark likely starts the season among the starters at least until a new recruit unseats him. Given his size (and Jones' not so secret love of tall people), Victor Dean Jr will be a guy to watch. I also expect another couple receivers to join the training camp roster.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday Morning Sentimionies: Assessing the Draft

On Tuesday, dozens of young men had their life long dreams of mediocre pay for a physically demanding job with no job security come true in the form of the CFL Draft. This was our new regime’s first draft and our first chance to see their plan for rebuilding the Canadian content of the Riders in action. I’m sure you’ve all been eagerly awaiting my assessment of the draft and the 7 prospects we had (well more specifically 6 prospects and a lottery ticket but more on that later) and your wait is finally over.

Now before I get into the Draft, I feel compelled to comment on the new Rider jerseys that were unveiled last week. I think they are okay (now’s there the high quality analysis you’ve come to expect from me). They aren’t horrible and aren’t outstanding, but they are good enough. The all green look isn’t as awful as I expected given the white striping but still… go with the white pants. I am extremely happy that we shipped the god awful tramp stamp to BC.   Overall a solid 7-7.5 out of 10. And besides, whether you love them or hate them, a new set will be coming along in 2-3 years… and likely a new alternate next year.

Back the draft…

Chris Jones has a reputation as a risk taker and his 2016 draft class certainly put that on display. There were many examples of Jones swinging for the fences rather than taking safer options. So if I was to assess the draft right now I would give it a solid C. The O-lineman we got is loaded with potential but anything but a sure thing, 2 guys are currently in the NFL (1 likely for a long time)… the rest of the draft class left us with a kicker, a LB, a late round O-lineman unlikely to make the team and a receiver who doesn’t have his head on straight. We really didn’t pay a ton of attention to the glaring need for LBs. Not exactly reason for fanfare.

That said, I don’t hate what we did overall. We got one of the “stud” o-lineman (something we desperately needed). There is risk in Elie Bouka but if/when he ends up with the Riders it will be like getting a second first round calibre player for the low price of a late 3rd round pick. Obviously Jones has a longer-term view and would rather get quality players he may have to wait on rather than settle for lower calibre players he can have today. 

So I’m sticking with my C draft rating at this point. If Bouka lands here I think it upgrades immediately to a B-. And who knows if we can manage to get Standford’s head out of his ass and if Oneymata by some miracle ever comes back north this may be seen as a massively important draft for us.

Let's take a closer look at our draft picks

1st Rd (1) - OL Josiah St John - The book on him is that he has all the physical tools needed to be an impact Cdn tackle and has the NCAA Div 1 pedigree. The drawback is that he doesn't have a huge body of work. He hasn't started all that many games and is still very raw in many respects. Obviously Jones believes he can be polished into a starter. I think he will be able to at least provide some quality competition for our interior guys but is most likely destined to be our 6th OL being groomed to start in year 2. But his ability to back-up at tackle is huge that regard. There's certainly risk in this pick but I think worth it.

3rd Rd (24) - DB Elie Bouka - Would likely have been a 1st round pick if not for an achilles injury derailing his final CIS season and the fact that he signed with the Arizona Cardinals. If/when he shows up we will get the impact DB/safety that we desperately need. Given that Arizona was willing to sign him coming off of an achilles injury it tells you just how talented this guy is and just how little concern they have for his ability to return from the injury. We may have to wait until September or even next year but I think we will eventually look back on this pick a huge value for the late third round.

3rd Rd (26) K Quinn Van Gylswyk - Other than his last name lacking in non-y vowels, I don't mind this pick. I could argue that we had bigger needs than a kicker but the reality is as much as I have faith in Crapigna he is far from a proven commodity. Also Van Gylswyk can punt and I have made my dislike for Josh Bartel as overt as Rod Black's love for him. John Murphy build the best kicking combo in the league in Paredes/Maver. Looks like he is trying to do the same here. A good kicker probably impacts our season a lot more than a back-up Canadian anyway.

4th Rd (35) DL David Oneymata - This pick is a lottery ticket. Odds are good that Oneymata won't be seen in the CFL for many years if ever given him being a 4th round pick of the Saints. But if he ever comes back north, its a massive jackpot for us. It's hard to argue with Jones' willingness to risk it given the general quality of players you get in the 4th round. I would say likely scenario is similar to that of Vaughn Martin who the Als drafted in 2011 and finally signed to the CFL this year. If Jones was solely concerned with this season then this was a stupid pick but its obvious with picks like this and Bouka that we are trying to build a long term pipeline of top end Cdn talent, something I have been wishing for a few years now.

5th Rd (36) LB Alex Ogbongbemigba - Good luck both pronouncing his name and fitting it on a jersey. LB was a big need for us this season and hopefully him and fellow ridiculous last name Rider Kankolongo can manage things for us this year.

6th Rd (52) OL Alex McKay - Let's be honest a 6th rd OL is likely a future training camp casualty but you need competition and depth at OL so its something we needed to do. McKay was the top rated OL in this CIS west so there's at least some potential there.

8th Rd (62) WR Joshua Stanford - I would say million dollar talent and 10 cent brain but this is the CFL so its more like a thousand dollar talent... the brain part remains valid. Stanford would likely have been viewed as one of the top WR in the draft if it were based purely on talent. But his attitude and work ethic are somewhere slightly above atrocious. He half assed the CFL combine and no-showed on many interviews and showed up to others with his hood up. If someone can get his straightened out he may have a future in this league but for now it seems Stanford could care less that he's pissing away his pro opportunities. This is another example of Jones swinging for the fences but in the 8th round I'd way rather take a huge risk on big upside than settle for some guy with no chance of developing into a pro.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

8th Annual LIve CFL Draft Day Blogging

Live Blog 8th Annual CFL Draft Day Blogging

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Prophet Mock Draft

The CFL Draft goes tomorrow. This year’s edition has been expanded to 8 rounds… for the Simpsons enthusiasts among you this means we are getting closer to hearing the phrase “we now return you to exciting 15th-round action at the Canadian Football League Draft”

I have good news for those who eagerly look forward to my Annual Draft Day Live Blogging (all 2 of you). My 8th Annual Live Draft Day Blogging is a go. So I will have draft coverage starting at 4:30pm and running until I generally lose interest or get hungry (historically somewhere around the end of the 3rd round). So join me for this country’s second longest running CFL draft day coverage… what I lack in quality I make up for in longevity.

Today I will unveil my Official Mock Draft (not to be confused with the imitation Rider Prophet Mock Drafts out there). In posting this I am fully aware that within 2 minutes of the draft starting, no less than 3 things will happen than will render my predictions completely irrelevant. It may even happen within 2 minutes of me posting this. So take it for what it’s worth. Note: This is worth roughly what you paid for it. Perhaps slightly less.

Official Rider Prophet Mock Draft 2016

Round 1
1 – Saskatchewan – OL Josiah St John - I believe the Riders’ preference would be to trade down either to get more picks or get a Canadian player and a pick but there might not be enough demand out there for them to get their asking price. Assuming they keep the pick it will be used on an OL. St John is not the safest pick among the top OL prospects as others are probably more pro-ready. But he may have the highest ceiling as a potential starting tackle. We don’t need him to start right away so we can be a bit patient with his development.

2 – Montreal – OL Jason Lauzon-Seguin – Josh Bourke left via free agency and its likely Luc Broudeur-Jourdain will not be ready for the start of the season. Als still have a good stable of OL but would be wise to add to it given the quality of OL available early in the draft. One would expect them to take Charles Vailancourt but Popp is anything but conventional with his picks.

3 –BC – OL Michael Couture – BC was forced into starting an American centre last season, something you can bet Wally won’t want to see again. Couture is arguably the top centre available and can provide immediate depth for a weak interior BC OL while being groomed as the centre of the future.

4 –Toronto – OL Charles Vaillancourt – Vaillancourt has been project to go as high as #1 and is arguable the most pro-ready OL prospect in the draft.  Jim Barker will be doing back-flips if Vaillancourt falls this far. Normally he wouldn’t but both Popp and Buono tend to do weird things with their top picks so I see this as entirely possible.

5 – Hamilton – DB Taylor Loffler – Good match here with Loffler’s stock skyrocketing following a solid combine performance and Hamilton finding themselves without the services of Craig Butler this year.

6 – Calgary – RB Mercer Timmis – Lots of talk of Timmis’ stock falling after mediocre testing at the combine and Calgary being more interested in a OL in the first round but I’m extremely skeptical. If Calgary really thought Timmis would be there when they pick again at 15 they would pass on him, but I think Winnipeg is likely to scoop him at pick 11 if Calgary passes. I think the Stamps are far more interested in Timmis then they are letting on.

7 – Ottawa – OL Phillipe Gagnon – Logic (and my pre-draft team analysis) say Ottawa targets a defensive player here but I can’t see them passing on a stud OL like Gagnon. 

8 – Edmonton – DL Trent Corney – Many expected Corney to get an NFL deal given his athleticism but he only got a mini-camp invite which skyrocketed the stock of the best DL in the draft (not counting Oneymata). He could go as high as 4th overall so Ed Hervey will gladly take him to close out Round 1.

Round 2
9 – Winnipeg (via Edm via Ssk) – OL Brandon Revenberg – Winnipeg needs O-lineman as they currently have just four Cdn OL under contract. Revenburg has not been getting the hype of some of the other OL prospects but is a solid prospect nonetheless.

10 – Winnipeg – WR Juwan Brescacin – Aside from Tevaughn Smith (who signed with indy) many view the big-bodied Brescacin as the top WR in the draft (though there certainly isn’t consensus on that). Bombers may be looking at starting 2 Cdn WR and so will need to add to their depth at that position.

11 – Montreal – OL Dhillon Guy – Popp drafts the best player available and you can never go wrong with an OL.

12 – BC – WR Llevi Noel – BC needs to fill the void left behind with the retirement of Austin Collie.

13 – Toronto – LB Alex Singleton - Singleton could easily go as high as the late first round but a run on OL could drop him into Toronto's waiting hands

14 –Hamilton – WR Brian Jones - WR depth is a need in Steel town

15 – Calgary – LB Terrell Davis - Davis could have an immediate impact on team

16 – Ottawa – DL Rupert Butcher - Gotta build that DL depth with the loss of Shologan and Capicciotti

17 – Edmonton – DB Arjen Colquon - With no glaring needs, Hervey can swing for the fences and risk waiting out Colquon's NFL interests

Round 3
18 – Hamilton (via Ssk) – K Quinn van Gylswyk
19 – Winnipeg – OL Sean Jamieson
20 – Montreal – DB Elie Bouka
21 – BC – DB Anthony Thompson
22 – Toronto – WR Tevaughn Smith
23 – Hamilton – DL Medhi Abdesmad
24 – Saskatchewan (via Cal) – LB DJ Lalama
25 – Ottawa – WR Mike Jones
26 – Saskatchewan (via Edm) – WR Doug Corby

Monday, May 2, 2016

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Where Did All The Canadians Go?

In what is likely one of the least surprising revelations, the Riders have an issue with their Canadian content. Just 3 short years ago we were among the class of the league in this regard. The nosedive that has ensued since has not been pleasant. Now Supreme Overlord Jones (which is I title I think he should just role with because it’s easier than listing his real titles) has the daunting task of rebuilding our Canadian core.
Today’s post will look at how we got ourselves into this mess in a painstaking exploration of all the missteps we took along the way (and I don’t even get into Sisco debacle). I then turn to the slightly more uplifting discussion of what Jones need to do to right the ship… starting with next week’s draft.
The interesting thing about why the Riders’ Canadian content sucks is that its not a result of poor drafting. Over the past few years we have selected some top end talent: Butler, O’Donnell, Krausnick-Groh, Milo, Heenan, Hurl, Ainsworth, Pierzchalski/Bastien (to a lesser extent). Sure the whole “Cory Watman is the most pro-ready OL in this draft” thing was a gross misevaluation but by and large it’s been a lot more good than bad (we're not Joe Mack bad). But go back and look at that list and one of our major problems becomes apparent… only one of those players is still here. We have a massive retention problem with our top end Canadian of late. Just 9 players remain on our roster who we drafted and only 6 others were undrafted free agents that we found (and quite frankly a third of those 15 are unlikely to even make it through training camp). Compare that to Montreal who have 30 of their 34 Canadians that they drafted or signed as undrafted free agents or Calgary who is also almost exclusively homegrown talent. To make matters worse we are letting them for free. You know what we have to show for the departure of all those players? We got Greg Carr for Matt O’Donnell… that’s it. 
Now poor retention on its own would not be the end of the world. This is the CFL, roster churn is inevitable. But compounding out retention issue is the even worse issue of Taman having some kind of religious opposition to early round picks. In the past 5 years, the Riders have made just 8 first or second round picks. That is the worst among any team except Ottawa who did not participate in two of those 5 drafts and still managed to make just 2 less 1st/2nd rd picks. So we essentially got into a cycle where we’d make one good early pick, take a nap for a few rounds and then fill up our roster on 4th to 7th round picks. 
You might say “big deal”, there are plenty of great Canadians that were drafted in the 4th round or later. Guys like Sinopoli, Brodeur-Jourdain, Shane Bergman, David Menard, Thomas Miles. But the reality is, the Riders haven’t been one of the teams lucky enough to land one of the steals. Our late round picks generally don’t make the team or end up as back-ups/special teamers. Now that is fairly common for all teams but most teams get their top end talent in the first 3 rounds so they can afford the late round picks that don’t pan… the Riders are not in that boat.
So you want to know why our Canadian content is crap?… we can’t retain our top end picks; we don’t make mid-round picks so that leaves us with late round shlubs and a few aging top end guys that we are actually able to retain. For aspiring GMs, if you subscribe to this business model you better start practicing the phrase “do you want fries with that?”
But enough about why we suck… let’s turn now to how we unsuckify ourselves.
Jones has taken some positive steps early. He added starting calibre players like Capicciotti, Chambers and Newman. He also added depth players like Andrew Jones, Walter, Hazime, Tevaughn Campbell. Unlike last year we won’t be entering the draft assuming we can fill our 7th starting Canadian spot in the 3rd round so that’s progress. But we are fooling ourselves if we think the job is done.
Next step is the draft. Jones will have to turn our 1st overall pick and two 3rd rounders into some tangible talent on our roster. The big needs right now are O-line depth (Over the past 3 years the Riders have only selected 1 offensive lineman in the first 4 rounds of the draft… and that was Watman) and linebackers/safeties… though really, it’s not like we couldn’t use help at pretty much any position.  While not a guarantee, I think odds are good that we trade down. There is no “can’t miss, unquestioned top prospect” so if we can turn that 1 pick into 2 picks in the top 15 and emerge with 2 solid additions then that’s what we do. But we ain’t giving that pick away for nothing. Regardless we should emerge from the first 3 rounds with 3 pretty good prospects and that’s progress.
Also, keep an eye on our late round picks. I know that John Murphy wasn’t solely responsible for what Calgary did but he was heavily involved and Calgary drafted guys like Shane Bergman, Mike Filer, Tyler Crapigna in the 4th round or later.   
This rebuild will also be a multi-year process. To my knowledge we currently still own our top 3 picks in 2017 (again that’s progress). So the hope is we gradually get into a cycle where we keep and make more top round picks, thus building depth and developing guys to step up when top end guys get hurt or leave. The more you do that the less you have to rely on free agency to address your Canadian needs, which helps keep costs down.
It will not be a quick process but I do believe we are finally on a path that lead us back to upper echelon of the League's Canadian content.