Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wild/Aeros Goaltending Situation; Tom Lynn's job security

John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press muses on his blog today about the fate of Josh Harding and, in relation, where the Wild think their minor league goalies stand in terms of moving up.

His assessment pretty much matches mine. Neither Brusty nor Dimples are technically solid enough to get it on full time in the NHL, even as a back-up. I think Schaefer probably is, though I didn't realize he was making so much coin. That's damn good for the AHL, so good for him.

Also, we learn that it's an MCL injury that sent Dimples out at the end of the third in Game 4.

Looking Ahead

My #1 concern is about goaltending depth next season. This year and last, the Aeros had Dimples down in the ECHL to call up and provide pretty good support in a pinch. The Wild haven't drafted a goalie since drafting Niko Hovinen in 2006, and he's been playing in Finland all this time. (AeroFinn... how about a stats update on the kid. My Finnish is rusty.)

The team has not had him over for Prospects Camp since 2007, so who knows what their intentions are with him.

Without a doubt, the team needs to beef up the goaltending ranks either through draft or trade or both (though draft will be too late to help this season due to age restrictions). I personally am still quite scarred from the 06-07 season when Harding got called up with no help behind him, and then turned around and was immediately spoiled by the amazing Schaefer-Brust tandem last season.

It was more of a mixed bag this year, but imagine if the Aeros hadn't had Khudobin to call upon. Wowza. Anyway, more on this later as we take a look at how next years Aeros stack up.

Meanwhile, from Russo at the Star Tribune today, reports of Tom Lynn's job security as GM of the Aeros may have been overstated last week, as Chuck Fletcher, the shiny new GM for the Wild, is saying that nobody is necessarily in or out and that those decisions will come in due time:
To clarify one thing that was reported earlier this week, [Fletcher] has decided no staff member is leaving or staying. He’s been in the office for three hours total, and has met a precious few. He said there’s no reason for anybody to be walking on eggshells, but stories that he’s told anybody they’re safe or unsafe were premature. What does that mean? He’ll meet with staff over the next several weeks, ask a ton of questions and then things “will become apparent to me,” and that does include Tom Lynn and Tommy Thompson.
So, maybe the Aeros summer won't be as stable as we might have expected. Won't that be fun?


beware the bear(s) said...

Thanks for that heads up....
Keep us posted on all the events over the summer...what else is there to do with NO games-'rest up' the heart and gear up for another rollercoaster ride next season, duh?
Guess I can keep the 'bear'.. since Khudobin might well be back here in the nets.

B2Bomber said...

Here ya' go Ms. C.


Niko Hovinen

BORN: 1988-03-16
Helsinki, FIN
AGE: 21
NATION: Finland
HEIGHT: 196 cm / 6'5"
WEIGHT: 87 kg / 192 lbs
DRAFTED: Selected 2006 by Minnesota Wild round 5 #132 overall

Brother: Rami Hovinen

Youth team/Moderklubb: Jokerit
Season Team League GP GAA SVS%
2006-2007 Jokerit SM-Liiga 1 4.00 .871
2007-2008 Jokerit SM-Liiga 4 5.78 .833
2008-2009 Pelicans SM-Liiga 21 2.92 .895
HeKi Finland2 1 5.81 .833
Pelicans U20 Jr. A SM-Liiga 8 1.99 .936
2009-2010 Pelicans SM-Liiga

Ms. Conduct said...

Ah, thanks B2!

Man, that kid needs to get some playing time. 8 games??

B2Bomber said...

Yeah, doesn't look like he played a whole lot this year although it looks like he did a better job than last year.

Go Blue Tongues! (A fan formerly known as AerosFinn aka AeroFinn) said...

He did play more than 8 games last season. Those are just the stats for the junior team, allthough
I have them bit differently here. He played 13 matches for the Juniors, 21 for Pelicans on the Finnish top level and 1 match for HeKi in "Mestis". Not sure why he got sent down to HeKi, I guess this compares to being sent from AHL to ECHL. Here are the stats:

The amount of games he got is actually quite normal for the Finnish standards, the regular season in SM-Liiga is 58 games. He got much more games this season on the top level because his move from Jokerit to Pelicans.
Jokerit is a team that has all the money and they don't have much time to "experiment" with kids unless they are very very good. I guess Hovinen could have played for the Jokerit jr. team, but moving to Pelicans gave
him the chance to try it on the top level. Having Pasi Nurminen (ex-Atlanta Trashers) as a goalie coach also helps. Antti Niemi (Rockford/Chicago) might ring a bell? He got a big boost playing for the Pelicans.

Anyways Hovinen is very big! His last season was not that impressive. The consensus seems to be that apart from some flashes of brilliance he did not show that much potential...Big goalies usually take more time to develop though. That might be the hope there. He is supposed to play backup for Tommi Nikkilä in 2009-10 and allthough there is
always the North American option I would be very surprised to see him in Houston next year. I think he might be more like Niklas Bäckström and you see him in the 2016-17 season:-)
I have sort of gathered that there are some goalie fans here. Here is to those people :-)


Also heard rumours that there would be some "important" games left in NHL/AHL, but I think it is time for the Australian
hockey season. The good thing is that it goes on until August. Now if I can find something to do for September!? Exhibition
season...when does that start?
Here is the Australian ice hockey league:

From AHL to AIHL....not too hard! The biggest name to play in AIHL is the one-time Minnesota Wild, Steve McKenna.

Go Blue Tongues!(A fan formerly known as AerosFinn aka AeroFinn) said...

hey moderators! gotta fix a problem here....you say my name is too long....I don't like that!

From now on I would like to be called:
Go Blue Tongues!(A fan formerly known as AerosFinn aka AeroFinn)

just kidding....now where do I get one of them Prince symbols...

Ms. Conduct said...

Excellent! Thank you GBT (though you'll always be AeroFinn to me).

So, it sounds like he's not one we should count as "in the pipeline" any time soon, it sounds like. Damn, I love his nickname, Pappi. How cute is that?

That is some serious devotion to hockey if you're following Australian hockey. We looked at moving to AU once and when I discovered that Melbourne only has ONE ice rink... I nixed it. Good grief! Though it appears they're building two new ones at the Docklands by 2010, so that's good.

AeroFinn said...

Ok, I will settle for AeroFinn then...

"Pappi" is actually "priest" in Finnish. Not sure where he got that nickname but I think a hockey playing priest would fit
Houston perfectly. Seems like people in here are very religious. I'm still trying to come to terms with the overload of religion
in here.

Just kidding about Australia (like I usually am)...
Although I do find grassroots hockey very interesting and there are many great stories there, don't think I will follow the hockey season in Oz very closely... They have had some good players there, not that many leagues are in action during the "summer" months, so why not go and play in Australia...You can find hockey in many bizarre places.
I would recommend Dave Bidini's "Tropic of Hockey" if you are interested to read about the more exotic places to play hockey:


There is also a film based on the book called "I Am a Hockey Nomad" which I haven't seen yet. Not sure whether he is well-known here so just in case, here you can find more info on his books etc:

I did see North Korea play in the Division 3 World Championships a couple of years ago, but that would be altogether another
"novel" so I leave it for now. These guys however somehow managed to go and play in North Korea. That would be something,
what a weird looking place:


Ms. Conduct said...

I've lived here for 34 years, AF, and I'm still not used to the religion. My poor parents... they tried, but couldn't make Jesus stick.

I love the last link of the guys in North Korea. I've never traveled someplace different to play hockey, but it sounds like about as much fun as you could have.

Tropic of Hockey has been recommended to me many times, so eventually I'll get to it. I just got Midnight Hockey in the mail, but I have to finish Tretiak first. So many hockey books, so little time. And I'm still getting through The Game on Mr. C's Kindle.

AeroFinn said...

Never heard of "Midnight Hockey" before but had a look and it sounds interesting...have to add that to the list. I've wanted to read "Zamboni Rodeo" for a long time but seems like it's out of print. Very expensive everywhere I've seen it now...

Ms. Conduct said...

Yeah, I read the first to sentences and was already laughing... Tretiak may have to wait while I read this instead. :)

And yeah, I was looking for ZR the other day when the author of that book started following my Twitter feed. I'd heard of it before but never got around to it. You can get a signed copy from him for like $27 or something. Shame they don't just make books like that digital so people can always buy a copy.

Fred Trask said...

Zamboni Rodeo can be purchased here:

AeroFinn said...

Thanks for the link Fred!

p.s. somebody write another post please, I don't like this number of comments.

Fred Trask said...

You're welcome x 2. :)