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Hartford Whalers

Team Overview:Is there a team that holds a softer spot in the collective heart of the ’94 community? The Whalers are the darlings of the league, mostly because they are the loveable losers. Despite a couple of nice players, they are well deserving of this moniker as they are only dangerous in the hands of the elite.

Forwards: Led by the fairly dynamic duo of Geoff Sanderson and Pat Verbeek, the Whalers do have a couple of legitimate options up front. After that though, there is a random mish-mash of meager talent, but at least there are several light weight options to fill out the third forward slot.

Brass Bonanza:


Pat Verbeek: 7 weight, 3/4 skating, 4/4 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: R

A personal favorite of Kgman and owner of the vaunted and equally as mysterious “long stick” rating, Verbeek is a very solid if unspectacular player. On his own, Verbeek isn’t an extremely dangerous player, something of a middle weight with solid skills; he is best suited as a complimentary player. Verbeek could just as easily be the center of this line, but his superior passing skills and comparable skating and weight ratings to Sanderson make him a better fit as a playmaker that can set up teammates. On defense, Verbeek is fairly standard, but his lack of agility might give him an issue in keeping up the faster players in the league.

Geoff Sanderson: 6 weight, 4/4 skating, 4/4 shot, 4 sth, 3 pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

It’s really fortunate that Sanderson is on a team as weak as the Whalers because he is best suited as a center, but he is not among the top centers in the league. Blessed with solid ratings across the board, Sanderson is equally as capable of being a one-on-one threat from the middle as he is a one-timing threat. With that said though, he isn’t a dominant player in either facet, which limits the offensive upside of the team. While not an elite defensive player, Geoff can certainly hold his own in tight checking games, although he may struggle against the likes of a Roenick or Fleury.

Terry Yake: 6 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/4 shot, 3 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: R

As mentioned in the Anaheim article, Yake isn’t a good player to center the offense around, but in a supporting role, he can do the job. Hartford, has only two forwards with 4 speed, Yake is the best mix of light weight and skill among the rest of the Hartford front line and he should be able to nicely augment the efforts of Verbeek and Sanderson. Yake will be able to hold his own defensively in many cases, pot some chances and is capable of distributing the puck, what else can we ask for from the 3rd F on a lower tier team?

None of the individuals on this line are jaw-dropping, but Sanderson and Verbeek do a fairly good job of feeding off each other and making them rather dangerous if not taken seriously. Yake is a nice role player and if he can click with the other two then Hartford can get rolling. Defensively, this isn’t a checking line, but its light enough to where they can trap if necessary to slow the pace of the game.

2 and a half on 3:


Mikael Nylander: 5 weight, 4/3 skating, 3/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/2 aware, Shoots: L

The superior skater of the two, Nylander is the prototypical weight bugger in that he wouldn’t get much consideration to start if it weren’t for the fact that he could crack some skulls. Being that Nylander was still fairly young when the game was made; he doesn’t have his sublime puck handling or passing skills that made him a solid 2nd line center in future editions. While he is kind of a black hole on offense due to a sheer lack of shooting acumen, he does bring a true lightweight to the lineup and could aid a back line that isn’t exactly blessed in that regard.

Robert Kron: 5 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/3 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: L

Kron is the more defensive minded of the two, he may be a better fit to play the pure grinder role. The offense though, is still sorely lacking and it will certainly hamper Hartford’s ability to keep up in a high scoring game. Every once in a while, Kron will get plugged onto the right wing in GDL to be a guy to cause some havoc. In those situations he is usually paired with a pair of elite talents that can light the lamp more effectively than the Hartford duo. Temper your expectations when icing Kron or Nylander.

Hartford’s skill level really takes a big hit after Yake, but Kron and Nylander do posses average skating and are capable of providing a helping hand on defense. This is a better trap line in which to play with, but it puts more stress on Verbeek and Sanderson to provide offense.

Other options: Here are a couple more options to help fill out the roster in the 9th-11th round of the GDL draft.

Andrew Cassels: 7 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/4 shot, 3 sth & 3 pass, 4/4 aware, Shoots: L

Suffering from Craig Janney disease, Cassels is a playmaker who just didn’t get the blessing from the ’94 Gods as his skating and passing ratings don’t reflect his real life skills. Combine that with weak shot power and being a middle weight, Cassels is nothing more than emergency option off the bench.

Robert Petrovicky: 5 weight, 4/3 skating, 3/1 shot, 3 sth & pass, 2/2 aware, Shoots: L

Another pesky winger, but the awareness and Hawerchuk like shot make him a liability with or without the puck. But in user control, he’s a solid checker and might be able to lead a rush or two and set up a goal in his best of games.

Forwards: 5.5/10

Defense: Hartford’s defense is really a mixed bag, guys like Zarley Zalapski and Eric Weinrich are true heavyweights, but there skills and skating make them useful. Adam Burt is another solid option off the bench with his middleweight and decent skill set. Again though, the Whalers don’t have a stud to rely on, and hopefully a pairing can be made that enhances their attributes.


Adam Burt: 7 weight, 4/3 skating, 4/1shot, 4 sth, 3 pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: L

Burt has a tendency to fly under the radar, but the truth of the matter is he does have some plus skating and a respectable shot in a fairly reasonable weight package for a defender. The goal here is to hope that Burt and Zalapski can feed off each other as both are capable on offense, but the user really has to pick their spots as they both do have their flaws.

Zarley Zalapski: 10 weight, 5/4 skating, 4/2 shot, 4 sth, 3 pass, 4/5 aware, Shoots: L

What makes Zalapski different from the typical heavyweight defenseman is his supreme skating abilities. He is very adept at using his skating to help him utilize his puck skills and calm the game down or give the offense a jolt. These skills must be used judiciously though as he is a moving target to most any forward in the game. Defensively, Zalapski is pretty solid in his own zone, but he is strictly a poke checker in open ice. Along the boards Zalapski is nimble enough to distribute some big body checks, again though, it is best to use this skill wisely. Staying within Zalapski’s abilities is the key here, if that can be done, he can reward the Whalers with some strong play.

Despite this not being a top duo in the league, it is still a dangerous one, especially with the puck on their stick.


Eric Weinrich: 10 weight, 3/4 skating, 3/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: L

Not too many teams can ice a pair of defenseman with 4 speed, Hartford can, albeit at 10 weight a pop. Sometimes Burt can go a little lame brain on defense, Weinrich can fill the void if need be and be a bit more heady in his own zone. While a bit sluggish in the handling department, Weinrich still has enough straight line speed to chase down some breakaways and his skill set is good enough to keep the Hartford offense going with a nice breakout pass.

Hartford doesn’t possess a weight bug defenseman, therefore a pairing this heavy can be suggested because there is enough skating and skill here to be effective still. In games against fast, weight bug lines though, this pair might struggle and be pressed into making bad decisions.

Other Options: None of the other defenders on the roster are GDL worthy, but it’s entirely possible to lose a couple of guys to injury or penalty, so let’s look at the best of the worst.

Allen Pederson: 10 weight, 2/3 speed, 2/1 shot, 2 sth & pass, 1/3 aware, Shoots: L

The only other defender with 2 passing and 3 speed, he should be little better at getting the puck quickly off his stick then the rest of the options. Still, there are reasons as to why he is never drafted in the GDL, namely his weight and entire skill set.

Dan Keczmer: 7 weight, 2/2 skating, 1/2 shot, 2 sth, 1 pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: L

So...yeah...just keep your other defenders out of the box ok?

Defense: 5/10

Goalie Zone: Fitting right in with the team, Sean Burke is more or less random mish-mash on paper, but not too shabby on the ice.

Sean Burke: 10 weight, 4/3 skating, 2/2 aware, 4 puck control, 4/4/4/4 save Catches: L

More often than not, a goalies overall rating is inflated by his awareness, a rating that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Burke benefits from the opposite, he’s actually much better than advertised. Blessed with solid rebound control and pads, if Burke can get to the puck, he’s pretty dependable. The weight might prove a little problematic, but his flaws are less numerous than a similar rated Richter, Blue, or Vernon.

Goalies: 6.5/10

Bottom Line: No player by himself on the roster is going to scare the opponent, especially an opponent with a top team. As a unit though, the Whalers are very solid and can pull off some major upsets, especially in the hands of a seasoned veteran.

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a decent team on the SNES, too.

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So, getting this team together in a nutshell:

- Geoff Sanderson is just another one of those players you'd hate to have him score on you. The guys I've seen to make him shine are Icestorm who on occasion uses Hartford to mess with you and Swos who seems to be a fan of Sanderson. I mean, how many times has he drafted him on GDL? 3 or 4 times? :D

- From the middleweights, looks lke Verbeek's got the edge over Cassels but let's not forget that Cassels and Sanderson have played together for a good number of years with the Whalers and Hurricanes. He should set up Geoff for one-timers and surprise some goalies with good lob shots from the side. Kron, Yake and Nylander are just okay and Petrovicky is a scrapper, but you'd have to use him to make him work.

- It's always the fatties that are the great ones, aren't they? Zalapski's easily the best guy of the bunch in Hartford, so he usually stays in because of his speed and his skills. Weinrich's stats are fair, not too bad and Burt can fill in nicely. I don't usually pay attention to the rest of the fodder though, just beyond the big 3.

- Burke is actually good as a goalie, although when he's a little cold he can feel kind of unwieldy at times since he's the heaviest goalie in the game, edging out Barasso by a few more pounds. :lol: But as long as the rest of his ratings are good, he's your man and a good option on draft leagues.

Hmmm, it makes me think if you're gonna rip a new one on Jon Casey. :D:lol::D:lol:

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  • 4 years later...

CB Notes


Pat Verbeek: Among fellow 7 weights, Verbeek takes a little bigger hit than most due to his 3 agility and non-elite skill set. This fact may relegate him to the perimeter in the offensive zone regardless of who is lined up against him.

Geoff Sanderson: Things aren't looking good for the Whaler offense as Sanderson will also have his fair share of issues working his way through the slot as big defenders and burly back checking forwards should be able to line him up in their sites with a CB check. Sanderson may need to utilize his one-timer more to help fend off opposing defenses while maintaining his critical production for the Whale.

Terry Yake: Completing the reverse trifecta, Yake is also adversely affected by CB developments. His lack of speed on the wing is more problematic than it already was on offense and Yake's new found checking power against 4 weight players will be hampered by his inability to run them down effectively. Regardless, Yake's slightly above average skill set should still warrant him getting ice time, especially in the face of Hartford's weight buggers really getting the shaft.

Mikael Nylander, Robert Kron, Ronald Petrovicky: Pure weight buggers are becoming obsolete and these 3 under skilled players are no exception. If trying to play a defensive battle these guys may still have use, otherwise just steer clear as the offense from these players should easily be stemmed by teams with bigger and faster defenses.

Andrew Cassels: I still can't fully endorse Cassels as he doesn't cause many matchup issues. Despite being too slow and under skilled, Cassels moves up the Whaler depth chart only because the weight buggers may have now slipped below him.

Mark Janssens: 11 weight, 3/3 speed, 3/3 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

Woof. Janssens becomes an option thanks to the CB check and may get much more ice time than his skill set warrants. Not much to be said about Janssens as hes pretty plain, he will likely do a similar amount of damage on the ice as the weight buggers and I mean that in terms of helping but mostly hurting his team.

Patrick Poulin: 10 weight, 3/3 speed, 3/3 shot, 3 sth and pass, 3/2 aware, Shoots: L

Poulin may perhaps be a slightly better option than Janssens as the upgrade in passing and slight drop in weight may help Poulin produce positive results. It's probably best to keep in mind that Poulin hasn't found any success in Blitz league and to expect even less in the classic rom.

New Line: Poulin-Sanderson-Verbeek

Poulin does bring a bit more weight balance to the Hartford front line in this set up and allowing the wingers to be on their forehand should help their deke and pass ability in setting up themselves or Sanderson. Slower and heavier opposing right wings could have issues navigating the heavyweight gauntlet of Weinrich and Poulin. Turnovers may be the key to any consistent Hartford offense.


Adam Burt: While it may seem easier to sit Burt he still is a very valuable piece to this defense with his plus skills in agility, stick handling, and shot power. Burt is also the only playable Whaler blue liner who can body check a 9 weight player, it would be wise to mobilize him against the Hull's and Sandstrom's of the 94 world.

Zarley Zalapski: Few big d-men benefit more from CB than Zalapski as his impeccable 5/4 skating and 10 weight should allow him to be a bruising presence in his own zone who has the talent needed to take advantage of him touching the puck more. Attempt to take advantage of teams who play heavier lineups as Zalapski is a pain to CB check and this extra time and space for him could offset the downgrade of the Whaler forwards.

Eric Weinrich: Most defenders with 4 speed get a lot of run, 10 weight defenders with 4 speed should be must starts with CB in play. Not so fast, Weinrich is likely best suited as a super sub due to his 3 agility, sub Burt skill level and being too similar in weight to Zalapski. I wouldn't fault anyone for starting Weinrich over Burt, it just may not be the most optimal.

Allen Pedersen: 10 weight, 3 speed. He's a sub and he should stay a sub, that's all you need to know.

Randy Ladouceur: 11 weight, 3/3 skating, 1/1 shot, 2 sth, 1 pass, 1/3 aware, Shoots: L

The resident heavyweight, Ladouceur may be the 2nd best option off the bench now as he has upgraded skating stats and weight over Pedersen. Still, he should be far behind the top 3 in the depth chart and only iced if absolute necessary as light and faster forwards should be able to abuse him with regularity.

Doug Houda: 7 weight, 2/2 skating, 2/1 shot, 2 sth, 1 pass, 1/2 aware, Shoots: R

For the must stubborn of '94 users, Houda is the only right handed *option* for Hartford and is obviously the best natural defender on the right. Do me a favor though, look back up a couple of lines and look at that skill set once more...did you read it again and still want to play him *rolls up newspaper and whaps you on the nose*. Thats a bad reader!!! You play Weinrich or Burt with Zalapski, you got it!!!

Bottom Line

Yuck. The Whalers offense was done no favors with the CB check as none of their original forwards received an upgrade. In fact, it may be required to fish deeper into a shallow bench to find a guy who can tread water as a 3rd forward. Conversely, the defense has been upgraded and much needed. Zalapski should be more able to unleash beast mode and keep his team in the game, a game that should be a grind it out affair if success is to be found.

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  • 3 years later...

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