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League – 58
Challenge Cup – 6
Play Offs – 3
Total Goals: 41 / Total Assists: 28 / Total PIMs: 72
Guptill is a bit like marmite, you either like him or you don’t. I think we can all agree that his goals this season have been a real saviour and our season would have been far worse without them. A great goal scorer however he is often branded as being selfish, lazy and a liability defensively. I would have him back but he needs to be on a line with players that make up for his downsides.
Without Guptill this season could have been a lot worse as most of the time if it wasn’t Guptill that did it, then it didn’t happen. You could see the frustration building in Guptill as the season went on over the quality of his teammate’s play and this often resulted in him trying to do everything himself. Guptill is not the most hard working of players but if he was re-signed and put on a line of the Ling-Graham-Benedict ilk then he has the potential to be one of our best players next season.
A Panthers player among the league’s top scorers, what is this devilry? But he was and Guptill was the go-to man for large parts of the season, but he ended the season in a bit of lull, not troubling the opposition or the scoreboard. Benched by Chernomaz due to (what we guess was) a lack of defensive knowhow, Guptill is a luxury player. If you can afford to have a forward not buy-in to the 2-way game plan you need to partner him with players who will work extra hard to make up for their lack of defensive effort. It’d be interesting if he returned, but it wouldn’t break my heart if he wasn’t to.
A classic marmite player who was either worshipped or loathed by fans – seemingly in equal measures too. It’s odd that someone who contributed such a significant proportion of Panthers goals this season would attract any negativity from supporters, but there were many examples of laziness (e.g. slow skating back to the bench during line changes) and lack of focus/discipline when things weren’t going his way – often resulting in taking a dumb penalty. Unfortunately these take some of the shine off Guptill’s goalscoring exploits.
A clearly cheesed-off Rich Chernomaz made Guptill a healthy scratch on several occasions early in the season, seemingly as a response to general effort levels falling lower than where the Head Coach would have liked them to have been. No one can doubt the player’s finishing ability, and you could argue the last forward to display such predatory sniper skills was the legend that was David-Alexandre Beauregard. But DAB clearly gave his all whilst in a Panthers jersey, and from watching Guptill’s performances this year, I’m not convinced I can say the same of him. It’s strange to think any fan wouldn’t automatically want back a guy who’s got your club 40+ goals during a season; but I really wouldn’t be bothered if Guptill took his game elsewhere next season.
I never warmed to Alex Guptill, not one bit, which is odd considering that without him we’d have been well and truly knackered. Collectively as a podcast panel in the summer we were concerned about where the goals were coming from and without Guptill we’d probably still be wondering but if you’ve already read my review on Betteridge you’ll probably understand where my dislike of Guptill comes from! I can’t get on with his, shall we say ‘relaxed’, style of play and if he’d been on line with someone like David Ling who could deliver a puck for an easy tap in to a team mate in the dark with sunglasses on then perhaps I could have overlooked it.
Guptill was either guilty of holding on to a puck for too long while trying to flourish it past an opposition player who could just poke check it away from him because they cared not that he was trying to do something fancy, or he would just wait around for a puck that probably wasn’t coming because we don’t have a David Ling standard of passing in this team. Don’t even get me started on backchecking! Well, actually, I can’t because it didn’t happen.
Again, I accept that we’d have been in a right mess without Guptill’s goals but he’s just not my type of player and I’d prefer a goal scorer with more of an attitude that said ‘Team Player’ to me.