Lilja is our leading hitter, leading shot blocker and plays an important part on the PK, which will be even more crucial to the team this season since Chelios' role is supposedly going to be reduced this year. Trading him makes less sense than trading one of Lebda or Meech who are both offensive-minded, smallish defenseman. I would say trade both Lebda and Meech so we have enough cap space to bring up Downey or Mac whenever needed. We can also use Ericsson as the first-call up from GR due to injuries that way.
Chelios' role was already reduced. And it had no ill effects on our PK. If Chelis role on the PK was that crucial to its success, he wouldn't have been a healthy scratch.
Also, Liljas importance in regards to hitting and shot-blocking are not nearly as crucial as they were pre-Brad Stuart and now with the emergence of Kronwall. Lilja may be #1 on the team in both categories, but the #2 on the team is Stuart. And Kronwall is not far behind at #3. What is particular to note is that on the Red Wings, Lilja is specifically asked to use the body, because the lack of hard-hitting players Detroit has. If Stuart were asked to do the same, he'd likely have bigger hitting stats as well. But undoubtedly with Dustin Brown setting the tone, few Kings players were specifically asked to pick up their hitting game.
You might illustrate this by taking a look at Brad Stuart's integration into the Red Wings. While Lilja may have lead during the regular season, Brad Stuart lead during the playoffs in both categories. Lilja averaged 2.4 hits per game to Stuarts 2.8. Lilja averaged 1.1 blocked shots per game to Stuarts 1.3.
Whats also interesting is that in 05-06, Stuart averaged slightly more hits per game than Lilja did, both getting a little over 100 hits for the season. In 06-07, however, Lilja was frequently benched by Babcock. You'll also remember that at this time, the Wings wanted more out of Lilja. He wasn't performing up to his expectations and Babcock and Holland both went to the media voicing their opinions about how Lilja needed to play up to his size, and play with more of an edge. Hence, this season, Lilja had over 130 hits.
In short, a lot can be said for the demands a coach makes on his players. Lilja when asked to do so can offer up 130+ hits. When he plays for a guy like Lewis however, he gives less. Nearly 25% less to be exact. Therefore, it should be the general expectation that Stuart, knowing his role with the Red Wings, will perform accordingly, possibly even wiping out the highest season total in hits that Lilja has ever had as a Red Wing. Keep in mind that through 21 games, Stuart was able to put forth nearly 60 hits. That pace, through 82 games, is nearly 230 hits in one season. Do I expect Stuart to put up that many hits? No. Not at all. But to be worried about Liljas loss of 130 hits when we're effectively replacing him with a guy who is only 2 seasons removed from a 165
hit campaign should be the last thing keeping you up at night.
Edited by YoungGuns1340, 10 September 2008 - 08:56 PM.
It is not your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude.