First of all, change in (or alteration of) general philosophy - forget about this running 4 lines b.s. In the salary cap-nhl, if you want to have success, you throw out your best six scorers on your top two lines, and you fill the rest of the roster with grinders. So...I'm going to leave this alone until I chalk up the lines below.
Second of all, personnel changes -
#1) Lidstrom (7.5 mil) - He'll be back as our captain at a much lower price, probably a 1-2 year deal.
#2) Holmstrom (2.3 mil) - He'll be back at a slightly lower price, probably 1 year.
#3) Bertuzzi (1.5 mil) - I know he's easy to hate, but in all objective reality, he gives us everything on the ice that mule gives us...but to a lesser degree...and one that is fairly proportional to their difference in price.
#1) Abdelkader (0.9 mil) - no question about it, slight raise.
#2) Helm (0.6 mil) - ditto.
#3) Miller (0.5 mil) - hopefully no one makes him a big offer.
#4) Eaves (0.5 mil) - hopefully no one makes him a big offer.
#5) Meech (0.5 mil) - shouldn't be hard to keep, nice seventh defenseman that can play forward in a jam.
#1) Hudler (2.9 mil...I checked) - all signs point to yes. The cap-breaks we're getting from Lidstrom, to a lesser extent Homer, and some of these guys that we're losing below should give us enough space to fit him in.
Do not bring back:
#1) Williams (1.5 mil) - Doesn't fit into my plans.
#2) Lilja (1.3 mil) - No room for him with Kindl coming up.
#2) Maltby 0.9 mil) - Good time to step down.
#4) Lebda (0.7 mil) - No room for him with Kindl. And I'd rather have a cheaper and more versatile Meech as my seventh defenseman.
#1) Hudler-Datsyuk-Franzen - Datsyuk and Zetterberg are our two best all-around players. They're going to be centering the top two lines. I'm not putting them together at even strength. Hudler is the best secondary scorer that we're going to have, better than Flip. Him and Pav on the same line together will be nasty. They'll score a lot of goals. Mule is our best "physical presence guy." At even strength, he's on this top line.
#2) Filppula-Zetterberg-Bertuzzi - Hank in the middle, second best all-around player. Flip on his wing, second best secondary scorer. Bert up front, second best physical presence. Keep in mind that these can shift as players gel. Mule can be swapped for Bert. Flip can be swapped for Huds. I don't really care what the combinations are...so let's not waste time arguing about the combos. All I know is that those six guys are our top six guys.
#3) Abdelkader-Helm-Cleary - This is kind of physical third line that makes teams like pittsburgh so hard to beat, and that we lack. Helm's a great, energetic, high pressure, turnover-creating nuisance that can center this line. Abby brings a lot of the same things at a much larger size, and with more scoring potential. Cleary seems to have sort of lost his scoring touch. I've got no beef with him dedicating himself to again being a great, physical defensive standout...that adds a little scoring potential to this line as well.
#4) Holmstrom-Miller-Eaves - This fourth line's not gonna get much even strength time...but so what...no one else is really trying to do that anymore. It's far from a waste line though. Homer is our first team power play net specialist (along with Pav and Hank, TOGETHER...Huds-Flip-Mule is our second pp unit). It'll be really, really nice to keep him fresh for that role in the playoffs as well!!! And Miller-Eaves are our first line PP killers (probably Helm-Cleary or Abbs as our second pk unit).
13th - Draper - great locker room guy, not a great player. Perfect as the 13th though, as he can slide in for someone nicely at either wing or center. Still a face-off stud in a pinch as well.
Lidstrom-Rafalski - Not getting any better, but still one of the better first pairs in the league.
Kronwall-Stuart - Again, probably getting close to their peaks, but still one of the better second pairs in the league.
Kindl-Ericsson - Kindl's up next season, no arguing about it. He probably takes over for Williams on our second team PP as well. Ericsson took a bit of a step back this season...but I still think that he's going to be a solid life-r here. Kindl's offensive abilities might help him settle into his more promising role as a stay-at-home Lidstrom-esque defender as well.
7th - Meech - Not that good, not that bad, still young, versatile, cheap...etc.
Howard - He had a great regular season...through three games he's given up one (maybe two...one in each of the losses) bad goal...and that's probably less or as many bad goals than Luongo's given up. He's our man next season. No question about it.
Osgood - He's under contract for one more season. He's probably thinking about retirment (in which case we'd have to sign another veteran - I don't think we want to go with a Howard/Larsson combo just yet). But I hope he instead chooses to take pride in the important role of the backup veteran who helps groom his successor.
Edited by blueadams, 19 April 2010 - 11:46 AM.