Here's what I think the lines will be:
Here's what I'd like them to be:
I thought that our biggest problems against San Jose last season were...#1) a general lack of play-makers and natural scorers on the ice; and #2) Bertuzzi and Holmstrom being mis-matched against stud top-six forwards. So...yes...I want more play-makers and natural scorers in the lineup, and I want Bertuzzi and Holmstrom out of the top six (and probably out of the lineup altogether).
I realize that Nyquist, Tatar and Brunnstrom probably aren't ready, but this isn't a young team we're dealing with anymore. Lidstrom has 1, 2, maybe 3 years left. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Cleary, Kronwall and Stuart are all approaching their mid-30's. We need to have a sense of urgency here this season. We need to go all out for the cup. We need these talented young players to GET ready. And the best way to get them ready, IMO, is to put them out there on the ice against NHLers.
As far as the actual line combinations are concerned...
I've got Filppula and Cleary with Datsyuk. I don't know why Babcock doesn't play them together. They've got the best chemistry on the team (including Pav-Hank). They're the two best passers and play-makers on the team. When they're out there together, it's magic. Cleary makes an excellent net-front presence.
I've got Hudler and Franzen with Zetterberg. Zetterberg moves his line at a slower pace than Datsyuk. Hudler and Franzen are more comfortable at a slower pace, I think. That's why I've got them with Hank, and Filppula - who can play at 100mph - with Datsyuk.
I've got Nyquist and Tatar with Helm. This is going to be a very small line. But it's going to be a very, very fast line as well. The way the NHL's going, speed is better than physical strength defensively anyways. If they end up needing more grit, changes can be made. But I like this line because Helm's speed and takeaways create so so many beautiful opportunities offensively. The problem is that he's usually out there with Eaves, Miller, Cleary, Abdelkader, etc. Put him out there with a couple of guys that can keep up with him speed-wise and really do special things with the puck...and we could have a very dangerous third line.
I've got Brunnstrom and Eaves with Abdelkader. People seem to overlook how big Brunnstrom is. He's as big as Cleary. And he's fast. He could be a solid defensive player here. These three guys all have speed, a little scoring ability, and two of them are proven defensively.
...I love these lines. 4 lines, all with scoring potential, all very solid defensively.
I've also got Commodore in for Kindl. Hopefully we make a deal at the deadline to acquire a really good defenseman. Until then, I like Commie. Kindl really hasn't impressed me. And he's starting to get into his mid-20's. Nothing special offensively. Not physical. Not sound defensively. I'll take a big strong Commie back there with Ericsson for the time being.
...In order to get Nyquist and Tatar on the 23-man roster, I'd take my chances sending Miller and Emmerton to GR. These guys are depth defensive forwards. Hopefully we don't lose either. We'll probably lose both. And in the long and short run, it won't be that big of a deal. I don't think that you can release Homer or Bert. Homer's still real, real, real special in front of the net, and will be very valuable in the playoffs and in the regular season as a sub/injury replacement. And as sad as it is, Bertuzzi is the only intimidator we've got. We'll need him going up against certain guys.
Edited by blueadams, 03 October 2011 - 12:33 AM.