Eaves, Miller, Emmerton, Brunnstrom and Mursak. These guys all have great defensive "skills," but are they great defensive players? They're all very fast. They all play hard (on most nights?). They all have good enough defensive awareness. But are they good defensive "players"?
I guess the question I'm really trying to ask here is this - - -> is our bottom six a weakness? Has our once admired depth dissapeared?
The vast majority of our top six is always going to be made of soft(ish) Euros. Especially our homegrown players. That's just the way we scout. That's just the way we draft. That's where our edge is. And I can live with that.
Our top six right now, for all intensive purposes (i.e. our top six offensive players, regardless of how Babcock rolls them) are Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Filppula, Hudler and Nyquist (when he's up). Aside from Franzen, who's as soft as butter, these guys are all at least relatively small players. Our top-six-potential prospects (Tatar, Pulkkinen, Jurco, Jarnkrok, etc., ...Sheahan I see as bottom six) aren't any bigger or tougher. That's just the way it is. That's what we're going to have to live with. Signing a guy like Parise would obviously be a huge boost, but he's still only one man.
So, therein lies the situation. Our top six is always going to be small and physical play is always going to be important in this league. Can we afford to keep non-scoring/non-physical guys like Eaves, Miller, Emmerton, Brunnstrom and Mursak in our bottom six!? Throw Bertuzzi in there as well; he's an enormous man, but he's just as soft as Mule.
IMO, you can live with a smaller center in the bottom six. So Helm and maybe even Emmerton are alright. Abdelkader's a great physical winger. Sheahan's probably going to be up in a couple of years and should fit the bill. But really, we don't have any other physical prospects with a likely chance of making it in the pros. Cleary's under contract for a couple of more years, and is at least somewhat suited. But Miller, Eaves, Brunnstrom, Mursak and Bertuzzi...I don't think we can afford to keep these guys on the squad.
IMO, we should be shopping Miller, Eaves, Mursak, Brunnstrom and Bertuzzi (+ picks/lower end prospects) hard for a couple of physical bottom six wingers (Dallas Drake types). And we need to do so without hurting our cap flexibility next off-season...still need to get Parise and Suter. Any ideas?
Filppula-Datsyuk-Holmstrom(/Parise in '12)
Hudler(/Nyquist in '12)-Zetterberg-Franzen
Cleary(/Sheahan in '13)-Helm-Abdelkader
...plug a couple of physical wingers into those 4th line spots, and we're instantly a much better team IMO.
Edited by blueadams, 18 November 2011 - 03:19 PM.