I would be opposed to splitting up Z and Brunner this soon. Brunner is still pretty green in the NHL and Zett is his one source of familiarity and chemistry. In the future sure, but look at Zett's production so far, you can't argue with the results. There's not much reason to split things up at this time, but once the scoring slumps come, and i'm sure they will, i'd be willing to see the top two lines get mixed up and see what works better.
The scoring slump did come, just not on that line, two of the three members of the first line aren't producing for s***. Zetterberg's production would remain consistent with Flip as history has shown, Brunner's would increase or stay the same as he'd be playing with Pav. And Flip, Dats, (and maybe Bert) would see an increase in production because they would finally be playing with guys that can finish instead of the three of them just passing back and forth every shift.
Think about this, you know all those times Bert hangs on to the puck down low, fights off a defender draped all over his back, and passes out into the slot to make a play? Wouldn't it be nice if the guy he passed it to (Brunner) would actually bury it? Same with Dats, he's the best playmaker in the world, and neither of his wingers can finish. Now imagine if Flip carried the puck into the zone like he's good at, and he could pass to one of either Franzen or Zetterberg, both of whom can finish. Now his production increases as well.
I understand what you're saying about Brunner and Z, I really do. But it's not like Brunner would be playing with nobodies, he's be playing with the best passer in the world and a power forward that clears space and distributes the puck well, both of them need a shooter to be more effective. And Brunner could be that shooter (Flip sure isn't). Also, it's not like Z and Flip haven't shown chemistry in the past either. Why is the Brunner/Zetterberg chemistry any more important than the Flip/Z chemistry, especially when you consider one maintains the status quo while the other potentially gets a guy going who is currently underperfoming.
Flip played wing. Wing plays deeper, gets more chances, plays less defense. If you look at how he played he was going harder to the net, playing behind the goal line, trying to generate more offense. Watch when he played C. Exact same player, same everything, he just didn't go too deep and often was at center ice by the time the other team even got out of their own zone. Of course it's going to lead to less offense doing that.
I know he played wing, and that wingers production is usually higher in our system. But look where the additional production came from. It wasn't goals, it was assists. When Flip played on a line with a guy that shoots and finishes well (Zetterberg) his assists doubled, while his goals only increased marginally. Flip is a pass first guy, so putting him with other pass first guys (Pav and Bert) doesn't play to his strengths. Put him with guys that love to shoot, and his production will increase. No brainer.
Edited by kipwinger, 14 February 2013 - 06:27 PM.