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kickazz

1/12 Guys Gone Wild Edition - Red Wings @ Wild - 8:00 PM ET

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3 hours ago, kipwinger said:

I hope so, but that's asking a lot out of a guy who wasn't very good offensively until this year.  I'm still waiting to see on Veleno as a 2C. 

He wasn't very good offensively until *he got traded from a very bad Saint John team*. Ever since he's been traded to a competitive Drummondville team, he's been lighting it up (between 1.5 - 2 Pts/G).

It's not really his production in juniors that I'm basing my "Veleno will be a 2C" opinion on though. It's more so what he showed in this season's training camp / preseason. The fact that he made team Canada as a draft +1, and what he was able to do in a limited role there doesn't hurt either. Probably the biggest thing for me though is his overall skill set. He's an elite skater / passer, and has elite vision / hockey sense.

The biggest knock on him has always been his inability to score goals, and he's proven this season that he can do that, albeit as a 19 year old in junior, but still impressive what he's been doing so far this season.

Of course he will still have to prove it at the NHL level, but if the little sample (preseason) was any indication, I think he'll be a damn good player. I've made the Larkin comparison in the past, and while he may not have quite that ceiling (I think he could), I think it's a very apt comparison.

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Wow congrats bertuzzi

12 hours ago, kipwinger said:

It's entirely possible that we'll end the season with two 30 goal players (Larkin, AA) and two 20 goal players (Mantha, Bert), and still be one of the worst teams in the league. 

I thought Mantha was supposed to be a 40 goal scorer this year lol

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1 hour ago, F.Michael said:

And this is what pi$$e$ me off with Blash...He has that wonderful 'habit' of sticking turds masquerading as NHL'ers on our top lines instead of giving guys like lil'Bert consistent top 6 minutes.

Is that third dollar sign ($) supposed to be an (s) or a (d)? Because it should be past tense (d). Bertuzzi has been on the top line with Larkin and Nyquist for the past few games, while Abdelkader has finally been demoted to the bottom six. I do wish he would demote Vanek and promote Athanasiou though, despite Vanek's two goal game last night...

If Vanek were willing to waive his NTC before the deadline, I'd be completely okay with him playing in the top six to try and pad his stats a little. However, everything I've heard and read indicates that Vanek isn't going anywhere this season. So why give him the minutes when he's played terrible hockey all season? And why stick Athanasiou with two grinders when he's been one of our most dangerous forwards all season? Stupidity...

That's what pisses me off about Blashill and this organization in general. We'll always play veterans big minutes, no matter how poorly they play. And supremely skilled young players, like AA, will always get knocked for not being good enough defensively, despite being better than the veterans...

9 minutes ago, brett said:

Wow congrats bertuzzi

I thought Mantha was supposed to be a 40 goal scorer this year lol

I'm not sure who said 40, but he could have hit 30 (which most people believe he's capable of) if he didn't get injured. He was really starting to heat up and was on pace for that before he f***ed up his hand again...

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7 hours ago, krsmith17 said:

He wasn't very good offensively until *he got traded from a very bad Saint John team*. Ever since he's been traded to a competitive Drummondville team, he's been lighting it up (between 1.5 - 2 Pts/G).

It's not really his production in juniors that I'm basing my "Veleno will be a 2C" opinion on though. It's more so what he showed in this season's training camp / preseason. The fact that he made team Canada as a draft +1, and what he was able to do in a limited role there doesn't hurt either. Probably the biggest thing for me though is his overall skill set. He's an elite skater / passer, and has elite vision / hockey sense.

The biggest knock on him has always been his inability to score goals, and he's proven this season that he can do that, albeit as a 19 year old in junior, but still impressive what he's been doing so far this season.

Of course he will still have to prove it at the NHL level, but if the little sample (preseason) was any indication, I think he'll be a damn good player. I've made the Larkin comparison in the past, and while he may not have quite that ceiling (I think he could), I think it's a very apt comparison.

Oh I definitely think he can be a defensively responsible center who chips in 50ish points.  Trouble is, in today's NHL that's not good enough as a 2C.  Lets say Larkin turns into a solid, two-way, 70 point center, and Veleno is a solid, two-way 50-60 point center.  That seem like a reasonable projection for both right?  That's still not good enough.  The Caps had 70 and 80 point centers last year, Kuznetsov/Backstrom.  The Pens have Crosby/Malkin, Matthews/Tavares, McDavid/Draisaitl, Stamkos/Point, etc. etc. etc. 

It's possible that Larkin/Veleno could be the next Bergeron/Krejci, but I don't even think that team could win again.  Or maybe they become the new Hawks and have a low scoring 1C and a ton of excellent supporting players on the wings and on defense.  Entirely possible.  But in general the modern blueprint calls for two top end centers.  Ideally Larkin would be your 2C and matchup guy and you'd have a 1C scoring machine anchoring another line.  I don't think Veleno fits that bill. 

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22 minutes ago, kipwinger said:

Oh I definitely think he can be a defensively responsible center who chips in 50ish points.  Trouble is, in today's NHL that's not good enough as a 2C.  Lets say Larkin turns into a solid, two-way, 70 point center, and Veleno is a solid, two-way 50-60 point center.  That seem like a reasonable projection for both right?  That's still not good enough.  The Caps had 70 and 80 point centers last year, Kuznetsov/Backstrom.  The Pens have Crosby/Malkin, Matthews/Tavares, McDavid/Draisaitl, Stamkos/Point, etc. etc. etc. 

It's possible that Larkin/Veleno could be the next Bergeron/Krejci, but I don't even think that team could win again.  Or maybe they become the new Hawks and have a low scoring 1C and a ton of excellent supporting players on the wings and on defense.  Entirely possible.  But in general the modern blueprint calls for two top end centers.  Ideally Larkin would be your 2C and matchup guy and you'd have a 1C scoring machine anchoring another line.  I don't think Veleno fits that bill. 

I don’t think Larkin, Veleno and Cholowski have what it takes to win Stanley Cup. Even if they hit their ceilings. We need another bomb ass superstar or two. 

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19 minutes ago, kickazz said:

I don’t think Larkin, Veleno and Cholowski have what it takes to win Stanley Cup. Even if they hit their ceilings. We need another bomb ass superstar or two. 

I basically agree.  We need another high end center.  I feel really good about our wingers, we're basically all set there.  I feet pretty good about our defense, it needs improvement but not a superstar per se.  But we absolutely need another center, preferably one with top end offensive talent in the 80ish point range.  Fortunately there are a few guys in this draft with that kind of upside I think.  Aside from Hughes, I'm curious to see if Kakko plays center at the NHL level.  I also like Cozens, Zegras, and to a lesser extent Newhook and Dach as top end offensive guys.  Then I'd just fill out the rest of the roster with UFA signings.

 

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28 minutes ago, kickazz said:

I don’t think Larkin, Veleno and Cholowski have what it takes to win Stanley Cup. Even if they hit their ceilings. We need another bomb ass superstar or two. 

3 minutes ago, kipwinger said:

I basically agree.  We need another high end center.  I feel really good about our wingers, we're basically all set there.  I feet pretty good about our defense, it needs improvement but not a superstar per se.  But we absolutely need another center, preferably one with top end offensive talent in the 80ish point range.  Fortunately there are a few guys in this draft with that kind of upside I think.  Aside from Hughes, I'm curious to see if Kakko plays center at the NHL level.  I also like Cozens, Zegras, and to a lesser extent Newhook and Dach as top end offensive guys.  Then I'd just fill out the rest of the roster with UFA signings.

Realistically, I doubt we're all that close to Cup-ready.

That being said, what I think we're lacking is "merely" a couple of stars, which is perhaps a more appealing situation than needing to build up good depth (which we more-or-less already have). Just takes one pick to land a star, whereas good organizational depth takes time to cultivate. The way I see it, we've been building up depth over the past few years and now we're in a position to land a real stud or two (cuz we suck and we're stockpiling picks).

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19 minutes ago, Dabura said:

Realistically, I doubt we're all that close to Cup-ready.

That being said, what I think we're lacking is "merely" a couple of stars, which is perhaps a more appealing situation than needing to build up good depth (which we more-or-less already have). Just takes one pick to land a star, whereas good organizational depth takes time to cultivate. The way I see it, we've been building up depth over the past few years and now we're in a position to land a real stud or two (cuz we suck and we're stockpiling picks).

I generally agree with this.  Say we land a Cozens, and he turns out to be a Kuznetsov level talent.  I feel quite good about that team, provided Hronek, Cholo, Ras continue to get better (don't see why they wouldn't), and Zadina and McIsaac turns into a top six and top four players respectively.  And that's not even including all the rest of the picks we get this year and next.  Then just add complimentary pieces in UFA and you've got a quality team. 

 

 

Edited by kipwinger

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2 hours ago, kipwinger said:

Oh I definitely think he can be a defensively responsible center who chips in 50ish points.  Trouble is, in today's NHL that's not good enough as a 2C.  Lets say Larkin turns into a solid, two-way, 70 point center, and Veleno is a solid, two-way 50-60 point center.  That seem like a reasonable projection for both right?  That's still not good enough.  The Caps had 70 and 80 point centers last year, Kuznetsov/Backstrom.  The Pens have Crosby/Malkin, Matthews/Tavares, McDavid/Draisaitl, Stamkos/Point, etc. etc. etc. 

It's possible that Larkin/Veleno could be the next Bergeron/Krejci, but I don't even think that team could win again.  Or maybe they become the new Hawks and have a low scoring 1C and a ton of excellent supporting players on the wings and on defense.  Entirely possible.  But in general the modern blueprint calls for two top end centers.  Ideally Larkin would be your 2C and matchup guy and you'd have a 1C scoring machine anchoring another line.  I don't think Veleno fits that bill. 

I've been saying this as well.

If Larkin is a future 2C on this team, we're laughing. Hopefully Veleno fills the 3C spot and AA never has to ever play center again. 

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I think people are seriously selling Larkin short if you don't think he is / will be a capable 1C. He's already on pace for a 70+ point season as a 22 year old, with bad to mediocre wingers. I think Larkin could easily be a 90+ point center, given two quality wingers, over the next couple years.

I don't think Kuznetsov is close to a point per game center without the best goal scorer ever on his wing. Give Larkin a winger half as good as Ovi, and I'd bet on his point totals being at or above Kuznetsov.

Veleno is still an unknown at this point, but I feel more comfortable with Larkin / Veleno as our future top two centers than I do any other position right now. Adding a couple elite scoring wingers is more important right now in my opinion. Hopefully Zadina can be one, and maybe whoever we draft in the first round this year. 

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Just now, krsmith17 said:

I think people are seriously selling Larkin short if you don't think he is / will be a capable 1C. He's already on pace for a 70+ point season as a 22 year old, with bad to mediocre wingers. I think Larkin could easily be a 90+ point center, given two quality wingers, over the next couple years.

I don't think Kuznetsov is close to a point per game center without the best goal scorer ever on his wing. Give Larkin a winger half as good as Ovi, and I'd bet on his point totals being at or above Kuznetsov.

Veleno is still an unknown at this point, but I feel more comfortable with Larkin / Veleno as our future top two centers than I do any other position right now. Adding a couple elite scoring wingers is more important right now in my opinion. Hopefully Zadina can be one, and maybe whoever we draft in the first round this year. 

Larkin's already a pretty good 1C and he has the potential to become a great 1C. I guess for me the dream is simply that we find a powerhouse 1C who can push Larkin down to the 2C spot, giving us the kind of really enviable center depth that wins Cups. Ideally, I want two or three of our best players to be somewhat overqualified for the roles they're playing. (See: Malkin, Tavares.) If we can get to that point, we'll be in very good shape.

You can win Cups without crazy-good center depth, but, in keeping with the theme, I'd rather see a Wings team that's overstocked with high-end talent than one that needs all of its horses going at 100% all the time.

This is just dreaming, though. We'll see what the near future actually brings.

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30 minutes ago, krsmith17 said:

I think people are seriously selling Larkin short if you don't think he is / will be a capable 1C. He's already on pace for a 70+ point season as a 22 year old, with bad to mediocre wingers. I think Larkin could easily be a 90+ point center, given two quality wingers, over the next couple years.

I don't think Kuznetsov is close to a point per game center without the best goal scorer ever on his wing. Give Larkin a winger half as good as Ovi, and I'd bet on his point totals being at or above Kuznetsov.

Veleno is still an unknown at this point, but I feel more comfortable with Larkin / Veleno as our future top two centers than I do any other position right now. Adding a couple elite scoring wingers is more important right now in my opinion. Hopefully Zadina can be one, and maybe whoever we draft in the first round this year. 

You're selling Kuznetsov short.  He put up 77 pts in 82 games as a 2nd year player on the second line without Ovechkin.  He's super good, I've seen him play a ton, his athleticism is freakish.  He displaced Backstrom, who is also a super good player, as the top center for the Caps and is probably the biggest reason the Caps were finally able to get over the hump (i.e. past Pittsburgh).  Which is my whole point, one good center (Backstrom) with even the best wingers in the world (Ovechkin) won't beat teams that have multiple top centers (Crosby, Malkin).  You have to have top end center depth (Kuznetsov, Backstrom). 

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21 minutes ago, kipwinger said:

You're selling Kuznetsov short.  He put up 77 pts in 82 games as a 2nd year player on the second line without Ovechkin.  He's super good, I've seen him play a ton, his athleticism is freakish.  He displaced Backstrom, who is also a super good player, as the top center for the Caps and is probably the biggest reason the Caps were finally able to get over the hump (i.e. past Pittsburgh).  Which is my whole point, one good center (Backstrom) with even the best wingers in the world (Ovechkin) won't beat teams that have multiple top centers (Crosby, Malkin).  You have to have top end center depth (Kuznetsov, Backstrom). 

Kuznetsov did that as a 23 year old. Larkin is still only 22, and playing with lesser linemates in my opinion. 

45 minutes ago, kipwinger said:

Exactly.  Nobody is saying Larkin isn't a top line center.  It just takes two guys who are that good to really compete for Cups against elite teams. 

I guess I misunderstood. I agree that we need a center *almost* as good as Larkin, as our 2C. I just disagree that we need a center to displace Larkin as our 1C. If Larkin can develop into a point per game center, and Veleno can develop into a just under a point per game center, I think we're in good shape going forward. I think most would agree that Larkin could get there, I guess it just depends on if you think Veleno can. I think he can. We shall see...

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