The D is an interesting situation because with free agents and promotions it could be very different, but equally it might be the same.
I suppose the biggest question is will the coach keep the Babcock tight positional play that has been reasonably successful or take a risk and go for a more offensive style? The answer to that will determine the futures of many players on the roster, including kindl, smith, weiss, jurco and possibly Pulks, all of whom would be keen to see the latter.
One of the interesting questions for the new set up is can they get the playoff version of Brendan Smith to show up in the reg season. In the post season he has looked like a top 4 dman, but in the 82 games he can fluctuate from top 4 to #8 without warning. Kindl also has question marks...although he gets the easy ice time, his points to games ratio is not bad at all, and he is one of the few of our D who actually can hit the net on the PP, and he plays great stretch passes. Can they get him to overcome his indecision and lack of fight in his own end? Big asks, but either coming off would be a big help. Can Big Rig get his confidence back with a healed hand and actually look a top 4 damn? Will DD continue to progress? Will KFQ be able to maintain last seasons form without babs? Or might he even surpass it and re-find his offensive touch as seen in LA and Colorado? We know Marchy and XO can cope with Blashill, but can they REALLY step up?
And of course, one can assume KH will try to find a FA upgrade. Landing any of the current options creates spare assets. A trade for an upgrade seems unlikely, but the cap space of others may yet change that, especially from teams out west.
As for what I'd like to see...
If we can't get Green or Franson at a reasonable price, i would consider Martin, Sekera or maybe even Erhoff or Meszaros (if cheap cheap) if we can swing send some other assets away for an upgrade. Otherwise leave along. Up front, Drew Stafford is an obvious option, Joel Ward as an outside choice but really there isn't much and I'd probably prefer to stand pat.
Again if we trade assets, maybe Shawn matthias, glencross,Justin Williams or possibly at a push Frolik come into, but only would be worth considering if we can shift others out to bring an upgrade on the back end.
In net, I can't see Jimmah leaving, so no change except possibly in GR.
If no trades or signings of note happen, I'd be tempted to shake up some of the lines. Tats works well with D but also with Sheahan so I'd be tempted to go with.
Z - D - Abby
Tats - Sheahan - Jurco
Franzen/Pulks - Helm - Nike
MIller, Glen, Ferraro
NK - BS
KQ - DD
JE - AM
Of course Weiss and Kindl if not traded will rotate in, and I wouldn't be surprised if the former bounces back to complicate things no end!
But I would only do so on the basis of situational line rotation and fairly equal ice time for the top 3 lines. Its tricky because it would mean Tats/Sheahan/Jurco would be the only balanced line really. Nyquist has great chemistry with Zetterberg, but the only other person he seems to really have that telepathy with is Franzen and I can't see him coming back or staying back. Otherwise that's a good line because of Franzen's size, and Nyquist's speed taking some of the physical pressure of Z, but only really works if Z and Franzen can rotate central duties as I don't see Z as a full time center from here on in.
Dats can kind of play with anyone as long as there is at least someone providing good forecheck pressure. Pulks I can see moving up and down the line up until he finds a fit as his shot makes him a threat on any line that gets offensive zone time.
Certainly the 4th line picks itself as the roster stands.
On the back end the only pair that works for both is KQ and DD, and I'm scared of having Kronwall and Ericsson together as Kronner's skating has declined and Ericsson's first 5 yards is SLOOOOW. Smith on the first line IS a massive risk, but he seems to play better when a) given more responsibility and b) with someone really smart! In an ideal world someone comes in alongside Kronner or Marchenko suddenly takes 3 steps forward. We all know our back end is horribly imbalanced and suffers from quantity over quality, so unless we get someone in from outside then there is no really satisfactory solution. I know Smith higher up the line-up might go horribly wrong, but if nothing changes roster wise, i'd prefer to take the risk first up and give him a chance and the confidence to utilise his strengths. Like many, I suspect he just doesn't have what it takes between the ears, but he does seem to switch on when pushed front row centre. As for PP, I only think smith works if we play 2 d- men and he can roam, effectively being a demi forward, so if the current set up works with the coaching changes I'd use him sparingly. I say utilising him there is less of a priority than getting the Pulkcannon in positions to use that slap shot. Our finn has much development to do, but he has the best slapshot and one of the best wristers on the roster and he WILL shoot, so if he's on the team that has to be utilised, and not too close to the crease. His release and ability to find space will never match Brett Hull's but he's the closest this club has seen since.