Any improvement the team makes will be mostly the result of the kids improving. And back tracking will be mostly the result of them regressing or stagnating. And I stand by my belief that most people drooling over Blashill will turn on him when he plays Ericsson with Kronwall and Abdelkader and Helm in scoring line roles, and doesn't give Holy Slapper 4 minutes of PP time a night.
I do think that Blashill can inject some new energy, but I agree that improvement will be from prospect coming in (Mrazek, Marchenko, Pulkkinen) and youth improvement. Getting Mule back and the possibly having Weiss make a larger impact could also make us better if either happen.
I also totally agree that those that have railed against Babcock's roster decisions will find that any new coach will do similarly. After Abdelkader's last year he should and probably will be with Datsyuk. Also, the magic man wants him there(or a similar player) so it's been a player decision as much as a coaching decision.
Big E on the top pairing is a result of lack of high end talent on D. As of today, it's probably still the best way to handle the D pairings given the personnel. We'll see if we add someone or if Marchenko or can take a huge step this year. Otherwise, there will be more complaining about E as he plays a role slightly over his skill level.
Helm will be pushed down the roster if we either: get Mule back, have Weiss take a larger role, Pulkkinen finds his NHL scoring touch, Jurco finds his offensive game (though he needs to claim a 3rd line spot first). I love Helm and don't mind him filling in on the 2nd line and like that he is basically able to move up and down the roster an fit in. It's an important aspect to have in the event of injuries or struggling chemistry.
I think Babcock's reputation for unlikely lineup configurations is exaggerated and I think many people ignore the causes for certain decisions.
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