Besides staying relatively healthy - this team has ONE NEED. A capable puck moving, offensive defenseman that plays within our system. Forget this obsession with the Right Handed Shot, last time we won a cup we only had 1 in our top six. Our problem is and (has been since Lidstrom left), a massive void on the backend where we lack the playmaking, transition and control of the game we once had.
Kronwall can certainly play this style - but unfortunately he cant seem to do it while playing the shutdown role as well. As long as management stays on the same page - and based on our prospects pool we certainly draft like it - we need to acquire a defenseman (left or right handed) that can get the puck out of our zone and set up/sustain our possession based offense. We still have a very capable group of forwards, not any worse than those of Montreal or New York - the difference is they have much better puck movers than we do.
The rest of our top 6 (Ericsson, Dekeyser, Smith, Kindl and Quincey) represent 4 players that played the exact same defensive minded game, and Brendan Smith who does not fit the style of game our forwards are used to playing. At times, I liked what I saw from Smith, I thought he showed some of his skillset - but it was almost ALWAYS a great individual rush beating 1 or 2 players, circle back and make a pass to a forward regardless of how bad of a position the forward was in. His 19 points in the regular season, and 0 in the playoffs seam to reflect this.
I understand the value of having a mix of Right Handed players, but this team needs a Quarterback - even if he shoots left.
I agree with this, but I don't think it goes far enough. I want the puck mover. That's the top priority. But since the San Jose and Nashville series a few years ago teams have figured out that if you keep Detroit to the outside, and block shots, you'll beat them. In the playoffs we play EXCLUSIVELY from the perimeter.
We need to get bigger and grittier. I don't mean fighters, or hulking fourth liners. I mean we need top six talent with enough size and toughness to play in front of the net. It's not surprising that guys like Carter, Bickell, Bourque are scoring in the playoffs. They go to areas that playoff goals get scored from.
I'm not saying skill doesn't matter. It does (Gaborik is proving that every game). I'm saying we've got enough skill already and need to compliment it. One or two big bodied wingers who can score in the crease (sorry Abby) would probably increase our success.
This team needs two reliable D men right now while some of the prospects develop.
Pick one. 2 year deal max.
Pick one. 2 year deal max.
Holland has to try and improve the top six as well. If he has a chance to grab a UFA, he better do it.
Then sign one of these guys to back up Jimmy for one year.
None of that really makes us tougher to play against though. Add any (or all) of those guys and Boston still wipes us out in the first round. Add all those guys, plus Sproul, Mantha, Pulkkinen, and Marchenko and Boston STILL wipes us out in the first round.
Ken Holland has a real opportunity to use all this cap space, tradeable assets, and roster space to significantly improve the team WHILE ALSO making it harder to play against. But not if he takes the easy way out and signs more aging vets, club footed third pair d-men, and undersize and/or European forwards.
For example: Vrbata is a better player, but a guy like RJ Umberger is a bigger need. We've got six guys that can do what Vrbata does, we've got nobody that can do what Umberger does. That's what I'm getting at.
I agree with this. We've got the cap and roster flexibility to be aggressive this year and I think we should be. My priorities are as follow (I'm trying to be realistic in terms of value and only acquiring guys who are believed to be available):
1. Trade Smith, Helm, and our 1st for Ryan Kesler.
2. Trade Franzen and Andersson for RJ Umberger and a 2nd.
3. Sign Niskanen (5 years, 5.5 million)
4. Sign Fedor Malykhin to a two way contract.
5. Kindl can go too, for a late pick, and replaced with a vet d-man if you felt like finding one (I didn't bother on this).
CAPGEEK.COM ARMCHAIR GM ROSTER CapGeek Armchair GM Roster FORWARDS
Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($7.500m) / Ryan Kesler ($5.000m)
R.J. Umberger ($4.600m) / Stephen Weiss ($4.900m) / Gustav Nyquist ($0.950m)
Tomas Tatar ($2.000m) / Riley Sheahan ($1.000m) / Tomas Jurco ($0.709m)
Drew Miller ($1.350m) / Luke Glendening ($0.628m) / Justin Abdelkader ($1.800m) DEFENSEMEN
Niklas Kronwall ($4.750m) / Jonathan Ericsson ($4.250m)
Matt Niskanen ($5.500m) / Danny DeKeyser ($2.500m)
Jakub Kindl ($2.400m) / Alexei Marchenko ($0.667m)
Brian Lashoff ($0.725m) / GOALTENDERS
Jimmy Howard ($5.292m)
Petr Mrazek ($0.595m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter) (estimations for 2014-15) SALARY CAP: $71,100,000; CAP PAYROLL: $64,174,167; BONUSES: $535,833 CAP SPACE (21-man roster): $6,925,833
I'm calling for a disaster. The team isn't built for Trotz' style of game and I don't think Leonsis will stomach huge roster turnover and/or significantly less scoring. This will be a real test for Barry. He's going to need to coach a (more) offensive game to get wins initially. We'll see how he fair.
Oh...and Ovechkin will eat him alive. Alex is an institution in D.C. and nobody, but nobody, will make him do something he doesn't want to do.
I expect the honeymoon to be short, a lot of internal problems (e.g. Hunter and Ovie) and eventually Trotz will be let go because Ovie sells merchandise and tickets. That's my prediction.
I watched a good amount of the Memorial Cup games, and to be really honest I think this kid needs a year in the AHL. His size, skill, and speed are obvious for the world to see, but when he finally had to face some tough checking he was flummoxed. I genuinely think he'll be really good, but he needs to acclimatize himself to higher quality competition in the AHL. If not he'll get frustrated and get knocked off his game. If it's that easy for Guelph and Edmonton to do it, imagine how he'd suffer against NHL competition. I'd give him a full year in the AHL with the understanding that he'd be the first or second injury call up.
3 lockouts. Negotiating without shutting the league down would be good negotiations, he's too stubborn and knows nothing about hockey
He may not "know anything about hockey" in the sense that he probably couldn't coach a team to the Stanley Cup finals, but I'm sure Mike Babcock couldn't operate a multi-billion dollar industry either.
Gary Bettman isn't employed to be a fanboy. He's employed to run a business, and by ever single metric he's doing that very well.
I'd love if Kenny could land a legitimate top 4 defender, I'm just not sure how feasible it is. Adding Boyle and working some of the younger guys into the system seems feasible to me.
I agree, this is feasible. But it's not a contender. And if we're not going to contend either way, I'd rather the kid get the experience, the team get a higher draft pick, and Dan Boyle go someplace else.
What would signing him accomplish?
Kronwall, Smith, Ericsson, Dekeyser, Boyle, and kids is still not a very good defense. So why waste the money and keep a deserving kid from getting experience? Who knows, a kid might surprise you. God knows nobody thought Sheahan or Jurco were ready until they were given a chance. You know who definitely isn't going to surprise you though? Dan Boyle. He's just going to be a less good version of his old self (which wasn't all that great to begin with).
I wouldn't be opposed to grabbing Elliott, Emery or Johnson. I think the issue with those guys (outside of re-signing with their team, or another) is that Detroit clearly has a limited window for a back-up goalie next season. It's basically going to be one season, then Mrazek will be up and battling with Howie. I'm still of the mindset that I'd like to see Mrazek play the year in GR and get in a full season.
I think that leaves the Wings with two candidates for the back-up position - an older guy on his way out, or a younger-ish guy with something to prove. While they may not be popular options, I could see the Wings rolling the dice on someone like Nabokov or MacDonald. Alternatively, I wouldn't mind seeing someone like Greiss, Montoya or Peters for a season - all guys want to show they're capable NHL goalies.
My similarly related, but possibly insane suggestion is to give Thomas McCollum a one-year deal to prove he can play at the NHL level before he parts ways with Detroit. He had a pretty solid year in GR, and I think it'd be a nice to see him play a year behind Howard. I actually think he'd prove up to the task, despite his previous outings in Detroit.
If we signed Emery we'd get a backup goalie and the enforcer everyone seems to want. Win - win.