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Pantokrator 07-01-2013 12:41 PM

Building a Cup contender
I have been thinking about how to build a Stanley Cup contender and it seems like there are two prominent models. I put the Penguins in the anomaly camp, because they would contend with Malkin, Crosby, and a bunch of monkeys, so other than getting the first or 2nd pick in 4 consecutive drafts which have high end top talent, these two models seems to me to be way to build a Cup contender:

1) Several top end talents: I see the Blackhawks in this camp, and maybe the Redwings from 2008. They have serious top end talent on offense and defense Kane, Toews, Hossa and Sharp, and then Keith and Seabrooke. They put depth players around them that all seem replaceable. Players like Bickell, Bolland, Hjarmalsson (Im not going to bother with the spelling) and an adequate goalie who is not a superstar. In this camp, you can use up cap space on your top end players and just fill in the rest with replaceable parts.

2) Super forward depth, no superstar forwards, top end defender, good overall team defense. I put the Bruins and Kings and Ducks and Hurricanes in this camp, although in place of one superstar defenseman, the Canes had 6 #2-4 guys. Here they have lots of forward depth with no real superstars. Each team has solid forwards LA with Kopitar, Carter, Richards, Brown, Williams none of which are superstars. They have Doughty as their main d-man and solid goaltending for a team that plays solid defense.
The Bruins had 4 lines that can score and Chara. In this case you spend big on your main defender(s) and then use the rest on the forward depth.

So my question is, how are the Flyers planning on building a Cup winning team? It seems that they should go with the second model, since we really dont have the top end talent like the Blackhawks. Does it require a new coaching style? I worry about cap management, because it is crucial in this. If they go the second route, they can't be throwing money at players like Lecavalier, but instead need to spread the money around 4 lines of forwards and one main defender.

Obviously this is subjective and I appreciate any feedback or modifications, but it is summer and I think about dumb things like this.

FLYERSFAN18 07-01-2013 12:51 PM

Either way we need a #1 defender. I think Carolina is more of anomaly. It is nearly impossible to win a cup without a #1 d-man

Beef Invictus 07-01-2013 12:58 PM

I think you need a clear #1 C, a #1 dman who can play really good defense, solid goaltending, and a really good defensive center, generally Selke-nominee caliber. These are the things Cup winning teams of the last 8 years tend to have in common, for the most part. I think that's the best foundation you can have.

From there, you need to fill out the roster and get it clicking so you can get production for 3 lines. Teams that rely on one or two lines for all their offense never seem to make it all the way; teams with 3 dangerous forward lines tend to do better.

Right now the Flyers are missing the goaltender, and they need to get production from Lines 2 and 3; that didn't really happen last season. The #1 dman...depends on if Timonen can keep up his high-level play past January, or through a deep run. Obviously after this year that will be a new hole on the roster. It's questionable already.

sobrien 07-01-2013 01:24 PM

When the Flyers made their Cup run, their model was/is very similar to the Bruins'. 4 very good lines, all capable of scoring, most capable of shutting down opposing lines; good/great defense headed by a bonafide #1 (Chara, Pronger) who can play in all situations. Obviously the Bruins had an elite goalie and the Flyers did not...and that may have been the deciding factor of the Flyers losing and the Bruins winning

zarley zelepukin 07-01-2013 01:40 PM

I think the Flyers ought to follow their own model from 2010, which is basically option #2 described above. Except, have a real goalie instead of Leighton.

The best chance to get there, I think, is to develop Schenn and Couturier. Then, either they lead the charge with Giroux, or one of them gets moved to upgrade the defense. If one of them gets traded, management has proven that they're good at identifying and bringing in forward talent.

The next thing is to get a #1 D-man, which is obviously not an easy task. It's gonna be awhile before Morin could be that guy, if it's in his future at all. They might have to work a deal similar to the Pronger trade to make it happen. And on top of that, we'll need another big time d-man, like Kimmo in 2010.

Beef Invictus 07-01-2013 01:43 PM

We have defensive depth outside of our top 4 now (unlike 2010), which is an improvement. The troublesome bit is that almost all of it is overpaid. In an ideal world all these Dmen drafted recently can start stepping into those roles for cheaper.

dbr2 07-01-2013 01:46 PM

It all starts with drafting. The teams that have won recently have all drafted and developed their players well. To me, I still believe we are trying to "buy" a cup. It doesn't work any longer in my option.

Beef Invictus 07-01-2013 02:01 PM


Originally Posted by dbr2 (Post 68422563)
It all starts with drafting. The teams that have won recently have all drafted and developed their players well. To me, I still believe we are trying to "buy" a cup. It doesn't work any longer in my option.

That's why I'm not sure how I feel about picking up Lecavalier. One the one hand, hell yes! On the other, we already have lots of centers, and we need to be developing them...it's not like this team should be considered a true contender this year and very likely next. Unless he wants to spend a lot of time on the wing to let our youth get playing time at C, I don't know if it's the best move for this team. Picking him up feels like a win-now move in my gut, and that doesn't make sense.

Edit: Though if the org decides Schenn will become a full-time winger/hybrid sorta guy, that should make a fit.

Phillyfan28 07-01-2013 02:15 PM

I think you are undervaluing LA's forwards and overvaluing CHI's forwards.

Our young core of forwards, with moderate progression, can most certainly compete with the likes of CHI's forwards. Although we didnt draft brayden, jake, or wayne with that nucleus of guys growing together along with G and Coots that is as solid a young forward group as anyone. As cliche as it is, we need a#1 D to anchor our defense like Pronger did. Can you imagine if he didnt get hurt...

funghoul 07-01-2013 05:02 PM

What are we? sum it up. I see us as a team that plays an emotional offensive game not conducive with discipline. we also have to have a goalie who can handle pressure. we don't have much cap space factoring in our upcoming signings and not much depth in the system to fill in the NHL blanks. I used to feel like we had a really good team but outside of giroux theres so many questions. were really in limbo right now. at best were in the mid range mix with san jose and nashville. Maybe tho we clipped some cancer and the team stability over the last two years will factor in this season.

BrimFullofAsham45 07-01-2013 05:23 PM

If we want to be a top contender, Brayden Schenn needs to have the breakout we all have been waiting for. We desperately need a second line that can be both offensively and defensively dynamic. If Schenn can be the guy to lead that attack, now is the time to do it or he better learn how to play wing (or perhaps how to play for another team).

I think overall, our transition game will be much better this year... And it starts with Mason and his excellent puckmoving skills. I'm hoping Streit will be helpful with this cause and I'm expecting a big year out of Gustafsson, too.

All in all, we need a lot of pieces to come together to be anything more than an underdog this season. And this is all contingent on Giroux and Voracek continuing their success, and Hartnell coming back from the dead, and Timonen retaining his wheels all year long.

BillDineen 07-01-2013 05:48 PM

I think whatever you have, if your goaltender goes on a cold streak, you lose and vice versa, you can be an average team that gets an incredible hot streak by the goalie and has a shot. LA is nothing without Quick IMO.

GKJ 07-01-2013 06:21 PM


Originally Posted by BillDineen (Post 68436025)
I think whatever you have, if your goaltender goes on a cold streak, you lose and vice versa, you can be an average team that gets an incredible hot streak by the goalie and has a shot. LA is nothing without Quick IMO.

They got to the 5th seed with Quick putting up replacement-level numbers, so that's actually quite false. They're a dominant puck-possession team, and they lost to a team that just scored better than they did.

Coppy 07-01-2013 06:23 PM

Sorry, but I don't think its really that clear cut. You could easily put some of your examples in the opposite camp

The Blackhawks had/have great depth for both of their Cup teams. It wasn't all about superstar talent. Mike Richards even said the reason the Flyers lost the series was because they only had 3 legit forward lines while the Blackhawks had 4.

Plus, both the Kings and Bruins had superstar players. Chara is arguably the top defensemen in the game. Tim Thomas was a superstar goalie. Bergeron is one of the best 2-way players in the game. For the Kings, Doughty is easily on the level of Keith. Kopitar is a borderline superstar. Quick was the best goalie in the league last season.

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