Wild lineup (and lines) after the signings
Great to have both Pascal and Marian back, it creates some lineup problems though. Including the two goalies, we have a grand total of 25 players. Someone has to go. Here's what we have:
I think it's a no-brainer that either Henry or Roche will go down south, and frankly I don't give a damn which one. That still leaves us with one extra forward. Sure, they'll take a few days to decide since Burns is very conviniently on *IR* (wink, wink), but it's inevitable. The likeliest candidate IMO is Darby, although what do I know. Dowd? Chouinard? Laaksonen? Daigle? Brandner? The last two are highly unlikely I think, but we don't know what's going on inside the room and inside Jacques' head, so anything can happen. I'll assume that it's Darby, and move on to the line combinations.
If there is one thing that we've all learned in the last 3+ years, it's that we shouldn't even try to guess Lemaire's lines, it's hopeless. But we are stubborn, we won't give up :D Here's what I think might work pretty good.
We've seen great chemistry between Walz and Gabby last spring, and I just couldn't resist the temptation to team them up again. Sure, it's soft and small, but so are the top lines of many teams. But it's lightning-fast, creative and deadly up front, and Walz will take care of the defensive responsibilities while helping out his wingers offensively. I was extremely tempted to put Brandner on LW instead of Bouchard, but the fact that Gabby and Christoph just met yesterday for the first time made me a little cautious.
Another smallish line, but has the same basic principles as the first line. Zholtok will create for Dupuis, Park will help them and take care of defense. Oh, and this line has some wheels too.
I don't see the need to break up this line now that they will not be pressured to produce, not as much as they were a week ago anyways. I like this trio together, Brandner and Daigle have pretty nice chemistry going, and Chouinard compliments them well, even though he will never be confused for an offensive forward. I could see Laaksonen on this line as well, since Chouinard will be taking a big load of defensive face-offs.
Now we can really work Burns into the lineup slowly. Give him some time on the 4th line with a couple of solid vets, some time on PP, and watch him develop. That eliminates any unneccessary pressure, keeps him calm and confident. Bruno, no doubt, will help him put up his share of points with his playmaking ability.
Spares- Laaksonen, Johnson. They will see their share of games and minutes as well.
The lines will be juggled on a shift-to-shift basis as usual, esspecially because we have some versatile forwards- Zholtok, Park, Bouchard, Dowd. I'm sure we'll see Gabby and Brandner, Walz and Laaksonen together, Bouchard at center, Dowd and Chouinard on the wings... But it's fun to speculate, now that we have much better depth (including scoring depth). Overall, I think we can easily and safely roll out all four lines at any point in the game.
No need to look at defense and goaltending, as that will pretty much stay the same.
I do not think he is that bad at all, and in fact i think we will be making a huge mistake if we let him go. His first game was shaky, but whos isn't. The last few he has showed patience and has gotten much better. At first he would have the puck in zone and just be happy to clear, now he is taking his time and starting an up ice rush. Whether by a pass or just carrying the puck. He is good on the PP making good passes and has a good shot, some of his shots are not getting through but they will and at least create a rebound. And what are we losing on D if he stays. Kuba is going to log the most ice time, the Bomber and Mitchel all three very good defense D men. So Roche will not be called on to play all the time. Then you have Schultz, he has loked good, solid 4th guy along with Zyuzin. Which leaves Brown, Henry and Roche. Henry and Brown play simular games big physical, not great puck controllers. So i think one of them needs to go. If you can remember Zyuzin's first game, he was shaky played alot got confidence. Roche IMO will do the same. Granted he i s one of my favorite wild players, and i was really happy when we signed him, but i think he will settle down and actually be able to lead this PP of ours by the end of the season.
Roche will probably stay, and Henry go, agreed.
Like i said i like him and i may be digging, but he has had some better passes and against Atlanta he was able to carry the puck up on the PP and hold the zone and set up the PP rather than the ol dump and chase. And if you let Roche go, then either Brown or Henry will be in the line up every day.
Seems the move was to put Zholtok on IR.
Roche has played better of late, no question. He's definitely a better player then Henry. Brown was captain last month but he didn't dress for the last two games of his captaincy month. Not a real glowing endorsement even if JL wanted to look at Henry. He was playing less and less before that.
The next question will be who will be the two guys that are gone when Burns and Zholtok come off IR? It would likely be both forward positions IMO. The Wild like to carry 8 d-men, and have since the beginning.
I was going to post lines but how the heck can you when you know each game will be made up of different line-ups. I wonder if I should try though. :D
That's the way I see it when the team is healthy anyways. Just from reading all the articles on how much JL loves Burns, I just think he gets to play more of a role on this team. Both Laaksonen and Darby have injected some life into there games this year. I think they also see the writing on the wall(z) :moon: :D
That leaves Darby, Johnson, and Antii. However I believe two of them will be gone before the ens of the season. I would love for that to be Johnson, but it won't be him. Darby for sure, and Antii or Park being the other.
So you're all confident Brandner will stay?
i hope he will stay, Daigle, Choinard, and Bradner have been our best line. And its almost scary to think but their timing is off just a bit. When they click, those three IMO will put up very good numbers.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say Daigle will be gone, eventually. The main reason he's on the team is to replace the skill and speed that was absent (Gaborik). He is arguably the most non-versitile player on the team.
He is too soft. He's soft in the defensive zone, he's a weak checker in the neutral zone, and he won't even get near the boards or a defender in the offensive zone.
Even small guys like Park and Bouchard actually try to keep possesion of the puck when near the boards in the offensive zone. They may be poor at it but they're willing.
I've heard Lemaire speak of Daigle, and he's made it clear that he may be doing well in the goal scoring department but that he was going to have to improve in other areas to be kept around.
Perhaps management will keep him around, but in all seriousness, I think he should be one of the ones to go. Yes, he has 4 goals, but those are the only points he has and he's -4 (tied for worst on team among forwards). Only one of his goals is at even strength. In fact that goal (vs. NYR) was the only even strength goal that 2 of the three players has been in on together (Daigle's 2 on 1 pass that deflected off the d-man and went in). I don't agree that his line with Brandner and Chouinard has been anything worth trying to keep together.
He also doesn't kill penalties (ala Park, Laaksonen, even Darby, Dowd). He can't create momentum like Bruno can with his board work, and even Johnson can at least fight (and heck, he's +1 w/ 3 points).
I think everyone here knows how much I'd like to get rid of Barby and Johnson so obviously I'm pretty serious about my disapproval of Daigle.
I just think this team thrives on defense and I think Daigle doesn't provide enough offensive punch (maybe if he explodes on the PP w/ Gaborik? Or maybe his PP time will simply be reduced making him less effective) or anything else to compensate for his lack of defense. I also think the Wild can't afford to have too many players that are weak along the boards in the offensive zone and Daigle is another one.
On a different note, I find it interesting that people here seem to think Laaksonen is not lineup worthy or that he will be dumped soon. He is arguably the team's best penalty killer and is 2nd in average ice time among Wild forwards. I would say Jacques' opinion of him differs a bit.
I guess one could think Doug would trade him, but I doubt he'll be sent down because of lack of performance/role.
The only reason I was saying that Laaksonen has a chance to be gone is because before the season started DR was not real happy having to pay a checking type player the kind of money he wanted.
He is one of my favs on the team though. I just can't see the Wild paying out even more next year for his services. I also can't see this team having 5-6 checking types around next season. Eventually they have to move on for new players in the system or players not yet in the system.
Burns is on the IR list, watch for Zholtok to hit it too.
Henry won't be sent down sadly because someone else will claim him. He's a 6'5", 21 year old enforcer that needs to learn the game and he's a replacement for Marshall.
Anyone now regret sending down Stevenson instead of Hendrickson. We got too many centers (6!!!! well now 4 with PMB playing the wing and Zholtok going down)! Stevenson-Walz- Gaborik was one of our more productive lines so here's my choice:
Brandner- Walz- Gaborik
Dupuis- Bouchard- Park
Brunette - Hendrickson- Daigle
Laaksonen- Dowd/Choiunard- ??? Someone else, either Choiunard or Dowd can be seated here. Weak line though.
Bouchard - Walz - Gaborik
Dupuis - Zholtok - Burns
Brandner - Chouinard - Daigle
Brunette - Dowd - Park
Johnson will never be a regular in the lineup. Unless all these injuries keep happening of course. Then he plays by default. Don't you think one goon is enough in a game. Or should we hope to God that a puck will glance off there leg and go in for a goal.
Stevenson is out with an injury I believe, so no loss there. Burns was sipposed to be back in about 2 weeks from the time of his injury. So he should be back sometime next week. Unless we need the roster space for a little longer.
No one is going to grab Henry. Have you seen the guy play? He's way worse then Roche, easily. He may be big, but that's all he has going for him. Roche would get nabbed before Henry. And I don't think either have a good chance of getting picked off waivers.
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