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05-05-2004, 08:26 AM
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I went through the team roster, the next training camp will be a sick one to be sure...

The top 6 will definately inject one new member in the line up.

Zednik - Koivu - Kovalev should be kept together for an entire season IMO. They are a great line up, and none of these guys are for the feint of heart. This could be one of the better lines next season IMO...

The second line is where things start to look grey.
XXXXXX - Ribeiro - Ryder should be the slate heading in to camp. Ryder deserves his spot for his great rookie season, and his umpteen shots in the playoffs (I also see this kid being more than a second liner someday, but for now he's good here). And Ribs got a good lesson in the playoffs... He'll do much better his second time around IMHO.
But that Left Wing, will be completely up for grabs. Dagenais has a chance (he's going to have to work on the speed), as does our Russian prospects (Perezhogin/Kastsitsyn)... The inside track is for Marcel Hossa to finally arrive. He's got too much talent, and would be a great piece to this team's offence if he can put it together. He complements this line because he is SOO strong on the boards.
Hossa -Ribeiro - Ryder

The third line also has a few questions to be answered. Right now it looks as such:
Bulis IMO is the only sure thing on the third line Left Wing. He's an excellent addition here.
At Center, it will come down to a management decision. Is Dowd the man for the job? (He certainly has the qualifications) He does bring defensive presence, good PK ability, and a bit more offence than his predecessor (JJ). However, Management could decide that youth is the way to go, and Plekanec or Higgins may just push management in a way that will not be expected. Higgins, by many accounts, is very close to being ready, and we also saw an interesting stint from Pleks... None of these guys add much needed size down the middle, but all bring a lot of moxy, which we could always use.
On the Right Wing, Again it could be Perezhogin's role, but Management can decide to bring one of Sundstrom or Dackell back (preferrably Sunny). Sundstrom is one of the smartest players out there... And along with Bulis, brings a presence that can be brought in to the upper lines in case of injury. Bowman was not wrong when praising Sunny for being one of the worlds most underrated players (he does a lot of things well)... Dackell has an outside chance of retaining a job, here as well, and Ward can very well be given the oppurtunity as well. IMO this is where management will go with exp.
Bulis - Dowd - Sundstrom (this would be a very sharp third line, but it does look more interesting like this):
Bulis - Higgins - Sundstrom...

The fourth line IMO is mostly resolved. Langdon will be given the fourth line LW if he wants to return. But there is speculation that his shoulders are in pretty bad shape. (NOOO!!! ) He was such a great addition to the dressing room, that usually had it's fair share of problems over the years. I think Gainey will make Langer come back, As well as Ryder (his roommate)... Potentially, the hab organization can be the most exciting team Langdon has been a part of... He has a huge role off the ice and on the ice, well, business is booming for the main enforcer on the squad. He could use a bit of help however, to ease those shoulders a bit.
XXXXX - Begin - Ward

Begin and Ward are great pieces, Ward could potentially be upped, but has not veribly proved that he should be... And Begin is a great fourth liner, who can be used in the same context as this year, where he was moved up lines to inject life in to them.

On Defence, as Ive posted in a few other threads,
Souray Breezy IMO should be first pairing next year. Souray IMO can be complemented with Breezy's speed (he is so quick on back peddling). And IMO if Breezy plays as well as he did this year, he will be a steadying force to Souray's game. And it gives 2 potential blasters on the point... Taking pressure off of Sheldon next year.

Second pairing IMO should be Markov - Komisarek.
They complement eachother as well... Komisarek will IMO seriously help develop Komisarek's offensive game. Right now, Komi is a big quick weapon, who has a lot of tools in the shed... He needs to sharpen his game a bit, and with Markov's help, he could potentially explode.

Third pairing should be Hainsey - Rivet
Hainsey has been pretty good in Hamilton. I think he's on a similar path as Jeff Jillson. Next year is his year to make it IMo. Rivet has developed a LD before (Markov) And he's will be a great steadying force on Hollywood's additude. Rivet can make Hainsey a veteran... and it's time to do so.

# 7, Is a toss up between Beauchemin and Bouillon. Some speculative talks about Bouillon going to Switzerland to play next season. That is neither here nor there IMo. He just is not talented enough to hold off the youth expansion (2 guys are all but ready on his side of the point).. Beauchemin will win out IMO, because he wont survive another Waiver wire, he's too talented to do so.

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