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05-04-2008, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Country: Cook Islands
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Originally Posted by Form and Substance View Post
In response to Gilles Tremblay's concerns in the "year 4 of year 5" thread, I decided to take a look at our players for next season. Hopefully we can get a more holistic outlook for next season and see if we really can ice a contender next year.

I agree. Let's break it down to the components (i.e the players)

Kovalev--->>can he repeat the (regular) season he had? He's getting up there in age but I believe he still has a couple of really good years left in the tank. If he has another great season then count your lucky dollars that the team will also be succesful during the year (especially on the power play).

Koivu--->>By all accounts an off-year but his playoff performance was BEAST! He totally Kovaleved the playoffs! He's 33, it's not terribly old but management will soon have to look in at a replacement for him...Maxwell is at least 3-4 years away ( saddled with injury troubles). Koivu can top 65 points next year, he should bounce back. Next year may be the last season where we get a Koivu-Kovalev tandem at decent peak level of play, let's not waste this opportunity.

Higgins--->>Inconsistent, inconsistent, inconsistent. He really needs to learn to keep his intensity up during the playoffs. A terribly frustrating player to watch sometimes. All that said, he's still a player on the rise and can likely pot 30 goals next season barring injury. His upside may be more limited than we believed though.

Plekanec--->>Had a very strong regular season. Started very poorly in the playoffs but showed tenacity in the farewell match. Hopefully he's learned and improved.

Latendresse--->>Well he scored 16 goals. He's 20. He was sparingly used in the playoffs (oh why oh why did you not score at 4-4!!!!)
In all seriousness, his problems can no longer be simply attributed to lack of fitness. He needs to find the answer within. Hopefully having a kid during the summer can shed some perspective in his life, since his future in the NHL is nowhere near secured. But I hold out great hope for him.

A. Kostitsyn--->>Thank god that pick is somewhat vindicated. Next year should see his production explode. I can see him putting up close to ppg numbers (fingers crossed), he could break 40 as soon as next year. (After all he did score 5 goals in 12 games in the playoffs whilst displaying the intensity of an inanimate object).

S.Kostitsyn--->>The other major piece of the youth movement. I think he's firmly entrenched a spot in the top 6-9. He's very versatile. A lot of people will be expecting big things from him, I'm one of those people. I think he has it in him to record 100 pts. Maybe I'm being optimistic, maybe I'm a functional alcoholic, who's to say who's right and who's wrong? 55-60 points next season.

Smolinski--->>Gone. Thank you for your play down the stretch and in the first round but I'm glad you won't be impeding our chances to win during the other parts of the season. I'm glad you were there though.

Brisebois--->>Gone. Everyone hates you for your untimely turnovers and your russian roulette breakout passes (or is it outbreak pass?) but I'll remember your pride in donning the ch after you were run out of town, as well as the leadership and the heart you showed throughout the playoffs.

Kostopoulos--->>Good pickup by Gainey. I'm glad he's signed through next season, he makes for an excellent 4th liner who will do whatever it takes to win. I look forward to seeing him in action next year, I can't say he'll improve though. What you see is what you get. That's a saying that goes for all career 4th liners.

Begin--->>He takes penalties at the worst possible moments, but we shouldn't let that cloud our judgment of him. He's still an effective 4th liner who works hard and plays hard. Although I have reason to believe he'll be back next year, somehow I can see him being dealt soon.

-->>I think he's done with us. I hope he can come back. He can be a decent stopgap until Maxwell or a true 1st line C comes along. Carbo should just let him fly a little and see what it yields.

Lapierre-->>Shows flashes of the **** disturber/pest every team needs. Too bad he has Kovalev's temperament and decides to show up half the time. For a 4th liner with 3rd liner upside, that's a no-no and can land him on the outs very soon. I still think there's tremendous potential in him however. Oh and learn to pass the freakin puck once in a while.

Markov--->>Well an up and down season and when I say up and down, I mean it started really well up until the all-star break, and then his play took a plunge and never truly recovered. As brilliant as he can be, he makes too many mistakes in key situations. Still an all-star defenseman, I'm harsh on him because I know he can take his play to the next level, almost touching Lidstrom esque levels of steadiness. Yes I said Lidstrom!

Streit---->>> Well a lot of people are ready to cut him loose after a sad playoffs to put it mildly. He's a fairly unique player in that he doesn't particularly fill any need but fills every use. I want us to re-sign him but at what cost? He's like the defenseman version of Gerber.

Hamrlik--->>Besides the first couple of games against Boston, his play took a dip afterwards. It doesn't mean he was ineffective or bad, just not as steady as his usual self. He's getting old, if he repeats his performance next year, then I'll be happy. Otherwise, Gorges has a serious learning curve ahead of him.

Gorges--->>Mr. unsung hero. Hard to believe he's only 23 the way people sometimes treat him. He can make for a fabulous bottom pairing guy or a decent #4. I think he's effectively replaced Rivet even though he doesn't have the same physical stature. He is more gifted in the transition play however and that should suit us fine.

Bouillon--->>ehh Frankie boy. Overpaid and pencil like height, he's a bull and can take on almost anyone physically. I'm never EVER secure with him in the dying seconds of a game but when he plays well he's very useful. He'll probably be back next year and we have to expect the same from him. Hopefully Carbs knows how to limit his minutes.

Ryder--->> Ouch. Can't see him re-signing here. It's a shame, I really enjoy watching him when he works hard and scores goals. I'm also going to miss that awe-shucks Newfie attitude he brought to the team.

Komisarek--->>The injury MUST have bothered him in the playoffs because that wasn't the same Komisarek we saw during the year. He was shaky and made some questionable plays in his own zone. I can't see him making the 6mil he's purported to make if he can't bring his level of in the playoffs. Still, a KEY component of our defense and one that can accede to Rod Langway levels of steady.

O'Byrne--->>Is it just me or is he the least intimidating 6'5 guy ever? I swear if I'd never known he was 6'5 230 lbs I would just assume he was a player of average build the way he plays. That being said he's young and will improve. He's a pretty good skater too. I'm happy with his play so far given the context.

Price-->>Well mr.savior didn't come through against Philly. He's still the best goalie prospect in the world. He'll start in at least 55 games next year where he'll be exposed to different levels of pressure. I think he's got most of the youthful jinks out of the way. I expect a Dipietro like season next year. In other words, a very good year. A lot of people are praising him for his calmness, while this is true, it seems he'll let in 1-2 REALLY weak goals just after letting in a crucial one. This happened time and time again in the playoffs. He needs to compose faster.

Halak-->> ah mr. forgotten and mistreated, he's in a serious bind at the moment. If we didn't have Price, he'd be in his shoes living the dream. Some serious untapped potential in this kid and we expect him to thrive in a situation that completely stunts his growth as a goalie. Hopefully, he doesn't go to Europe and gets some playing time (20-25 games), then goes to a team where he can be the true #1 (by which point Price can comfortably play 65-70 games)

Prospects to look forward to next year:

Chipchura-->>Will make the team for good this time and handily take Smolinksi's spot.
Pacioretty-->>Will Gainey sign him in the summer?
G.Stewart-->>Was tremendous in his first game, can he replace Steve Begin?
Valentenko-->>like a bigger Kasparaitis?
D'Agostini-->>A replacement for Ryder?

Well there ya have it boys, feel free to comment on the write-up. I expect Gainey to make some moves but overall, the team we saw this year will be the team we see next year. And I for one, am PUMPED!
I agree with you on most points.

O'Byrne was a huge deception after the "Purse Gate" and his injuries after a game where he had to fight twice. He is certainly not the same player since then.

Gainey got to find another strong winger for Koivu, and play Higgins with Latendresse on a third line (with Chipchura ?)

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