: Line Combos:
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07-11-2008, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Originally Posted by
I can see the argument for separating Gagne and Carter, but then you have Gagne and Lupul together.
Carter averaged 3.2 shots per game this past year.
Lupul averaged 3.1 shots. So it's not like Lupul is any less of a shooter than Carter is.
I personally would at least like to experiment with Gagne-Carter-Briere.
As I've said before, I think Carter has very underrated playmaking skills (something that Lupul doesn't have incidentally) and with good coaching, I think Carter can refine his game and become a truly elite C.
I'm not saying Carter will become either of these 2 guys because they're both HOFers, but Sundin and Sakic are known for their shots as well, but they both have underrated passing ability.
This seems to be a point most people miss around here. We have 3 "shooters" on the team, Gagne, Carter and Lupul. It's best to split them up.
Next, we have 3 play makers on the team in Briere, Richards and (hopefully making the team and NOT falling flat on his face) Giroux.
Then we have 2 guys who can work in the corners or in front of the net well in Knuble and Hartnell. Hopefully one of the other wings can step up and fulfill the 3rd spot needed here, probably Upshall or Downie if he doesn't live up to task. This would give us our 3 "muckers".
We "SHOULD" try to pair up a play maker and a shooter/scorer and then we can rotated in a mucker until we find a 3-some that works.
The most obvious forst choice would be to pair up Gagne and Briere, they worked very well together last year before Gags got hurt. They are our most experienced forwards an honestly, they are our best scorer and play maker, they give us a legit top-notch #1 line.
Of the 2 play makers and 2 scorers we have left, one each is a wing and a center. Unless we want to have 2 scorers on one line with nobody to set them up and 2 play makers on the other line with nobody to shoot the puck, we would have to pair up Richards with Lupul and Carter with Giroux.
To round out the lines I'd put Hartnell with Gags and Briere, Knuble with Richards and Lupul, and Upshall with Carter and Giroux. This way all 3 lines would have at least some size in case they go out there against another teams big forwards. Hartnell would play damn tough with Gagne and Briere and he'd bang in his own zone keeping guys honest. Gags may not be a big player but he doesn't get pushed around in his own zone either. He plays smart and well defensively and would imo be the best option for reducing Brieres defensive liability. Briere is a defensive liability mostly because he floats around the blue line waiting for a long breakout pass. He's looking to cherry pick and doesn't help out down low very often. Normally it's a wing that looks to cherry pick and the center is the one helping out down low but THAT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THE WAY IT'S DONE!!!! Gags or Hartnell can drop down low when the puck is on their side for the defensive support and Briere CAN be left to float looking of the homerun pass. Briere just needs to be paired with wings that CAN handle that kind of responsibility and KNOW to do it. We know Gags can do this, it still remains to be seen if Hartnell can do it too, I think he can.
Before he got hurt Lupul was freaking hitting everything in site. I remember how everyone on here, myself included, was amazed by this fact. We knew he was a talanted offensive player but we never expected to see the physical part. He was struggling offensively but you couldn't doubt his effort, he was just snake-bitten at the beginning. However, even with both him and Richards taking the body, they are a small pairing and don't offer much resistance against bigger defensive pairings or bigger forwards like AO. Knuble, even with his deminished abilities, does add usable size to that line. Knuble would really slow down a pairing like Gags-Briere and anything with Carter as these guys can use their speed to exploit opposing defensives. Knuble would just slow them down. Richards isn't a slow skater but he's not fast either. With Richards as the play maker on that line, they will proceed up the ice at a slower more controlled pace than Gags-Briere or Carter-Giroux. Knuble shouldn't slow them down much more than their normal pace. I know Lupul is fast but he's just going to have to slow down a bit with Richards bringing the puck up.
Last, Carter uses his size VERY well in the defensive zone, it's why we played his line against guys like AO and Jagr last year. Upshall is an energy guy and should aggitate the hell out of the other team but Carter will be the one to keep that line defensively responsible.
Having said all that, here's my lines:
Gagne - Briere - Hartnell
Knuble - Richards - Lupul
Upshall - Carter - Giroux
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