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04-08-2009, 03:11 PM
Student Of The Game
seventieslord's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
Country: Canada
Posts: 31,115
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Well, we should get this show on the road.

I like our goaltending. Daley may have had as good a career as Brodeur in North America's second best league, but what did he do to prove himself in the best league?

Spokane's defense isn't completely inept at moving the puck, but it is not their strength either. Gut will be the main puck-mover and assumedly PP quarterback for this team, but the rest are a bit vanilla with the puck. Who are the other three points on the PP going to be for this team? Fogolin Sr. and Hamilton are both passable, but I think you're looking at having a 4th forward on the second unit.

On Regina, Reekie is the only question mark when it comes to moving the puck. With him it will be off the glass and out (we hope.) - McKenny, Smith and Krupp make a great top-3 PP defensemen, and Langlois is an OK 4th.

Defensively, the two groups are pretty similar. Gut and McKenny will both keep things interesting in their own end, and the rest will handle their business. We've both got our hitters, our shot-blockers, our crease clearers and our leaders.

I like Gradin - gutsy player, good playoff numbers. But is he a scorer? I don't see that he ever made the top-20 in goals before. He'd work as the "glue guy" for a scoring line but the glue guy is clearly MacMillan, who I think is one of the top-5 picks in this draft. Khomutov is OK, but his best finishes in the Russian league were 4th, 6th, and 7th. Even when he was 4th, he was far away from 1st and 2nd. His goals versus assist totals suggest he is the triggerman, but I don't know if he will be enough to get the job done.

I like the scoring potential better on the second line. Allison is one of the four finest playmakers in this draft, and with a top-10 and a top-20 in goals, is actually a pretty decent goalscorer too. Wiseman can score. Marleau has never really been an elite player, but he can't hurt you considering he does the little things and can score in the playoffs.

The best goalscorer on your team is probably Ray Sheppard. I'm not sure why he's there when he brings nothing physically or defensively. Grosso and Harris form the basis of a very strong line, though. It's good defensively, and as far as third lines in a AA draft go, pretty good offensively too.

A lunchpail 4th line. I like Yelle and Henning, but I'm not a Bell fan. Seems like more of a Laperriere. You could do better.

It is a good forward group, but my concern is that there is not enough in the way of established goalscoring results to put the puck past Brodeur enough to win. Three top-5s in the lineup, two of which are held by Sheppard, who is on the 3rd line and doesn't have a Fedorov feeding him. Five top-10s in total, With Allison, Wiseman, and Grosso having the others. And eight times, your guys have been top-20 in goals. Two for Allison, Wiseman, and Sheppard, and once for Grosso and Harris. None on your first line. Of course this metric doesn't apply to Khomutov, who could have had a few decent NHL seasons, but it also doesn't apply to Guryshev.

Regina has twice as many top-10s in their lineup (10 in total) and over four times as many top-20s (33 in total). These players have simply been among the goal leaders significantly more often than their opponents. And they've got playmakers feeding them pucks. Janney - possibly the 3rd sweetest passer of 1987-1997. And Bodnar, one of the best of the 40s. Though there is some offensive talent on the 3rd, we don't really need them to score - just defend. Ditto with the fourth line. They can forecheck, dig and cycle the puck, pot in a couple goals, but just because Mickoski and Carveth have been top-20 scorers as many times as all of Spokane's forwards combined doesn't mean Regina will require them to be scoring machines. They'll do what they're good at, and the offense is just gravy.

Kinda goes back to the top-1000 thread. Are the lunchpailers with no offensive skill on Spokane going to get it done? Or are the skilled players who can play the lunchpail game for Regina going to get it done? Should be interesting. In any case, I truly think Smith-Janney-Wilson is a lethal mix of passing, scoring, and toughness that will win the series for us regardless of if Spokane's 4th line finishes the series +2 and ours finishes the series -2.

Janney, Wilson, Liscombe, and Carveth really bring it in the playoffs, too. All have been in the playoff leaderboards multiple times. Players like this are a real rarity come the AAA draft. I see virtually the same number of cups (14 us, 15 you) and finals appearances (30 us, 29 you) in each lineup, but in Spokane's case, all of the team success was enjoyed by the lunchpailers. There's little to no championship scoring experience, a point that was hammered home in the MLD finals by the eventual champion regarding their opponent. In Spokane's top-6 forwards, they have one cup win in one finals appearance. It was Eddie Wiseman, and he was great, leading the league in goals and coming second in points. Regina's top-6 forwards have been to 12 finals, winning five times. Wilson led a cup winner in goals once and in assists another time. Janney was a top playmaker on two finalists. And Liscombe had 6-14 points in his four trips to the finals.

Regina's got what it takes to win the AAA draft. It was a good run for Spokane, but they have met their match.

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