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05-06-2009, 02:50 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Originally Posted by CapsWolverinesUSA View Post
I'm trying not to spend too much time thinking about it since we're still alive and all, but I am pretty confused at how this roster is going to shake out next year. We have a ton of guys under contract, a bunch more RFAs, and a bunch of prospects due for NHL chances. IMO, we're going to have to make multiple trades just to unclog the depthchart. Before you can figure out what we may be looking for, you really need to determine (1) what we have and (2) what we can afford.

Signed, sealed, delivered (9+4+2=15): Ovie, Semin, Backstrom, Clark, Nylander, Laich, Steckel, Flash, Brads, Green, Poti, Pothier, Erskine, Theo, Varly.

RFAs (6): Gordo, Fehr, Bourque, Mo, Schultz, Juice

Young guys who may make the team (5+): Bourque, Osala, Alzner, Carlson...Aucoin (not young, but still)?

That's 25 guys right there, and we don't have a clear #2 center, or #1/2 RW, or an enforcer-type guy anywhere on that list. By my count, we've got about $45.5 million committed to the above-listed 15 signed players. So, we're probably talking about $10m in spending on RFAs and UFAs, minus whatever is dedicated to promotions from Hershey.

The next question revolves around what GMGM and BB envision for the team going forward. For example, the Steckel, Laich, Brads line has been dynamite in the playoffs, both defensively, and with opportunistic offense. Does this become our version of a 3rd line shut-down line next year? If so, what does that mean for Clark and Nylander -- neither of whom seem like great fits on the 2nd line but who aren't obvious 4th liners either? Does Clark - Gordo - Nylander work as a 4th line? If our 3rd and 4th lines are set, can we afford what it takes to stock 2 top 6 forward spots? Or does Flash - Nylander - Clark work as a "let's pray 3 wrongs make a right" 2nd line? Defensively, what do we do with the massive gridlock? Juice and Sarge would be cheaper, but Mo is better. IMO, we're definitely not brining back all 3, and it's not 100% that we even bring back 2. Etc, etc, etc. There are a ton of moving parts to this thing.
It actually can even out pretty quickly. Carlson gets a year of development (rushing defensemen often backfires). I think Mo, Fehr, Bourque, etc., should be packaged for Grabovski and Ponikarovsky, that should solve the #2 center issue for a long time and possibly the RW issue as well. Steckel and Laich definitely are a good checking line nucleus, but I think we need someone more consistent and gifted than Bradley for it to be a real threat. I'd be all for bringing up Osala to fill that void, or having Ponikarovsky there if Kozlov is retained. Nylander and Schultz may be attractive commodities for Florida or Atlanta, but we're likely stuck with Nylander. I don't think we really need an enforcer if we have a bunch of bangers and middleweights like Erskine, Beagle, Bradley and a weaponized clark.

My ideal forward lineup for next year:

Ovechkin Backstrom Kozlov
Semin Grabovski Fleischmann
Laich Steckel Ponikarovsky (also a 1st or 2nd line option)
Clark Beagle Bradley

Gordon, Fedorov (moved in in case of injury or for D sometimes)

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