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08-09-2009, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by sfo View Post
I think it depends on the roles they're looking to fill on the team. I've seen both Bourque and Stepan play live, though I've seen Stepan on more occasions. What Stepan has going for him that impressed me is that he's an effing BEAST on the penalty kill. I've got some friends that play for North Dakota in the WCHA with Wisconsin, and the kid scored 2 short handed goals on the same PK. Every time I've seen him play he just dominates on the penalty if they're looking for that, Stepan would be a good fit on the team. But I bet he's not the only good penalty killer out there too, so tough to say.
It looks like the top six will be hard for him to make. He could fill a role on the PK, but he'll be competing with Wohlberg (who is better defensively), Kristo, Czarnik, Lynch, D'Amigo, Ryan etc. Bourque has more offensive ability and can fill a 13th forward role if he doesn't grab a top six spot.

Another underrated center who has multiple dimensions to his game is Mike Cichy. He's often overlooked, but is equally adept defensively as he is offensively.

So far at camp, Bourque has been more noticeable and has been given more of an offensive role. I think it's pretty clear the coaching staff is going with Schroeder-Wahl as the top two centers, so Stepan grabbing a top six role probably won't happen.

It's too early to really project the roster as it's still pretty wide-open, but I think these guys are good bets: Schroeder, Morin, McRae, Wahl, Palmieri, Kristo, Wohlberg, Czarnik, Jenks, and Bourque. I could see either Stepan or Cichy grabbing the 4th line center spot over Johnson or filling in as the 13th forward as they're both well-rounded and hard working, but they have their work cut out for them. Budish and Kreider are wildcards for different reasons. They both have the talent to be there, but Budish doesn't look 100% yet and Kreider is a bit raw and a liability defensively. Kenny Ryan is a beast and I could see him grabbing a 4th line role pretty easily.

Overall there's a lot of guys that are closely matched and it's anyone's guess beyond the obvious top talents.

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