Next 4 years - Stanley Cup Bound?
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06-16-2010, 03:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Here's my evaluation:
Our core of Cammalleri, Gomez, Gionta, Markov, Subban, Gorges, Halak, Price and Pouliot is a very good core. I'm not putting Plekanec there yet and yes I am putting Pouliot there because of his potential because I'm not certain Plekanec will be around come July 1st. If he is, he joins the list. We need to surround these players with size and get meaner. Guys like Moen, Moore and Gill are a start but we need warriors on this team. It's no coincidence that Pronger, Hartnell and Byfuglien made the finals. We need guys like that to take this team up to the next level - players with mean streaks that are intimidating for the opposition to play against. We don't have it and we're 3 players away from being challengers.
We need two top 6 wingers (Carter, Hartnell, Byfuglien, Clowe, Sharp - that quality) and one top 2 defenseman (a player like Pronger). Only then can we regularly challenge. Now Carter and Sharp aren't big and brutal but Carter's a 40 goal scorer and Sharp can play all 3 forward positions. I don't think you'll find a top 2 defenseman in the trade or UFA market, it'll be a king's ransom. You have to draft one of these.
There are 3 defensemen in the top 5 of the draft this year. If we can get one of these guys and a guy like Sharp from Chicago, this will be a good start to making us dynamic in the next few years.
So my plan for the next 2 weeks to prepare for the 2010-2011 season is:
1) find a way to get that top 5 pick. Our best way to do that is to trade with Tampa and package our 1st to move up 2 or 3 spots. I've heard Gudbranson is a Pronger type of defenseman.
2) find a way to deal with Chicago for Sharp
3) sign John Madden
4) trade Hamrlik for anything
If we decide to keep AK, that would give us:
Cammalleri - Plekanec - AK
Pouliot - Gomez - Gionta
Moen - Moore - Sharp
Pyatt - Madden - Lapierre
Markov - O'Byrne
Spacek - Subban
Gill - Gorges
That going into next year's playoffs would challenge. We may find ourselves back in the ECFs. Having Sharp on the 3rd line would allow us to really push AK knowing his spot is up for grabs if he falters. If we can get Malone out of Tampa with their 1st somehow, we may have all 3 pieces that we need though we could still use toughness on our back end. Maybe something like Halak + AK + prospect for Malone + 1st and SK + draft pick for Sharp.
The year after things get interesting because Markov's contract is up and I believe Gill's is as well (I think Spacek has one more year after that). I'd assume Gudbranson is ready for action and Subban is ready as a top 2 defenseman. A young defensive core of Subban, Gudbranson, Gorges and O'Byrne would be a very steady and cheap.
My plan would be as follows:
1) See how Plekanec performs in the 2010-2011 playoffs. Do we need size down the middle? Did he maintain his performance from the Washington and Pittsburgh series' from 2009-2010? Do we deal him for a bigger player?
2) Did Gomez live up to his contract? There was interest when we traded for him. Do we look if anybody has any interest?
3) Pacioretty and Pouliot would add size to the top 2 lines but would they have progressed enough for regular roles?
4) What is lacking from a core of Subban, Gudbranson, Gorges, Markov and O'Byrne? One mean player with size is missing + a shot blocker.
5) How are Leblanc and Kristo progressing?
I really can see us challenging. The moral of the story is that we need playoff warriors. Smaller guys like Gionta and bigger guys like Hartnell that perform. This needs to be the focus. We aren't that far away with some of the kids we have coming up in the next few years.
I re-iterate. We're only 3 players away from challenging (if AK can pick up his game). If we can fill these out with the right guys, we'll get there. If not, it'll be a long, hard road. Gainey's core assembled last summer leaves a lot of excitement for the future, that's for sure.
Last edited by Ginu: 06-16-2010 at
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