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07-05-2011, 12:03 PM
NHL Free Agent
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Originally Posted by Chapin Landvogt View Post
Fleury played out of his mind. I believe it was his best hockey to date.

Look at how many 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 victories he had during the time C and M were out.

This doesn't continue over 82 games. Bylsma doesn't get that award without Fleury's performance. In addition, Pittsburgh was already doing A OK in the standings when Crosby went down.

Nice work, but not necessarily repeatable.

I love their new look and I think they will likely make the playoffs. I'm not giving them a spot yet.

As good as Giroux is, he was able to do that with Richards and Carter around and taking off some of the pressure. Having Leino didn't hurt either. They're all gone and as nice as Voracek, Simmonds and Schenn may be, they have much to prove if they wish to fill those shoes.

In addition, they can't afford to have Bryzgalov disappoint.

Agree, well, with the exception of the last line. They're being in the playoffs looks fairly likely, but is not guaranteed. I'd say those guaranteeing it are closer to foolish and naive.

Well, Leino and Erhoff are nice additions, but bigger and stronger? Hmmm. As is, Leino simply makes up for the loss of Connolly - maybe. Roy has to come back form injury and Erhoff has to prove he can also play in the East. We haven't seen that yet. What if he puts in a season like Bouwmeester has in Calgary???

Miller should will them to the playoffs, but on paper this club isn't any less questionable than the aforementioned teams and could easily be outdone by a Carolina or Florida.

Well, they've spent two seasons just barely making the playoffs and were good on the back of Halak a year ago. Tough first round loss this year.

Still, they have made it at least four years running. They'd have to be seen favorably to at least make it this year.

All in all though, there are surprises EVERY season, so we can't just be assuming all the same teams are gonna make the playoffs again.

Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a team like Tampa looking form the outside in next spring.

Carolina is always tough and you've gotta think that Jersey will bounce back, especially if they get Parise in the line-up.

I personally think Florida will be better and that Toronto is not geared to take a step back.

All this said, it's time for the Isles to make it. The next step in progression is there and in my mind's eye, the injury situation is the key, key, key thing we have to have under control in order for this team to slip in at spot 7 or 8.
Here's my issue: You can't just throw out natural progression as a reason a team can make the playoffs at any given time.. especially when what we've seen is probably the best some of these guys can do. Moulson is a 30-30 player, is that going to change? No, so you can't just attribute natural progression there. John Tavares will be a major star in his own right, but this is not a guy who's going to increase his totals to 40-40 over his 2nd offseason, especially playing with someone like Parenteau. And you better believe his agent will bring up this concern next offseason when Garth negotiates a contract based of his numbers to date.. because JT is 50-50 worthy in a prime year with great linemates.

Look at this defense:


When not injured? They are capable of providing the necessary top 4 defense this team needs over a long stretch. When injured?

Omg do we have problems. You saw what happened when Andy Mac when down last year. You saw what happened when Jurcina was removed from the lineup over a big stretch. We obviously know what we're missing when Streit doesn't play. Hamonic stepped up and played a huge role. Can he repeat that? Build on it?

With increased pressure and expectations usually comes disappointment for young guys.

All in all, if I had a hockey equation it would go like this:

Natural growth curve + Increase in age/experience - Injuries/Lack of experience (X factor) = Your chances.

The X Factor is goaltending.

Is that enough to make the playoffs? No.

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