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07-26-2011, 12:15 AM
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Callagraves
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Last years starting line up compared to now

In last year's first game against Buffalo, we rolled out with this starting line up

Alexander Frolov - Erik Christensen - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Artem Anisimov - Ryan Callahan
Sean Avery - Derek Stepan - Ruslan Fedotenko
Derek Boogaard - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust

Marc Staal - Michal Rozsival
Michael Del Zotto - Dan Girardi
Steve Eminger - Mike Sauer

Frolov is headed to the KHL, Christensen looks to be the odd man out, and of course the tragedy with Boogaard are really the 3 differences in forwards. My guess as to what this year's opening forward lines will look like is this

Wolski - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Artem Anisimov - Ryan Callahan (A)
Sean Avery - Derek Stepan - Ruslan Fedotenko
Rupp - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust

There's wiggle room in that bottom six for line juggling, reuniting Boyle prust and Feds, or just seeing where chemistry goes. Zucc will have a chance to fight for a role along with the other prospects, and I'd love to see him replace Avery, or for Thomas to challenge for Fed's spot.

The defense is the real overhaul. Rozi was traded for Wolski, which I personally believe will turn out to be a good move in the long run, Del Zotto had an unfortunate sophomore slump, but the guy is my age (to the day, actually) which is young, and has a massive upside. Staal and Danny G turned out to be an impressive shutdown pair, while Sauer was consistent, he didn't flourish until his good buddy McD got called up, making them the best bang for the bucks D pair you could believe. The brilliant acquisition of Erixon and the re-signing of a CHEAP Eminger rounds out our D core nicely.

Staal- Girardi
Sauer- McDonagh


The bottom two are up for grabs. There's big talk about Erixon, and if Del Zotto returns to form, the two of them could make one hell of an offensively potent 3rd pairing. Eminger is there as a reliable 3rd pairing man, but to not need him would be the ideal.

So that's my take on it. I think the mid-season and off season team building has been superb. If the cards fall right, and key players play to their potential, I call this club a Cup contender. Of course, that title doesn't mean much, as once a team is in the playoffs, it's up for grabs.

What do you think of this team versus what we saw a year ago?

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