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02-24-2012, 03:25 PM
  #57
Miller Time
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I think we are well positioned to build a contender, we just need some patience and no more waisting assets or badly overpaying for underperforming veterans.


Goaltending: Elite

As long as Price gets a long-term extension, we are set for a long time.



Defense: good depth, missing 1 top-3 caliber player (guy who can play 20-22min/night).


Subban gives us a solid top-pairing minute-eating dman for years to come.

Gorges is a very solid top-4 player.

Diaz/Emelin/Weber give us a solid trio in the 4-5-6 range.

Beaulieu/Tinordi/Ellis/Bennet/Dietz/Nash give us a pretty solid group of young dmen that should equate to quality 2nd/3rd pairing depth over next 2-5 years.


Subban - XXX
Diaz - Gorges
Weber - Emelin
(Markov)

every effort should be made over next year+half to target a top-pairing dman to fill out the top 4, be it via trade or UFA.
IF Markov can make a relatively successful return, then a "lesser" guy like Stuart or Jackman would work, if not, Suter/Weber... Edler/Vlasic... those are the 4 guys with impending UFA status coming up that would make sense to target (or whatever top-pairing caliber dmen become available in trade talks).


Forwards: decent depth, missing 1 elite/top-line winger

Patches is solid as a top-line winger, and should continue to improve.
Cole/Gionta/Bourque/Moen gives us a solid complement of veteran top-9 wingers.
Leblanc/Geoffrion/Palushaj/Gallagher/Kristo give us a decent group of young top-9 wingers that should push those vets over the next 2-3 years

like on D, we need to aggressively target a top-line fwd to complement this group.
Parise & Perry are the only two impending UFA's this year and next that would be worth "outbidding" on should they hit UFA market, otherwise trade (Radulov?) or the draft (yapukov).

Patches
Gionta
Cole
Bourque
Moen
Leblanc
Palushaj


as long as we don't go and pull another '09, waisting cap space overpaying for vets that aren't likely to give us consistent top-line minutes, we're in a good situation. The need for another top-line player is there, but in the meantime, better to go with what we have/target 1-year deals on vets that can fill a top-9 role temporarily (i.e Jagr, Bertuzzi type "reclamation" contracts).


Centre: I probably stand relatively alone on this, but I'm feeling ok with our top-9 centre trio moving forward.

Adding a bonafide #1 producer would be great, of course, but those are both hard to find and extremely costly.
Short of a UFA coup to land one of Getzlaf/Crosby in 2013, there's not much out there that we are likely to find that would be both an upgrade on what we have AND not cost us way too much to land.

Drafting Grigorenko/Galenychuk (Sp?) this year could be a solution, but still likely 2-4 years away from giving us definitive upgrade over what we have now.

In my mind, Pleks-Eller-DD give us enough from the C spot to ice a contender if we can add a top-line winger.

I also think that Eller will see an offensive explosion in the next 1-2 years... his ES production at his age is on par with a lot of the current top-level producers at centre. Once he finally starts getting some PP time, and as he continues to improve, I think a lot of people will find themselves shocked by just how good he is/will be.

and from a cap point of view, if we are getting continued production from DD, improved production from Eller, and more-or-less the same from Pleks, it will give us another 3-5 years of fantastic value at that position, freeing up cap space to spend on Defense/Forward.

White/Bournival/Engqvist... not much to get too excited about there, leaving us thin at centre in dealing with injuries.

UFA market and 2012 draft hopefully can help address the C depth.




all in all, definitely enough solid pieces in place to build towards a contender... just have to manage our assets properly to ensure that depth continues to improve (quality-wise), and to be in a position to pounce if/when that star winger/dman becomes available via trade.

no more kaberle/Gomez type deals or Cammalleri/Gionta/Spacek type signings, and we should be well on our way.

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