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03-18-2012, 03:43 PM
  #3
Sturminator
I voted for Kodos
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nalyd Psycho View Post
Minnesota Fighting Saints


GM: Nalyd Psycho
Head Coach: Al Arbour
Captain: Dit Clapper
Assistant Captains: Maurice Richard & Guy Carbonneau

#40 Henrik Zetterberg-#26 Peter Šťastný-#9 Maurice Richard
#19 Markus Näslund-#25 Jacques Lemaire-#13 Bill Guerin
#21 Harry Westwick-#21 Guy Carbonneau-#16 Bengt-Åke Gustafsson
#22 Dennis Hextall-#15 Jaroslav Holík-#12 Ron Stewart

#4 Bill Gadsby-#5 Dit Clapper
#2 Derian Hatcher-#6 Art Duncan
#3 František Tikal-#8 Harry Mummery

#1 Hugh Lehman
#30 Tim Thomas

Spares: #14 Mattias Norström, D-#44 Barry Ashbee, D-#11 Art Gagne, RW-#7 Jason Arnott

First Power Play Unit:
Näslund-Šťastný-Richard
Gadsby-Duncan

Second Power Play Unit:
Zetterberg-Lemaire-Guerin
Mummery-Clapper

First Penalty Kill Unit:
Carbonneau-Westwick
Hatcher-Clapper

Second Penalty Kill Unit:
Lemaire-Gustafsson
Gadsby-Tikal
Allright, I'll kick this off. This is another strong entry from one of the real veterans of the ATD, and my mentor way back in ATD#8. Just a caveat: I am mostly going to ignore 4th lines and 3rd pairings in these reviews unless there are obvious injury concerns in the higher units which will demand callups from the depth players. In the playoffs, I just don't think bottom units are of much importance, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time reviewing them.

Overall: Built on the classic model, with the most strength on the blueline and at center, this is a team that will have a lot of the puck. It is also a team that will lean heavily on its first units at even strength and on the powerplay, as the depth scoring is not particularly dangerous. But the first unit is very strong and is spearheaded by one of the all-time great playoff scorers, and the team is well-built to protect a lead, so it is definitely a formula that can work.

Goal: You got a good one in Hughie Lehman, who I wanted to draft as my starter last year. The more we look into the split league era, the more the line between Vezina, Benedict and Lehman seems to blur. Benedict's status in the ATD is well-established, and he was by far the biggest winner of the three, but I think the other two have been and remain somewhat underrated in this thing. Lehman's peak longevity is simply remarkable. He was a first team all star for something like fifty seven seasons in a row in the PCHA, most of the time beating out Holmes, which is not weak competition. He had his hiccups in the playoffs, but playoff performance is only one part of a player's career, and should not be overblown. I think he is the equal of Tony Esposito, who we know is capable of backstopping an ATD champion.

Defense: The top pairing among the best in the league. It is physical, fast, and very strong both ways. A complete and dominant top pairing; not much else to say about it. The second pairing is fairly average, I think. I have been a critic of Derian Hatcher in this draft not because I think he was such a terrible value where you took him (though maybe he was a bit of a reach), but because I think he is overrated relative to other defensive defensemen like Schoenfeld and Beck. I think Hatcher is a classic example of a recently retired player whose intangibles are blown out of proportion (in this case in a positive way). That being said, Hatcher is fine in his role on this team. He is either a low-end #3 or an excellent #4, and will do a good job for you if given a suitable partner.

Art Duncan is a good partner for Hatcher. I am not as high on him as you seem to be. He obviously had one very strong season where he was arguably the best defenseman in the world (though I would probably choose George Boucher in that season), and was a PCHA 1st team all-star three times, overall. I don't put a whole lot of value in PCHA 2nd team all-star selections, especially at defense and especially later on after the Patricks retired. It was a four team league in most seasons, and other than Moose Johnson, there really wasn't a whole lot of high-end depth on the blueline. Even a 1st team PCHA selection in the seasons Duncan did it is of somewhat questionable value to me. In today's terms, I think it is probably equivalent value to a 5th - 10th finish in AST voting, and a 2nd team finish is probably about 10th - 15th value (and that is being generous). Duncan's best season is probably worth a 1st AST finish in today's terms; for a defenseman to lead any top league in scoring is a big deal. So if you convert Duncan's peak performance to today's terms, I think his peak is worth something like this in equivalent AST voting finishes:

Quote:
2nd
7th
8th
12th
13th
...and he obviously has respectable career value outside of those five seasons. In performance terms, I think this puts Duncan in the same tier as guys like Simpson, F. Patrick, Boyle and Colville - low-end #3 puckmovers, or excellent #4s (and he was the last guy in this tier, IMO, so you did well to snag him). So...much like the Boyle - Beck pairing, you've got a couple of fringe 3/4 guys who are a good match stylistically, and I think make an average 2nd pairing.

It is at any rate a very big backline, with good complementary parts, an extremely strong top pairing and a 2nd pairing that will get the job done.

Forwards: The Stastny - Richard combination on your top line will produce a lot of points, especially in the playoffs, where both men consistently raised their level of play. They will not, however, play much defense. In theory, a classic "spear carrier" who can win pucks and be the line's defensive conscience would have made sense on the left wing. You took Zetterberg where I would have taken Propp. Zett was certainly worth the pick where you chose him, but a meaningful chunk of his defensive value is lost on the wing, and he doesn't contribute as much grit and puckwinning as you'd like to see in that spot. The line can go with "puckwinning by committee" and get away with it, but I do think it is a small weakness that would have been better addressed with a more physical left winger. Zett's defense from the wing is going to be put to a severe test against ATD 1st line RWs and on a line with a couple of guys who aren't going to help out much. It is fortunate that this line will be backed by such a strong top pairing most of the time at even strength.

The second line is not one of my favorites. Jacques Lemaire is certainly a strong 2nd line center, but he is a tricky player to build around, and I don't know if I like the combination of pieces here. He is not your typical high-end playmaker from the center position. Indeed, there are centers available quite a few rounds later who were better playmakers than Jacques. So, in theory, he needs a winger who can carry the playmaking for the line. Billy Guerin, while I think a fine 2nd liner at even strength, is obviously not that guy. So that leaves the primary playmaking duties to Marcus Naslund. I like Naz, but I think that is asking a bit too much of him at this level. Naslund could pass the puck, but he is a slightly biased goalscorer, himself, and...I just think the line is going to sputter at times. Lemaire is obviously a very strong two-way player and Guerin was a reliable checker with a lot of grit, so the line will play well both ways even when the offense runs cold.

The third line is ok. Carbonneau is obviously an outstanding checker with at least decent offensive value. I would normally try to flank Carbonneau with really strong defensive wingers and make it a pure shutdown unit, with any offense considered a bonus. You have chosen to go with two-way players on the wings. Gustafsson, I like as a two-way third liner who you got at good value. He was a strong all-arounder and a terrific skater in his prime. I am less high on Westwick, who I see as more of a good 4th liner. Maybe I just need convincing, but I think you'd have been better off with a guy like Jiri Holik, Gilles Tremblay or Adam Graves where you took Westwick. The wings aren't strong enough defensively to make this a shutdown line, and the line as a whole isn't strong enough offensively to be a great two-way unit, either. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but it looks below-average to me.

Special teams first units look strong other than Westwick on the 1st unit PK. Again...maybe I just need to be sold; you obviously value him higher than I do. Second units are only ok.

In the end, this team will live and die by its top units, at even strength and on special teams. Those top units are very strong, so it will be interesting to see what happens when you come up against an opponent with more depth.


Last edited by Sturminator: 03-18-2012 at 04:42 PM. Reason: Tony Esposito...not frikkin Phil
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