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04-08-2012, 03:44 PM
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2nd Lines

Since Winnipeg decided to have a defensively geared first line, this line is going to be relied upon a pretty good amount to score goals. The chemistry of this line works very well. The entire objective will be to get the puck to Joe Malone at center with two corner-men in Olmstead and Tocchet. The chemistry of Winnipeg works.

However, the Philadelphia line boasts more firepower. Because of the unique skillsets needed to maximize Malone's heavily goalscoring biased talents, Winnipeg sacrificed talent for skillset on the wings, where Philadelphia's advantages lie. Dickie Moore can do everything Olmstead can at an elite level. They are both elite muckers and grinders. Olmstead's only advantage is that he was bigger than Dickie was. Dickie beats him out in offense and defense. Dickie was more true catalyst, whereas it seems Olmstead was a guy that just got the puck out of the corner and passed it to his more talented teammates, collecting a lot of likely secondary assists in the process. Moore was also one of the best two-way LWs in history. Olmstead wasn't anything of a defensive player that I know of. Moore has better speed as well. Definitive advantage to Moore here.

Malone over Primeau is Winnipeg's lone advantage on the 2nd lines. Malone is an elite 2nd liner here. To get a little bit of scope on him, two of my guys played against him in the two main parts of his career, the NHA(Hyland) and NHL(Dye). Here's how they competed head to head:

1910-11 to 1916-17

Malone: 206 points in 123 games-1.67PPG
Hyland: 140 goals in 105 games-1.33PPG(Hyland left to play in the PCHA for one year, 11-12)

1917-18 to 1923-24

Malone: 175 points in 126 games-1.39PPG
Dye: 148 points in 112 games-1.32PPG(only from 1919-20 to 1923-24)

I'm not saying Malone is nearly equal to Dye offensively because that includes the tail end of Malone's career and focuses on most of Dye's prime without the wall he hit towards the end. Malone is definitely the best offensive player on either 2nd line, but he's not miles ahead.

Back to Malone and Primeau. Malone is a better goalscorer and overall offensive player, but Primeau is easily the better playmaker. I also don't think Malone was anything of a defensive player, which is a problem with how the rest of the line is constructed. Primeau, meanwhile, was known as one of the best two-way players of his era, and a strong penalty killer. Malone still gets the advantage here.

Babe Dye and Rick Tocchet isn't much of a comparison offensively. Dye was 7x top 2 in goalscoring(caveat, all but one 2nd were pre-consolidation), and Tocchet never cracked a top 10 in goals, assists, or points. Dye is significantly, significantly better. I'll give Tocchet an edge in physicality and skating ability, but Dye was not afraid of physical contact, and it seems his skating and defensive issues may have been a bit overblown, but they are still definitely areas of weakness. In the end, Babe Dye is easily the superior player here.

Overall, the 2nd lines are an advantage to Philadelphia. I believe that our advantage on the wings outweighs the advantage that Winnipeg has at center. I also see some serious issues with defensive abilities on Winnipeg's 2nd line. As far as I know, none of those guys have any defensive ability whatsoever. Combined with the fact that my 2nd line boasts two very strong two-way players to cover up for a weak link and the fact that I have 3 legitimate scoring lines to worry about, I think this line could run into trouble. If they get pinned in their own defensive zone, they are not going to have any idea what to do. Because of this, Gorman may be a little hesitant to give them heavy minutes considering they will be facing one of my top 3 lines the majority of the time. Combined with the fact that this line is going to be relied upon a lot to score goals because of how the first line is built, I sense some trouble for Winnipeg in the matchup department. Philadelphia's unit is better offensively, and defensively as well.

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