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11-26-2003, 06:56 PM
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Ok, so there's a problem with the way we can bring up our youngsters. We can whine about it or consider ways to change this. It won't change a thing if we do so, but we all love hockey and all love to give our ideas about a given topic so here's my view:

1st line
? - Koivu - ?
We have Saku who I think is first line material.
He's one of the very good playmakers in the whole league but lacks size and by no means is he a goal scorer [or does he have a goal scorer's mentality]. Zednik is a guy with a goal scorer's mentality that plays [used to play] hard, so is Ryder. That could be a decent first line but it's also putting all our eggs in the same basket. I'd ratehr see Zednik on the second line as a key part on it. Then there's Bulis [3rd line], Hossa, Kilger, Sundström, Dagenais and Perreault.
I see Perreault as good as gone.
Bulis should be a key component of the third line (like Rolston).
Kilger isn't playing with enough fire.
Dagenais? (haven't seen him play yet, said to be real slow...)
Sundström - Koivu - Ryder

2nd line
Zednik - Ribeiro - ?
Ribeiro isn't my type of player, but he's shown enough progression and possesses enough offensive weapons so that I could consider him our #2 for the forseable future. He's not great but a fixture, for now. Zednik is a proven goal scorer and Ribeiro a good playmaker... all that lacks is some defensive awareness, size and grit on the RW [or LW as Zednik plays both wings]. What do we have? Hossa, Kilger, Dagenais, Perreault (goner), Balej, Perezhogin, Audette and Dackell.
Hossa? Brings all of what we need here... that line also clicked well, for a time. I'd sign someone for help here, see below.
Kilger? Not worthy of it.
Dagenais? Nah...
Balej? Too Zednik-like.
Perezhogin? Not ready...
Audette? Meh...
Dackell? Fills the need for a defensive presence...
Zednik - Ribeiro - Wilson*

3rd line
Bulis - ? - ?
Bulis is a great two-way player that really has few weaknesses in his play. His glaring issue is that he's scoring in streaks. He always works his butt off but it rarely pays off. I'd say he makes up for a perfect third liner. At center, there's Juneau, but his contract ends at this year's end. I'd hope that Higgins gets this spot next year. Higgins and Bulis are speed demon, have great work ethic and play two-way hockey. If you want strictly a defensive line to shut down the opposition, this RW spot could go to Ward as he brings what the other two lack (grit) but it could also be an interesting opening for a guy like Balej. A speedy line that can score and play well defensively. There's still Audette, Dagenais, Hossa, Perezhogin, Dackell, Kilger and Perreault... I'd opt for Balej
Bulis - Higgins - Balej

4th line
? - Begin - ?
Begin really made a name for himself in Montreal so far. He's been great defensively and played an in-your-face type of hockey all the way. He's not slowing down like Landry did, a few years back so I think he's for real. Ideally, my fourth line is an agitating line that plays well defensively. Kilger or Langdon are perfect for the LW, depending of whom we're playing against and on the RW, Ward is good, but so would be Dackell (in a defensive manner - I hate the guy). Perreault, Audette and Dagenais. (I don't want to see a kid that has scoring potential on the fourth line)
Langdon - Begin - Ward

There's a whole at the RW [or LW] on line #2... UFA?
Mike Knuble
Glen Murray
Brian Rolston
Grant Marshall (not the greatest of scorers but fills a need)
Mark Recchi (would play on the first with his buddy Saku though)
Landon Wilson
Dallas Drake
Scott Mellanby
Scott Thornton (he didn't like his first time here though)
Mikael Renberg
Steve Konowalchuk

My choice would be Steve Konowalchuk but I highly doubt he'd come over (unless we overpay him). I'd settle for Landon Wilson who's big and plays a power forward's game (without the scoring). He could be our Mike Knuble that develops much later than expected, along with talented players. He's just 28 so he's still fairly young, too.

As for the defense, there really isn't much of an importance to who's pairing is #1... the best pairing plays the most on a given night so here's how I think it should go:

Souray - Komisarek
Two big players that can clear the crease. Souray's our leader on defence and plays a similar defensive game to Komo's so it could help Komo playing a bit more offensively than he did last year.
Markov - Brisebois
Markov is our best dman and Brisebois our best RD, they're both offensive but Markov is responsible defensively and Brisebois is better this year, also. They know when to pick their spot to help on offense.
Hainsey - Rivet
Rivet did marvel with Markov, give his Hainsey and wait. If it doesn't work, consider trying Quintal...

Our UFAs:
Andreas Dackell, let him go
Joe Juneau, let him go
Darren Langdon, resign
Yannick Perrault, hopefully traded
Stephane Quintal, let go or signed CHEAP

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