Thread: Confirmed with Link: Brandon Prust to Montreal [4 years, $10M]
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07-02-2012, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Gabe84 View Post
I think people here have unrealistic expectations of what a third line should be able to produce. This isn't the 80s or the 90s anymore. Hell, this isn't 2005-2006 anymore. I've made that argument before, but if you split the league's forwards into 4 categories that looks like this:
1) Top scorer to 90th best scorer are first liners (30 RW + 30 C + 30 LW)
2) 91st to 180th scorers are second liners
3) 181st to 270th scorers are third liners
4) 270th to 360th scorers are fourth liners
Then you realize that third liners usually produce between 30 and 17 points.

I know it's a very basic way to look at things, but my point is this: realistically, if we can get 20ish points from Prust and 30ish points from Armstrong (if those two play on the third line), then we have an above-average third line. Then, if you can get 35-40 points out of Eller, which I think he could do even with Prust and Armstrong, you get a pretty good third line.

Not only are they producing nicely, but all three of them are defensively solid, tough to play against, Armstrong brings an agitating aspect, Prust can fight... I really like this third line.

EDIT: Even with Armstrong out of the line-up, I think Leblanc, Gallagher or Bourque could take that spot and do well.
I think that breakdown is nice enough of what to expect from any given line, but if your top-6 isn't loaded with talent (and thus isn't as highly paid as many top-6s in the league), then your bottom-6 ought to produce more than the average club in order to compensate for the lack of top-6 production.

Alternatively, if one of your top-6 forward lines needs to be sheltered--as the Desharnais line needs to be--then one of your bottom-6 lines should be capable of playing a shutdown role. At this point, Montreal's bottom-6 can't play a shutdown role.

Further, only in the 'best case scenario' of point production from Prust/Armstrong/Eller does the bottom-6 look decent. And decent isn't all that great when the bottom-6 is relatively expensive. (And this isn't even mentioning the fact that, as some of our friends from the Rangers forum have suggested, Prust ought not to be in the team's top-9 rotation!)

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