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07-06-2012, 12:05 PM
  #30
joshjull
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chainshot View Post
Let's look at what they have for a moment:

McCormick is not the guy he was pre-concussion and pre-contract. He's a ghost of his former self. Will he rebound? That's a big question given how much he's making compared to more effective players at his role.

Weber's game slipped considerably last season to the point it's possible he is the odd man out when it comes time to sort out the backline, because he's stunk in his recent body of work.

Kaleta playing more than 60 games is not a given. He's brittle and inconsistent with his hitting due to injury. The wear was showing last year -- Ott being around will likely spark him up a bit, but how much can he take? What's he going to break this time?

And Regehr was on the team at this point last year.

They're still relying on the kids to do stand up and shoulder a lot of the load in this area. Can they? Maybe. Will they? That remains to be seen. Enough previous Sabres get to a point with their physical investment and then pull back. Foligno in the top 9, great. Is Tropp a legit top 9 forward at this point? Maybe, maybe not. McNabb's on the outside looking in per Regier's comments.

I don't think it's nitpicking at all to point out the lower line grit guys they have may not be up to the task, that they may not operate up to levels from the past.
I don't disagree with your characterization of some players. I guess I'm looking at things with the glass half full and obviously you're viewing it as half empty. I'm also looking at this based on how I think this team will be structured next year.

I'm expecting Ruff to stick with the 3 line setup we ended the season with. I've felt this way since the offseason started. That set up had the 4th line getting roughly 7mins a night, well at least that was the case for McCormick/Kaleta. Gerbe got more ice time than that.

I thought 2 spots in the top 9 were likely to get changed this offseason. They were Tropp and Roy's. I expect Ott to take Tropp's place in the top 9 and we have center as yet to be acquired that will replace Roy.

So we're potentially looking at

Leino/XXX/Pommer
Ott/Hodgson/Vanek
Foligno/Ennis/Stafford

Then we get to the 4th line and our options are; Gerbe, Kaleta, Tropp, McCormick, Ellis and Scott.

We'll also have a minimal amount of back to backs this coming season. So I expect Scott to dress for a good amount of games with top 9ers double shifting on the 4th line if needed, similar to when Peters was here.

In this setup McCormick and Kaleta will not be relied on like they were previously. So if they can't bring it we have other options. That wasn't the case in previous years. Plus when they are in the lineup they won't be relied as much as they were in the past either.

I don't think we are the Broadstreet bullies by any strecth of the imagination. But I think we have enough stones to deal with what may come our way. I think we are in much better shape than last season and thats a good start.

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