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07-31-2012, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by piqued View Post
But does he have a higher ceiling? Ritchie to me seems likely to be a lower-line grinder.
I think they have virtually the same upside. They could both be 2nd line wingers, but Ritchie could also play Bottom 6.

I honestly didn't factor in the likelihood of a player becoming a contributor to Dallas, but I think Ritchie has the better chance (not that it'll be easy for him either). I may be counting the chicken before it hatches in Chiasson's case, but I think it's pretty clear that Dallas already has 3 long term Top 6 pieces in Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, and Alex Chiasson. I'd honestly love to see that as the Top line for the next 10+ years. You'd have a line with excellent two-way play and puck possession. I do believe Benn's faceoff skills will imporve, and Chiasson offers an above average option for faceoffs as well. Plus you have the perfect compliment of a rightie and leftie to take faceoffs on one line. IMO, there's quite a bit to love about that trio's potential together.

I think a 4th piece is pretty much locked up in Cody Eakin or Radek Faksa. I'm really excited about those guys, but I don't want to go so far just yet to make them a lock like Benn and Eriksson. I think it's probably safe though if you expand to a Top 9 projection to say Eakin and Faksa could at least fill that role.

This pretty much leaves two spots open in the Top 6. Now I get that things change, and I'm just projecting. I still feel like that is a reasonable statement though. The competition for those two spots could be fierce. You're talking Reilly Smith, Fraser, Glennie, Vincour, Ritchie, Stransky, Guptill, Molin, etc, all with reasonable chances at a Top 6 role in the NHL. Of that list, at least at this point in their development and skills, only Reilly Smith, Glennie, Ritchie, and Vincour could also excel in a traditional 3rd line role. I saw Guptill about 4 times last year, and his defense wasn't bad or anything, but you could tell he still has a bit of that OJHL offensive first, cheat mentality. I believe though that more time in Michigan will work that out of him though to the point he could be a solid 3rd liner.

The thing is though I get all of the guys will not make it, but I think Stransky's path to a Dallas Stars roster spot is a little more complicated than a guy like Ritchie. Everything is just a wild ass guess at this point, but in general terms I think that's what your looking at. Plus, I'm not even considering the development of the 2012 draft class of Winther, Shore, Smith, and Troock at this point.

The 2009 draft class gets a leg up because of age and NHL readiness, but from 2010 on you're in the much and will be fighting for minutes in the Dallas forward ranks. Honestly, I think by the end of this season or even the trade deadline, it's not a stretch that Dallas could have three 2009 forwards in the Top 12: Vincour, Chiasson, and Glennie or Reilly.

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