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08-10-2012, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: North Carolina
Repeat after me....Chad LaRose is not a Top 6 hockey player....it is that simple. I seem to always have to qualify these types of statements with "...but I love Chad as a 3rd/4th liner....". But with the talent that we have, there is no way that Chad should see time in the Top 6 or on the PP...doesn't matter what his stats were last year; circumstances forced his line placements.
Some combination of Staal/Staal/Semin/Skinner/Jokinen/Ruutu/Tlusty is our current best Top 6 option. We probably even have better options for the 3rd line, which would make LaRose the best 4th liner in the league ;-). I'm probably in the minority, but my 3rd line would be Ruutu or Jokinen/Welsh/Bowman. I'd package picks/prospects/Nodl, Stewart, etc. for picks/prospects and ice a 4th line out of the remainder of LaRose, Dwyer, Blanchard, Bre. Sutter, Brent, Wallace, etc. I'd keep a 13th forward and rotate them in on the 4th line. The rest are in Charlotte or on the block.
I'm not saying that these guys need to go, but we have upgraded our Top 6 capability. I'd like to see us infuse youth and grit and enthusiasm (as well as a bit of scoring accumen) into our 3rd and 4th lines.
I could very easily see a Staal/Staal/Semin and Skins and Finns Top 6 and a Tlusty/Welsh/Bowman 3rd line (could easily surprise with scoring upside). That would be a tough Top 9 to play against.
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