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05-14-2006, 02:44 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
I think most here would agree that Ribs probably won't have a role on the team next year. BG is looking to add size, speed, and grit, and Mike has neither of those. He has a spot in this league, I just don't think it's with us in our current situation with the current system we use. Also, remember that we'll probably roll 3 scoring lines with an energy line.
This line was working really well towards the end of the year. Although Koivu is starting to exit his prime, his playmaking/vision/passing skills won't erode and Higgins/Ryder should only improve. I expect big things from Ryder next year. It's hard for an average sized guy to play a crash-and-bang style taking all that punishment (Ryder's style) right after his first nice contract after he's worked so hard to make it. Throw in his injury, and I think we'll see the Ryder we all love next season.
Training camp will sort out which talented prospect gets to play with Kovalev. Plekanec will center one of those lines. A new guy (be it from a trade or FA, probably the latter) will join Plekanec as a center. Murray impressed me with his all around game this year. He might be bumped down for a FA winger or if someone lower really impresses - I'm particularly intrigued by Lapierre.
Begin brings an energy to Bonk's game and really got his game going this year. Radek's very effective in a limited role, as is Begin. Lapierre is fast and gritty, and like Begin brings it every night. I'm still not sure about his skill level, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him take Murray's spot on a scoring line. downey is here for when we need a fighter in the lineup, and Ferland is too good to risk to the waiver wire. He has the size and hands, and his skating is improving. He's also a dark horse for a 3rd line winger spot.
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