Thread: Prospect Info: Oilerrrr I Mean Barons '12-13 Thread
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10-30-2012, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by bewbies View Post
Some midweek thoughts:

Nelson has really gotten away from the formula that made this team successful over the last two seasons: roll 4 lines and 3 sets of D, defend 180 feet, rely on simple, short passes on the breakout, tough forechecking and plenty of shots to create your offensive chances. Instead, he's playing the top line and top D pair way too much, the passes they are choosing out of the backend are too long-distance and too risky, and no one is shooting enough. They're being too fancy in the offensive zone and making too many bad decisions and bad plays in their own end. These things just didn't happen very often last year.

To fix this, first, I'd like to see a LOT more balance in the lines. Adding Hall into the mix is a huge talent boost, but if he just steps in on a line with RNH and Eberle it isn't going to change a whole lot in my opinion. I'd rather see Hall on a line with, say, Green and MPS, then Eberle, RNH, and Harski together. At the same time, make sure that the third line is (Pitlick/Arcobello/Lander?) sees a solid 16-18 minutes of ice time.

Next, simplify the system. Get back to the short, quick breakout passes; emphasize movement from the forwards to get to open ice in our own zone, and encourage the defensemen to just chip it out if they're in danger instead of forcing things. Get back to the dump and chase: Eberle and RNH are both fantastic forecheckers and I'm sure Hall will be too. Every other forward on the roster is good at this in his own right. Unless you have an odd-man situation, make sure that puck gets in deep and then out-work the other team below the dots.

Third, the forwards need to start playing much more dedicated defense. I've seen way too many chances come from the high trailer all season long, which is something that you rarely ever saw last year: there was ALWAYS a forward back in the high slot. We're also not generating as many turnovers in the neutral zone as I'd like to see. I'm not going to say that the forwards are being floaty through the NZ, but they certainly aren't turning as many pucks over as they have in the past.

All that said, they probably need to make a personnel move on defense. Right now, Marincin and Schultz are playing 30 minutes a night, and solid as they've been, they are not really a shutdown pair defensively. Teubert has been only average, Fedun has been inconsistent (understandable, I think he'll wind up being fine), Davidson has been a decent surprise but is only a 5/6/7 guy in the AHL at this point. I was hoping that Plante would pick up where he left off last year, but he's been just awful so far this year. The less said about Ringwald the better. So, that leaves us with a pretty big hole on the backend.

Preferably I'd like to see them bring in a veteran AHL guy who can move the puck well, probably to pair with either Teubert or Davidson. I'm pretty sure they can sign or trade for anyone in view of salaries and the veteran limit, so surely there is a solution out there. Bryan Rodney is a free agent (I think), and though he's not a dominant defender he's a very capable puck mover who would also be a great addition to the PP. Alternatively, maybe they could trade one of their glut of young forwards (I'm thinking Hamilton) for a young borderline NHL defenseman. Maybe Thomas Hickey?

In any case, the team as its been is simply not going to roll over the league, regardless of how loaded they are up front. Nelson sounded pretty pissed after Friday night's game and wasn't all that pleased even after Sunday's win; I really hope he gets a bead on what is going wrong and gets his system back into place. I thought the last few years that the Barons were one of the best coached pro teams I'd ever seen, but they just haven't looked the same this year.
I doubt thay would move Hamilton for a guy like Hickey. He is still probably a significant prospect despite his slow start in the AHL.

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