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11-26-2012, 10:36 PM
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Halifax
Country: Canada
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I don't like the mindset of trying to tank before the season's even began. I made a lot of tank jokes last year but that was after the season was a foregone conclusion. I do understand the desire to tank, adding MacKinnon to our group of prospects makes it pretty easy to build going forward, but I personally don't like going into a season thinking that way. I also find it hard to believe we'll be sniffing last place again. The Gauthier gongshow is over, the coaching controversy is largely settled, Markov is healthy, Gionta is healthy, and Desharnais/Plekanec have been playing in Europe and staying fresh (Pleks has been tearing it up). Simply adding Markov to the mix gives us 3 legitimate top 4 defensemen, and then we can rotate fringe top 4 guys like Emelin, Diaz on a hot streak, and occasionally Boullion into the top 4. Last year we had a good pairing in Gorges-Subban, and then a whole lot of #5 guys. Now we have a good top pairing in Gorges-Subban, and a decent second pairing in Markov-Emelin/Diaz/Bouillion. That makes a huge difference.

The other big factor, is that Plekanec will have Gionta on his wing again. If Bourque can up his game just a little bit, a 2nd line of Bourque-Pleks-Gio will be much better than the absurd line combos we had last year (Blunden-Pleks-Gomez, Staubitz playing with our $5M center). We've solidified the bottom 6, and we'll definitely be able to roll 4 lines, so DD and Plekanec's lines can stay fresh. The PK will be its usual excellent self, and hopefully our PP will be better with Markov-Subban for a whole season.

I don't have any delusions of us being cup contenders by any means, but to call the hypothetical season a tank job already is a bit pessimistic. Keep in mind that last year was the perfect storm of a terrible year. Gauthier fired coaches on gameday, Cammalleri was sulking, Markov got injured, Bourque was uninterested, Gionta was injured, it was just a total gong show of a season and all of those factors happening again are unlikely (we led the league in man-games lost to injury). If everything goes right for us, we could be in the hunt for the 7-8 playoff spots. If we don't have as great a year, we'll probably end up 10-13. I just don't see us as a basement team, I don't think our roster is that bad.

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