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01-06-2013, 10:45 AM
  #3
Mike Farkas
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Key to the series from Buffalo's perspective:

Buffalo is built on three main principles: Tremendous speed among forwards backed by a coach that is aggressive with his forecheck. The speed of this team would be able to rattle the cages of any defense and St. John's defense couldn't fall more perfectly into the Buffalo game plan. All of St. John's d-men are left-handed! which means they are severely limited in terms of options on the breakout. They basically can only exit the zone from one side of the rink and with the team speed employed by Buffalo and the lack of very noteworthy puck-movers on the backline for St. John's (Stavjana and Berard are probably the only two above average), escaping their own end of the ice will prove to be extremely challenging.

On the backline, the hellacious forecheck of the Mugwumps is backed by a rock solid defense that can patrol the backline with poise, confidence and physicality if necessary. Given that the St. John's club will need to exit the zone on their left side the backing from my mobile right side defense will provide tremendous puck support to my forechecking forwards. Mantha, Moore and Murphy are plenty capable of stepping to any occasion in the neutral zone if called upon, while the backside d-men (my LD) will patrol with the positional integrity that kept them in the NHL for a combined 3,497 NHL games (unadjusted for lockouts or anything, they have been through a combined 7 of them).

And in net, I'm confident that the consensus first overall pick in this draft is the best goaltender in the draft and he'll be protected and supported well throughout. Even if St. John's finds a way out of its zone, it will be a challenge to score as their scoring depth doesn't appear to be better than average. Looking specifically at the second line of Rick Dudley (who had just one 20 goal or 40 point season in the NHL, he was only a really productive player in the loosey, goosey WHA), Josef Malecek (whose claim to fame is 1920's and 1930's international competition, which doesn't seem to be regularly accounted for in these drafts due to competition level concerns) and Fred Glover (a man with 24 NHL points because he spent his career in the minors...and apparently didn't even garner interest from newly-expanded NHL clubs as I don't see evidence that he was part of any expansion draft claims).

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