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01-14-2013, 07:24 PM
blinkman360's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Lawn Guyland
Country: United States
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The problem is that this team is worse than they were last year, at least on paper.

Where is our secondary scoring coming from? Grabner-Nielsen-Boyes? If that line produces like a 3rd line we are basically screwed. Ullstrom-Cizikas-McDonald is a joke. Everyone complains about "giving" spots to guys like Nino and Strome and Nelson, meanwhile we are icing a 3rd line with virtually zero upside(at least this year). I like Ullstrom, and think he could be a player, however I wanted to see him as the young guy on an established line(playing LW to Nielsen-Grabner, or something like that)... not necessarily the guy who will have to carry his own line. Essentially that's what he'll have to do. That line looks like an NHL 4th line on paper.

So offensively, we have the potential of having one really good 1st line, especially if Okposo gels with JT and MM, but after that it's pretty much a 3rd line and two 4th lines. That's the way I see it, at least. Maybe(hopefully) I'll be proven wrong.

That leaves the defense... where do I even begin? I agree that Hamonic should be on the 1st pairing, Streit should be on the 2nd and Carkner on the 3rd. Unfortunately after that is where it starts to get ugly. Now you have MacDonald, who is probably a #4 at this point in his career getting bumped up to the top-pairing with Hamonic. You have Martinek, who didn't have a job a few days ago, stepping right into a 2nd pairing role. You also have (what looks to be)Landry, a guy who is a mediocre AHL defenseman at best rounding out the rest of the top-6 on the 3rd pairing.

As it stands right now...AT BEST...our blueline consists of a #2(TH), a #3(MS), a #4(AM), a #6(MC), a #6/7(RM) and a #8/9(JL). That is being generous to Hammer and Streit at this point, who I see more as a 3 and 4, respectively. I suppose when healthy and on his game, Martinek could be a 4 or 5, but how long will that last? IMO our only hope of having a decent blue-line is if Hamonic solidifies himself as a legitimate top-pairing defender; Streit returns to pre-injury form where he was arguably a #2; A-Mac elevating his game further(not sure how much better he could get unless he gets more involved offensively); Martinek staying healthy all year long and Donovan eventually replacing Landry who I have zero confidence in. All of this, as well as Visnovsky coming over and playing like he actually gives a damn.

Goaltending should be solid, but it was solid last year as far as Nabokov goes. If he elevates his game further I suppose he could steal us a few more wins, but at this point in his career is it fair to expect that?

What's scary is I'm usually pretty optimistic when it comes to this team. At least I have been at the start of the past few years. This year, it almost appears as if 1)they want one more top-pick before they finally decide to end this rebuild, and 2) they want to set Cappy up to fail so they can bring in a new/established Head Coach when they attempt to make a run.

Otherwise I can't see a reason why a team in desperate need of secondary scoring would leave the 3rd leading goal scorer in the AHL out of training camp...

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