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01-23-2013, 10:07 AM
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Giggli G
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Breaking up the top line: Hall at Center

Last night (edit: when combined with viewings from last year), it became apparent to me that the top line is not an optimal arrangement, and that Hall should probably be tried at center, as was suggested by the coaching staff in the offseason.

All three players on that line want to be the go-to player, and only really RNH plays a style that can be seen as complimentary. Most of all, Hall sticks out like a sore thumb and I can't see chemistry developing due to the difference in play styles. He looked a lot better last night when placed on Smyth and Horcoff's line where he could be the go-to guy to rush and control the pace.

Hall is a natural center. He covers a ton of ground already. He likes to wind up off the breakout. He also has (or at least will have) size and strength, which we could use up the middle. In the defensive zone, when on wing, he's of almost no use; meanwhile, Gagner gets the tough assignments he can't handle down low. Hall has much more ability to win puck battles, and he skates like a friggin demon.

I see Hall at center as a cross between Eric and Jordan Staal (in the future).

I know people say that his skillset is suited for the wing, but I disagree. His skill set is completely reflective of a centerman. He has worked on his passing as well and it is at least above average.

I could see lines like:

Yakupov-RNH-Eberle
Jones-Hall-Gagner
Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky
Hartikainen-Belanger-Petrell

However, many other iterations could work so don't focus on these lines. A second line with hall on it would be much more difficult to shut down than one centered by Gagner.

Don't take this a panic suggestion from me. I think the game last night will be very good for this club going forward. It's nice to get a reality check this early in the season. Same thing happened to Vancouver against Anaheim, and they bounced back with a much better defensive effort against us.

Of course, if we do trade Gagner for Luongo, this might be more likely to become a reality.


Last edited by Giggli G: 01-23-2013 at 10:34 AM.
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