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01-30-2013, 10:57 AM
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Run the Jewels
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: In the Garage
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Things we know: 1/8 of the way

1. We're probably the #3 team in the Central. We were blown out by St Louis and will get another shot at them. We played a worn out Chicago team and lost to them in OT. We haven't played Nashville yet but we did beat Columbus. Right now we're the #6 seed in the West and would face Minnesota, which isn't a bad matchup. Obviously much will changes over the next 42 games.

2. Pavel Datsyuk is the straw that stirs the drink. When he started the season as a winger on Z's line we were terrible. I seriously believe we'd be cellar dwellers if Pavs was still playing on the wing. Since being moved back to center he's been dominant at both ends of ice, killing off a 5 on 3 penalty last night and generating 2 assists. He leads the team in scoring and he's also a team best +5.

3. Our defense doesn't look bad. We started off horribly but over the past 4 games we've only allowed 7 goals in regulation, or 1.75 GAA. If we can maintain that type of stinginess we could win a lot of hockey games.

4. Jimmy Howard appears to be rounding into form. He didn't play during the lockout and I am pretty sure Mickey said he should begin to get into game shape pretty quickly. He's made some very impressive saves and based on his last couple games he does appear to be improving his play.

5. Our power play is obviously horrible. I don't know how much is talent - or lack thereof - and how much is scheme. Todd McClellan has a brilliant power play with the Sharks but he also has Thornton, Marleau, Clowe, Pavelski, etc. Given our lack of high end offensive defenseman it probably makes sense to go with 4 forwards and 1 d-man (Kronner and Smith) on each unit. When White is healthy he can obviously be added to the mix. It's probably worthwhile to put Z on the point given he has a good shot. Heck, I'd even be willing to try Lashoff since he can really fire the puck. Our current d-men just don't seem to add much other than being safety valves.

6. Kronner is the only d-man who has generated more than 1 point to date. This is why I was arguing we really do need a legit offensive defenseman who can put up 50+ points per season. Our bottom 6 forwards have generated pretty much 0 offense. If our bottom 6 continues to suck at generating offense I'd like to see Nyquist given a shot. Of course it will never happen but I thought I'd mention it as the old mantra is let them get 20+ mins a night in the AHL rather than 10 mins a night in the NHL. Well the NHL team needs some scoring depth and the old guys ain't getting it done. Something like:

Abby-Helm-Tootoo
Nyquist-Emmerton-Miller

Cleary and Miller PK quite a bit so perhaps you replace one of them with Nyquist who should be the first call up. Nyquist can PK and you can also give a bit more short-handed IT to Cory Emmerton who has started to come into his own.

I still think we're a 6-8 seed come playoff time. Our strengths are team defense while we do not have nearly enough scoring depth from our forwards or any real scoring from our d-men outside of Kronwall. Our power play is brutal and I'm not sure we can expect much improvement given our lack of quality d-men or scoring depth at forward.

If Holland wants to improve the hockey team I think the best bets are 1) calling up Nyquist, 2) acquiring an offensive defenseman like Lubomir Visnovsky, and 3) acquiring a good scoring winger who can be plugged into our bottom 6.

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