2013 New Jersey Devils (Team News, Player Discussion - Part VII)
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02-26-2013, 01:25 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New York
Hate to say it, but we are feeling the effects of traitorboy.
No matter how one plays with the line combinations (and Deboer is trying any and everything at this point, like Lemaire's bingo ball cage never left) we are one top 6 winger short of a complete team.
And with Zubie out, we can't even fake it.
I am extremely happy Lou made the move for Lokti, with Yayo sharting the bed, and getting Poni back in the fold was also huge. That solves our third line problems, at least, so that any line that contains Baby Gionta can rightly be called what it is --- a fourth line.
And with Elias being an ageless wonder, and Clarky actually becoming a bonafide scoring threat (not a fluke), we have the pieces for one legit top line.
Zajac, as our top line center, belongs between those two guys. It really helps with their cycling the puck. And Elias has the tools and the mindset to allow Zajac to find his offense and actually use his above average shot (as opposed to always deferring to Kovy).
Rico will be fine, eventually, as Kovy's center, as both play an opportunistic game with favorable skillsets over most other second liners. (Kovy being "all world" in the tool box, but a hard piece to integrate into a collective unit.)
But among the rest of the detritus on the roster, the closest we got to another top six forward to join those guys is fake #9, Bobby Butler, who would struggle to stay on most teams in any capacity.
At least when we finally get Zubie back we can plug him there and he can make room for those other two to dangle. (Although he would be ideal on a third line, and not in the top 6.)
But right now it is Butler or Matteau or worse. A "lose/lose/really lose" scenario.
Henrique has never been nearly as good on wing, and Lokti simply cannot play wing, at all. So it seems pretty clear they both need to settle in at center.
So I'm afraid we are really going to have to win with this...
Elias - Zajac - Clarkson
Butler - Henrique - Kovalchuk
Ponikarovsky - Loktionov - Bernier
Carter - Gionta - Barch/Matteau
Good luck with that.
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