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04-23-2013, 12:19 PM
  #42
Persona5
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Here is a review and what I would do with each player if I were Poile this offseason.

Forwards:

Taylor Beck – I like what I see from Beck and I think his future is bright. From the first game he played up until now the main improvement I have seen is his balance and his board play.

Projection – 2nd-3rd line Power Forward

I would…give him every opportunity to win a spot on the roster for next season.


Gabriel Bourque – This is one of the injuries that really hurt our club this year. He has really come on and it seems whatever line he plays on gets better. Works extremely hard every shift and has a nice touch around the net.

Projection – 2nd-3rd line Grinder

I would…use a permanent marker and add him to the roster for next season. I just hope his injury isn’t long lasting.


Bobby Butler – He brings some of the things we have been missing for a long time to our bottom six. He plays a full two-way game and can and will shoot the puck on net when the chance is there.

Projection – 3rd-4th line two-way forward

I would…sign him to a 1 year 2-way contract and give him a shot to make the team this training camp.


Rich Clune – This isn’t your typical run of the mil tough guy that dresses to fight every now and then. He skates well and hits everything that moves. There have been a few games this season where he has sparked the team with a hit or a fight. He seems to know when to drop the gloves and when not to. I think he will only improve with time.

Projection – 4th line-scratch Grinder

I would…keep him around for camp and see where the chips fall.


Mike Fisher – When the Preds traded for Fisher I knew it would be a good fit. Hard nosed and can make things happen offensively. He is one of the best defensive centers in the league and is strong on the dot. He isn’t a true 1st line center but defensively I trust him against anyone. Hopefully he can stay healthy.

Projection – 2nd line Two-way Forward

I would…probably play him one more season on our so called top line. There isn’t going to be a #1 center out there right now so the draft is our only hope. Whoever we draft won’t be ready for that role right away.


Filip Forsberg – From what little I have seen of him he needs some work still. His creativity with the puck and passing seems very strong along with his wrist shot. Defensively he is lost and that has to improve to make the team next season.

Projection – 1st-2nd line Sniper

I would...give him every opportunity to make the team next season in camp.


Paul Gaustad – He plays hard when he can play. He wins face-offs when you need him to. He can kill penalties well enough. Problem is he doesn't skate all that well and isn’t going to contribute offensively.

Projection – 4th line specialist

I would…use an exemption buy-out on him and drop the contract. You can’t trade him because of the contract and the value for the money simply isn’t there.


Matt Halischuk – Oh the ups and downs he has had this year. When he works hard and is engaged he can be a decent enough NHL player. He has improved his lane play a lot and needs to add a little bit to his offensive bag of tricks. Every player on the ice knows what he will do when he is behind the net.

Projection – 4th line Grinder

I would…keep him around and give him a shot to make the team next season in camp.


Patric Hornqvist – He plays hard on every shift and gives his all on both ends of the ice. Great net front presence and needs to be paired with skilled puck handlers to really shine.

Projection – 1st-2nd line Sniper

I would…sign him to a 5+ year contract to lock down a top 6 forward long term.


Sergei Kostitsyn – he plays a decent two-way game for the most part. At times gets lost on the ice. Isn’t hard enough on the boards or the puck for my liking and looks to pass far too often.

Projection- 2nd-3rd line Playmaker I guess?

I would…Trade him. He isn’t worth the 3 a year he is getting and we might be able to get something for him still.


David Legwand – When he plays using his speed he can be very good. The problem is he doesn’t do that enough. Still a skilled forward that is a strong player when paired with the right wingers.

Projection – 2nd-3rd Playmaker

I would…Keep him around as we would not get enough return for what we would lose. If we draft a top notch center I would hope to play him on the third line where I think he would fare better at this stage of his career.


Craig Smith – He shows flashes of being a strong player but disappears far too often. Has potential still and needs confidence to take the next step. Ever since he shot the puck far over an empty net with a puck that would have gone in if he didn’t touch it he has been a different player. If he can get back to the way he played at the start of last season when he was in the running for the Calder cup we may have a stud on our hands.

Projection – 2nd-4th line Playmaker

I would…give him more time. It really sucks that we can’t send him to the AHL without passing through waivers but like we did with Wilson, he just needs more time to see how he pans out.


Nick Spaling – He seems to be using his size a bit more lately and that is great to see. I can see him improving more and more. He has a very nice wrist shot and needs to put himself in better positions to use it. He doesn’t have the speed like you want to have at center but he is smart with his positioning. One of our better PKers and plays hard on every shift.

Projection – 3rd-4th line Two-way forward

I would…get him signed to a 3+ year contract and if he can improve on his face-offs he can step into Gaustads role.


Colin Wilson – If only he didn’t get injured. He isn’t flashing anymore. He is showing why we drafted him as a top 10 pick. His puck handling/shot/board play are all improving and he can be a top line winger for a long time. I do not see him at center personally and I think he is best suited as a left winger.

Projection – 1st-2nd line Power Forward

I would…slate him as a top 6 forward and keep him there for good. As he gains confidence and plays with our best players he will only improve.


Brandon Yip – He plays hard and can handle the puck better than most think. He isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty and plays hard. He doesn’t have the skill to be in the top 6 by any means but would be a strong player to be slated as a 4th liner/depth forward.

Projection – 4th-depth line grinder

I would…sign him for another year and see how hard he works in camp. Every good team needs solid depth and Yip can provide that.


Austin Watson – He needs another year at the AHL level and we have enough players like him on the main roster as it is.

Projection – 2nd-4th line Two-way forward

I would…have him in camp to compete but let him know beforehand that he will be in the AHL another year. The experience of being at camp will help him but he isn’t ready for the big show just yet.


Defensemen

Victor Bartley – He has played well this year and seems to be improving as he goes. He has been strong defensively since the start but his offense has improved as he has gained confidence. He uses his size well and is getting better and better at positioning. His skating has impressed me as he has shadowed some of the better players in the NHL. If he continues like he has been he can be the answer to us having to move Josi up.

Projection – 2nd-3rd line Two-way D

I would…Pencil him into the 2nd pairing and see how things go in camp. Hopefully he leaves no dought in our mind at that point and we can move on.


Jonathon Blum – Inconsistent is the best word for Blum. If he can ever gain consistency in his play he can be a solid NHL d-man for a long time. Many have compared his progress to Klein and I agree. He will never be a physical d-man but his ability to get pucks through traffic on net is uncanny at times. Once he sures up his play in the defensive zone he will be fine.

Projection – 3rd line Offensive D

I would…Sign him to a 2-3 year 2-way contract and see how he continues to develop. He may be on the same path of development as Klein was but he isn’t the same type of player. Diversity is a good thing.


Ryan Ellis – As much as I like the human rocket he simply may not have the size and strength to play in the NHL. There are defensemen in the NHL at his size but they are better at avoiding hits and positioning than Ellis is right now. I think he needs more time to work on those things before we know what we really have. As a point man on the power play he is great but you can’t dress a player for that alone.

Projection – 2nd-3rd Offensive D

I would…consider seeing if he can make the move to forward or trade him. The Preds can get good value for him at this point and I am not sure there is a spot for him on this roster at this point or in the future.


Mattias Ekholm – From what we saw of him last season and this season I can see him being a viable d-man in the NHL. His size is good to see and he uses it well. We haven’t seen much offensively but I think he is more in the mold of a defensive D than anything. We could see him on the main roster next season depending on what happens with Big Hal.

Projection – 2nd-3rd line Defensive D

I would...bring him into camp and look at him being a possible 3rd line d-man.


Hal Gill – Big Hal has his negatives and positives for sure. I think at this point of his career he is best suited to be a depth d-man at best and I think he has been a good influence in the locker room.

Projection – depth Defensive D

I would…see if he retires and if he doesn’t then keep him around as depth for one more season.


Roman Josi – A lot has been put on Josi’s shoulders at a very young age. Most Defensemen in the NHL do not really hit their full potential between ages 25-27. While he hasn’t been perfect he has played very well while being thrusted into the top paring role playing alongside one of if not the best defensemen in the NHL. The fact that he is so young still makes me wonder how good he can become. If he only improves a little at this point I still think we have found a solid pairing for Weber for years to come. If he improves a lot then we will have that very top end #1 pairing yet again.

Projected – 1st line Two-way D

I would...do one of two things here. Either sign him to a 4 year contract and gamble that he isn’t going to be a superstar at the age of 26 or sign him now to a 6-8 year deal and pay a bit more locking him up longer term. I personally like the idea of locking him up long term as I see a chance at him being a superstar.


Kevin Klein – A solid season again for him and I am happy the Preds locked him up for a good while. He isn’t perfect but he is a very solid 2nd line defensemen that many other teams would love to have.

Projection – 2nd line defensive D

I would…be happy he is signed and slate him into that second pairing and enjoy that I have one less thing to worry about.


Shea Weber – Best player on our team that every team out there would give just about anything to have. The loss of Suter this season showed early on while Weber learned to play with someone new it things have started to settle in after about 10 games or so. After that he has been the same Shea we have come to love.

Projection – 1st line Two-way D

I would… be happy he is signed and slate him into that first pairing and enjoy that I have one less thing to worry about.


I am not doing the goalies as I think we all know how good Rinne is and while a back-up is important, it has far less impact on our team because of the number of games Rinne plays.

If you read through all of this you would notice a theme. Just like Trotz said we have too many of the same type of players. I think some moves will be made in the offseason to remedy some of this but do not expect them to go after all the top UFA’s. That isn’t going to happen and it probably wouldn’t help with what is available anyways.

What we really need the most is a top 3 pick to guarantee getting one of the top 4 players. Hopefully Mack or Barkov as we need a top line center more than anything. Roy will be a UFA and while that would help our team he isn’t a top line center. He is more along the lines of another Fisher that is a little stronger offensively and a little weaker defensively. The best way to get what we really need is to finish out this season with 3 losses and I truly hope things work out that way. Lindholm will more than likely be a very good 2nd line center down the road but I am not sold on him being a top like center ever. Monohan is too much like what we already have so drafting him would go against what we have said we mean to change. The Russian as good as he may end up being is a risk that I do not see Poile taking because there is a chance he stays over in Russia. Even if that chance is small there is still that chance.

With all that said this is what the lines for next season could look like.

Wilson/Fisher/Hornqvist
Bourque/Mack or Barkov/Forsberg
SK or UFA/Legwand/Beck
Butler or Halischuk/Spaling/Clune or Yip


Players that could work on the second like or the third line to replace the whole left by SK would be Victor Stalberg, Mason Raymond, Ryane Clowe, Clarke Macarthur, Valteri Filppula, or Bryan Bickell.

Landing just about any of these players would allow us to move Bourque to the 3rd line with Legwand and Beck. That line would produce well in that role I think.

As for the Defensemen I see it like this.

Josi/Weber
Bartley/Klein
Ekholm/Blum


As for a UFA that we could pick up to help out here I can see maybe Andrew Ference, Ryan Whitney, or Grant Clitsome could move Bartley down to the 3rd pairing and allow Ekholm more time to develop if needed.

So that is how I see the team right now and what I would do this offseason. I hate rooting for loses for our team but the difference between us winning and losing could be astronomical at this point. 0-3-0 gives us a very good chance at the second pick while only one overtime loss could drop us down 3 spots. One regulation win and I fear we would be picking 6th or worse. With the lottery including all 14 teams the odds of getting bumped down a pick are much higher than past years so the I see us needing to finish in the bottom 3 in order to ensure we can pick up a player that should help guide us into some winning seasons and a possible cup bid. I hope we play well but I hope we find a way to finish this season with 39 points as we have now.


Last edited by Persona5: 04-23-2013 at 02:44 PM.
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