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02-28-2007, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Originally Posted by
I hate to be the only negative voice here, but I believe there needs to be some balance. In terms of size and age, they don't mean a lot if the player just isn't very good. Take for instance a guy like Hugh Jessiman...big guy, young...but hardly what you'd call a great prospect at this point.
So while Mara is indeed bigger than Ward, and is indeed younger than Ward...he is at the moment only just a different player with a different set of problems.
For instance...since becoming a pro, Mara has been traded three times now, all by teams that frankly needed players to step up (just as the Rangers do now). He played parts of three seasons with the Lightning, and never saw a playoff game...made just 5 playoff appearances with Phoenix over four years and is likely to miss the playoffs again this year.
Either he's very unlucky, or there are some questions about his offensive production and defensive prowess at even strength. While his -104 for his career doesn't tell a complete picture, it's not encouraging and certainly when you take into context he's only been a "plus" one time in his NHL career, and that in a short stint.
Ward was far from perfect either, but I see this as a lateral trade at this point. His additional $250K of salary probably won't make a huge difference, and he appears to miss around the same amount of games that Ward did from year to year.
His offense seems to be pretty spotty though it does appear to be an improvement over what the Rangers already have...his defense is a bit of an unknown, because for the most part I don't think we've watched him in that context.
As for what's coming up from Hartford, I think there's a handful of promising players down there at the moment, with a few more that might need some more work. I'm not that high on Korpikoski, and I think his offense will be the thing that holds him back...I'm expecting that we've got the next version on Niklas Sundstrom there. Ryan Callahan is a guy who's effort you have to love, but he's not what you'd a player who has above average offensive gifts...he works hard for his goals, but we'll see whether that translates to the NHL.
Dawes and Dubinsky have been guys I've been moderately disappointed with this year. I was hoping to see more offensive creativity from both...I think the demotion impacted Dawes, while Dubinsky I think is realizing how much more he needs to work...and perhaps might not be quick enough offensively (though hopefully that will come). Greg Moore's also been disappointing, particularly on the defensive side of the ice, though again hopefully that's just adjustment to the new league.
Ultimately it is difficult to judge the Hartford players individually because it really is a "team" vs a bunch of individuals. They play much better as a whole than you can expect from the individual parts, and they were handicapped early by being such a young team.
If I was to predict at the moment, I probably see one additional defenseman as becoming an NHL regular (Baranka) though I hold out hope for Liffiton. I think Montoya will make it as a goaltender, and I think the best forward is actually the newly acquired Bourret. Callahan, Dawes, Korpikoski, Dubinsky and Byers would be guys I hope push for jobs, with Callahan I think the closest to gaining a spot, followed by Dawes. Helminen's a bit of a wild card, but I'm not expecting him to be a regular at this stage.
Perhaps we should play Mara with Malik & that +/- will start to change! :-)
I don't think Helminen will make it with this club. I think you are right with Callahan but I think Korpikoski might crack the team! Hes looking very solid in Hartford.
When I first heard the Boston deal, I didn't want Mara but I had a sick feeling in my stomach that it was going to be him.
The Bourret trade took that sick feeling away. :-)
All the other NHL teams fans that are my friends all tell me the same thing. You just got Poti 2.0 with a bit more fire power.
I'll have to watch him for the rest of the season & in the playoffs and see for myself what i think of him because I honestly haven't watched any Boston games this season or Yotes games last year.
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