I would rather the Caps went with one potent PP unit that stays out there around 1:15 then two units. Hanlon stated that the teams with the best PP performance are the teams with two good units. I do not know if that is true but the problem with that logic is maybe those two or three teams have the best PP because they are able to put out two top-notch PP lines. For Hanlon to say we want to be like that requires that the Caps can ice two top-notch units and I don't see it based on the Caps' roster. The problems I see with two Caps PP units rather than one:
(1) Faceoffs. One of the keys to PP success is puck possession, particularly in the offensive zone, and a key to that is having a center with a good faceoff success rate. The Caps second unit is fine with Nylander but Kozlov is not a good faceoff man, so the AO unit will likely spend half their minute chasing down the puck in their zone because Kozlov lost the draw. Moreover, to the extent Kozlov wins some draws, he probably won't win many cleanly the way Oates use to. A good faceoff center like Oates probably picked up ten assists a year simply because he not only won the draw but drew it back flat and perfect to a point man or to a winger at the hashmarks who then scored with a one-timer. This will be a rare event with Kozlov centering the first PP unit.
(2) Entering the zone successfully. Maybe I was just expecting too much on Tuesday night but after the Tarik comments on the better PP, I was disappointed at the Caps' PP units, and the No. 1 reason was their inability to enter the zone successfully on many an occasion. They seemed to have a lot of PPs but my sense was their time in the zone on each in possession and setup was low because they couldn't get in the zone cleanly. The more you dilute the PP - by spreading the talent on two lines - the less skill and creativity each unit has to enable a clean entry into the zone. Once again most of my concern in this regard is with AO's unit. I like Clark, but when two of your three forwards are Clark and Kozlov, I foresee a lot of trouble entering the zone. In addition, neither unit will have a top-notch pair of point men. Poti is fine as a puck-moving point man and Semin is also very good. And Green shows promise. But Pothier, who almost surely will be on one of the units, is not very good at zone entry.
(3) Spreading out the PK unit. Another key to a good PP is making the PK unit have to spread out. In order to do that, the PK has to be worried about both the forwards down low and the point men. With one top unit, the Caps could achieve this fear. However, with two diluted units, it is unlikely. Pothier is again an example. With two units, he will almost surely be one of the point men on one of the units. Pothier at the point does not scare the PK so when he is one the ice, the PK can be more down low aggressively forcing the forwards to cough up the puck.
Top Unit - Plays 1:15 of PP at least
AO - Nylander - AS
Poti - Green/Pothier (if Green is not with team)
This unit should excel at puck possession - ie., winning faceoffs, playing keep away - setting up tic-tac-toe plays and breaking down the PK with passes through the PK box, and one timers by the wings
Second Unit - Plays remainder of PP
Boomer - Jurcina
This unit should excel at simply having the point men bomb away from the point and two of the three forwards crashing the net for rebounds. Flash adds the element of creativity down low and would be the conductor to do short down-low passes in and around the crease to Kozlov or Clark, although this will generally not be a finesse PP. If Backstrom develops quickly during the season, ultimately he might assume the playmaker center role and Kozlov would rotate with Clark at RW.
The faceoff comment is a great point. Having Kozlov on the PP as a center basically knocks at least 10-15 seconds off the PP time, as that is the time it will take to go get the puck after the other team wins the draw and dumps it down the ice.