We have a heart and soul team, it was great to see that this play-offs. I would be a bit concerned if I was a Tampa Bay fan since they never really raised their play at all in the series and were getting manhandled ever since period 2 of the second game. I'm a firm beliver that heart is more important than skill - lets hope that we will soon have both! With that, my first look ahead at '05...
I really think that BG showed us how important having another #1 winger is. I pray Kovalev is resigned, but I think that, failing that, someone like Selanne will be brought in. Without that we only have 4 top line forwards (barely in the case of Ribeiro). It is more than likely that by the time the lockout is done either Perez or Kastsytsin will be in the line up. I highly doubt both will be ready to make an impact, and we can't rely on that. Atleast we'll have a replacement for the rotating 2nd. line RW Dagenais spot! On the checking lines we saw the great value of depth and experience this year. Dowd, Juneau, Langdon and Dackell will all be gone though. I really hope BG finds another Dowd for us, that is an absolute neccesity in my opinion. As for the defence, I really feel like we're in trouble. Brisebois, Rivet, Bouillon are good in spurts, but with them we really aren't going to go anywhere further than we have this year. Hainsey (or someone we could get in trade for Hainsey) must be ready to play a part. Then we have Theo...god willing, he will be gone, but I don't think that will be the case. Still, when I post my lineup here, I will go on the hope that we managed to bolster our defence by getting rid of him (lets just say Theo + Hossa for Lalime + Volchenkov and prospects just for fun). So, here you go, something to put a smile on your face!...
(Quintal will definitely be gone, Brisebois might still be in this list)
Kovalev/Selanne - Koivu - Zednik
Perezoghin/Kastsytsin - Ribeiro - Ryder
Ward - ("Dowdesque" veteran from somewhere) - Bulis
Sundstrom - Higgins - Begin
(Perezoghin/Kastsytsin - which ever one doesn't make the grade)
(Langdon - or some other equivalent goon)
(am I forgetting anyone???)
Looks good, and fairly realistic in my opinion. How about lets just say right now that next year we WON'T have a lineup where all 10 of our top prospects are in the NHL! I just wanted to say that so I don't have to read 100 projected lineups with Kast/Higgin/Perez as our number line throughout the summer!