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Where does Bouchard fit in this line-up?

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07-02-2010, 10:27 AM
  #1
nickschultzfan
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Where does Bouchard fit in this line-up?

Assuming no major roster changes, where do you put Bouchard? Center or RW?

Centers: Koivu, Cullen, Brodziak. RW: Havlat, Kobasew, Miettinen. LW: Bruno, Lats, Clutterbuck, Nystrom. 4th line Fill-ins: Shep, Staubitz, and somebody else.

First, Bouchard is terrible with Bruno and Koivu. That's been tried before, and the results are bad. No offensive at all. Nobody wants to shoot. Miettinen, sadly, is more effective on that line. Or even Kobasew.

Second, Cullen seems to be slotted as Lats and Havlat's center. Fletcher was pretty clear on this. That kind of means our top-6 is set:

Bruno-Koivu-Miettinen
Lats-Cullen-Havlat

So, that means Bouchard gets pushed to the "3rd" line. Ignore whether this is a checking line for a second (because Richard could use either of the top 2 lines as the actual checking line). The options I see are:

Kobasew-Brodziak-Bouchard
or
Clutterbuck-Bouchard-Kobasew

Thoughts?

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07-02-2010, 10:32 AM
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I'd put him at RW. I don't think he's strong enough to play center, especially at faceoffs, but his skill set is suited to the position.

My guess on lines would be:

Bruno - Koivu - Miettinen
Lats - Cullen - Havlat
Kobasew - Sheppard/Wellman - Bouchard
Clutterbuck - Brodziak - Nystrom

Russo had Miettinen and Bouchard switched, but I think Miettinen plays on that line. I do think Bouchard could be a top line RW, it's just Miettinen always plays with Koivu.

Russo also had Brodziak on the third line center, but I don't think he's suited for that role. I think the Clutterbuck-Brodziak-Nystrom line would be a complete pain in the ass for any team to play against.

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07-02-2010, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
Assuming no major roster changes, where do you put Bouchard? Center or RW?

Centers: Koivu, Cullen, Brodziak. RW: Havlat, Kobasew, Miettinen. LW: Bruno, Lats, Clutterbuck, Nystrom. 4th line Fill-ins: Shep, Staubitz, and somebody else.

First, Bouchard is terrible with Bruno and Koivu. That's been tried before, and the results are bad. No offensive at all. Nobody wants to shoot. Miettinen, sadly, is more effective on that line. Or even Kobasew.

Second, Cullen seems to be slotted as Lats and Havlat's center. Fletcher was pretty clear on this. That kind of means our top-6 is set:

Bruno-Koivu-Miettinen
Lats-Cullen-Havlat

So, that means Bouchard gets pushed to the "3rd" line. Ignore whether this is a checking line for a second (because Richard could use either of the top 2 lines as the actual checking line). The options I see are:

Kobasew-Brodziak-Bouchard
or
Clutterbuck-Bouchard-Kobasew

Thoughts?
Both of those are viable options, depending on whether he can perform competently as a center. I am hoping for the first choice, with him on the wing.

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07-02-2010, 10:35 AM
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i'd get miettinen the hell off the first line.

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07-02-2010, 10:44 AM
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Sadly I don't think Miettinen is going anywhere other than on Koivu's line. Koivu likes playing with him and he does actually shoot. This means Bouchard is on the third line and I think he fits better as a RW than a C.

So I guess Kobasew-Brodziak-Bouchard with Kobasew being the finisher and Brodziak being the defensively responsible one on that line.

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07-02-2010, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
I'd put him at RW. I don't think he's strong enough to play center, especially at faceoffs, but his skill set is suited to the position.

My guess on lines would be:

Bruno - Koivu - Miettinen
Lats - Cullen - Havlat
Kobasew - Sheppard/Wellman - Bouchard
Clutterbuck - Brodziak - Nystrom

Russo had Miettinen and Bouchard switched, but I think Miettinen plays on that line. I do think Bouchard could be a top line RW, it's just Miettinen always plays with Koivu.

Russo also had Brodziak on the third line center, but I don't think he's suited for that role. I think the Clutterbuck-Brodziak-Nystrom line would be a complete pain in the ass for any team to play against.

I'm liking this. Brodziak wants his traditional role back and he gets two amazing linemate to do it.

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07-02-2010, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
I'd put him at RW. I don't think he's strong enough to play center, especially at faceoffs, but his skill set is suited to the position.

My guess on lines would be:

Bruno - Koivu - Miettinen
Lats - Cullen - Havlat
Kobasew - Sheppard/Wellman - Bouchard
Clutterbuck - Brodziak - Nystrom

Russo had Miettinen and Bouchard switched, but I think Miettinen plays on that line. I do think Bouchard could be a top line RW, it's just Miettinen always plays with Koivu.

Russo also had Brodziak on the third line center, but I don't think he's suited for that role. I think the Clutterbuck-Brodziak-Nystrom line would be a complete pain in the ass for any team to play against.
One intriguing possibility that I missed before is if Wellman shows he belongs in the NHL (beating out Sheppard). Obviously, I'd rather have him playing top-line minutes in the AHL and not 4th line minutes in the NHL. However, slotting him on the 3rd line between Kobasew (a solid forechecker with 20 goal ability) and Bouchard (who has shown himself to be a dynamic playmaker) could work out just fine.

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07-02-2010, 10:53 AM
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My assumption is, unless Sheppard is completely horrible in camp, Shep starts the year in that spot, "last chance", and Wellman is our top line center in Houston, and told he has a really good shot to be the first callup. Both guys are going to work as hard as possible to try and keep/win that spot.

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07-02-2010, 10:54 AM
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I agree mittens buddy status with Koivu cements him there, but it's dangerous when you let someone dictate who he will and won't play with.

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07-02-2010, 10:54 AM
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I don't think it's for certain that Bouchard is even ready to play at the start of the season. I think it's very reasonable to say he likely won't be available until about a month or two into the year. With that said, I think I'd roll lines similar to this:

Brunette Koivu Miettinen
Latendresse Cullen Havlat
Kobasew Brodziak Bouchard
Clutterbuck Sheppard Nystrom
Staubitz - -

This is all discounting injuries that are going to happen. They'll find room for Bouchard and they'll take their time with him. I doubt they're just going throw him to the wolves and play a normal shift coming off the severity of his concussion.

Also, Mikko's line will probably continue to be the "checking line." If any line on this team is going to see the most time against the opposing top line, it'll be that one. They can play strong enough defensively and still contribute offense. That's a good thing to have. It also means the Cullen line and to the lesser extent, the "3rd line" is going to need to show up on the score sheet on a some what regular basis if this team is going to be effective.

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07-02-2010, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by this providence View Post
Also, Mikko's line will probably continue to be the "checking line." If any line on this team is going to see the most time against the opposing top line, it'll be that one. They can play strong enough defensively and still contribute offense. That's a good thing to have. It also means the Cullen line and to the lesser extent, the "3rd line" is going to need to show up on the score sheet on a some what regular basis if this team is going to be effective.
I was going to say something to this effect. I'm hoping that the Koivu line can at least be a 'break even' line against the top lines of other teams. If they do end ip against the other top lines it will probably mean that the Cullen line that we all anticipate will be the top scoring line. They'll probably have to play against top defensive units but I think they can handle it.

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07-02-2010, 11:48 AM
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It looks like our bottom 6 is actually rather solid. Nystrom is a little bit overpaid, but as evidence by some of the Calgary fans coming in and saying he gives it all he's got every shift, that's a good thing to have. I know that Miettinen is pretty much a lock to start at Koivu's wing, but I wouldn't mind seeing Kobasew or Bouchard being tried there. Bouchard doesn't shoot enough, but it could work out if he did shoot more. Who knows with Bouchard though, he is just starting light workouts, so we should know more by training camp.

Bouchard is pretty expensive to be on our "3rd line," but by all accounts we should be able to roll 4 lines without much of a problem. That's a good thing. There's a lot of "what ifs" that we'll have to go through this season, but if the team plays well, we could definitely sniff the playoffs. The biggest thing to me is how Todd Richards handles the team this year.

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07-02-2010, 12:25 PM
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Hopefully not in the pressbox.

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07-02-2010, 12:39 PM
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He fits on the 3rd/4th line at RW. Sheppard's competition is Cody Almond, unless they decide they want to play someone out of position at center. Nystrom - Brodziak - Clutterbuck is a nice checking line, so that would leave Kobasew - Sheppard - Bouchard. Staubitz as the 13th, leave the 14th spot open in case we decide to give one of the AHLers a look, or sign someone to a 2-way.

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07-02-2010, 01:22 PM
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I don't agree with this belief that "Miettinen automically plays with Koivu because Koivu says so." You play when and where the coach tells you to play. I imagine he will play with Koivu but not all of the time. Just like last year. I can only hope the coaches are able to recognize what is working and what isn't and adapt accordingly. Hopefully it is Richards and not his players who is in charge, or it's going to be another ugly season (of course it may be anyway).

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07-02-2010, 01:23 PM
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Sheppard...

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07-02-2010, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallshot View Post
I don't agree with this belief that "Miettinen automically plays with Koivu because Koivu says so." You play when and where the coach tells you to play. I imagine he will play with Koivu but not all of the time. Just like last year. I can only hope the coaches are able to recognize what is working and what isn't and adapt accordingly. Hopefully it is Richards and not his players who is in charge, or it's going to be another ugly season (of course it may be anyway).
Welcome!

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07-02-2010, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Wallshot View Post
I don't agree with this belief that "Miettinen automically plays with Koivu because Koivu says so." You play when and where the coach tells you to play. I imagine he will play with Koivu but not all of the time. Just like last year. I can only hope the coaches are able to recognize what is working and what isn't and adapt accordingly. Hopefully it is Richards and not his players who is in charge, or it's going to be another ugly season (of course it may be anyway).
Look at our team. Now tell me where we can swap Antti Miettinen and another player to see our team become better? Miettinen makes the Koivu line an ideal match-up line as he is an excellent defensive forward. He scored 20 goals last year, not the greatest production, but could Kobasew score 30 there? No. Could Latendresse? Maybe, but then how do we get Havlat going, as he was going nowhere before Gui showed up(injuries may have played a role, but really there isn't a fit). We saw how Havlat played with Koivu-Bruno, and it wasn't pretty. Bouchard would put tons more pressure on Koivu to both score and play defensively, as Bouchard does not shoot or play defense. All I got left are the grinders(Nystrom and Clutterbuck) who are likely to play together on our checking line(which would probably get more TOI than our 3rd scoring line).

Yes, Richards will change things up in games, and injuries will happen. But as of right now its very hard for me to see Antti not playing with Brunette and Koivu.

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07-02-2010, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by saywut View Post
Look at our team. Now tell me where we can swap Antti Miettinen and another player to see our team become better? Miettinen makes the Koivu line an ideal match-up line as he is an excellent defensive forward. He scored 20 goals last year, not the greatest production, but could Kobasew score 30 there? No. Could Latendresse? Maybe, but then how do we get Havlat going, as he was going nowhere before Gui showed up(injuries may have played a role, but really there isn't a fit). We saw how Havlat played with Koivu-Bruno, and it wasn't pretty. Bouchard would put tons more pressure on Koivu to both score and play defensively, as Bouchard does not shoot or play defense. All I got left are the grinders(Nystrom and Clutterbuck) who are likely to play together on our checking line(which would probably get more TOI than our 3rd scoring line).

Yes, Richards will change things up in games and injuries will happen. But as of right now its very hard for me to see Antti not playing with Brunette and Koivu.
I guess I wasn't really arguing the likelihood of Miettinen playing on that line, more at the reasoning some people had for it. If Bouchard comes back and starts playing at 100%, wouldn't you give him a chance in that position? There is no question that Bouchard has top-6 talent, but I'm certainly not convinced Miettinen does. Ultimately, I'm sure we all want to see a scorer in that position and of course we lack one so in that regard there is no perfect fit right now. So perhaps Miettinen is the best we can do for now.

One thing I would like to see change though is Miettinen was 2nd among all Wild forwards in total TOI and per game. I'm convinced you need more offensive production from someone playing that kind of time.

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07-02-2010, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallshot View Post
I guess I wasn't really arguing the likelihood of Miettinen playing on that line, more at the reasoning some people had for it. If Bouchard comes back and starts playing at 100%, wouldn't you give him a chance in that position? There is no question that Bouchard has top-6 talent, but I'm certainly not convinced Miettinen does. Ultimately, I'm sure we all want to see a scorer in that position and of course we lack one so in that regard there is no perfect fit right now. So perhaps Miettinen is the best we can do for now.

One thing I would like to see change though is Miettinen was 2nd among all Wild forwards in total TOI and per game. I'm convinced you need more offensive production from someone playing that kind of time.
Because Bouchard is really quite terrible with Brunette and Koivu. Remember, they actually played like 20 games together two seasons ago. Koivu and Bruno take the puck down-low and Bouchard refuses to go to the front of the net. He stands in the corner. At least Miettinen tries to give them a target.

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07-02-2010, 02:28 PM
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The 2011 lineup is going to be even more interesting.

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07-02-2010, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Wallshot View Post
I guess I wasn't really arguing the likelihood of Miettinen playing on that line, more at the reasoning some people had for it. If Bouchard comes back and starts playing at 100%, wouldn't you give him a chance in that position? There is no question that Bouchard has top-6 talent, but I'm certainly not convinced Miettinen does. Ultimately, I'm sure we all want to see a scorer in that position and of course we lack one so in that regard there is no perfect fit right now. So perhaps Miettinen is the best we can do for now.

One thing I would like to see change though is Miettinen was 2nd among all Wild forwards in total TOI and per game. I'm convinced you need more offensive production from someone playing that kind of time.
We do seem to have a more balanced team so his TOI should drop, but if he still gets PP time he will likely remain near the top in TOI as he'll be #2 in PK TOI and near the top ES TOI. Hard to argue that he shouldn't see alot of time on the PK and ES, as he and Koivu make a good match-up line.

And like above poster said, Bouchard doesn't really fit with Brunette and Koivu. Yeah, he might fit with Mikko if Brunette retires, but Granlund could also be the guy to get that spot(now here I go talking about 2011 again...).

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07-02-2010, 03:18 PM
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Personally, I see no problem having Bouchard (as his salary) on the 3rd line as long as it makes our team more offensively balanced.

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07-02-2010, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
Because Bouchard is really quite terrible with Brunette and Koivu. Remember, they actually played like 20 games together two seasons ago. Koivu and Bruno take the puck down-low and Bouchard refuses to go to the front of the net. He stands in the corner. At least Miettinen tries to give them a target.
That's a good point. I don't remember them together all that well, but I could see how that could be an issue. Putting him on the 3rd line doesn't seem to be the best way to use his skills either. I suppose he will remain an enigma until he is able to get healthy and productive again. We haven't had an opportunity to see him in Richards system perhaps he will flourish and perhaps he will flounder. All we can do is hope he does the former so that he can either become an important piece to the offense or become a valuable asset to trade.

Either way, should be interesting to see how this unfolds.


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07-02-2010, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
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I don't agree with this belief that "Miettinen automically plays with Koivu because Koivu says so." You play when and where the coach tells you to play. I imagine he will play with Koivu but not all of the time. Just like last year. I can only hope the coaches are able to recognize what is working and what isn't and adapt accordingly. Hopefully it is Richards and not his players who is in charge, or it's going to be another ugly season (of course it may be anyway).
Except Richards bows to the players who were there before him. Its the only reason Mittens never left Koivu's side to begin with.

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