D. Sedin - H. Sedin - A. Burrows
M. Raymond - R. Kesler - M. Samuelsson
R. Torres - M. Malholtra - Higgins
T. Glass - Laprierre - Hansen
A. Edler - Bieksa
D. Hamhuis - C. Ehrhoff
S. Salo - K. Ballard
Pls excuse the defensive pairings. IDK WTF which way they're going to go.
While this is my ideal line-up, I think Hansen is a bit wasted on the fourth line. I guess it keeps him fresh for the PK, but I guess it'll come down to who puts out the most effort between, Raymond, Higgins, Hansen, etc.
I dunno what we're going to do with our bottom-six; I guess it'll be randomly based on who AV has a man-crush on. I think the third line is pretty stable; Higgins will most likely start on the 4th, but he's a Raymond screw-up away from being tried with Kesler.
I personally would like to see Higgins tried out on the 3rd line with Malhotra and Hansen. This line would actually have an identity and could be used as a solid shutdown line, since Higgins is more defensively responsible than Torres.
I think pushing Torres down to the 4th making him fight for his ice time would bring out the more physical player we only sometimes see. A 4th line of Torres - Lapierre - Glass would be a more traditional crash bang physical type of bottom line, and Torres would still keep it an outside scoring threat.
If you are up in the 3rd you might see Higgins replace Sammy on Kesler's wing. You also might see Edler-Salo instead of Edler-Ehrhoff. Burrows and Sammy may switch with the Sedins based on the match up. Raymond and Higgins may switch on Kesler's LW depending on who's playing better. Torres/Higgens may switch between 3rd/4th line roles. Only things that seem fairly certain to me is Hamhuis-Bieksa, Sedins, Kes as 2nd Centre, Manny+Hansen on the 3rd line, and Glass+Lappy on the fourth line.
I think the key will be to see how Raymond performs between now and when Higgins returns from injury. If Raymond still has not stepped up, I'd like to this as the forward unit:
D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Burrows
Higgins - Kesler - Samuelsson
Torres - Malhotra - Hansen
Raymond - Lapierre - Glass
As for the D, I don't really care how the pairings look until the playoffs when everyone will presumably be healthy. At that point, I'd like to see:
Edler - Ehrhoff
Hamhuis - Bieksa
Ballard - Salo
The top two pairings are proven pairings that worked before all the injuries. It makes sense to keep them together. Ballard - Salo would be good as a third pairing because it means Salo's minutes are kept down. We all know how injury prone Salo is and with the new depth on the blueline he's FINALLY in a position where he doesn't have to play big minutes. Hopefully this will result in him staying healthy.
I could see Higgins doing nothing for us. I'm not too hyped on this guy. He hasn't shown any signs of being the player he once was years ago for Montreal. I wouldn't be surprised if he played his way into the pressbox when it's all said and done.
I really like Torres Lapierre Glass as a 4th line. They could provide some nice energy and smash the hell out of people and change the tune of a game.
Do you guys really think a guy like Higgins can be the answer to our 2nd line LW? I don't like it. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see him being a prolific offensive guy ever again.
Well that's really up to Chris Higgins I suppose; he hasn't exactly played on offensively prolific rosters the last few years, and teams have seemed to bring him in as a concrete top-six player.
I think what you've got here is a similar player to Torres; though where Torres brings the physical edge, Higgins is a capable PK-type who is defensively responsible. They're both streaky ex-20 goal wingers though, and probably more suited to third line ice-time. That being said, if Higgins can produce he'll easily find his way into our top-six.