Blah blah....it's really tough to compare Stalberg and Kruger. The one thing I will say is that Stalberg's on-ice Corsi is 2nd only to Toews on this year's team.
It doesn't make sense at all that Kruger gets more PP time than VS, though. Kruger has been a decent player, don't get me wrong. He hasn't looked out of place in the NHL, but he hasn't shown anything to say that he should be playing the PP.
I'm not going to argue whether or not Kruger deserves PP time.. but Stalberg isn't going to do anything on the PP. He's not a "net presence" kind of player and his only asset is his speed, which is essentially useless on a PP. Sure, it's great if he can chase down a dump-in, but there goes the extent of his usefullness on the PP. He doesn't have an outstanding shot, either in accuracy or velocity and he's not a good playmaker.
doesn't change the fact that Stalberg does not produce against teams that are not the worst in the NHL with the worst starter in the NHL
He produces about as much as you would want from a sub million dollar player playing on the fourth line and brings the sort of energy you want to see on that fourth line.
Unfortunately he keeps getting put on the first line. He does not belong in the top six (and his poor defensive play eliminates the third line). His production over his entire career, and especially in the last nineteen games where a creative and productive forward was most needed, solidly establishes that he doesn't create anything offensively himself and instead what production he has is simply derivative of his linemates. It's not exactly a revelation to see that Toews makes the players around him that much better and its not restricted to just Stalberg, several other players benefitted from it and at least two, Brouwer and Byfuglien, got paydays far beyond their actual skill because of it.
The Hawks February tailspin (the later part of it at least, who really knows how long Toews was playing with that concussion, he was not very good during the road trip) could have been mitigated by having the forward depth to offset the injury, and then loss, of Toews, by having players that can create offense, not just pot the occasional goal everyone else created. Unfortunately the Hawks only have three guys who do this, Kane, Hossa, and Sharp (maybe Bolland if he was ever completely healthy). That's why Stalberg is a weakness as a core player.
I would like to see Stalberg come back next year, but only as a fourth liner. I am hoping very much that Saad comes in and plays that spot next year.
The Hawks failures are largely because this team got too cute and fell in love with it's self instead of playing, smart simple hockey and the coaches and players are both to blame.
Too often this team would try to make the amazing play or make one to many moves and it cost them. Getting to cute with passes and shots, trying to hard to make the great play, worrying about goals. Look at the recent PP success, it's amazing what a simple shot on goal with some net presence produces. Plus when players simply clear the zone and get in shooting lanes instead of going for home run passes and early breakaway attempts.
The last few games and especially today they went back to simple smart hockey and it's working out. Plus today it was nice to see some passion and aggression in this team. No you don't have to become goons but this is hockey and you have to man up from time to time and get some blood pouring out. Protect your net, finally the Hawks weren't letting the opposition sell girl scout cookies in their crease.
Most of this is the exact opposite of the truth. The recent power play success has been mostly due to Patrick Kane deciding that he's going to dance around the offensive zone and that nobody is going to be able to stop him.
"Simply clearing the zone" is the antithesis of what this team is about, they need to make passes and catch the forwards in stride, the skilled forwards need to dictate the pace of the game and make the impossible passes sometimes.
This is a highly-skilled team full of all-stars, they need to play like it. Last, and most importantly, the goaltenders need to keep the the ****ing puck out of the ****ing net.