1st Forward Line (Steve Thomas(A)-Billy Taylor-Ray Sheppard)
I think everyone agrees that Stumpy Thomas is a highly desirable LW in this league. Billy Taylor is also a pretty good playmaking C. I'm not as keen on Sheppard but there's nothing wrong with him in this role. Well-balanced line, and it translates nicely to your first PP unit. The tough thing is getting consistent performances out of Taylor and Sheppard, who were very up-and-down in their careers.
2nd Forward Line (Cory Stillman-Erich Kuhnhackl-Cliff Koroll)
A very solid 2nd line, as long as you can sell Kuhnhackl. Much like I experienced with Kiessling, there's pretty much no viable way to translate German-league success into elite-league terms. He has some international success going for him, but doesn't have the Golden Stick voting that one would expect. Come playoff time, your opponents are probably going to go straight for him as a potential weak link in a critical part of the lineup. Otherwise, I like Stillman as a versatile and adaptable LW, Koroll a dependable two-way RW. How the board interprets Kuhnhackl means everything to this line.
3rd Forward Line (Andrew Brunette-Kelly Kisio (A)-Tony Granato)
Brunette and Granato always left me wanting more. Decent third-line wingers who will get their 20-30 goals a year like clockwork. Assuming they are played in a more defensive role, Brunette will be a defensive liability. Kisio and Granato are good defensive-line players.
4th Forward Line (Eric Vail-Alexei Guryshev-Martin Havlat)
I don't get Vail as a 4th liner. He was a one-way offensive guy who had discipline issues and didn't get along with his coaches, all of which shortened his career. Of all your LWs, he's the one I'd least expect to thrive on a 4th line. Havlat makes more sense as a two-way winger with some decent upside. I'll leave Guryshev to the guys who like to argue about the early-era Euros; my only contribution is that he's a good stylistic fit with these wingers. As a scoring line this is well balanced, but I'm really not sure Vail is going to skate 10 minutes a night and be happy about it. And that means your third line is the shutdown group? With Andrew Brunette matched up against opposing RWs? Not sure about that either.
Forward Spares (Frank Rankin and Dave Semenko)
Frank Rankin is a really solid spare goal-scoring rover. He will slot nicely into whatever forward spot comes open, provided goal scoring is his main responsibility. I'm not sure Semenko belongs in the MLD to be honest. Not a fan of dressing goons against elite competition. Unless you are up against another team with a goon on its active roster, I'm not sure why he would ever dress.
1st Defense Pairing (Jeff Brown-Joe Jerwa(C))
Brown is a good offensive specialist and PP guy. I like Jerwa as his partner stylistically, but didn't Jerwa have a really short career? That might be an issue for what is basically your #1 defenseman and captain. Just curious, why give him the C?
2nd Defense Pairing (John Van Boxmeer-Dave Lewis)
I like these two guys together. Van Boxmeer is one of those players whose reputation would have increased threefold if he had played in Toronto instead of Colorado.
3rd Defense Pairing (Bruce Driver-Billy Coutu)
This might be my favorite 3rd pair in the whole league You want someone dependable anchoring the bottom pair, and that's exactly what Bruce Driver is. His PP ability is a nice bonus too. Coutu brings a nasty element, but he is an obvious candidate for suspension issues.
Spares (Yuri Fedorov and Bob Turner)
Both are nice spares to have on hand. I assume Fedorov will be in line to replace Jerwa due to short-career issues, and Turner to replace Coutu when he is in jail or whatever. Both seem like the right guy for their role.
Goaltenders (Ryan Miller and Gerry McNeil)
I really like Ryan Miller as an MLD goalie. If he hadn't fallen off a bit the past couple of seasons he might be pushing ATD territory by now. McNeil is an adequate backup.
Power Play (Thomas-Taylor-Sheppard-Brown-Jerwa and Brunette-Kuhnhackl-Granato-Van Boxmeer-Driver)
I'd consider switching Jerwa and Driver, but your first unit overall is pretty good. If you're going to have Vail on the roster, you may as well try and work him into the PP where he adds a lot of value. Also, not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but you're almost forced to roll Brown-Jerwa out immediately after a failed PP due to the composition of the second unit.
Penalty Kill (Granato-Kisio-Jerwa-Driver and Koroll-Kuchnachl-Van Boxmeer-Lewis)
Love the first unit. In fact the defense on both units looks really good. How much do we know about Kuhnhackl's defensive game? He's the only possible weak link I see here.
Coach: Marc Crawford
Never been a fan of Crawford, even back when he was a hotshot with the Avs. He's prone to gaffes and a bit too full of his own Kool-Aid for my liking. But then again, I drafted Don Cherry, so who am I to talk?
There are elements of this roster that I really like. It's a very shrewd, savvy group of players. Lots of guys who know how to scratch and claw for a win. The defense is a group I wouldn't mind taking into a playoff series, and Miller is a very good goalie behind them. Kuhnhackl is a huge x-factor, because he's the only forward on the team playing top-6 minutes AND both specialty teams. That seems like a huge risk unless you can definitively prove that he belongs in that role. Also, with Vail on the 4th line it seems to me you have both a speed issue and a defense issue on the left side. Thomas is fine defensively of course, but Stillman and Brunette are not guys I would want to match against high-end RWs. I think you're going to get a lot of your offense from the slot and crease areas, and puck possession will be extremely important in order to take advantage of those net-front guys. With the right matchups, this is a team that could do some serious damage in 7-game playoff series where they can grind and battle their way to victory. You're going to have to sell Crawford as a coach who can pull that off.
Special teams will be as the coach sees fit (feel free to advise him).
A bit late for an [mini]-assassination, but here it goes:
- I like saving Briere for the second line as it balances the offense out, although it does make Andy Blair one of the weaker 1st line centres in the draft. It's interesting to see a first line with the "glue" player between the playmaker and the goal scorer.
- I'm glad someone else likes McDougall and I didn't have to draft again
- Gingras and McDougall on the same team? At least they're not line mates. Gingras may be the player in the draft I'd like to know more about the most, although that sadly may be lost in time.
- The bottom six is going to be a real pain to play against. There may not be one defensive star of the group, but they're all very reliable. Randy McKay may actually be my favourite of the six (I think the 3rd and 4th lines are pretty interchangeable)
- Goheen and McNamara are two of my favourite defencemen in the entire draft and make an excellent pair, probably my favourite in the draft (unsuprisingly)
- Can we start calling Barney Holden your Kaberle?
- Your depth defenders (Rouse, Juzda, and Reekie) remind me of your bottom six - dependable if unspectacular players who will be completely comfortable in their roles.
- The other strength of your defence is unlike many teams, I don't think you have a guy that needs to see sheltered minutes.
- Was Mowers really effected by World War II? He's very sucessful in an already weakened war year, then goes off and then returns and was terrible. I don't think there's much gap between him and Lindsay
- Hartley is honestly one of my least favourite coaches in the draft. He's like the poor man's Marc Crawford
- Special teams recommendations (you have a ton of PK options):
PP1: Romnes - Briere - McDougall - Holden - Goheen
PP2: Lever - Blair - Gingras - Romishevsky - McNamara
PK1: Acton - Flatley - McNamara - Goheen
PK2: Blair - McKay - Romishevsky - Juzda
PK3: Carpenter - Konowalchuk - Rouse - Holden
pre-1917: Phat Wilson
1917-1942: Carson Cooper, Herb Cain, Slim Halderson
1943-1965: Viktor Shuvalov, Jozef Golonka
1966-1979: Pete Peeters, Vincent Lukac, Anders Kallur, Lee Fogolin Jr, Guy Chouinard,
1980-1994: Slava Kozlov, Dave Manson, Jason Smith, Brian Skrudland, Dallas Drake, Ilkka Sinisalo, Peter Zezel, Sylvain Lefebvre, Felix Potvin, Radek Bonk
1995-2004: Sergei Brylin, Derek Morris
active 2012: Loui Eriksson, Derek Morris
- Crisp is an OK coach for this level, nothing special. He and Golonka combine to make this a very emotionally-led team. Golonka is an excellent choice for captain. He’s also a decent 2nd line center.
- Not a big Shuvalov fan this high up in the pecking order. We know he wasn’t as skilled as Bobrov but was perhaps as effective a player overall (there is decent info suggesting he is defensively sound). So his placement really depends on where Bobrov belongs. Bobrov gets picked in the 300s but I don’t think he should. I actually think Golonka’s a conclusively better player. More substantiated non-offense abilities (leadership, toughness, agitation) and similar domestic and international offensive dominance, except 10 years later against better competition.
- Herb Cain and Carson Cooper are two of the better MLD wingers. I think they’ll both make my top-20 when all is said and done. Cain is underrated lately as people tend to write him off as a wartime player. As it is, your 1st line may lack some sandpaper.
- Kozlov is a real tweener from an ATD standpoint, definitely not good enough for a scoring line, and not defensive enough for a bottom six role. I think after I review everything he may be among the top 20 wingers here too. I mean yeah, he had some good linemates, but bro had 853 points.
- Lukac is a guy I was watching very closely and I was ready to take him. Seems not everyone is as high on him as I was and I wish there was a comprehensive comparison done between him and a few of the Soviet guys, plus Lala.
- I’m not that high on Eriksson, though it appears more people are. Seems like a bit of a “Johnny come lately” on the ATD/MLD scene. I mean, I have three of those myself, granted, but I also think they’ve been much better players. It seems strange to see Eriksson so high, at least at this point.
- Skrudland is pretty much a prototypical MLD 3rd line center. I’ve gotten to the finals with him.
- Kallur is very hard to judge, I’ll just say that.
- My thoughts on Sinisalo are pretty well-documented. He should be a spare. Zezel and Drake are personal favourites and prototypical 4th liners. This line has some real agitating qualities. Drake is a poor man’s Scott Mellanby and a great leader.
- Overpass did well on the four spares. Can’t go wrong when you just pick four players seventies and/or TDMM have taken in the last two years
- I honestly think your first pairing might be your 3rd-best. It’s literally impossible to figure out how good Phat Wilson is. I wish we knew more. It’s so much easier with forwards who played in other leagues (see Moose Wason) and even with them, it’s not easy at all. Lee Fogolin is one of the least-utilized defensemen in this entire draft (see post I made in the chat thread today in a Marty McSorley comparison). He played on good teams, but they weren’t defensive powerhouses either, and it’s not like there aren’t a ton of players in this draft who were on the ice a lot more, for teams that were good/great, and were defensive powerhouses.
- Halderson is a known quantity though. Definitely the 3rd-best of the 3-man rotation those powerful Victoria squads had (along with Fraser and Loughlin, in that order) but a worthy player here, backed up with all-star selections. Pronger-like size. All-around good. Perhaps a bit of a risk taker.
- Lefebvre is one of the more ideal partners for a potential risk taker, though. I think I like him better than Fogolin, TBH. Was used about the same, but his teams ended up with better defensive records.
- Manson impressed me when I was analyzing some tough modern defensemen to compare to Barry Gibbs. He was a #1 defenseman four times – no, his teams were never that great when he was a #1, but that’s 4 more times than many other MLD defensemen. His offense (mostly on the PP) is fairly strong thanks to his bomb of a shot. He’s pretty much a heavyweight fighter. Defense is probably the least impressive part of his game but it’s also not horrible. He is better than a 3rd pairing player. Jason Smith is one of my all-time favourite players and a niche 3rd liner “defenseman’s defenseman”. He won’t hurt you here. Reminds me a lot of Ken Daneyko, although he is a much better MLD 3rd pairing player than Daneyko is a 3rd pairing ATD player. This is an extremely tough pairing. They might have mobility issues though.
- Morris certainly can help with a mobility issue in the defensive corps, but the problem is, I don’t think he’s an overall more effective player than anyone he would replace.
- Peeters and Potvin are both adequate in their roles.
- Biggest concern is that the scoring lines may get pushed around. Golonka alone is shouldering the intensity load for both lines, IMO.
I've never been sold on Buzz Boll's nonoffensive abilities, though that could be from lack of information provided.
In the process of putting together his bio, I found some good quotes to substantiate both his defense and, to my surprise, an extremely high degree of multi-positional ability. I had seen him described as a "utility" player before, but didn't realize it meant he played a good bit at all three forward positions and at least a little at D. We might need to revisit listing him strictly as a LW.
Here are the relevant quotes:
Originally Posted by Lewiston Daily Sun 11/3/1934
All three [Boll, Kilrea, and Thoms]are amazing fast skaters and can do their share of scoring but their primary use will be for defensive purposes as they [are] all good back checkers.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
He was a conscientious defensive player, often playing on a checking line with Bill Thoms and Bob Davidson. He was a guy who did everything well but nothing excellently.
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen 2/9/1943
Adams even advances Boll as a "very definite candidate" for the Hart Trophy as N.H.L. player most valuable to his team... he's going fast both ways this season.
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen 2/9/1943
Buzz was a defenceman when he helped Regina Pats win the Canadian junior hockey title in 1930.
^ This is the only primary reference I could find to him playing defense, but according to this...
Originally Posted by Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame
In his eleven-year professional career, Buzz played all the forward as well as defensive positions.
... he did it in the NHL as well.
Originally Posted by Lewiston Daily Sun 12/25/1935
Buzz Boll, a veteran used in a utility role most of last season
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette 1/1/1938
If Conacher is unable to play, it was expected Bob Davidson would be used on left wing on a line centred by Bill Thoms, with Buzz Boll being shifted from left to right wing to take Conacher's place.
Originally Posted by The Milwaukee Journal 10/29/1940
Impressive work in training camp won a... job for... Buzz Boll, who has been shifted to center and has impressed Dutton with his playmaking.
TBH, I drafted Boll as a safe 4th line LW. The more I find about him, the more I think he might be a hidden gem on the bottom-6.