Like others have said, not a chance I'd want to see the Schwartz-Jaskin-Tarasenko line. Eventually I want Schwartz and Tarasenko on a line because Schwartz has the vision and the passing, Tarasenko has the shot. Rattie has a good shot too, but I don't think I'd want both Schwartz and Rattie on the same line. It's just too small. Schwartz-Berglund-Tarasenko line in a few years intrigues me. As for how I see the team looking in 2013-14, I'd say something along the lines of:
Not only do I highly doubt Jaskin makes the team, but he doesn't even play center, does he? Anyway, assuming there's no trades, even though I'm sure there will be, here's how I expect it to look if everyone is healthy and performing.
I thought seeing an all rookie line would be kind of cool, kinda like the hall-rnh-yak line we may see sometime soon, but I guess Dmittij isn't ready yet. Also, I thought wildcat maple leafs said on jaskin's thread that Dmittij can play all three forward positions..?
Why would Porter be in the starting lineup? No need to even bring him back. I would argue that Cracknell, Murray, even Peluso would all be better options as a 4th-liner or extra forward.
Don't see the need to bring D'Agostini back as Schwartz should be ready to go and I think McDonald would like to return. I guess trading D'Ags might be best.
The biggest question to me is whether Langenbrunner or Nichol will return. I think they both have another year left in them but they always could retire, and also, do we need them? I love the roles they provide but who knows with our depth... Right now I'm going to guess that Langs could be back at least. Didn't he want a 2-year deal in the summer? Could be wrong but thought I heard something like that.
I also think the longer the lockout goes, the better chance we go with Cole than add someone but that is also questionable. He seems to be doing fine in Peoria.
Overall it will be a similar team but interesting to think about. As of now I would do:
Don't see that top 9 really changing. 4th line maybe. But overall, that looks good. Could use another defenseman still but I can't really predict what they will do there. With one more d-man added though I would feel good about that roster.
We'll pretty much have the same lineup as we would have now. Rattie and Jaskin will both start in Peoria, maybe on a line with Hensick. Schwartz could easily start with the team depending on his 2nd half with Peoria and what he does in the offseason. The only other option would be if Lehtera comes over and impresses during camp. In that case, either Schwartz starts in Peoria again, we try and trade Stewart, or Lehtera agrees to start in Peoria and be the 1st call-up. I fully expect us to resign McDonald on a deal that benefits both parties.
Is Lehtera going to be ready for the NHL next season? How close is he if he's not?
I think he'll need some time in Peoria to get used to playing defence in the faster, harder-hitting NHL game, on the smaller North-American ice surface. I haven't seen him play this season. But from what I have seen of him, he was no stellar defender in the more open European game. maybe the smaller ice surface will actually HELP him a little. But, in any case, he'll need to learn to play a better 2-way game to make The Blues' roster. His skating was probably one of the reasons he was a lower than average defensive forward. I assume that his skating has improved somewhat, but I'd bet he still has more improvement to make to get up to NHL Top 3 line standards.
Lehtera has no intentions of playing in the AHL...as such, I doubt we ever see him in North America.
If he is not willing to ever play in The AHL, he'd better improve his skating speed and his quickness, and better show superior defensive skills in his KHL play. Otherwise, The Blues would have to gamble on giving him an NHL contract and start him in a regular season after just seeing him in a camp and a few pre-season games.
(I'm assuming no McDonald...if McDonald re-signs, then no Lehtera).
I think this is a pretty well-balanced lineup. Every line has some size and toughness. Every line has a playmaker and a sniper (even the 4th line, sort of). Each line can be depended upon to be defensively responsible (although the 3rd line could be a bit iffy).
Neither Berglund or Stewart are set-up men, and I think Schwartz may be able to create some chemistry with them.
My big shot in the dark is Lehtera. Who knows if he'll make the jump over. My understanding is that his ELC has expired now, but we still own his rights. So we would have to sign him to a one-way deal (he won't accept a two-way deal, I'm sure). I like the idea of putting Steen on this line, as he would balance out the defensive responsibilities (Tarasenko is defensively responsible, but Lehtera is not, from what I have read). There are so many possibilities with this group of players though. That entire top 9 can be mixed and matched in any way. D'Agostini could even be placed in there somewhere.
Rattie/Jaskin/Hensick/McRae/Cracknell/Grachev/Porter(?) are our callup options.
We all have Berglund penciled in as the second-line center. How many of us question that he's shown enough to-date to be considered as such, especially for a top team?
I find his skating a little slow and, but for a brilliant start to his rookie year and a great first round of last year's playoffs, his offensive numbers lacking.
Yeah, a little bit. He simply isnt a playmaker, but he has shown to be a pretty good finisher. His defense has come along too, he matches up well with other big centers. I dont see a ton of difference in calling someone a good third liner and an average second liner: Are there 45-55 better centers than Bergy out there? It becomes less of an issue of Steen plays well at center, but we are one injury away to Berglund or Backes from having issues.