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A little analyzing by nuckfan in TO

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Old
07-07-2006, 03:11 PM
  #1
Joe T Choker
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A little analyzing by nuckfan in TO

Posted with his permission

1) Nashville (+)

I see Nashville as one of the most improved teams going into next season. The biggest reason why is because of their young team coming together over the years. They have consistently gotten better in the past few years, and have a legitimate top level starter there now in Vokoun.

Their defense is young, but full of potential. I don't think this team is done either... they still have cap space, and have been very much a team that is trying to contend and will pay for pieces.

This offseason they addressed maybe their biggest organization holes in the past few years - adding a big physical top line center. Arnott was the type of player that Preds fans have been crying for, for probably the last 3-4yrs...

the rest of the offense around Kariya and Sullivan is very underrated. Their defense, with Hamhuis, Suter, Weber and others is young, with high potential and are playing well overall as a group.

They will need to replace Witt's veteran presense (although he really didn't play there for long) to their young defense... but other than that, this team IMO is primed to take over from Detroit as the best in the central.

2) Detroit (-)

They won't give up top spot easily. Like Colorado, this is an organization with a winning culture, and will get more milage from their players as a result. Last season we saw them add little-knowns like Samuelsson and Lilja, and get tremendous performances from both... guys like Jason Williams stepped up and gave them production no one expected. Like I said about the Avs, expect teams like this to again surprise people by showing the league they're not as bad as what people expect looking at them on paper.

I'd expect the Preds to challenge for the division, but the Wings will by right up there till the end of the season. They won't be the best team (regular season wise anyways) in the league again, but they're still a winning organization, with the pieces they need to compete again for the division and being a legitimate playoff threat.

3) Columbus (+)

I expect this to be the season where the NHL finally takes notice of Columbus... much like they did with Nashville a couple years ago. Columbus has long been one of the Western conferences doormats... but in that time they've managed to build an impressive group of talent on the team.

There are still holes on this team that will have them challenging for a playoff spot, rather than a division title - such as banking on Leclaire for a full season; as well as their backend - which has Foote (who no doubt took a step back since his days in Colorado), but outside of that, they show the inexperience of the Preds defense, without the same talent level overall. I'm not sure if this defense is good enough to get the team into the playoffs, especially with Foote not playing like he did 3-4 yrs ago (this decline expected with age).

Up front, there is some good talent. Nash, Zherdev, and Fritsche should all be better as they are getting more experience... Fedorov still plays at a high enough level, and the foot soliders around them can do their jobs. Brule could also come in and be an impact rookie in the NHL.

I'd expect the Jackets to be closer to the top 2 in the division, and should be in a playoff race this season... whether they make it will hinge on how Leclaire handles his role, and how guys like Nash and Zherdev mature and develop from good young players, to franchise cornerstones that can win games for you.

4) Chicago (-)

That stentch blowing in the windy city isn't too pleasant for the fans there. Chicago has long been considered a hockey city. Big market, with a tradition there, and a culture developed from the time of the original six.

But the franchise these days is quickly becoming a joke. They went hard after FAs last year, and added Khabibulin, Aucoin, Cullimore, Barnaby, Lapointe, Brown and others last year. This was supposed to be a good group of vets to add to a team that had promising youngsters like Ruutu, Bell, Calder up front, and up and comers like Barker, Seabrooke and Byfuglien on defense.

They still have some good talent in the pipeline with guys like Skille and now Toews... but this is a very much a franchise that has some problems right now.

I've also been hearing/reading rumours that no decent FA wants to sign in Chicago right now... after the mess of a season they went through, on the backs of spending big in last year's FA market, this might not be a big surprise...

I see Chicago struggling again next season.... for the same reasons why teams like Detroit will overachieve - have the culture to lift the talent to a higher level - teams like Chicago are destined to underachieve.

For the sake of their franchise and fans, hopefully they can turn it around... but they look like they'll be another 2-4 years before that happens, when their promising future can be their key present guns to carry the franchise.

5) St. Louis (+)

A (+) only because there isn't anywhere to go but up. A lot of holes on this club from goal out. JJ will be one of the top rookies (as he's been said to be NHL ready already), but won't be enough to carry this team far. The Blues are destined for another non-playoff year and a year of rebuilding.

Really no surprise, and their fans should be okay with this... after 22 years of making the playoffs, they are paying the rebuilding price now... but what better time to do it, then when FA gets younger every year, and they can turn things around quickly in a couple years.

Northwest


1) Calgary (+):

They are improved from last season... anyone that thinks they aren't, needs to put aside their bias and look at the team.

All their players are still in their primes... except guys like Phaneuf, Kobasew and Lombardi, that are only another year more experienced, and closer to their prime.

The entire team basically is returning... the defense is basically the same, minus Leopold, who was the odd man out last year.

Leopold was good a couple years ago, but lost his role when Phaneuf stepped up last season... losing him will not hurt their defense at all... they've more than made up for any loss in depth by adding Zuyzin... while he's not a great dman, he's good enough to fill a depth role, and should give the Flames one of the top defenses in the league again.

Kipper is coming off a Vezina year... enough said.

All the criticism on Calgary has been up front over the last few years... last offseason they added Langkow and Amonte, and went on to win the division... this offseason they moved an unnecessary part and added Tanguay... they also added Friesen for more depth in the lineup.

This team is improved and should be front-runners to win the division again.

2) Vancouver (=).

While it might seem a little high for Vancouver, considering their changes, Colorado hasn't improved, and Edmonton has clearly gotten worse. Minny has improved, but they still have some big question marks on that team.

For the canucks, they moved their biggest albatross in Bertuzzi. Last season everyone is saying how he's holding the team back, and now that he's no longer a canuck, everyone is saying how much he'll be missed. He won't be missed. He lost us more games last year than he won us. Even with all his points, he'd be responsible for more mistakes and turnovers than anything good he brought our team last year.

Jovo's offense will be missed. His lack of defensive ability won't be. Ohlund has been the #1 for the past few years, and that won't change... Salo was the team's best dman last year, and Mitchell should more than make up for Allen's loss.

Luongo changes the entire team though... the canucks are no longer a team that will try and outscore opponents to win, but rely on a team built around goaltending.

Sure there are going to be lots of question marks going into next season, and the canucks might be one of the most difficult teams to get a handle on because not only have they changed major personnel, they've also changed their coach, their entire system, and basically how they'll play the game. So a lot of questions are there.

Still they may be the only team in the NHL to have a top 5-10 player in each of the 3 positions. Luongo is a top 5 goalie. Ohlund is a top 10 dman, and Naslund is a top 10 forward. I don't know if any other team has a player at that level in all 3 positions that they can build those positions around.... and with the return of the Sedins and Salo, they should have a pretty good core around them.

for now, I'd say the team is (=) just because of the uncertainty... but they should be improved considering how bad they were last year - probably the most frustrating canuck team I've seen in the last 10+ years.

3) Minnesota (+).

Certainly has a good chance to overtake the canucks as the #2 team in the division, but until they actually prove they can win games, I'll be skeptical.

Every offseason we see some teams add a lot of pieces, but have struggled after. How many people said that the Bruins and the Pens were definitely improved last offseason. Most had them not only contending for the playoffs, but being contenders for the division as well.

The fact though is that teams don't just jump from non-playoff teams to division champs that easily... there needs to be more than the "right" group of players there... there needs to be the "right" culture attached to a hockey club. That doesn't happen by simply buying players in FA. The Rangers have been the long standing joke that has proven this during the last CBA era in hockey. Pittsburgh added Palffy, Gonchar, and Recchi last offseason, had Crosby jump into the lineup as well, and they were really no better than the bottom dweller they were in the past. A winning culture needs to be created, and in Minny, that's still a question mark right now.

They have added some very solid players - Demitra and Parrish (neither of whom were able to help their former teams make the playoffs), Johnsson, who spent most of last season on the IR, and some depth with Radivojevic... but they still have a lot of holes there... is Fernandez good enough to play a full time starting role and carry the team to the playoffs? is there going to be some chemistry with the new players added?

Like Vancouver, the Wild also have a lot of questions to answer before we can hand them a playoff spot.

3) Colorado (=)

I have them over Edmonton because of that "winning culture" I talked about before... when you have a guy like Sakic on the team, he has the ability to raise the level of play of those around him. He is a winner, a leader, and among the best in that role in the NHL. Colorado had a lot of holes last season as well, but former cast-offs like Turgeon, Brisebois and Lapperiere, went to the Avs and played better than anyone expected. This is what happens in organizations that have that winning culture. They are also consistently bringing up rookies that no one thought would be impact players in their first season, only to get impact contributions... they got that from Svatos last year... Liles the year before, Reinprecht, Tanguay, Drury, etc in past years... next year you can look for guys like Wolski or Richardson to have similar impacts... I wouldn't expect that to change now, although I do think they'll be slightly worse than last year, and combined by possible improvements from the Wild and/or canucks, could find themselves further down the NW.

Still, Hejduk has all the talent in the world to rebound... as does Theodore... and that might be enough for them - along with Sakic - to still challenge again for the division. For now I'd say they're (=).

5) Edmonton (-).

As it stands now, they could be the only team in the division that has for sure gotten worse. All their loses doesn't need to be reiterated... everyone knows what they lost.

But what no one should discount is that Lowe has proven to be a risk taker. He will work hard to plug holes and take the necessary risks to improve the team. The team we see now will be very different that what we see at the start of the year... and IMO that team will be very different than the one that is fighting for a playoff spot near the deadline.

Still the loss of Pronger is huge. Their defense was already hurting prior to that, and Pronger is a guy that not only logs huge minutes, he makes those around him better. Without Pronger, Smith is not as good, having to play a bigger role... Bergeron is much worse (well he was already seeing pressbox time late in the season)... there are too many holes on defense, and relying on too many youngsters without a legitimate #1 dman to anchor them.

at this point, I'd be surprised if Edmonton made the playoffs... although having said that, if there is one GM in the league that has the balls, guts, and determination to roll the dice, it's Lowe.

The Pacific might be the toughest divison is hockey now.

1) Anaheim (+).

How can you not improve adding Pronger to your defense, while only seeing Salei leave? Pronger and Niedermayer give the Ducks the best defense in the league. 2 guys that don't have to play together, that can each log on 25-30 mins a night, while making whoever they play with, that much better!

Niedermayer made Beauchemin a top 4 dman. Pronger did the same with Bergeron last season. You can plug players like this back with them on 2 separate pairings and the Ducks have the best 1-2 punch on defense in the league!

Lupul's loss also won't hurt much IMO. They have Selanne and McDonald both coming back after strong seasons. Getzlaf, Perry and Penner should all be more improved, and Ryan can jump into the lineup by next season as well, and make up for Lupul's loss... either way, without Ryan, they have Selanne and Perry on their top 2 spots on right wing, which should make them again a tough team to match up again.

In goal they have 2 guys capable of being a starter... if they deal Gigeure, they'll get to add somewhere else... if they don't (and they can carry that payroll this season), they have maybe the best 1-2 in goal, in the league.

I'd expect the Ducks to be front-runners for the Pacific... and I'd expect several of their younger players to have bigger impacts next season.

2) San Jose (=)

Hard to say if they're improved... although they might be. Improvement from within gets ignored on these boards a lot, as fans just look for the hot new FA added... but the Sharks have several good young players that will only get better, especially when they are playing a talented team like that.

Guys like Bernier, Michalek and Kasper should be improving and give the Sharks a deadly top 6 with Thornton, Cheechoo and Marleau. Their depth, thanks to good scouting and drafting, is very good - with guys like Goc and Rissmiller (this team sure likes their Germans!) give them good potential in their depth spots.

Their defense has a hole on it... I really thought they'd address that in FA, but it looks like they'll go with what they have. Still a defense with Hannan and McLaren isn't that bad... and guys like Ehrhoff and Carle should get better.

Goaltending is deep and solid... question marks are there with Nabokov and his inconsistency, but it certainly helps to have a #2 (and at times he's the #1) in Toskala.

I'd say that SJ is the closest to challenging the Ducks for the divison.

3) Dallas (=)

I don't think they get much weaker with the loss of Arnott, as they have some good young players that are also improving, and again, like Colorado and Detroit mentioned before, they also have that "winning organization" intangible working for them.

They seem to like their Finns, and the finns have done a good job there... starting from Lehtinen, who's been there for a long time, and with guys like Jokinen, Hagman and others, have some good depth there, and talent overall.

Their defense is good - and the system they play is solid. Turco has struggled at times, but is still a legitimate top end (top 15) starter in the game.

Dallas could still challenge for the division again, but I think the Ducks and Sharks have the edge on them.

4) Phoenix (+)

Maybe the hardest two spots to figure out is the last 2 in the Pacific. Phoenix has added again, like they did last season, and the year before that... will it pay off this time?

Goaltending is still a question mark. Jospeh is overrated IMO. He is aging and isn't a top end starter anymore.

Then their defense seems like an odd match to me. Barnett (and/or Gretzky) went out and threw $6.5mill on Jovo to fill a hole, that didn't seem to be there?

Jovo is a right side dman (and has publically said he doesn't like playing the left side)... he joins Morris and Boynton as natural right side dmen on the team. On the left side, they have Ballard, Michalek, and Seindenberg... and then Spiller behind them. It just seems to me that if they were going to add a top end dman, they should have found a left side guy - like Redden... or gotten a cheaper guy like Mitchell... but they added talent, and didn't look at how it'd fit with the team.

This has been the Coyotes story for a while... looking for talent and then worrying about how it'll fit with the team. This has hurt them before, and keeps them as a team that underachieves based on the overall talent they have.

I could see the Coyotes making the playoffs this year... but I could also see them missing it and struggling with identity and the overall makeup of the team. For now I'll give them a (+) because they've improved the talent level there again with Jovo and Roenick added...

5) Los Angeles (=)

I give them an (=) instead of a (-) or (+) because despite losing some players, they made enough key changes to bring the team together.

I think the biggest move they made was adding Lombardi... a very competent GM that should address the holes the organization has.

I also think this team will be looking more for next season than the one coming up... their current team seems to be largely based on future talent... guys like Brown, Cammalleri and Gleason, have their best years ahead of them... and their pipeline is as strong as any team in the league... Kopitar, Tukkonen and Pushkarev can all make the team this coming year... as could O'Sullivan who had a strong AHL season.

Their defense needs work, but they just added Blake...

the goaltending will be their achilles heel though... Cloutier is a huge risk to take, and Garon is a long way from proving he has starting goalie ability.

At this point, I'd say LA finishes last in the division, and misses the playoffs this year.

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07-07-2006, 03:24 PM
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I saw this on the CBJ board. Very good outlook on the Preds behalf. Well done

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07-07-2006, 03:48 PM
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I saw this on the CBJ board. Very good outlook on the Preds behalf. Well done
I wonder if LA, St. Louis or Edmonton fans will feel the same

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07-07-2006, 03:57 PM
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I wonder if LA, St. Louis or Edmonton fans will feel the same
Sometimes the truth hurts.

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07-07-2006, 04:34 PM
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I think the Blackhawks are a step below the Blues....IF the Blues address their goalie issues. Heck, if the Blues address their goalie issues, they have a decent amount of talent, and a lot of hard workers. They aren't a playoff caliber team, but they are still a hard victory every time they come to play. On the flip side, I'm not impressed with anything the Blackhawks have done. They need to be very healthy next year to have any shot of being a .500 team.

Disagree on Ohlund being a top 10 defensemen. I think he is in the upper echelon of defensemen, and he certainly is one of the better defensive defensemen....top 10? No. Nonetheless, the Canucks do have an interesting team. Star talent is interspersed throughout the team, but I have to wonder what they are going to do about their weak, weak defense. They lost Jovo, Carney, Allen, and Baumgarter (sp)....who is going to step in there? Is Bourdon ready? Plus, it still seems like they are extremely thin on the right wing, with both Bertuzzi and Carter gone. They need to find some servicable wingers (which there are a few still out there) immeadiately. Otherwise, I can't see them making the playoffs, even with Luongo. I just do not see any depth on the team at all. They have decent center iceman, two good left-wingers, but the right wing and defensive depth is atrocious. Plus, I wonder if the physicality of the team will decrease with the loss of their two nastiest forwards (Bertuzzi and Ruutu) and defensemen (Allen and Jovo)...granted Ohlund is pretty mean, but still......thats a lot of grit/anger departing the lineup. Its going to be an interesting team, but my guess is the Canucks will bow out early unless they adopt a major defensive strategy, similar to the Devils/Ducks.

Anaheim, IMO, have to be cup favorites. I just do not see anyway to beat a Pronger and Niedermayer led defense, with the positionally sound style of play they utilize...not to mention to very technical goalies in Bryzgalov and Giguere.

Detroit, IMO, is going to have a bad year. I think losing Stevie Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan is really going to change the locker room dramatically. It would not surprise me if they pull the Sharks of 03, a team with deep playoff capabilities that doesn't even make the playoffs. Then again, I always fully expect Detroit to be the class of the west.

Am I the only one that thinks Phoenix, while overpaying, is still going to be fielding an extremely deadly team this year? They are very very deep, with nastiness throughout the lineup...If Joseph isn't the answer, why can't LeNeavu be the answer?

The Western Conference this off-season has become immensley more talented in comparison to the East. Its ridiculous how much talent moved to the Western Conference. It is a 15 team arms race. The only team that did not improve this off-season are the Blackhawks and Dallas (I'll give SJ a pass because of how much they improved with the Thornton deal.) Its hard not to put teams like Minnesota, with the amazing chemistry...and newfound offensive stars...in the lineup, and I think all eight teams that made it last year will continue to press, with Vancouver, Phoenix, and the Kings being right there.....and hey, Columbus was one of the hottest teams from January on. I think this is the most parity the West has seen in a long time, and its not due to watered down teams as much as its due to the enormous ammount of talent in the Western Conference.

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07-14-2006, 10:57 PM
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Good job on your assessments NIFTO but its still early in the offseason and alot of deals left to be done.

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07-15-2006, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by nuckfan in TO View Post
I wonder if LA, St. Louis or Edmonton fans will feel the same
I don't disagree with much that you wrote about Edmonton. The start of the season is a long ways away though and, as you said, Lowe is a guy that you can't count out. I think you overestimate Vancouver. In this league now I think it is a lot more about depth than before because it is back to a skating game. I don't disagree with you about the talent level at the top for Vancouver. I just think the bottom end is fairly low and that it is harder to get through a season without those extra pieces. Colorado is also a team without much depth. We will see. No doubt in my mind that a top pairing dman would make Edmonton look a lot better and we have lots of cap room and pieces to offer to try and get him. Things that both Colorado and Vancouver are also missing.

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07-15-2006, 03:56 PM
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I don't disagree with much that you wrote about Edmonton. The start of the season is a long ways away though and, as you said, Lowe is a guy that you can't count out. I think you overestimate Vancouver. In this league now I think it is a lot more about depth than before because it is back to a skating game. I don't disagree with you about the talent level at the top for Vancouver. I just think the bottom end is fairly low and that it is harder to get through a season without those extra pieces. Colorado is also a team without much depth. We will see. No doubt in my mind that a top pairing dman would make Edmonton look a lot better and we have lots of cap room and pieces to offer to try and get him. Things that both Colorado and Vancouver are also missing.
it is too early to get a good grasp on what the season will be like... since I posted that for the first time, Pyatt and Chouinard have been added to the bottom 6... so that's another 1/3 of that group added to Kesler, Linden (who should re-sign), and possibly Cooke if he doesn't move to the top 6, along with a slew of foot-soldiers looking for the last couple spots.

but I think the biggest factor for the canucks - as well as most teams - is going to be chemistry... big changes usually costs teams more often than not... teams with a bunch of new faces don't always come together quickly.

This is one area where Nashville has done a great job building... they've added a few pieces at a time to a stable core of players... new pieces coming as often from within as they are from the UFA market. But the key is that they haven't changed the idenity of the team through quick or numerous changes.

Teams that bring a lot of new players in a short window of time, usually fight with consistency as they all try to get on the same page... instead, teams like the Preds have seen consistent improvements because they've continually built on a foundation, rather than changing that foundation all the time.

I think we'll see Minnesota, for example, struggle more than many of the lofty predictions have them at this point.

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07-15-2006, 03:59 PM
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Disagree on Ohlund being a top 10 defensemen. I think he is in the upper echelon of defensemen, and he certainly is one of the better defensive defensemen....top 10? No.
You obviously have your opinion, but I think he is a top 10 defenseman in the league. It's my opinion, just like you have your opinion, and I respect that.

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07-15-2006, 04:02 PM
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the only reason detroit makes it into the playoffs is its weak division so they are in for a rude awakening

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07-15-2006, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by nuckfan in TO View Post
it is too early to get a good grasp on what the season will be like... since I posted that for the first time, Pyatt and Chouinard have been added to the bottom 6... so that's another 1/3 of that group added to Kesler, Linden (who should re-sign), and possibly Cooke if he doesn't move to the top 6, along with a slew of foot-soldiers looking for the last couple spots.

but I think the biggest factor for the canucks - as well as most teams - is going to be chemistry... big changes usually costs teams more often than not... teams with a bunch of new faces don't always come together quickly.

This is one area where Nashville has done a great job building... they've added a few pieces at a time to a stable core of players... new pieces coming as often from within as they are from the UFA market. But the key is that they haven't changed the idenity of the team through quick or numerous changes.

Teams that bring a lot of new players in a short window of time, usually fight with consistency as they all try to get on the same page... instead, teams like the Preds have seen consistent improvements because they've continually built on a foundation, rather than changing that foundation all the time.

I think we'll see Minnesota, for example, struggle more than many of the lofty predictions have them at this point.
Yeah, it is pretty hard to disagree with any of that. Especially about it being early days still. It is always interesting to see how the team on paper translates into the team on the ice. And there is no disagreement on the Oilers needing another solid top 4 dman at least. But we have quite an impressive group of forwards that have to have spots found for them this year so I am not concerned about that part. In fact the reason I was on this board is because Nashville has such an impressive crop of young dmen and I think the two teams make excellent trading partners. I know boards like this never want to trade their young'uns but it seems to me that Nashville has too few spots for too many guys on d and we are in the same position on our wings.

In any case I have no doubt that Lowe is waiting for training camp to end to see what shakes loose and I didn't mean to take over the thread. Excellent post though nuckfan.

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07-15-2006, 06:12 PM
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Nashville has too few spots for too many guys on d and we are in the same position on our wings.

Nashville has too many wingers for too few spots on their team too. We have upwards of 7 top 6 wingers on the team. Even if we roll 3 scoring lines, we probably still have one winger too many.

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07-18-2006, 03:44 AM
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Ohlund's definitely a good dman. A heck of a lot better than Jovanovski anyway.

Is Nashville in the market for a veteran dman? It won't be pretty if they try to carry three youngsters back there all year. They leaned on Eaton and Markov more than people think.

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07-18-2006, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by RiversQ View Post
Ohlund's definitely a good dman. A heck of a lot better than Jovanovski anyway.

Is Nashville in the market for a veteran dman? It won't be pretty if they try to carry three youngsters back there all year. They leaned on Eaton and Markov more than people think.
The first year we made the playoffs was Eaton's first year as a full time NHLer, Zidlicky's first year in NA and Hamhuis rookie season along with spliting time for Schnabel/Klouchek/Hnidy and Allison. Our veterans that season were 28 year old Kimmo and Jason York.

This year would be Suter's 2nd year, Weber's rookie+ 28 games plus playoffs, and Klein's rookie. Our veterans now are Zidlicky, Hamhuis and a 31 year old Kimmo.

The 2nd grouping is twice as talented and just as experienced if not more.

Eaton wasn't aggressive enough and needed to be upgraded.

We didn't lean on Markov he was hurt too much. Seems like he missed every other week.

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07-18-2006, 05:00 AM
  #15
triggrman
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Kimmo 337
Jason York 641
Mark Eaton 169
Jamie Allison 298
Marek Zidlicky 0
Dan Hamhuis 0

top 7 combined for 1445 games most of those coming from York, Allison and Kimmo.

This season's likely top 7.

Kimmo Timonen - 508
Dan Hamhuis - 173
Marek Zidlicky - 152
Ryan Suter - 71
Shea Weber - 28
Kevin Klein - 2
Greg Zannon - 4

Total 938 games, the difference. Hamhuis and Zidlicky are much better hockey players than the experienced Jason York and Jamie Allison.

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07-18-2006, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiversQ View Post
Ohlund's definitely a good dman. A heck of a lot better than Jovanovski anyway.

Is Nashville in the market for a veteran dman? It won't be pretty if they try to carry three youngsters back there all year. They leaned on Eaton and Markov more than people think.
We leaned on them for the pk.....not even strength. Both of them were god-awful for the first half of the season anyways, despite whatever icetime they were getting. In fact, they were our weakest defensive pairing until Markov started to turn his game around. Eaton never really did turn his game around....

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07-18-2006, 07:52 AM
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Another thing to add to that, Trigg. Our forward core is immeasurably better than that year. Our two best wingers (Kariya, Sullivan) and best center (Arnott) played no role for the majority of that season. That should provide a fair amount more offensive punch and take pressure off of Vokoun and the defense.

Still, if we go with that defense, we need to play aggressive and get players like Klein and Suter out in space. Those guys are great skaters. We don't need them trying to fend off players like Joe Thornton in close quarters action on every shift. We need to put them in positions where they can succeed. And while I don't like Klein down low against Thornton, I don't mind it if it's racing across the blueline together. It's the best skating defense we've ever had (and possibly the best in the NHL), we need to put it to use.

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07-18-2006, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by SmokeyClause View Post
Another thing to add to that, Trigg. Our forward core is immeasurably better than that year. Our two best wingers (Kariya, Sullivan) and best center (Arnott) played no role for the majority of that season. That should provide a fair amount more offensive punch and take pressure off of Vokoun and the defense.

Still, if we go with that defense, we need to play aggressive and get players like Klein and Suter out in space. Those guys are great skaters. We don't need them trying to fend off players like Joe Thornton in close quarters action on every shift. We need to put them in positions where they can succeed. And while I don't like Klein down low against Thornton, I don't mind it if it's racing across the blueline together. It's the best skating defense we've ever had (and possibly the best in the NHL), we need to put it to use.
Could not agree more.

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