Exactly! Players like Samsonov need snipers on their line to compliment their playmaking abilities. While Kovalev is a sniper, he's also more of an all-around offensive threat while Ryder's strong suit is purely his shot.
I say sign Tiger Woods and his 2 iron.....pure sniper.
I liked thread from about a week ago that suggested putting Higgins between Samsonov and Kovalev. A straight shooter who has played Centre before between 2 guys who can control the puck and get it on net. Higgens would get a ton of garbage goals.
Perezhogin Koivu Ryder
Samsonov Higgens Kovalev
Pleks Ribs Johnson
Begin Bonk Murray
I was watching replay of game 2 of the habs/ canes series. Perezhogin seems ready for line 1. Hopefully he's done some work in the offseason and I believe he'll step it up and be ready for prime time.
We got great forward lines. In the following year, I see Ribs, Bonk and Ryder gone - hopefully traded for some D - at least Ryder has trade value anyway.
Perezhogin Koivu Kostitsyn
Samsonov Higgens Kovalev
Pleks Grabovsky Johnson
Begin Lapierre Murray
plan C ; if the line of Ryder-Koivu-Higgins falls flat ...?
plan D ; if the line of Johnson-Plekanec falls flat ...?
plan E ; ...
Why did I raise the question in the first place? Because it's important for Samsonov to find the optimal spot on le Canadien. I didn't say it would depend solely on how Ribeiro fits in. As a number of posters have pointed out, the tendency of all three of those players to hold on to the puck is a real concern.
The Samsonov-Ribeiro-Kovalev line is untried, as is the Perezhogin-Plekanec-Johnson line. However, from the description of Johnson, he appears to be versatile enough to fit in with any line. Perezhogin and Plekanec played well together in the playoffs. The Higgins-Koivu-Ryder line has enjoyed success and I don't see why they shouldn't continue to do so. No one could accuse those players of holding on to the puck too long.
I hope that is not a line you want to see. Kovalev is not a match for those two. He hasn't been a good match with Ribeiro. Samsonv style or his puck distribution is not a match for Kovalev. Who is a '"Regarde moi aller'' style.
Yes. Ribeiro, among his other faults, does not have the game breaker intensity I want in a number one center. You can have a soft player with a bunch of holes in his game there only if the guy absolutely fills the net. He is not Pierre Larouche or even Marc Savard. First line minutes needs either top tier offensive skills or a strong all around game. That is why Koivu, who has never manageg more than 21 goals or 71 points has always been a better #1 type. Ribs is just not a guy you want out there 19-20 minutes a game.
Samsonov brings huge skills but hasn't had a big season in years. Watching him skate this year he looks 100% healthy and I think there is a least a chance he will meet or exceed his best seasons in the dead puck era but Ribeiro won't help him with that. Ribs has only had a couple of years as a full time front line player and I think with a bit of improvement he could make a pretty solid #2 center.
Someone else will be between the two Russians.
If I try to put a sniper, playmaker and "grinder" on each line.
Higgins - Koivu- Kovalev
Samsonov- Ribeiro - Johnson
Murray - Plek - Ryder
Perez - Bonk- Begin
Seems reasonable, but who knows what could happen by December: trades, injuries, clash of styles resulting in poor production...
Let's say we start with
The players most likely to remain where they are after game 20:
Higgins (remains with Koivu)
Koivu (remains with Higgins)
Ribeiro (not much choice for Carbonneau)
Samsonov (likely to remain with Kovalev)
The players with a fairly good chance of being shifted by game 20:
Kovalev (possible switch with Ryder or Ryder is traded))
Ryder (possible switch with Kovalev)
Johnson (could play on any line)
The players who mght be shifted by game 20:
Perezhogin (if he's either hot or cold)
Bonk (if Carbonneau wants to shake thing up radically)