Well, we're beyond the half way point, so we need to assess the current situation and give overall grades to the roster
I'm going to start out with management as some of our issues on the ice are a direct result of who was brought in
Grade -- B-, It has turned out that Sullivan/Moss didn't replace the offensive production of Whitney/Pyatt Donny didn't have the means to add any significant pieces and although I like Klinkhammer, it wasn't a great off-season for adds to the lineup.
Grade A Players: OEL (I think he's the only one)
Grade D Players: Smith, Korpikoski, Klesla, Sullivan, Lombardi
This is why we're at in the standings because we've got way too many players playing below their expected level of performance. Our two biggest appointment's have been Smith and Sullivan.
We only have 3 forwards I'd consider to be top 6 material (Vrbata, Boedker and Doan) that is it and what we've found after our soft early schedule is that we're finding it hard to win games or even score.
At this moment we're not a playoff team, and unless Mike Smith can regain his form, we're not going to make the playoffs.
I gave Z a C because he's getting paid $4m for almost no pts. I believe you can't pay shutdown dmen $4m because they don't rack up pts.
I would rather have a $2m shutdown guy that is slightly worse than the $4m shutdown guy, but that is just me, if we were the flyers or one of the other high spending teams it wouldn't matter, but we're the Coyotes and the extra $2m we had to pay Z would have been the difference in keeping Whitney rather than having to go with Sullivan.
Z isn't asked to shoot or contribute on offense. He is a 25 point or so scorer when he plays in a system that asks him to contribute. Tippett doesn't. If doing so lets OEL do his thing, it's worth it. I really have no problem paying one of the best shot blockers in the game $4 million. Unless you think Gordon isn't worth the money. He gets paid for the exact same thing, only with half the icetime and zero offense.
I can think of worse ways to spend $4 million. Players like Z are not sexy but you would notice it if they left.
Basically an A is great, career year type stuff. B is above expectations. C is about what I thought. And D and below is not living up.
This is pretty good , though I'd move Hanzal down to a B .Vrbata I think was leadning the team before he got hurt .
Edit : Doan could be an A+ if he played every game like last night . I'd give Klinkhammer a B
As much as Smith is my biggest pet peeve at the moment , there has been times where he was great .. I would put him as a D .
We're about where I expected us to be in the standings, maybe a little higher. I remember how bad this team looked the last couple years during those 20 game stretches in the schedule where we had to travel before almost ever game with 1 game home stands, left very little practice time for over a month. The team often looked inconsistent, slow and bad habits really crept into play. I sort of saw the compacted schedule this year similar to those travel stretches, as it leads to fewer practices than normal, practices which this team has always seemed to need.
There are still 3 games left against both SJ and Detroit. If the team can keep up the play from last night moving forward, then there's a shot we get in to the playoffs. However I think we may have to sweep one of those 3 game sets to do so.
A - Kyle Chipchura, Boyd Gordon, Zbynek Michalek, Oliver Ekman-Larsson
B - Mikkel Boedker, Jason LaBarbera, Chad Johnson, Martin Hanzal, David Schlemko, Raffi Torres, Robert Klinkhammer, Radim Vrbata
C - Paul Bissonnette, Martin Hanzal, Rostislav Klesla, Lauri Korpikoski, Derek Morris, Shane Doan, Chris Summers
D - Mike Smith, Antoine Vermette, David Moss, Matthew Lombardi, Keith Yandle
F - Steve Sullivan
If I missed anyone, you can add them to the "C" category, which is basically where I put everyone who hasn't really stuck out (in either a good or bad way). The ratings are a bit weighted based on team expectations, i.e. Mike Smith has just been "average" which would normally be a C, but considering how often we have to lean on him so heavily, his "average" play drops him down to a D, and so on. Likewise with goalies, LaBarbera has been actually pretty solid when the team has called on him but giving him a B and Smith a D doesn't mean I think Barbs should start over Smith.
Don't Care/Trade If Possible: Vrbata, Vermette, Yandle, Klesla, Torres, Doan, Michalek, Korpikoski, Johnson
Get Rid Of: Lombardi, LaBarbera, Moss, Smith, Sullivan
When you separate guys out like that, it's really not hard to see where this team went wrong. You can't have wasted seasons from key guys. A terrible season from a starting goaltender, an underwhelming season from your top scoring D and important ancillary players coasting; a recipe for a top 10 pick. If this team had the option to convert every player not in the 'keep' section to roughly equivalent trade value, I'd do it in a heartbeat. If you trade Doan and Yandle, you may as well just strip the bones bare and try to rebuild the roster younger and more complete. That doesn't mean tank for 5 straight seasons like the Penguins or Oilers. It means making some smart trades and signings, while keeping the heart beating. The team has basically skated by on the contributions from free agents and streaky scorers like Vrbata. That's not really sustainable. This is the first transformative offseason for this franchise since Tippett and Maloney came along. Sadly, they may not even be under contract to help see it through.
A whole lot of change ahead for what was once one of the best post-lockout budget teams ever assembled.