This is pretty much all encompassing I like both Stajan & Backlund as #3 centermen, but either will make an okay 2b center for the time being.
Physical Presence on the blueline
We need some of the defensemen to step up their physical game (or add someone that will), players that will make the opposition look over their shoulder and wonder when they could get laid out.
Cundari's addition and Butler being much more physical this season are a step in the right direction, but there needs to be more hitting from the likes of Giordano & Wideman both of whom can lay guys out but more or less abstained from getting physical this year.
Becoming more physical on the backend will cause opposition forwards to rush plays a little more and cause more turnovers in our favor and will make it harder on guys parking the,selves in front of our net.
Top 9 Physical Presence
Our forwards are pushed around too easy and with the exception of Glencross completely lack the ability to push back. Ideally a big strong physical center is in the cards, as well as a couple wingers to make our forward group more dangerous along the boards and have the size & strength to open up space for our more skilled wingers.
I am not including this under centermen because our problem is bigger than that. The problems for this team in the faceoff circle are 2 fold. 1) the centermen just aren't good enough on draws, we need to acquire at least 2 centermen that have shown they can win 53% or more on draws. 2) the wingers lack the size and strength to help the centers win draws when the puck gets tied up. This weakness on the wings causes the centermen to have to try and cheat a bit because they know they have to win draws cleanly, which results in them being thrown out of the circle way too often, we especially saw that with Stajan this year.
Like with center ice this is all encompassing. Hartley has given all defensemen the green light to pinch, it means the defensemen need to learn when the right time to pinch is, it also means the forwards need to be aware of what's happening so someone covers the blueline, all too often we see 4 players within 20 feet of the net. Another area of improvement would be having the forwards wait just a little longer to leave to defensive zone, they need to make sure that possession is gained before they exit. These improvements along with playing more physical in the defensive zone would do wonders.
Brw, I don't want to toot my own horn. But I most definitely called it yesterday, that there was the chance that Minny goes for it too hard, and ends up losing. I wasn't expecting the thrashing they got (no one was), but I thought Edmonton had a win left in'em.