What's our bigger need? Top 6 forward or defensive depth?
I was going to put this in the trade deadline thread but I wanted to make a poll to see what everyone thought about this.
Pretty simple. Pick one. Bigger need: top 6 or d-depth.
I say at the end of the day a top 6 is the more explosive acquisition but if we really had one need I'd say defensive depth. Will be cheaper, keep the guys we have in tact, and we really don't have too many issues scoring goals at the end of the day so it's not as pressing as veteran defensive toughness in my mind.
Three games since New Year's with less than three scored by our guys. We're in a relative dead heat in goals per game with Tampa, the Rangers, and Washington.
Solidify the defensive pairings ... add depth up front ... in that order given the current trade market and level of play from our guys. If a guy like Nash/Carter/Parise somehow becomes available though we need to make a serious offer. Yes, it may require juggling our lines and changing the chemistry, but, it's a risk worth taking.
Given we know how much Trotz trusts rookies, and we know how Cube's play drops off when he plays too many minutes, and we're about 10th in the league in scoring, I just don't see how F scoring can be a HIGHER priority. Maybe you can argue equal, but unless Trotz is gonna' go 25/20/15 on the pairings I don't know how our D holds up for a deep run - and Trotz isn't gonna' do that with those rookies.
"Top six forward" is such a vague term. We need a guy who can possess the puck really well to go out there on a long shift and cycle in the offensive end, wear down the opposition, and create scoring chances by making the other team move their feet. That's how you create chances on the power play, but the only player we have that can really control a three-man cycle is Erat. We put him out there with Fisher and Hornqvist and we're totally helpless. A guy like Derek Roy or Tomas Plekanec would be a huge boost in that department.
I'm not sure how much a guy like Nash or Carter helps us. They can create space for our other forwards, but their strength is not possession and control, it's in finishing chances. We have to set up in the offensive end before we can even think about a guy like that being a factor, and that's something we simply can't seem to do with any kind of regularity.
That said, Bouillon is horrible with the puck on his stick. He kills any offensive buildup this team might be able to generate. If we could get a good deal on a defenseman that can handle the puck without being a major liability in the other end, that might go a long way to helping us establish offensive pressure.
Since the playoffs often bring forth stellar performances by forwards playing over their heads for the right period of time (see Joel Ward, Doug Wickenheiser, etc), I'd have to say someone to replace the Cube or a renowned penalty killing forward... but not at the expense of our secondary scoring. What killed us against Vancouver last year was not being able to neutralize Kessler and the inability to effectively split 6/20 IMO. Our discipline and ability to juggle lines are blessings that tell me we need to add a defenseman that logs 20 minutes that we don't notice because they defend well!