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Offseason Discussion Part III (Contract/FA chart in post #1)

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Old
05-12-2012, 08:02 PM
  #426
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A point per game.

The biggest reasons the Penguins lost in the playoffs, in order, would be goaltending, penalty killing, and defensive zone play. Stewart, Kulemin, Parise and whatever other wingers people are trumping would do zilch for those three things. I can't put it any more plainly.
That's not true. If we have possession of the puck in the offensive zone more often we'd take less penalties, we'd be in our defensive zone less and they'd take less shots at our goalie. Improving our wingers would improve our offensive puck possession which would improve all three of those things greatly. I can't put it any more plainly.

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05-12-2012, 08:02 PM
  #427
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Wow. Definitely typed out the dreaded "could care less". Couldn't care less, damnit.

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05-12-2012, 08:04 PM
  #428
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People need to go ahead & watch the Ranger/Caps game right now. Teams did not get this far by because they can posses the puck. This strategy has got us bumped from the playoffs for three straight years.

"Wear down their defense" What does that even mean? We beat the crap out of their D on the forecheck. Even injuring Grossman. Hits don't equal goals. What any of this has to do with defense I don't know. The Devils showed that you can be aggressive on the forecheck & play great defense. Teams just let the Pens posses the puck all day as long as they don't break down the box in front of the net.

It's not going to hurt the Pens to add a guy like Stewart or Kuliemen for sure but it's not the biggest weakness.

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05-12-2012, 08:10 PM
  #429
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Originally Posted by eXile59 View Post
People need to go ahead & watch the Ranger/Caps game right now. Teams did not get this far by because they can posses the puck. This strategy has got us bumped from the playoffs for three straight years.
Have you watched the Devils, Blues or Kings all year? They all possess the puck better than we do in the offensive zone.

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It's not going to hurt the Pens to add a guy like Stewart or Kuliemen for sure but it's not the biggest weakness.
Maybe it's not the biggest weakness, but its probably the most easily fixed. We have forward spots that need to be filled. We have what, 9 defenseman signed who are ready to step in game 1 of next year? Not counting Niskanen. We aren't making enough major moves on D to rebuild it. We don't need to. We have a good defensive roster. If we lose Staal we have 4 forwards who can be counted on for scoring.

Bottom line: Improving our forwards would improve our team defense. If Staal goes, we absolutely have to improve the top 6 wings. We could get Suter and Weber. If we only have 4 top-6 forwards we aren't winning anything.

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05-12-2012, 08:19 PM
  #430
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Originally Posted by Ogrezilla View Post
That's not true. If we have possession of the puck in the offensive zone more often we'd take less penalties, we'd be in our defensive zone less and they'd take less shots at our goalie. Improving our wingers would improve our offensive puck possession which would improve all three of those things greatly. I can't put it any more plainly.
Taking less penalties doesn't really improve a penalty kill, unless you take zero penalties I guess. And Zach Parise won't keep Fleury from knocking pucks into his own net and biffing soft wristers from outside the circles.

Basically what you're advocating is that the Penguins should continue the run-and-gun, and build the team accordingly. Instead of losing 8-4 to the Flyers, with another elite winger or two, they might win 7-5. Good idea.

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05-12-2012, 08:20 PM
  #431
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Taking less penalties doesn't really improve a penalty kill, unless you take zero penalties I guess. And Zach Parise won't keep Fleury from knocking pucks into his own net and biffing soft wristers from outside the circles.

Basically what you're advocating is that the Penguins should continue the run-and-gun, and build the team accordingly. Instead of losing 8-4 to the Flyers, with another elite winger or two, they might win 7-5. Good idea.
I most certainly am not. I'm saying we should play more like the Kings and Devils. Or like the 2009 Penguins. Aggressive but responsible forechecking.

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05-12-2012, 08:22 PM
  #432
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Originally Posted by eXile59 View Post
People need to go ahead & watch the Ranger/Caps game right now. Teams did not get this far by because they can posses the puck. This strategy has got us bumped from the playoffs for three straight years.

"Wear down their defense" What does that even mean? We beat the crap out of their D on the forecheck. Even injuring Grossman. Hits don't equal goals. What any of this has to do with defense I don't know. The Devils showed that you can be aggressive on the forecheck & play great defense. Teams just let the Pens posses the puck all day as long as they don't break down the box in front of the net.

It's not going to hurt the Pens to add a guy like Stewart or Kuliemen for sure but it's not the biggest weakness.
Do the Pens really play a puck possession game though?

The Pens headman the puck only to have the winger tap it behind the defense and go get it again. Thats dump and chase not really puck possession. There's no bait and lure, no plays to the slot and no set up of offensive plays. That last 3/4 of the ice is played so elementary its insane.


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05-12-2012, 08:34 PM
  #433
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Ok guys, what D can we realistically get for Staal? Maybe even Staal+? I know Myers is likely out of the question, so who else? Perhaps even Staal+ for a stud dman and a up and coming guy. Would have to add some nice pieces. I am probably being unrealistic but I say let's get rid of everyone but Tang and Eng since he's on a steal of a deal. Staal+ for 2 Dmen (stud and up and coming), Despres gets a chance on roster.

Letang-Stud
Despres-other dman
Eng-Bort
Strait

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05-12-2012, 09:05 PM
  #434
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Ok guys, what D can we realistically get for Staal? Maybe even Staal+? I know Myers is likely out of the question, so who else? Perhaps even Staal+ for a stud dman and a up and coming guy. Would have to add some nice pieces. I am probably being unrealistic but I say let's get rid of everyone but Tang and Eng since he's on a steal of a deal. Staal+ for 2 Dmen (stud and up and coming), Despres gets a chance on roster.

Letang-Stud
Despres-other dman
Eng-Bort
Strait
just a little bit

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05-13-2012, 02:00 PM
  #435
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It would be nice to have an upgrade at wing. Like I said before in the salary cap era this is a game of duo's. We already have the Malkin-Neal duo and now we need another piece for Crosby. Kunitz and Dupuis are great 3 man plug ins.

I agree that an increase on the wing would in turn help the defense, but what we need more than that is a better system. I'm not convinced that it was the players that shat the bed but rather the system that did. With that, I believe a new defensive system, even with our current dman roster, would do wonders for us.

The offensive system isn't bad but it needs work. Something we have been missing since 09 is the puck pursuit and pressure. We were relentless in 09 and thats what won it for us, especially in Game 6 and 7 against Detroit. We need a system that emphasizes pressure and pursuit. Can't stress that enough. We don't need grinders do to that...everyone can do that. Loading our roster up with grinders...it's not working.

Trade Staal
Ditch Martin
Add Wing
Add Dman
Add Backup

*Disclaimer: My first preference is to keep Staal and stick him on the wing. But when taking about possibly trading him...

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05-13-2012, 03:01 PM
  #436
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We posses the puck fine. It was hard to see against the Flyers because every other shot was going in but against the Habs & Lightning we posses the puck a lot. They just boxed us out & made average goaltenders look like hall a famers.

The only way we stand a chance is Bylsma realizing this attack at all times attitude is not conducive to winning playoff hockey. Puck possession had nothing to do with why we lost to the Flyers.

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05-13-2012, 03:12 PM
  #437
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Originally Posted by eXile59 View Post
We posses the puck fine. It was hard to see against the Flyers because every other shot was going in but against the Habs & Lightning we posses the puck a lot. They just boxed us out & made average goaltenders look like hall a famers.

The only way we stand a chance is Bylsma realizing this attack at all times attitude is not conducive to winning playoff hockey. Puck possession had nothing to do with why we lost to the Flyers.
It's not an either/or scenario being presented. There were huge issues with our D-zone that need remedied, moving Martin and altering our strategy a little bit when we get hemmed in is all that's needed IMO.

But it's plain as day which team was harder to play against between us and Jersey. The Devils hemmed Philly in for the majority of series. They pressured them all over the ice. We did not.

NJ's forwards have a good combination of size and skill. Making plays down low and torching a less than ideal Philly D-corps. Outside of CSK, I didn't see a line do anything of the sort in our series for us with any regularity.

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05-13-2012, 03:16 PM
  #438
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It would be nice to have an upgrade at wing. Like I said before in the salary cap era this is a game of duo's. We already have the Malkin-Neal duo and now we need another piece for Crosby. Kunitz and Dupuis are great 3 man plug ins.

I agree that an increase on the wing would in turn help the defense, but what we need more than that is a better system. I'm not convinced that it was the players that shat the bed but rather the system that did. With that, I believe a new defensive system, even with our current dman roster, would do wonders for us.

The offensive system isn't bad but it needs work. Something we have been missing since 09 is the puck pursuit and pressure. We were relentless in 09 and thats what won it for us, especially in Game 6 and 7 against Detroit. We need a system that emphasizes pressure and pursuit. Can't stress that enough. We don't need grinders do to that...everyone can do that. Loading our roster up with grinders...it's not working.

Trade Staal
Ditch Martin
Add Wing
Add Dman
Add Backup

*Disclaimer: My first preference is to keep Staal and stick him on the wing. But when taking about possibly trading him...
SEALBound, if we're trading Staal, then we need more than a guy for Sid. We need to go into next season where BOTH Sid and Geno have two good wingers each.

The 3C model is nice because of the matchup problems it presents. BUT, a 3C model diluted by a lack of talent on the wings has been problematic for the last three years.

On the other hand, is it reasonable to wonder how the Pens would match up if they had a top line with arguably the best center in hockey and two good wingers followed by a second line with arguably the best center in hockey and two good wingers?

And, is it reasonable to think that matchup, properly executed, might be better in the playoffs, especially if the coach uses Sid and Geno like, say, Sutter uses Richards and Kopitar?

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05-13-2012, 03:21 PM
  #439
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It's not an either/or scenario being presented. There were huge issues with our D-zone that need remedied, moving Martin and altering our strategy a little bit when we get hemmed in is all that's needed IMO.

But it's plain as day which team was harder to play against between us and Jersey. The Devils hemmed Philly in for the majority of series. They pressured them all over the ice. We did not.

NJ's forwards have a good combination of size and skill. Making plays down low and torching a less than ideal Philly D-corps. Outside of CSK, I didn't see a line do anything of the sort in our series for us with any regularity.
Sully and Dupuis weren't wingers to help Sid with that. And, as for Malkin's line, well, Kunitz isn't a guy who's going to control things along the boards a la Malone or even Talbot during those 16 fortuitously timed games three years ago (which is an element a Malkin line needs). That isn't Neal's forte either. As such, both lines were quick strike or counter punch lines.

This is why I like the idea of, where we move Staal, making sure that say Kulemin and Stewart are coming back.

Kunitz-Sid-Stewart and Kulemin-Geno-Neal would not have the issues sustaining offensive zone pressure that Sid and Geno's playoff lines did.

The other issue is that ******* stretch pass. In Sid and Geno, you have the best two centers in hockey in terms of coming with speed, taking a short pass in the neutral zone, and then pushing back the other team. BUT, that was an element of the Pens breakout we haven't seen since 2009. It's got to come back . . . a little more short passing, puck support, and relying on Sid and Geno and a little less stretch pass and dump and chase would be a welcome change.

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05-13-2012, 03:33 PM
  #440
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It's not an either/or scenario being presented. There were huge issues with our D-zone that need remedied, moving Martin and altering our strategy a little bit when we get hemmed in is all that's needed IMO.

But it's plain as day which team was harder to play against between us and Jersey. The Devils hemmed Philly in for the majority of series. They pressured them all over the ice. We did not.

NJ's forwards have a good combination of size and skill. Making plays down low and torching a less than ideal Philly D-corps. Outside of CSK, I didn't see a line do anything of the sort in our series for us with any regularity.
They did hem them in a lot but not every second. When they weren't hemming them in they were playing conservative defense in their own zone & relying on their goalie to make big saves. The Pens need that to win. Christ Stewart might make the team better but doesn't address the underlining problem. That's all I'm saying.

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05-13-2012, 03:35 PM
  #441
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They did hem them in a lot but not every second. When they weren't hemming them in they were playing conservative defense in their own zone & relying on their goalie to make big saves. The Pens need that to win. Christ Stewart might make the team better but doesn't address the underlining problem. That's all I'm saying.
Well, I'm guessing the other part of the problem is a Pens defensive system that never has to worry about getting hemmed in, since they so readily concede the middle of the ice instead of keeping play to the perimeter like every other team in the playoffs.

I'll agree that's a bigger problem. BUT, puck possession and sustaining offensive zone pressure is another part of the problem.

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05-13-2012, 03:41 PM
  #442
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They did hem them in a lot but not every second. When they weren't hemming them in they were playing conservative defense in their own zone & relying on their goalie to make big saves. The Pens need that to win. Christ Stewart might make the team better but doesn't address the underlining problem. That's all I'm saying.
Agreed that we can't play in their end if we can't break the puck out properly and withstand some pressure.

Kunitz/Sid/Stewart
Kulemin/Malkin/Neal

That top 6 would be as difficult to contain off the rush as on the cycle. Even though Stewart has his short comings, the potential is there. Buy low on him when you can.

With D as an organizational strength and Staal a possible trade piece, I see the proposals I mentioned as helping our team most next year. If we can get a stud D-man then great, but I haven't seen too many realistic scenarios where we acquire one. Our coaching staff has to take a hard look at how we defend this offseason and let guys like Despres, Bort, Strait, Niskanen eat up some minutes with the departure of Martin.

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05-13-2012, 04:00 PM
  #443
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Agreed that we can't play in their end if we can't break the puck out properly and withstand some pressure.

Kunitz/Sid/Stewart
Kulemin/Malkin/Neal

That top 6 would be as difficult to contain off the rush as on the cycle. Even though Stewart has his short comings, the potential is there. Buy low on him when you can.

With D as an organizational strength and Staal a possible trade piece, I see the proposals I mentioned as helping our team most next year. If we can get a stud D-man then great, but I haven't seen too many realistic scenarios where we acquire one. Our coaching staff has to take a hard look at how we defend this offseason and let guys like Despres, Bort, Strait, Niskanen eat up some minutes with the departure of Martin.
IMO, this is 10X as important as who defends.

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05-13-2012, 04:08 PM
  #444
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IMO, this is 10X as important as who defends.
I've been saying that since about half way through the season. These are not bad players. They played very good defense last season. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to upgrade if possible but I don't think we need to scrap the entire defense like a few people here seem to want.

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05-13-2012, 04:13 PM
  #445
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I've been saying that since about half way through the season. These are not bad players. They played very good defense last season. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to upgrade if possible but I don't think we need to scrap the entire defense like a few people here seem to want.
Well, this is the ugly question in the back of my mind. For all the talk about who we should trade or who we should sign, part of me wonders if it will make any ******* difference as long as you've got Bylsma and the stooge assistants. Absent significant system changes and a willingness to use Sid and Geno more like Sutter uses Richards and Kopitar, I have my doubts.

EDIT: Then again, if both of those things happened (and if the result of moving Staal was that Sid and Geno both had two good wingers each), then I'm wondering if the impact of losing Staal might not be as pronounced as most fear.

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05-13-2012, 04:24 PM
  #446
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Well, this is the ugly question in the back of my mind. For all the talk about who we should trade or who we should sign, part of me wonders if it will make any ******* difference as long as you've got Bylsma and the stooge assistants. Absent significant system changes and a willingness to use Sid and Geno more like Sutter uses Richards and Kopitar, I have my doubts.

EDIT: Then again, if both of those things happened (and if the result of moving Staal was that Sid and Geno both had two good wingers each), then I'm wondering if the impact of losing Staal might not be as pronounced as most fear.
I agree. I don't think Bylsma is a bad coach in general, but I think he needs to learn to adjust. He is stubborn to a fault. I get the feeling that the coaches are too similar so there's nobody in the room to point out when something isn't right. Sometimes you need to coach a playoff game against the Flyers differently than a game in November against the Leafs.

As for moving Staal, I absolutely think it can be done in a way that actually makes us a better team. Especially if it means Sid and Geno not only play more in important games, but with better wings. Replace Staal on the third with a steady defensive center that won't lose us games. I think 2 stacked lines could cause just as many if not more matchup problems than what we've seen with the 3C model.


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05-13-2012, 04:25 PM
  #447
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I liked what I saw from Tangradi this season and in the WBS playoffs. It would be nasty to ice a group of top 6 wingers in the near future all around the same age as our centers and signed longterm. Tangradi/Neal/Stewart/Kulemin. Serious combination of size, skill and grit.

Trade D-men as our young guys realize their potential and hopefully Shero's later round picks pan out in the bottom six when Duper and Cooke run out of gas.

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05-13-2012, 04:34 PM
  #448
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I liked what I saw from Tangradi this season and in the WBS playoffs. It would be nasty to ice a group of top 6 wingers in the near future all around the same age as our centers and signed longterm. Tangradi/Neal/Stewart/Kulemin. Serious combination of size, skill and grit.

Trade D-men as our young guys realize their potential and hopefully Shero's later round picks pan out in the bottom six when Duper and Cooke run out of gas.
I wish I had any clue what to expect for Tangradi; both from himself and how Bylsma will use him.

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05-13-2012, 04:36 PM
  #449
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I agree. I don't think Bylsma is a bad coach in general, but I think he needs to learn to adjust. He is stubborn to a fault. I get the feeling that the coaches are too similar so there's nobody in the room to point out when something isn't right. Sometimes you need to coach a playoff game against the Flyers differently than a game in November against the Leafs.

As for moving Staal, I absolutely think it can be done in a way that actually makes us a better team. Especially if it means Sid and Geno not only play more in important games, but with better wings. Replace Staal on the third with a steady defensive center that won't lose us games. I think 2 stacked lines could cause just as many if not more matchup problems than what we've seen with the 3C model.
When you consider how Shero's budget for the defense has diluted the wingers who can play with the three centers, yes, I agree that having two lines with arguably the best player in hockey centering two good wingers probably would mean greater matchup advantages.

That said, it all still boils down to Bylsma. I hate to say it, but, if Staal is moved, Malkin will be the key. Once upon a time, before Bylsma became coach, Malkin was a takeaway specialist and awesome on the PK, a guy who thrived on being used in the way that Torts used/uses LeCavalier or Richards. Bylsma never used him that way. But, no Staal, then maybe he'll use Geno that way (and Sid too for that matter). I'll hope for that. I just won't hold my breath.

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I wish I had any clue what to expect for Tangradi; both from himself and how Bylsma will use him.
It might have been nice to find out during last regular season, because we sure could've used a top nine guy in the playoffs like the Tangradi we saw for maybe a half dozen shifts a playoff game.

Side note: We've discussed Kulemin. Let's say Shero moves Staal another direction and Kulemin is not an option. Push comes to shove, I'd still take a peek at Malone IF Tampa was taking Martin and TK. I highly prefer Kulemin, but I want to move Kunitz back with Sid (a) because he's a much better, more natural complement for Sid and (b) because I don't think he gives Geno and Neal the board work and net drive and more consistent ability to overwhelm people physically that those two more ideally need in a complementary LW. Obvious risks with Malone, but remember . . . his NTC expired, so you can use him as a stop gap and move him or bury him in the minors in a year or two. Plus, he's got a little of that SOB element the Pens were missing in the playoffs, not to mention the innate ability to be a PP net presence (something the Pens lack outside of Tangradi).

EDIT: Just a thought for the 'keep Staal' camp. TK+Martin for Malone. Cooke+Bennett (I'd give my first, but I think a deal can be done) for Stewart. Those two deals have a net cap hit of about ZERO.

Kunitz-Sid-Stewart
Malone-Malkin-Neal
Tangradi-Staal-Dupuis

Point is, you can resign Staal for the 6M it probably takes, go for it next year, and then just start moving guys like Michalek, like Orpik, like Malone (who no longer has a NTC), or like Kunitz to make it work out. Also, given how Dupuis has played and frankly the little chemistry Tangradi showed with Staal, that line might work too.

The key would be to make sure that no line is a 'shut down' line. Every line is treated equally in that regard, and Sid and Geno share in the defensive matchup and PK responsibilities (as noted by me and others elsewhere, Geno actually thrives from that, not that Bylsma ever bothered to notice since becoming coach and turning Geno into an offensive specialist).


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05-13-2012, 04:46 PM
  #450
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Well, this is the ugly question in the back of my mind. For all the talk about who we should trade or who we should sign, part of me wonders if it will make any ******* difference as long as you've got Bylsma and the stooge assistants. Absent significant system changes and a willingness to use Sid and Geno more like Sutter uses Richards and Kopitar, I have my doubts.

EDIT: Then again, if both of those things happened (and if the result of moving Staal was that Sid and Geno both had two good wingers each), then I'm wondering if the impact of losing Staal might not be as pronounced as most fear.
Perhaps I have not seen enough games but can you explain to me briefly exactly how Sutter used Richards and Kopitar?

If we can use Staal (and perhaps another trade) to get some good help on the wings for Sid and Geno, then sign a dedicated shutdown 3C...I think we can survive without Staal. The only problem is...if Sid or Geno go down...what are we left with? Jeffery might be able to step in...but after that we don't have many great centers, which why to me keeping Staal would be best.

You use Staal to get your Crosby winger. Think Ryan type. Then you can use Orpik or Martin to get another one. Think Stewart type. Then sign a dedicated shutdown 3C like Gaustad and I think we can ice a decent team.

We have Letang, Orpik/Martin, Michalek, Niskanen, Engo, Despres, and Strait all waiting for time. I think we can ice a decent defense with a change in system.

Here's something else we need to consider, if we pick up 2 wingers with the intention of dropping Dupuis to the bottom 6, it means we have too many bottom 6 wingers. Kennedy might not be a bad option to jettison...especially if we could combine him with a dman for a winger (think Martin/Orpik + TK for Stewart).

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