I think there should be no question that Eller is our #2C to start the year. DD has been surpassed by him and should either move to Eller's wing or be sheltered on the third line. If Eller gets screwed by having to play 3C again after being our best player down the stretch (subban aside) it will not only be unfair to him but it will simply be holding our team back. Especially with Briere who can fit nicely on ellers wing as the playmaker.
Id like to see (assuming Gionta is on the IR):
gonna be real tough to make the playoffs next year in the East, with 16 teams and the new playoff format. (3 best teams from Division A, 3 best teams from Division B, then 10 teams fighting for 2 remaining spots)
If we don't replace Emelin and Gionta tomorrow, we're in trouble (this is what we're currently looking at for the first 6-8 weeks of the season)
Best place to hide Briere's lack of defense is probably on Eller's RW. I'd rather Gallagher there to form a kicking 2nd line but Desharnais and Briere on the ice together would scare me even in managed minutes.
It might mean a weak 2nd pair, but I think the best move is to play Markov and Subban together as the heavy shutdown pair and have them dominate.