So, after all the UFA signings we have seen, Ottawa signs Hamel, who most here think will never make the NHL ... hummmm?
It continues to look like Ottawa is going to go with what they have and if Kaigorodov does not come to NA, then we will go with Spezza, Fisher, Vermette and Kelly at centre. Smolinski may get 1st or 2nd line centre but I would think they would continue to use him at LW.
Smolinski - Spezza - Alfredson - Smoke is the defensive expert this line needs.
Havlat - Fisher - Hossa - Fisher brings the grit and muscle this line needs.
Schaefer - Vermette - Bochenki / Eaves - whoever is better at training camp.
Varada - Kelly - Neil - McGratton should get about 20 games.
If we don't sign anyone, this is still a good team but IMO it is still too small and soft. Two of either Smoke, Schaefer, Varada or Kelly have to be replaced with bigger, tougher guys. First, a centre who can win faceoffs and drop his gloves on occassion, Scatchard fits the bill but what would it cost to get him off the island? Travis Green would be a good 4th line centre at a reduced cost or Weimer if we could get him for maybe Prusek. Is Langfeld gone?
Allison and Lindros are still available who would add some size, grit and scoring but would have to come with a major reduction in salary, unless of course, the rumours are true and they sign with hogtown. Add these two and send Smoke and Schaefer to the NYI for Scatchard and I would be very happy with this team. Then use our farm in case of injuries, (Hamel, Eaves, Wick, Bochenski).
Which team do you like better, the one above or the one below?
Lindros - Allison - Alfredson - injuries are the only concern on this line.
Havlat - Spezza - Hossa - 1st line makes this line more likely and more potent.
Schaefer - Fisher - Vermette - good defensive line with some scoring ability.
Varada - Scatchard/Green - Neil - the mean Green energy line.
Scatchard is a UFA, but rumour has it that NYR is offering him $2.2m, way out of Ottawa's range. Besides, by the time Muckler gets around to signing all our RFAs, guys like Scatchard will be long gone.