I know its only four games into the season, and there have been a number of positives - the emergence of Raycroft and Jillson comes to mind - but, in all honesty, I believe our current line up amounts to a 6th to 8th place finish at best. Our offence to date has been woefuly inadequate, exposing our need for a second line pivot, while our defence, with a few exceptions, has been exposed as slow and immobile. If not for some luck and fine goaltending, we could very easily be 0-4-0.
As it stands, we have no second line to speak of. Joe is going to be in for a long season if we don't spell him some offensive relief down the middle. I truly believe that Rolston is better served on the wing, which leaves Green (a good third line center), and Bergeron (who while impressive in limited action should be allowed to develop). To top off our offensive woes, is the revolving door on the Thornton-Murray line. I hate to be critical of Sully this early, but the answer to his top line is sitting right in front of him - Knuble. They had incredible chemistry last season. Without time on the top line, Knuble will be an offensive bust.
We also need a number one or two defenceman. Someone who can move the puck, but isn't a liability in his own zone a la Berard. I realize that these weaknesses are difficult to solve, but I believe that with a bit of creativity, management has the resourses, ie. players, prospects and cash available to acquire the personel to fill in the holes in our line up without selling the farm.
The solution to our lack of a second line center is easier to solve than our defensive shortcomings. In my opinion, O'Connell should seriously consider signing Adam Oates to a one-year deal. Not only would Oates provide us with an adequate second line, but he would be the ideal mentor for Bergeron. Oates costs us nothing but cash, leaving management the neccessary resources to acquire a quality defenceman.
There are plenty of d-men that would look good in black and gold, but realistically there are few teams with an abundance of quality d-men that can afford, or are willing to deal one. One team that comes to mind is the Islanders, with Aucoin, Hamrlick, Niinimaa, and Jonsson. Would mad Mike be willing to deal one of the four? If so, O'Connell should seriously persue the possibilty.
Until we acquire another defenceman, our line up, with the addition of Oates, would look something like this:
To start...keep Lapointe off the LW...please!
Not sure that the Islanders would trade a blueliner but if Samsonov was included then a deal could work out but not with our depth players as trade bait.
No Grosek's and Zamuner's wouldn't cut it.
...but you are right we need a little extra something still back on the blueline.
I also don't think the B's are going to look for help in Oates...even if it sound like it would make sence.
I'm sure deals will happen in time but I wouldn't be quick to deal Samsonov even for a good D-man.
I think with some depth at center now...even if we don't have a great playermaker below Thornton the B's will give guys like Rolston/Green/Bergeron and maybe even Zinovjev still before they make a move that includes any of the better talent on the team.
I am interested to see how young Bergeron plays out.
Still we may not score as much as the last few years but this team has depth and not sure we can't win with what we now have????
To obtain a guy like say Hamrlik from the Islanders it wll take a talented winger in return...and not a bunch of Huml's and Grosek's.
Not sure we are in that big of a need at this point????
1st line wouldn't be so hard for Rolston to go back to wing on...for him..I wouldn't think.
Thornton would have a few guys who can shoot the puck!
...I do like Axe and Rolston together as well...but they can still do PK's together.
2nd line would be a little iffy...but maybe Bergeron and Lapointe would work...I just think this line could work.
3rd line would be solid but able to score a little as well...this one could play against the other teams best line...the so called checking line!
4th line would be able to hit with Grosek in the lineup or be more solid with guys like Zamuner and Donato as veterans to play a simple game.
I still love the idea of signing Adam Oates. As most of you know I am not as worried and caught up with having a "puck moving D-man" like Berard as you all are. My opinion on that is if we dont have a very good one, then an average one will only be a hinderance to the club (See Berard, Bryan-2002-03).
Signing Oates for one last hurrah is a great idea however. He would add stability and be a marked improvement over Stumpel. One thing Adam Oates has always done is make players around him better...the mark of a great player.
Sure our second line production isn't likely to be ideal, but I'm not sure it will be as bad as some people suggest either. I know I sure wouldn't want Oates back, because he may make us a little better this year, but he hurts the team in the long run
So what do we expect from scoring numbers. With the second line the way it is now, I would still expect that line to chip in between 50 and 60 goalds (Sammy 30, Green 15, other 15)
But we also have a third line that will contribute upwards of 50 - 60 goals as well (Rolly 30, Axe 15, Bergeron 15).
If you get 100-120 goals from your second and third line, how far is that behind average in this league
A second line center would help. Adam Oates would be a huge addition to the Bruins and would bolster the second line and would give you guys two great scoring lines. Resigning Bryan Berard would help your PP(I am not sure if its doing good or bad though)