My enthusiasm for the upcoming season is at an all-time low. I don't remember an off-season like this; where I've had almost not hope for the upcoming year. As I browse these potential lineups I just can't help but thinking, "wow, this is ugly."
Pitkanen is a stud, and he'll be leading this corp.
Gauthier is a medical miracle. It really makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to watch a person who was born with a walnut for a brain make it to big leagues of the NHL. The guy makes so many bone-headed plays, it's ridiculous. Not a good defenseman.
Hatcher and Rathje are the question marks. They started off last season decent, and faded as the year went on. They were both poor in the post-season, and the Sabres forwards skated circles around them. Some here on this forum say it's because they were hurt or were still feeling the effects of a lingering injury. Maybe. I say they're just not effective in the new NHL. I honestly don't expect much from either of them.
This is not the kind of team you get excited about, unless of course you're a masochist. The defense is about as maneuverable as a dead elephant, the only real forward who steps up to create anything is out for the half the season, and whether or not this team has any depth will be decided by three second-year players. Ugh.
Simon Gagne - Peter Forsberg - Mike Knuble
R.J. Umberger - Jeff Carter - Niko Dimitrakos
Petr Nedved - Mike Richards - Michal Handzus
Randy Robitaille - Keith Primeau - Sami Kapanen
Ben Eager - Marty Murray - Brad Tapper
Matt Ellison - Ryan Potulny - Stefan Ruzicka
Joni Pitkanen - Mike Rathje
Freddy Meyer - Derian Hatcher
Denis Gauthier - Nolan Baumgarner
Lars Jonsson - Alexandre Picard
Randy Jones - Jussi Timonen
Depressing isn't it? Dimitrakos will be on the 3rd line. Sammy would really really help the second line actually work in my opinion. Either way, we need another playmaker.
Surely there's a trade in the works here, or Primeau's gone, because the stockpile of 3rd and 4th liners is pretty deep now. Hell, with Forsberg out we've got Handzus, Richards, Primeau, Carter, Murray, Nedved, Robitaille at center. They all deserve to be playing, how does that work then? A few of them at wing? Where do the wingers go? The four of so of them that are actual wingers that is...
Tonnes of depth but no playmaking forwards, unless Nedved is suddenly going to revert to his passing game instead of that defensive play he adopted with us?
No, there's too much depth here, we need a top-6 talent. Trade? Samsonov? Where does Nedved fit in? Can he really carry the playmaking load? If so he only plays center doesn't he? Do you switch Carter to the wing? Does Nedved take control of the first line?
The team has a lot of questionable players who need to perform. I honestly think Primeau's gone and we're going for Sammy or a trade's coming because I can't see this team quite working... But maybe we'll get Dancin' Anson! Another player who needs the puck planted right on his stick and who isn't quite the physical presence! Woo!