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Defensive depth...do they have it?

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11-18-2006, 12:08 AM
  #1
Whaddagoal
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Defensive depth...do they have it?

When weighing in the recent goalie woes, I feel there isn't a concern there, but rather there should be some for the Thrashers defensive depth.

To me, there just isn't enough quality depth. Defense has been the weaklink, season-after-season... and now its being highlighted again - now that some injuries are cropping up. I'm not sure where you guys rate the core, but in my opinion, they're not poor, but they're not high-end either. As a GROUP, I'd say they're mid-tier talent but can at times (for brief periods) play a high-end game...if all is well.

Teamwise I think of it as this:

1)Havelid
2)De Vries
3)Vishnevski
4)Sutton

5)Exelby
6)McCarthy
7)Hnidy

extras: Coburn and Popovic
------

Mixup 2, 3, and 4 anyway you like - at least I think of it that way. To me Exelby and McCarthy are interchangable in ranking, you can arrange those two based on your offensive or defensive preference.

Comparing to a top team, I feel the Thrashers top 4 would be pushed down at least a notch, if not more.. in Sutton and Vishnevski's case. This is not a general knock on the guys individually, I think they're all doing what they can so far this season, but are being asked to play a slightly higher role than they would on another team with more depth -- which is workable......until injuries.

Now with Exelby and McCarthy out... it thins out an already stretched out d-corp talent wise. So you have to patch up the team with backup Hnidy, Popovic or Coburn - with the latter two being relatively unknown quanities, but lends towards the negative more than positive. Hartley will give them minor roles, but will overload the top 4, as most coaches would with this depth....

Not sure the Thrashers will be able to last the season defensively if we don't bring another quality defender - but who and how?

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11-18-2006, 12:55 AM
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well, there are always depth defense available, and I am a firm believer in the theory that no one in NHL is untouchable. Anyone could be had, but we would need to remove something from the forward core to improve our defense, who would it be?

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11-18-2006, 01:33 AM
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Visnovsky comes to mind, so does Roman Hamrlik (although I haven't seen him play much in the "new" NHL).. Take a risk with Jovanoski, or Boynton? I'm not sure, plus sure how would the salaries even fit the Thrashers..cap and all..doh.

As for who we give up, I don't know...its hard to sort this out. We'd have to probably give them a depth D in return, plus a forward and possibly a prospect/pick? Losing a low-depth D + (forward and/or prospect/pick) and gaining Visnovky or Hamrlik would be worth it on paper.

The Thrashers have a bunch of forward depth, although still in the same lines as the d-corp. Krog, Haydar, Wanvig (hmm).... one could be called up. All are average. I don't think getting rid of Sim, or Kapanen so early is worth it yet. I'd like to see how the season pans out for them. If a deal were to be made earlier, we'd have to look at Slater maybe? Tough year for him already...

I can't imagine moving Holik (plus most teams probably can't or won't take his salary), his presence is too good, or maybe I have a soft spot for him during his NJ reign.

It's tough being a GM...

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11-18-2006, 02:56 AM
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We've got lots of "spare parts" type guys whose production should be fairly easy to replace. Off the top of my head, I'd list the following guys in this category:

Forwards:
Kapanen, Metropolit, Sim, Larsen, Vigier, Krog, Haydar

Defense:
Exelby, Hnidy, Popovic, and probably Coburn

I'd give up any two of these for a top four D-man, or any three for a top two D-man.

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11-18-2006, 03:07 AM
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I really don't think it's a defensive issue. Guys like Sutts and Devo are sacrificing their bodies to make things easier on their goaltenders, and the other cats are really playing very soundly. They're not spectacular by any means, but they're stout, and I like yeomen defenses. My only beef with the d-corps is the lack of offense it generates. If the team is going to have its forwards play defense, the defensemen need to be able to chip in offensively. Only McCarthy has been able to do this.

At the end of the day, the real problem with this team is the same thing it's always been. Goaltending is erratic at best; sometimes it's excellent, but for the last couple weeks it's been crap. Lehtonen's played like hell for about the past two weeks (with the exception of his relief effort against OTT), and if it weren't for Moose, the team would be in a complete tailspin. Either Kari's not that good, or his head is six shades of screwed.

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11-18-2006, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Whaddagoal View Post
Visnovsky comes to mind, so does Roman Hamrlik (although I haven't seen him play much in the "new" NHL).. Take a risk with Jovanoski, or Boynton? I'm not sure, plus sure how would the salaries even fit the Thrashers..cap and all..doh.

As for who we give up, I don't know...its hard to sort this out. We'd have to probably give them a depth D in return, plus a forward and possibly a prospect/pick? Losing a low-depth D + (forward and/or prospect/pick) and gaining Visnovky or Hamrlik would be worth it on paper.

The Thrashers have a bunch of forward depth, although still in the same lines as the d-corp. Krog, Haydar, Wanvig (hmm).... one could be called up. All are average. I don't think getting rid of Sim, or Kapanen so early is worth it yet. I'd like to see how the season pans out for them. If a deal were to be made earlier, we'd have to look at Slater maybe? Tough year for him already...

I can't imagine moving Holik (plus most teams probably can't or won't take his salary), his presence is too good, or maybe I have a soft spot for him during his NJ reign.

It's tough being a GM...
Atlanta is the only team I've thought of as being a good trading partner with L.A. + a good destination for Visnovsky.

If L.A. is truly in the mood to shop Visnovsky, who is a clear-cut #1, puck-moving defenseman that would instantly help the Thrashers as a whole, then I would think a package around Coburn, a serviceable NHLer (but not an impact player necessarily for Atlanta), and a quality pick (first-round type quality) would be the type of return L.A. would seek. At the minimum.

And I think Atlanta could part ways with that package for a player like Visnovsky without too much trouble.

Salaries would be easy to balance, as Visnovsky is cheap (and on the hook for another year following this one).

I don't know, maybe not enough going L.A's way, but it's a thought, and would definitely shore up Atlanta's defensive woes.



On the topic of this thread, like someone I believe mentioned already, the actual players on the Thrasher blueline are not bad ... but none of them are really top-pairing calibre. Depth isn't the issue; the lack of top-pairing defensemen are. Add a top-pairing defenseman or two, and everyone gets moved down a slot or two, and instantly there's good depth.

If Waddell is serious in his bid to make the Thrashers a quality playoff-bound, contender-possible club immediately, which I believe he is serious about, then a move for a player like Visnovsky should be the highest priority.

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11-20-2006, 03:12 PM
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We could certanly use a decent defenseman but who would we have to give up...

We can't get a league top 5 defenseman cause we have no room under the salary cap and no players to trade... You can't trade Kozlov cause of his age and who in their right mind would trade him now!? When I think about it, there's no one on offense that can be traded because it would most probably distrupt the team chemistry... no, trades are off. We just have to work hard and the results will come...

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11-20-2006, 04:01 PM
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At the end of the day, the real problem with this team is the same thing it's always been. Goaltending is erratic at best; sometimes it's excellent, but for the last couple weeks it's been crap. Lehtonen's played like hell for about the past two weeks (with the exception of his relief effort against OTT), and if it weren't for Moose, the team would be in a complete tailspin. Either Kari's not that good, or his head is six shades of screwed.
Don't you think that it's Hartley fault as well?

Till Oct23rd game vs. Florida he averaged an above .90 SV% and never allowed more than 3 GAA, except in the CAR game.

After the Florida game his SV% was under .90 (save his relief effort vs. Ottawa) and allowed 4 or 5 numerous times.

Hedberg should have been giving a start earlier than Oct26th considering Kari's injury woes from last year.

Pulling Hedberg and letting Lehtonen take the SO (vs. Philly) was moronic. And later Hartley starts Hedberg four times straight. He went with the hot goalie just like he did in Colorado, but hey Lehtonen is not Patrick Roy. IMO You don't do this to your (young) #1 goaltender.

Hartley prefer to play Rucchin instead of Metropolit, who is averaging more points.

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11-20-2006, 04:27 PM
  #9
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I agree that Metro should be getting more time, but Slater is the guy who should be seeing reduced minutes, not Rucchin.

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11-20-2006, 04:52 PM
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While I agree that Metro should play more, you can't judge Rucchin just on points - he's pretty good defensively.

As for the defense, I don't know what we're doing with Hnidy. Shouldn't even be on the team. Popovic's being underrated, imo, too.

Quote:
We can't get a league top 5 defenseman cause we have no room under the salary cap and no players to trade...
iirc, there's at least 4 million cap room left. We're at 39 and cap is at 44, or not? I'm still surprised Allison's not been picked up... As for trading Kozlov - why would you want to? He's having arguably his best season in the NHL and is one of the 5 guys actually performing.

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11-20-2006, 05:29 PM
  #11
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If I recall correctly, there's at least 4 million cap room left. We're at 39 and cap is at 44, or not?
Actually the Thrashers are at $41.258 million at the moment and therefore have $2.742 m of cap space. Dunno, if they have to pay penalties for being over the cap last year.

BTW I really like to see what guys like Krog and Sterling can do in the NHL.

PS: Ktown? Köln?

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11-20-2006, 05:36 PM
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Amen evil king
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The cap is really hard to work out mid-season. Because it's calculated on a daily basis, it's near impossible to figure out with the numerous callups etc.

The HF global mod Irish Blues puts a ton of effort into all things cap related, and at his site he has our payroll room at $2,188,252.

Karppa, that site you got the info from isn't 100% up to date (in fact I don't think it has been updated since the start of the season). It has Brathwaite's salary included and has Coburn still injured, no Popovic etc.

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11-20-2006, 07:16 PM
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2.188 million. Much less than I thought. Still should be possible to get that Dman, though.

And Ktown = Kaiserslautern. It was too long for the field when typed with Germany.

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11-21-2006, 12:30 PM
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If I recall correctly, there's at least 4 million cap room left. We're at 39 and cap is at 44, or not? I'm still surprised Allison's not been picked up... As for trading Kozlov - why would you want to? He's having arguably his best season in the NHL and is one of the 5 guys actually performing.
I'm not saying I want to, I'm just saying if there was a trade, Kozlov would be transferable... since Hossa and Kovie are untouchable...

As for the cap - you're right... but how to bid for a good defenseman when you have nothing to offer...

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11-21-2006, 01:34 PM
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I'm not saying I want to, I'm just saying if there was a trade, Kozlov would be transferable... since Hossa and Kovie are untouchable...

As for the cap - you're right... but how to bid for a good defenseman when you have nothing to offer...
I think Kozlov is about as untouchable as the other two. His chemistry with Hossa is way too valuable.

A move for Visnovski, centered around Coburn and a 1st, or some other decent aspects with another decent prospect like Pavelec (I think that's how you spell it, too lazy to look it up, no disrespect intended...) for Conroy would certainly deplete the organizational depth - but at positions we can afford. Coburn still has a lot of potential, but needs more time - which he'd get in a rebuilding effort like LA. Pavelec isn't going to replace Kari anytime soon, so he can go as well. Exelby can go too, if needed, as he's young and teams are still looking for guys that can make the big hit, and we already have a couple of those.

That would help solidify LA's prospect pools and let them let go of some older players - which is what teams in a mode like LA do. Throw in salary dumps as needed.

Call me nuts, but I think that makes us a legit contender:

Kovalchuk-Conroy-Mellanby
Kozlov-Rucchin-Hossa
Slater-Holik-Larsen
Vigier-Metropolit-Sim

Visnovsky-Sutton
Havelid-Vishnevski
X(if he stays), Hnidy-McCarthy

Lehtonen
Hedberg

The key about getting Conroy adn Visnovsky is that it bumps everybody down one position, rightfully so... that makes everybody more suited to the positions their abilities dictate. Visnovsky and Sutton would be a great pearing, IMO, a big, defensive shot blocking machine with an offensive quarterback.

Anyway, those are my suggestions.

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11-21-2006, 02:00 PM
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I think Kozlov is about as untouchable as the other two. His chemistry with Hossa is way too valuable.

A move for Visnovski, centered around Coburn and a 1st, or some other decent aspects with another decent prospect like Pavelec (I think that's how you spell it, too lazy to look it up, no disrespect intended...) for Conroy would certainly deplete the organizational depth - but at positions we can afford. Coburn still has a lot of potential, but needs more time - which he'd get in a rebuilding effort like LA. Pavelec isn't going to replace Kari anytime soon, so he can go as well. Exelby can go too, if needed, as he's young and teams are still looking for guys that can make the big hit, and we already have a couple of those.

That would help solidify LA's prospect pools and let them let go of some older players - which is what teams in a mode like LA do. Throw in salary dumps as needed.

Call me nuts, but I think that makes us a legit contender:

Kovalchuk-Conroy-Mellanby
Kozlov-Rucchin-Hossa
Slater-Holik-Larsen
Vigier-Metropolit-Sim

Visnovsky-Sutton
Havelid-Vishnevski
X(if he stays), Hnidy-McCarthy

Lehtonen
Hedberg

The key about getting Conroy adn Visnovsky is that it bumps everybody down one position, rightfully so... that makes everybody more suited to the positions their abilities dictate. Visnovsky and Sutton would be a great pearing, IMO, a big, defensive shot blocking machine with an offensive quarterback.

Anyway, those are my suggestions.
DW, are you reading this? I'm not saying I agree 100% since I'n not fully up on the players you propose we acquire, but it sounds reasonable if it's cap-reasonable.

People here were saying "No reason to make any deal now" because we were playing so well. Well, "playing so well" began stopping about on Oct. 25, the Sabre game excluded, and we had a 4 game win streak before the current 4 game losing streak. Anyway, things are less rosy than 3 weeks ago, so deals should be up for discussion.

OTOH, if we get our goaltending back on the right side of respectable (like the last game w/ Habs), the rest of the team game will likely improve, so maybe we can wait.

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11-21-2006, 02:13 PM
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DW, are you reading this? I'm not saying I agree 100% since I'n not fully up on the players you propose we acquire, but it sounds reasonable if it's cap-reasonable.

People here were saying "No reason to make any deal now" because we were playing so well. Well, "playing so well" began stopping about on Oct. 25, the Sabre game excluded, and we had a 4 game win streak before the current 4 game losing streak. Anyway, things are less rosy than 3 weeks ago, so deals should be up for discussion.

OTOH, if we get our goaltending back on the right side of respectable (like the last game w/ Habs), the rest of the team game will likely improve, so maybe we can wait.
Capwise it's doable, as all the players being traded are very reasonably priced. Visnovsky, as I remember, isn't young, but isn't old - he's 30. I believe he's also under contract for at least another year. In fact, I'd almost let them have their picks of our prospect pools, save Valabic and Bourret. Bourret seems to be a perfect compliment to Kovalchuk when he matures - a gritty, playmaking winger - and I think, along with Kozlov he'd be the type that's worth more to us due to his chemistry - assuming he meshes well.

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11-21-2006, 02:35 PM
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Waddell and the Thrashers have started to build prospect depth and now you want to trade away some of these prospects? In todays salary cap world it's extremely important to have young and CHEAP talent.

We already dealt away our 2007 2nd rounder (to Anaheim--> Colorado) and now you want to deal the 1st as well? Yikes!

Pavelec is probably a few years away from the NHL and we never know what will happen with Lehtonen. An Ondrej Pavalec playing up to his potential would be an advantage for the Thrashers GM in future Lehtonen contract negociations. Not to mention potential injuries to Kari.

A Visnovsky type of player is exactly what the Thrashers need, but the price for the Slovak will be too steep for us. Los Angeles could as well deal some it's prospect to take a run at the playoffs, this year.

Atlanta 1-2-3 center punch would be at least 34 years old. YIKES! Conroy has nine points in 22 points.

I doubt that Visnovsky and Conroy would make the Thrash a LEGIT contender.

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11-21-2006, 02:47 PM
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Waddell and the Thrashers have started to build prospect depth and now you want to trade away some of these prospects? In todays salary cap world it's extremely important to have young and CHEAP talent.

We already dealt away our 2007 2nd rounder (to Anaheim--> Colorado) and now you want to deal the 1st as well? Yikes!

Pavelec is probably a few years away from the NHL and we never know what will happen with Lehtonen. An Ondrej Pavalec playing up to his potential would be an advantage for the Thrashers GM in future Lehtonen contract negociations. Not to mention potential injuries to Kari.

A Visnovsky type of player is exactly what the Thrashers need, but the price for the Slovak will be too steep for us. Los Angeles could as well deal some it's prospect to take a run at the playoffs, this year.

Atlanta 1-2-3 center punch would be at least 34 years old. YIKES! Conroy has nine points in 22 points.

I doubt that Visnovsky and Conroy would make the Thrash a LEGIT contender.
In a salary cap world, it is most definitely important. I don't care about collecting a bunch of prospects and sitting on them. We either make a run for the cup or we don't, and we need players to help us get there. Prospects don't do that.

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11-21-2006, 03:02 PM
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Such is the delimina of GMs of teams trying to "make it", trade for talent now or stockpile prospects? I think the make-it-now sentiment wins out, especially after the good start this year. The fans, players & owners are impatient, especially the fans, in what is it? the eighth year of this franchise?

Winning a half-dozen playoff games will do wonders for this franchise, plus the owners need the short & long-term revenue boost that would bring.

I'm afraid the Thrashers have no choice: Deal for talent. If not now, then soon unless things turn around very quickly.

EDIT: It's not like we're No. 12 in the conference, we're still in good shape but the wins have to outnumber the losses until perhaps the half-way point, then reassess.


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11-21-2006, 03:06 PM
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In a salary cap world, it is most definitely important. I don't care about collecting a bunch of prospects and sitting on them. We either make a run for the cup or we don't, and we need players to help us get there. Prospects don't do that.
The Thrashers are not a Cup favorite. To be considered we need a quality scoring 1st line center, heck even a quality 2nd line scoring center and a #1 Dman. Acquiring Visnosvky and Conroy doesn't really get the job done. The Dman is a PPQB, but not quite a #1 Dman and Conroy is a 3rd line defensive center.

What's it worth to make one run at the playoffs and then going back to being a lottery team?

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11-21-2006, 03:14 PM
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I'm afraid the Thrashers have no choice: Deal for talent. If not now, then soon unless things turn around very quickly.
Yeah let's deal Little, Bourret, Pavelec because we want to win the Cup this year.

I don't say that we should hold on to all prospects, but dealing Pavelec would be a wrong signal. I'm fine with trading Coburn though.

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11-21-2006, 03:34 PM
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Yeah let's deal Little, Bourret, Pavelec because we want to win the Cup this year.

I don't say that we should hold on to all prospects, but dealing Pavelec would be a wrong signal. I'm fine with trading Coburn though.
Yeah, nobody wants to clean out the cupboard. Like I said above, let's get the goaltending stablized. It's tough to judge your team accurately with poor play in goal.

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11-21-2006, 04:19 PM
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Yeah let's deal Little, Bourret, Pavelec because we want to win the Cup this year.

I don't say that we should hold on to all prospects, but dealing Pavelec would be a wrong signal. I'm fine with trading Coburn though.
When did I say to deal Bourret, Little, etc.? I'm not talking about cleaning house, I'm talking about getting a couple of players that will put us much closer than we are now to make a run. Players that we don't really need, I might add.

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11-21-2006, 04:57 PM
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Poor play in goal? Hedberg's been doing fine lately, and before that Lehtonen was dominating. I wouldn't say that the goalie's the problem. Conroy's honestly not going to improve the team by all that much. I see the problem as

1) Holik being paid 3 million too much.
2) Terrible drafting
3) Unstable goalies

If you take out any one of the 3, the thrash are a lot closer to being a cup contender

1 - get a first line center. Success.
2 - draft phaneuf instead of coburn. Success.
3 - Lehtonen keeps playing like he did the first 10 games of the season. Success.

The goal as of now , I think, is to just make the playoffs (or maybe not - so Waddell can get his *** fired, but that's just me) - then maybe make a move near the trade deadline, if it looks like we will. Too early to trade prospects for talent, imo.

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