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Old
07-04-2007, 05:38 AM
  #1
Jester
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Of Wingers and Lines

Okay, in an effort to consolidate the discussion of "What the hell do we do with all of our wingers?" I'm creating this thread to espouse my own thoughts on the subject. So, here they are and we can take it from there.

1st Line: Gagne-Briere-Lupul

We can start with the humor of throwing a "LGB" line out there, if you don't get it... you don't get it. Beyond that, I think this makes the most sense for the team to attempt going into the season. Lets be straight: we traded for a reclamation project in Lupul and Briere is the best man on the team to get him back to his talent level as a scorer. I have very few doubts about Briere and Gagne working very well together, but Lupul and his shot on the other side may work just as well with Briere setting him up to let it go.

My thought process for this group and the removal ("demotion") of Knuble also stems from the fact that I don't think Gagne and Briere are going to play with each other anything like what you saw with Forsberg. I think the two of them will create more of a transition/rush offense that won't play to the strengths of Knuble as much as when Forsberg was here... thus going in a slightly different direction at the RW spot makes some sense.

I would like to see this attempted to start the year... if it doesn't work, it doesn't work.

2nd Line: Hartnell-Carter-Upshall

Carter and Upshall showed good chemistry and energy playing with each other last year. Carter still needs to get over his inconsistency as far as finishing, but the two of them should be primed to have a strong season for us. Hartnell has a huge contract to live up to, but he has goal scoring ability and toughness that will add a nice element to this line along the left side.

I think this is the easiest line to predict.

3rd Line: Kapanen-Richards-Knuble

Apparently they want Richards to focus on developing his two-way game and becoming a true "shutdown" center to go with everything else. He's going to need to get a lot stronger physically for that to truly work, but it also means that putting someone like Lupul next to him makes almost no sense. This would be a very very strong 3rd line, IMO. Richards has enough offensive playmaking ability to take advantage of Knuble's finishing ability, and the trio are all defensively responsible and savvy.

This wouldn't be a classic no points either way unit either. I would expect Kapanen to get his 10+ goals over the year; Richards his 15+; and Knuble his 20+ in this situation. Before anyone gets into the "demotion" of Knuble, I will point out that we're attempting to construct a lineup that makes some amount of sense. Knuble worked great on the first line for us, but I think this setup takes advantage of our pieces in the best way. Richards was playing 18 minutes a night last year, and Knuble would easily get similar minutes to that from this line btwn Even, PP, and the PK time he plays. You don't have to be a "top line" player to contribute in a huge way.

Ask Primeau...

4th Line: Eager-Umberger-?

Apparently, Umberger is center again. I don't particularly like this, as I think he's a winger in this league at this point. I would also note that he's not particularly good at any of the things that you like from from a 4th line center. However, apparently this was mentioned by Holmgren, so I'm just going with it. Obviously if Boogaard happens, then he's your RW... It's up in the air otherwise.

So, in summary:

Gagne-Briere-Lupul
Hartnell-Carter-Upshall
Kapanen-Richards-Knuble
Eager-Umberger-TBD

That's a pretty strong group if everyone works out. In the event that Lupul doesn't pan out, it will be a simple procedure to mix the lines back up and put Knuble back up there and go with it. However, I want Stevens to give whatever lines he starts the year with about 10 games to see what happens... not pull the plug after one.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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07-04-2007, 07:01 AM
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Seems about right. I wish it were feasible to have Potulny center the third line with Eager and Umberger. Not sure that would work though.

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07-04-2007, 07:02 AM
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Sorry...meant to say Potulny center the fourth line. Guh.

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07-04-2007, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poulin20 View Post
Sorry...meant to say Potulny center the fourth line. Guh.
the edit button works.

i think there's a chance that Potulny ends up there as I think Umberger may be moving on in a trade.

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07-04-2007, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jester View Post
the edit button works.

i think there's a chance that Potulny ends up there as I think Umberger may be moving on in a trade.
Potulny doesn't really work as a 4th line centre either. He knows how to shoot the puck, he'll look a little lost if an enforcer is on his one side, and Eager is on the other.

The first three lines I fully agree with. Although in the end I just can't see Knuble being "demoted" (even though we know that's not what it is).

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07-04-2007, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm in a Teacup View Post
Potulny doesn't really work as a 4th line centre either. He knows how to shoot the puck, he'll look a little lost if an enforcer is on his one side, and Eager is on the other.

The first three lines I fully agree with. Although in the end I just can't see Knuble being "demoted" (even though we know that's not what it is).
in an ideal world we sign some gritty veteran to play 4th line center and win faceoffs... a la Claude Lapointe a couple years back before he started tripping over cats.

not sure we have the cap space to do that.

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07-04-2007, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jester View Post
in an ideal world we sign some gritty veteran to play 4th line center and win faceoffs... a la Claude Lapointe a couple years back before he started tripping over cats.

not sure we have the cap space to do that.
Move Umberger and Gauthier, sign an enforcer and a 4th line centre for cheap...works for me.

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07-04-2007, 08:32 AM
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I fully agree on the top-6.

However I'd consider putting Kapanen on the 4th line and having Umberger as the LW on the 3rd line:


Umberger - Richards - Knuble
Eager - TBD - Kapanen

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07-04-2007, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
I fully agree on the top-6.

However I'd consider putting Kapanen on the 4th line and having Umberger as the LW on the 3rd line:


Umberger - Richards - Knuble
Eager - TBD - Kapanen
that's in my mind as well... Kapanen has also played some 4th line center for us, so that is a potential option... though, i don't think he's an 82 game solution at that spot.

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07-04-2007, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jester View Post
that's in my mind as well... Kapanen has also played some 4th line center for us, so that is a potential option... though, i don't think he's an 82 game solution at that spot.
As we all know Kapanen has been quite prone to injuries, at least in recent times. I think his skills would be of better use if he gets lots of PK time. And limited ES time.

I just checked the UFA list for 4th line centers, and it doesn't look too good, frankly i don't think i see a single one that i like. Unless we'd sign someone like Jeremy Roenick to a cheap contract.

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07-04-2007, 08:46 AM
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Knuble could still be put on the 1st PP unit, if we use 4 forwards

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07-04-2007, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
As we all know Kapanen has been quite prone to injuries, at least in recent times. I think his skills would be of better use if he gets lots of PK time. And limited ES time.

I just checked the UFA list for 4th line centers, and it doesn't look too good, frankly i don't think i see a single one that i like. Unless we'd sign someone like Jeremy Roenick to a cheap contract.
I didn't think that list would look promising. Oh well, I'm sure the solution will be in-house.

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07-04-2007, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hovercraft View Post
Knuble could still be put on the 1st PP unit, if we use 4 forwards
Yes, in fact right now i think that's the likely solution for the 1st PP unit.
I'd doubleshift Timonen on the PP.

PP1:
Gagne - Knuble - Lupul
Timonen - Briere

PP2:
Hartnell - Carter - Upshall
Timonen - Coburn/Picard

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07-04-2007, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm in a Teacup View Post
I didn't think that list would look promising. Oh well, I'm sure the solution will be in-house.
How's Downie as a center? I think he's had that spot before?

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07-04-2007, 08:52 AM
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Eager - "Lapointe" - Kapanen is an ideal fourth line in a world without cats. Where can we find this "Claude"?

I also believe we must make room for some skill players (the ones chosen first at school breaks), that means Ruzicka, Lupul or Forsberg.

Ruzicka - Richards - Upshall on a third line. Wingers might switch side.

On a first line I go with a line that can lead the rest of the team. Knuble is a second line winger now and I think he can develop some chemistry with Lupul. The problem is that both are RW. Hartnell feels like a perfect fit, due to his toughness. The second line might benefit from the first line having the puck more in offensive zone with Hartnell on that line.

First line: Gagne - Briere - Hartnell

Second line: Lupul - Carter - Knuble

Carter must be the glue on this line. maybe a too difficult task, if it doesn't work, switch right wingers....

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07-04-2007, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfc64 View Post
Eager - "Lapointe" - Kapanen is an ideal fourth line in a world without cats. Where can we find this "Claude"?

I also believe we must make room for some skill players (the ones chosen first at school breaks), that means Ruzicka, Lupul or Forsberg.

Ruzicka - Richards - Upshall on a third line. Wingers might switch side.

On a first line I go with a line that can lead the rest of the team. Knuble is a second line winger now and I think he can develop some chemistry with Lupul. The problem is that both are RW. Hartnell feels like a perfect fit, due to his toughness. The second line might benefit from the first line having the puck more in offensive zone with Hartnell on that line.

First line: Gagne - Briere - Hartnell

Second line: Lupul - Carter - Knuble

Carter must be the glue on this line. maybe a too difficult task, if it doesn't work, switch right wingers....
we need to make room for some skill players?

Gagne - skill player
Briere - skill player
Knuble - grinder, but he's not without skill.
Hartnell - expecting 25+ goals from him
Carter - skill player
Upshall - hustler with skill
Lupul - that's all he is.

we don't need skill players on this roster... we need some role players who will work from the bottom 6 and go from there.

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07-04-2007, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
How's Downie as a center? I think he's had that spot before?
Yeah he's played a lot of centre and takes key draws for whatever team he's played on. A lot of people here are convinced he's a winger but he's not stuck at that position.

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07-04-2007, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hovercraft View Post
Knuble could still be put on the 1st PP unit, if we use 4 forwards
i'd be shocked if he wasn't on the first unit. he's the only established go-to-guy in front of the net.

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07-04-2007, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm in a Teacup View Post
Yeah he's played a lot of centre and takes key draws for whatever team he's played on. A lot of people here are convinced he's a winger but he's not stuck at that position.
he's a winger if he's going to play above the 4th line with us... thus i would establish him as a winger.

if he's comfortable playing both and it wouldn't be a problem for him to move back to wing down the road... then by all means, let him play center on the 4th line if he can make it.

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07-04-2007, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jester View Post
he's a winger if he's going to play above the 4th line with us... thus i would establish him as a winger.

if he's comfortable playing both and it wouldn't be a problem for him to move back to wing down the road... then by all means, let him play center on the 4th line if he can make it.
I think he's comfortable playing both. He switches back and forth during games depending on the team's need.

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07-04-2007, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Storm in a Teacup View Post
I think he's comfortable playing both. He switches back and forth during games depending on the team's need.
right... but i would simply state there's a big adjustment for him to make to the NHL and that might not be the best thing for him at the moment. we'll see... given his intangibles and fire, i don't think he's a bad option to have on the 4th line with Eager and someone else.

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07-04-2007, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm in a Teacup View Post
Yeah he's played a lot of centre and takes key draws for whatever team he's played on. A lot of people here are convinced he's a winger but he's not stuck at that position.


Well then, I think that:

Eager - Downie - Kapanen should be given a try during preseason.

Or if we trade for Boogard, insert him at the RW spot on that line, should be a pleasant line to play against.

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07-04-2007, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Jester View Post
right... but i would simply state there's a big adjustment for him to make to the NHL and that might not be the best thing for him at the moment. we'll see... given his intangibles and fire, i don't think he's a bad option to have on the 4th line with Eager and someone else.
I'm pretty sure Umberger will be in that position anyway so arguing this is probably silly. You're right, in the future he'll be a winger for this team so might as well have him stay there. Eager-Umberger-Downie is what I keep saying and I think it's the best option with the personnel we have at this moment.

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07-04-2007, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
Well then, I think that:

Eager - Downie - Kapanen should be given a try during preseason.

Or if we trade for Boogard, insert him at the RW spot on that line, should be a pleasant line to play against.
Yeah...except I'm still banking on Homer's word that Umberger is a "centre" that Briere will take pressure off of. If Downie's on this club, Jester is right, he'll be on the wing. In emergency situations he can take faceoffs though.

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07-04-2007, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm in a Teacup View Post
I'm pretty sure Umberger will be in that position anyway so arguing this is probably silly. You're right, in the future he'll be a winger for this team so might as well have him stay there. Eager-Umberger-Downie is what I keep saying and I think it's the best option with the personnel we have at this moment.
they've ruined Umberger... i'd like them to trade him somewhere he can actually get into a spot and just play. i'm starting to feel really bad for him as far as his career goes with all of the movement and uncertainty they've put into it at this point.

guy has the ability to contribute as a scoring winger on a 2nd or 3rd line in this league, just needs to get a spot and play.

if they're going to put a young guy at center on the 4th line, i think i'd rather they just give Potulny the chance to play. Downie has some skill, of course, and Eager is competent when the puck comes to him, so it wouldn't be a complete waste. in 8-10 minutes a night that would be an entertaining line.

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