To some extend inspired by the evergoing Jokinen rumours...
What is actually Florida's current situation regarding centers?
According to nhlscap.com, following players are listed as centers:
- Olli Jokinen
- Nathan Horton
- Stephen Weiss
- Jozef Stumpel
- Rostislav Olez
- Shawn Matthias
Stumpel probably will be gone at least once his current contract is gone.
If I have understood correctly, Weiss and Horton have played in same line with Weiss in the middle. Is Horton still cabable of playing center or is he better as full time winger these days?
Matthias apparently get taste action in NHL as center. Is he capable of taking the step next year (as center) or will he be molded into winger?
Overall, the basic question is: IF Jokinen is traded (according to Martin it is a possibility), does Florida need to get center back or can they use centers already in system and aim for winger (as main piece of the trade)?
Kamil Kreps also played center for us on the bottom lines and even a bit on the top line towards the end of the season. I think he will end up being our 3rd line center this season. He is valuable also in the faceoff circle. I think he led our team in faceoff percentage this past year.
Jokinen has a playing style that fits the mold of a talented scoring winger with size, and he's not that great on faceoffs, but for some reason he seems to struggle when lined up at winger.
Horton was drafted as a center, but he hasn't played hardly any center since being drafted.
Weiss is a good two-way centerman with okay faceoff abilities.
So is Kreps.
Campbell is a good utility center that can play all three forward positions, but does have enough offensive touch to log big-time minutes.
I wasn't able to watch the games Matthias played last season, so I won't comment.
Stumpel has spent time at both center and wing. And sucks at both.
As far as Olesz goes, I'm not sure he even played center over in the Czech Republic, and definitely doesn't get much centerman time with the Panthers.
To answer your main question, IF Jokinen is traded, I'd like to see either a scoring winger come back, then hopefully we'll sign a decent playmaking center via UFA. Also, we could get "Mr. Puck Moving Defenseman" in return for Olli and again get a decent center via UFA.