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Impact Young Players for Next Season

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06-21-2009, 04:45 PM
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brtriad
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Impact Young Players for Next Season

There was a thread on the main board concerning each team's top 3 rookies for the next season. I thought we could delve a little deeper into who our possible impact rookies could be next season.

Who makes the team out of camp depends largely on what we do in Free Agency. More likely than not, Khabibulin will be wearing a different sweater next year, so that leaves a hole at backup goaltender. We have no indication if Pahlsson will be a Hawk next year, but for the sake of our cap and the prospects we have waiting in the system, we'll assume he plays elsewhere next season. Bolland needs to be resigned. That's a given. With any stroke of luck, Matt Walker will be shown the door. Both Aaron Johnson and Cam Barker will be resigned and play in the bottom defensive pairing together. Sopel needs to be shipped out ASAP. The main question is on the wings with the statuses of Havlat, Versteeg, Brouwer, and Eager up in the air. Ideally, Havlat and Eager will be back as Hawks while the other two are dealt for picks/prospects. These are the assumptions I am working under while factoring these rookies into our depth chart.

Nonetheless, we should see at least 3 rookies play a significant role next year.

Sure Things:

The most notable rookie for next season is Niklas Hjalmarsson. I am not sure if he qualifies as a rookie, but he has solidified himself as a solid second pairing defenseman alongside Brian Campbell. He can move the puck on the rush, can skate adequately, and most importantly he can pick up the slack for Brian Campbell defensively. This kid has turned a lot of heads already, and he improves his game every day.

Statistic Estimate: 82 gp, 3 goals, 18 assists, +6 rating.

Secondly, Corey Crawford will play a admirable role next year backing up Huet. Why Crawford over Niemi you may ask? Niemi has not looked impressive in the games i've seen him both in Rockford and on the Hawks. Crawford, on the other hand, has been solid whenever given the chance for the big club with the exception of him being thrown to the wolves after Huet got shelled against the Red Wings in game 4 of the WCF. His highlights being a 19 save shutout versus the then Stanley Cup Champion ducks and a 44 save effort against the Red Wings. He should play 20-30 games next year.

Statistic Estimate: 14-5-3, 9.07 SV %, 2.64 GAA

Lastly for the prospects who will surely be with the big club next year is Kyle Beach. Beach was signed to an entry level contract recently. If he doesn't make the team out of camp, he would have to return to juniors for another year. For this reason, coupled with his natural ability, we can assume the Hawks will keep him around after Training Camp. A lot has been said about his mental capacity, but anyone who has watched the kid skate knows he can play solid hockey. He should make the team and play the whole season on a checking line with Byfuglien and Fraser or Eager most likely. While I am not expecting Versteeg like rookie production out of him, I see him playing a solid two-way game tossing in offense sparingly.

Statistic Estimate: 82 gp, 19 goals, 15 assists, +11 rating.

Those are the three people I see certainly making the Blackhawks roster next year. Now, if we assume that Versteeg, Brouwer, and Pahlsson depart in the offseason, that leaves us with one more spot to be filled on the roster. My bet is on Jack Skille, who to me is nothing more than an energy player a la Ben Eager, but the organization is high on him for reasons unknown.

We will probably see a few guys get called up throughout the season. Some of those guys are:


Jack Skille
Pascal Pelletier (who I thought looked very solid in the short time he was called up)
Jake Dowell
Akim Aliu (a long shot, but the kid can play, or at the very least agitate)
Jordan Hendry

If all goes according to this plan, which isn't likely but ideal, we should end up with a roster like this:

Sharp-Toews-Kane
Ladd-Bolland-Havlat
Beach-Fraser-Byfuglien
Eager-Burish-Skille

(On the third line, I would prefer Eager playing LW and Beach down the center, but I don't know if either Skille or Burish could play LW on the fourth line.)

Keith-Seabrook
Campbell-Hjalmarsson
Barker-Johnson

Huet
Crawford

Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?


Last edited by brtriad: 06-21-2009 at 11:55 PM.
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06-21-2009, 05:25 PM
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A few thoughts:

Hjalmarsson isn't Calder eligible, Crawford / Niemi is probably a coin flip, Aliu is quite a bit ahead of Beach right now who needs to go back to Lethbridge and work on his offensive skills.

I don't see why Troy Brouwer wouldn't be brought back, he's a better player than any of the other guys in Rockford right now. Skille isn't half the player Ben Eager is.

Prospect Camp should give us a slightly better idea of what's going on.

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06-21-2009, 05:28 PM
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Hjalmarsson, Niemi, Hendry and Skille all are no longer considered rookies. According to Cap Central, Pelletier is a UFA-to-be, so he would need to be re-signed, and doesn't qualify as a rookie either.

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06-21-2009, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by massivegoonery View Post
Aliu is quite a bit ahead of Beach right now who needs to go back to Lethbridge and work on his offensive skills.

I don't see why Troy Brouwer wouldn't be brought back, he's a better player than any of the other guys in Rockford right now.

Skille isn't half the player Ben Eager is.

Prospect Camp should give us a slightly better idea of what's going on.
For Aliu, why would you say he is quite a bit ahead of Beach? They put up very similar numbers in juniors. Physically, it's a push. I gave the nod to Beach because our depth at LW is paper thin.

For Brouwer, the logic behind this move was abundance of depth at wing. Skille, Burish, Aliu, Makarov. I like his grit, but his skating ability puts him at a disadvantage with a very quick Hawks team. Even Big Buff could beat Brouwer in a foot race. He looked slow a step slow no matter what line they tossed him on.

As for Skille and Eager, that's debatable. I am a big Ben Eager fan. He's a big guy who can skate. The same can be said about Skille. Eager was beginning to show some soft hands this year, something Skille needs to work on. Skille does have a rocket of a shot though. So i'd agree that Eager is a better player than Skille at this point, but not by as large of a margin as you've suggested.

I agree we will have a much better idea of how the depth chart shapes up when prospect camp starts. I have a feeling the dark horse in this group is Igor Makarov. Any chance he makes the team this year?

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06-21-2009, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brtriad View Post
For Aliu, why would you say he is quite a bit ahead of Beach? They put up very similar numbers in juniors. Physically, it's a push. I gave the nod to Beach because our depth at LW is paper thin.
I don't think it's a push physically; Aliu is, and always will be the better athlete of the two. He looked absolutely dominant in his short stint with Rockford. I think that it would be better for Beach to work on his offense in juniors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brtriad View Post
For Brouwer, the logic behind this move was abundance of depth at wing. Skille, Burish, Aliu, Makarov. I like his grit, but his skating ability puts him at a disadvantage with a very quick Hawks team. Even Big Buff could beat Brouwer in a foot race. He looked slow a step slow no matter what line they tossed him on.

As for Skille and Eager, that's debatable. I am a big Ben Eager fan. He's a big guy who can skate. The same can be said about Skille. Eager was beginning to show some soft hands this year, something Skille needs to work on. Skille does have a rocket of a shot though. So i'd agree that Eager is a better player than Skille at this point, but not by as large of a margin as you've suggested.
As you may have gathered, I don't think much of Jack Skille. I'm not sure that he has the talent to ever be a top-six guy or the defensive awareness / work ethic it would take to be a bottom six guy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brtriad View Post
I agree we will have a much better idea of how the depth chart shapes up when prospect camp starts. I have a feeling the dark horse in this group is Igor Makarov. Any chance he makes the team this year?
Makarov is definitely the wild card in the mix. I really have no idea how he's going to look in camp this year.

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06-22-2009, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by massivegoonery View Post
I don't think it's a push physically; Aliu is, and always will be the better athlete of the two. He looked absolutely dominant in his short stint with Rockford. I think that it would be better for Beach to work on his offense in juniors.



As you may have gathered, I don't think much of Jack Skille. I'm not sure that he has the talent to ever be a top-six guy or the defensive awareness / work ethic it would take to be a bottom six guy.



Makarov is definitely the wild card in the mix. I really have no idea how he's going to look in camp this year.

If he rips up camp this year like last year(from what i heard), he will make the team. I've never seen him play but I heard he has a high skill level(very,very high).

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06-22-2009, 01:34 AM
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If he rips up camp this year like last year(from what i heard), he will make the team. I've never seen him play but I heard he has a high skill level(very,very high).
Aliu constantly talking **** to Makarov in Russian was the highlight of prospect camp for me last year.

Too bad Khabi's leaving, it would be nice to have someone for Makarov to talk to.

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06-22-2009, 10:07 AM
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Where's Versteeg?

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06-22-2009, 12:55 PM
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I don't see Niemi or Crawford having an impact for a few years. I would like to see Skille crack the lineup this year, and see how Beach and Aliu shape up in rookie camp.

Makarov could be an amazing addition as well...

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06-22-2009, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by plank View Post
Where's Versteeg?
Um this is about impact rookies for next season.

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06-22-2009, 07:19 PM
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Um this is about impact rookies for next season.
He has three "impact" rookies on his roster but no Versteeg. Thanks.

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06-22-2009, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plank View Post
He has three "impact" rookies on his roster but no Versteeg. Thanks.
If you bothered to read the first paragraph, you'd notice that I was typing this all out under the assumption that Versteeg would be dealt this offseason. Not to mention that last year was his rookie season. Anyways, I changed the thread name to "young players" instead of "rookies" to avoid the confusion about who is/isn't eligible for the Calder.

I've been scouring the internet for videos and articles of Makarov all day. I can't wait for prospect camp so I can get a real gauge on what kind of skill level this kid has.

I did some statistical research on the kid. His statistics for the past year were:

42 GP, 9 G, 8 A, 17 PTS, .405 PPG

Mind you this is as a 20 year old in a so called "defensive" league. To give you some perspective: Of the top 5 scorers on his team, the average age is 31.4, only one of them being under 32 thus bringing the average down. He sat 7th on his team in scoring. The closest in age to him was a 21 year old named Alexander Kucheryavenko, who was 10th in scoring with 15 points while playing in 14 more games.

To wade through all of these statistics, it comes down to Makarov is still a kid playing in a league with men. This may not be news to everyone, but for some like myself who aren't very knowledgeable about leagues overseas, it helps to explain his modest numbers.

For more of a baseline, I looked up both Ilya Kovalchuk's as well as Alexander Ovechkin's KHL statistics when they were around Makarov's age.

As a 21 year old in the KHL, Kovalchuk's stats were:

53 GP, 19 G, 22 A, 41 PTS, .774 PPG

This was during the lockout season. The year prior, as a 20 year old, Kovalchuk produced at a pace of 1.074 PPG in the NHL.

As an 18 year old, his last year in the KHL, Ovechkin's stats were:


37 GP, 13 G, 14 A, 27 PTS, .730 PPG

For Ovechkin the rest is history. He put up an astounding rookie campaign with a pace of 1.309 PPG.

Now let me be clear, I am not saying Makarov is Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, or anything close to them. Rather, I am trying to get a feel for what kind of production we can expect out of Makarov if he were to be on the Blackhawks roster next year.

Ovechkin's PPG pace increased drastically by .579 as he went from the KHL to the NHL. Kovalchuk's PPG pace went down .3 as he went from the NHL to the KHL, and this was an older and more physically matured Kovalchuk who played in the KHL. Now, these are two #1 picks we are talking about. One of them is even considered a generational talent. Even so, the evidence shows that these players statistics were noticeably deflated whilst they played in the KHL.

So what does this all mean? Simply put, we can reasonably expect Makarov to put up better numbers than he did in the KHL if he were to make the Blackhawks. Say in the NHL Makarov increased his PPG pace .2, which is not unreasonable in the least. That would put him at .605 PPG, which evens out to 50 pts (rounded) over an 82 game season. Kris Versteeg put up 53 points this year. I think a Versteeg like season out of Makarov is entirely possible. A year older and more matured, we could have another Calder candidate on our hands for the third straight year.


Last edited by brtriad: 06-22-2009 at 10:35 PM.
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06-22-2009, 11:47 PM
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He's been playing in a mens' league for sometime which makes me want to take his showing in prospect camp last year with a grain of salt as it was a very, very young camp. I'd like to see him skating with the Rockford guys.

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06-23-2009, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by massivegoonery View Post
He's been playing in a mens' league for sometime which makes me want to take his showing in prospect camp last year with a grain of salt as it was a very, very young camp. I'd like to see him skating with the Rockford guys.
You bring up a good point, but you also have to remember that he was only a 19 year old himself at the time of the last prospect camp. It can't be held against him that he performed admirably against equally aged competition. I do agree that a year in Rockford would benefit him as well as give us a glimpse as to how his skills translate to the North American game. From what I remember, he isn't willing to play in Rockford. So it's the Blackhawks or bust most likely. If Havlat hits the market this offseason, I think his chances of coming over increase quite a bit.

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06-23-2009, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by plank View Post
He has three "impact" rookies on his roster but no Versteeg. Thanks.
Thats because Versteeg just had is rookie season. He is/was talking about next season and the fact Versteeg would be dealt. Reading is a skill.

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06-23-2009, 10:08 PM
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id like to see makaronv get a shot he could be a steal or us

i cant wait till beach and aliu mature a bit i think in 2 -3 years they will be very good for us and if we keep most of the rest of our team together we will have a scary lineup especially if those 2 pan out

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06-24-2009, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by brtriad View Post
You bring up a good point, but you also have to remember that he was only a 19 year old himself at the time of the last prospect camp. It can't be held against him that he performed admirably against equally aged competition. I do agree that a year in Rockford would benefit him as well as give us a glimpse as to how his skills translate to the North American game. From what I remember, he isn't willing to play in Rockford. So it's the Blackhawks or bust most likely. If Havlat hits the market this offseason, I think his chances of coming over increase quite a bit.
I only got to see Makarov in one preseason game while he was here last camp, but I've hoped he'd slide into Havlat's spot ever since. Not to imply that he would be replacing Havlat's production, but I think you are absolutely right that he could put up a Versteeg-like 50-something point season. Watching Makarov reminded me a bit of Marty - he was all over the ice and always seemed to have the puck on his stick. I was also impressed with his work on the boards, he seemed more physical than I ever expected. I know lines will change, but if I hypothetically insert Makarov into the right wing with Ladd and Bolland - I think that line would still be quite effective in both ends.

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06-24-2009, 03:13 PM
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Makarov for sure!

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06-24-2009, 03:18 PM
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I truly hope Makarov makes the team this year!

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06-24-2009, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brtriad View Post
There was a thread on the main board concerning each team's top 3 rookies for the next season. I thought we could delve a little deeper into who our possible impact rookies could be next season.

Who makes the team out of camp depends largely on what we do in Free Agency. More likely than not, Khabibulin will be wearing a different sweater next year, so that leaves a hole at backup goaltender. We have no indication if Pahlsson will be a Hawk next year, but for the sake of our cap and the prospects we have waiting in the system, we'll assume he plays elsewhere next season. Bolland needs to be resigned. That's a given. With any stroke of luck, Matt Walker will be shown the door. Both Aaron Johnson and Cam Barker will be resigned and play in the bottom defensive pairing together. Sopel needs to be shipped out ASAP. The main question is on the wings with the statuses of Havlat, Versteeg, Brouwer, and Eager up in the air. Ideally, Havlat and Eager will be back as Hawks while the other two are dealt for picks/prospects. These are the assumptions I am working under while factoring these rookies into our depth chart.

Nonetheless, we should see at least 3 rookies play a significant role next year.

Sure Things:

The most notable rookie for next season is Niklas Hjalmarsson. I am not sure if he qualifies as a rookie, but he has solidified himself as a solid second pairing defenseman alongside Brian Campbell. He can move the puck on the rush, can skate adequately, and most importantly he can pick up the slack for Brian Campbell defensively. This kid has turned a lot of heads already, and he improves his game every day.

Statistic Estimate: 82 gp, 3 goals, 18 assists, +6 rating.

Secondly, Corey Crawford will play a admirable role next year backing up Huet. Why Crawford over Niemi you may ask? Niemi has not looked impressive in the games i've seen him both in Rockford and on the Hawks. Crawford, on the other hand, has been solid whenever given the chance for the big club with the exception of him being thrown to the wolves after Huet got shelled against the Red Wings in game 4 of the WCF. His highlights being a 19 save shutout versus the then Stanley Cup Champion ducks and a 44 save effort against the Red Wings. He should play 20-30 games next year.

Statistic Estimate: 14-5-3, 9.07 SV %, 2.64 GAA

Lastly for the prospects who will surely be with the big club next year is Kyle Beach. Beach was signed to an entry level contract recently. If he doesn't make the team out of camp, he would have to return to juniors for another year. For this reason, coupled with his natural ability, we can assume the Hawks will keep him around after Training Camp. A lot has been said about his mental capacity, but anyone who has watched the kid skate knows he can play solid hockey. He should make the team and play the whole season on a checking line with Byfuglien and Fraser or Eager most likely. While I am not expecting Versteeg like rookie production out of him, I see him playing a solid two-way game tossing in offense sparingly.

Statistic Estimate: 82 gp, 19 goals, 15 assists, +11 rating.

Those are the three people I see certainly making the Blackhawks roster next year. Now, if we assume that Versteeg, Brouwer, and Pahlsson depart in the offseason, that leaves us with one more spot to be filled on the roster. My bet is on Jack Skille, who to me is nothing more than an energy player a la Ben Eager, but the organization is high on him for reasons unknown.

We will probably see a few guys get called up throughout the season. Some of those guys are:


Jack Skille
Pascal Pelletier (who I thought looked very solid in the short time he was called up)
Jake Dowell
Akim Aliu (a long shot, but the kid can play, or at the very least agitate)
Jordan Hendry

If all goes according to this plan, which isn't likely but ideal, we should end up with a roster like this:

Sharp-Toews-Kane
Ladd-Bolland-Havlat
Beach-Fraser-Byfuglien
Eager-Burish-Skille

(On the third line, I would prefer Eager playing LW and Beach down the center, but I don't know if either Skille or Burish could play LW on the fourth line.)

Keith-Seabrook
Campbell-Hjalmarsson
Barker-Johnson

Huet
Crawford

Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?
Where's Versteeg??Sorry, Didn't read the whole post

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06-24-2009, 04:39 PM
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Versteeg, Calder finalist and you want to move him!!

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06-24-2009, 04:51 PM
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Versteeg, Calder finalist and you want to move him!!
I don't want to, I think we might have to. Versteeg is one of the most exciting players in the league to watch, I'd hate to lose him.

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06-24-2009, 04:52 PM
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I only got to see Makarov in one preseason game while he was here last camp, but I've hoped he'd slide into Havlat's spot ever since. Not to imply that he would be replacing Havlat's production, but I think you are absolutely right that he could put up a Versteeg-like 50-something point season. Watching Makarov reminded me a bit of Marty - he was all over the ice and always seemed to have the puck on his stick. I was also impressed with his work on the boards, he seemed more physical than I ever expected. I know lines will change, but if I hypothetically insert Makarov into the right wing with Ladd and Bolland - I think that line would still be quite effective in both ends.
Supposedly he shone in the scrimmages in Rockford last year.

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06-24-2009, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by massivegoonery View Post
I don't want to, I think we might have to. Versteeg is one of the most exciting players in the league to watch, I'd hate to lose him.
One of the most exciting players in the league? I am not sure about that, but he is fun to watch. Versteeg has his flaws though. He's not a great forechecker, better than Kane, but that isn't saying much. At the blueline, he tries the dump to himself and weave way too often. Come playoff time, every defender knew it was coming, took away the boards, and many of turnovers ensued. He needs to learn when to be fancy and when to just dump it in. He's skilled, but he's not Pat Kane.

That being said, I do agree the move needs to be made out of necessity rather than want. The kid was a rookie, a Calder finalist, and is only going to get better. No one is doubting the kid can play. The contract he is going to command is the problem.

With his previous season, GM's around the league have seen that he has top 6 potential, if not first line. His trade value is at an all time high. We could maximize our return for him as well as give some of the players in the system a chance to shine. The Hawks are loaded with prospects on the wings. Players such as: Beach, Skille, Aliu, Makarov, Sweatt etc.

If we can sign him to a good contract, below 2$ mil, no one would be more thrilled than me to welcome him back with open arms. The reality is that we can only afford to give him so much money. Someone is likely to sign an offer sheet for him if he is not dealt before then. For our cap's sake next year, it would be best to let him go so we can positively keep our core intact.

However, if Havlat walks, I would feel fairly we keep him around. So much of what we do this offseason depends on Marty. Man, we need some solid news on his status already.

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06-24-2009, 09:57 PM
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Posts: 11,388
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He's got more dirty dangles than Pat Kane. All he needs is top-six ice time and a goal scorer on his line and he'd explode. If Havlat comes back, he can't get either of those so we might as well move him and replace him with someone cheaper that is more suited to a third line role.

And I love him trying crazy stuff at the blue line, that's the kind of confidence I want to see in a young player.

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