Dubinsky, Callahan, Drury, and Higgins will probably be the big 4 up front. Gaborik played PK in Minnesota so I guess he could play it as well. We will have to wait and see what happens the rest of the offseason to see if we get anyone else that can play it. I am sure it is something that is known.
Based on this logic, every team in the league should be number one in penalty killing. Someone will always step up.
or it shows that we have a good system in place, and that it isn't based on individual players. Every year we lost our supposed 2 best pkers and every year we turn out just fine. It's the system and not just the players. We still have Drury, Cally, Dubi and now will add Higgy and Gabo. Plus we don't know who else will fill out the fourth line, or if Brashear will actually play every game. Maybe one or two of Boyle, Avery, Kotalik or Lisin could actually step up and fit into the system. I'm not worried at all, because we have a good coach who has a good system in place.
I think the PK is going to take a hit, not because of any individual player loss, but because of how the overall makeup of the team is changing.
A substantial part of our success on the PK last year was due to the fact that we had so many PKers available on the bench. Betts, Sjostrom, Dubinsky, Korpikoski, Drury, Callahan, and Gomez all saw regular PK time. Having that many PKers allowed us to always have fresh legs on the ice. We could change on practically every clear and we were less likely to get burned if the team took several penalties in a short period of time.
But now the makeup of the team is changing. We've shed our defensive role players in favor of a more offensive look. We're replacing Betts with Boyle, Sjostrom with Byers, Korpikoski with Lisin, Gomez with Anisimov. We're left with four quality PKers (Drury, Dubinsky, Callahan, and Higgins) to carry the load and a few other forwards who can fill in from time to time (Avery, Gaborik, maybe Anisimov and Byers). It changes the strategy of the PK. Let's say that Drury and Callahan start a PK. They get pinned in their zone for a minute before they can clear. Dubinsky and Higgins then come on. They play for 30 seconds and then clear. What does Torts do? Does he put Drury and Callahan back on even though they did not have much time to rest? Does he leave Dubinsky and Higgins out they even though they are starting to tire? Does he go with PKers he does not trust as much for the final push? None of the options look very good.
This may have more impact than just the PK, too. Right now, we have three forwards that I consider good defensive players (Drury, Callahan, and Higgins). The rest range from slightly above average to well below average. I'm beginning to question how much defense we are sacrificing for offense, and whether we're giving up too much and gaining too little.