My optimal lineup (i think) when everyone is healthy would be (not likely given other circumstances but nevertheless).
Cammy Plex A. Kost
Pouliot Gomez Gionta
Darche Moore SK
Moen Metropolit Lapierre
I like this lineup a lot. I just don't care for Lapierre at all this season so keep him on the 4th line. Defense wise I like how everyone brings more to the table than Gill does especially with Spacek FINALLY playing on his strong side but my one concern is how Gill has been an absolute beast on the PK. Is it possible to have Gill just play on the PK unit? Is that feasible?
I would trade Hamrlik right now, for whatever we can get for him. If it means we don't make the playoffs, so be it, but I think we still do as long as Markov is going to be ok. We would ice a lineup of:
Spacek-Gorges (finally Spacek on his correct side)
This is a lineup that I would have full confidence in. Subban is ready, I have no doubt from seeing him all year in the AHL and from what I saw yesterday. I will say the same thing if he plays tonight and has a dogged game. The kid has arrived.
R White- Neilson-Pyatt
Metro, Laps, Bergeron, Mara, O Byrne depth scratches.
I just think adding a little toughness in White, Neilson would go along way. Especially like another poster said if Dags gets 4 min I would rather Neilson out their hitting anything that moves like he did in the preseason. As well, unlike Laracque Neilson can skate and keep up with play which would give White and Pyatt a chance to create a scoring chance or two.
I also really like the Subban factor his ability to carry the puck over the line is a great advantage on the power play and when the team is trailing. Bergeron won't be back next year PK got the PP job and then some.
Metro is obsolete if Moore is around. I think the 3rd and 4th line should have speed and grit and I think Moore, SK, Moen, R White, Neilson and Pyatt bring that in spades. That being said Metro has played an important role with all the injuries, he has played very nicely. But at age 35 and a free agent I think White gets the 4th line centre role very soon. Would be nice if Moore was to come back.
I don't see ourselves getting completely healthy. Just as one guy comes back, it seems like two get injured. This is why we need to find a way to bring in some forward depth. Scott Walker and Tom Kostopoulos FTW!
Both are great additions with Walker being the best of the two because he is a better fighter but I love TK heart, he is like the smaller version of Turner Stevenson.
Moore, SK, Moen then White, Walker/ Kostop and Pyatt be very strong.
Trade Max Laps for either one. At least Walker and Kostop are not afraid do drop the gloves or hit somebody as their job.
Funny how most fans thought Big George was gonna be the ultimate enforcer but now it seems all teams are going to the tough guys who can skate and take a normal shift like a Kostopulus. Would of been nice just to keep Tom K and never have signed Geroge. However, I really like the Laracque idea when I heard it but I guess I remember him from highlights from the Oilers' of 7 years ago when he could skate and cycle the puck down low, not the slowest person in the league who won't check anybody but a tough guy. I guess that's where scouting is important.
A few comments: Subban deserves more chances, Darche and White deserve full time roles, Pyatt is right up there, and we need an upgrade on the size on the top line. My ideal go-for-it player this deadline is Horton: plays center and right wing, cap hit is 4M for the next 4 years, has size and plays in front of the net.
I'd go with:
Cammalleri - Plekanec - Horton
Pouliot - Gomez - Gionta
Sergei - Moore - Andrei
Moen - Lapierre - Darche
13th forward: White/Pyatt
Markov - O'Byrne
Hamrlik - Subban
Gill - Gorges
7th defenceman: Bergeron
1) This gives us 3 potent offensive lines that we can play based on how they're going during a game.
2) It gives us size, defensive responsibility, speed, shutdown prowess and good puck movement from the back.
3) Our top 5 defencemen are set. Subban's skating is so good that I wouldn't hold back from calling him one of our top skaters just by watching him the last two days.
4) O'Byrne gives us a lot of bite back there and is one of the only guys who'll drop the gloves. Gill, Hamrlik and Gorges are self-explanatory. No need to even mention Markov.
5) On the power play, I'd try using 4 forwards and one defenceman to include the K brothers as well as improve the puck movement. Spacek hasn't shown enough to warrant a place there and Bergeron has a nice shot but wastes a spot on the 4th line. Subban can get shifts once in a while to go to 2 D when necessary on the PP.
6) The MOST important thing about that forward lineup is the ability to replace players in our top 6 due to injury without missing a beat. White and Pyatt can fill in where necessary.
7) Plenty of playoff experience. Gomez, Gionta, Moen, Gill, Cammalleri, Hamrlik and Markov makes this team deep.
8) Unfortunately there's no room for Metropolit, Bergeron, Spacek, D'Agostini and Maxwell (AHL).