I don't expect too much variation in total ToI between Gaustad and Niedermayer by the end of the year, about 12 minutes each per game.
Depending on how camp goes, and who earns what spots, I expect more of a 3a/3b setup in the bottom six. Say Stafford gets his head out of his ass, beats out TK, Ennis, Gerbe, and whoever else, and finally earns a top six spot for real. That could, providing they both have good camps, leave Ennis and TK in the bottom six. A 3a line of Ennis-Nieds-Grier and a 3b line of TK-Goose-Kaleta could be a pretty solid bottom six. I see no problem with having Ennis start the season on the 3rd line. Playing with two vets like Grier and Nieds, and learning how to play smart positional defense could do wonders for his all around game. Also it would put little to no pressure on him to feel like he needs to produce offensively.
Even try him at center between Nieds and Grier for awhile to see if he can pick up the position. Having him learn the center position between two solid defensive veterans would IMO increase his chances of being able to convert to it then having him try to learn it in a top six center role would. If he is just as effective at center as he is at wing then he could possibly replace Connolly next season. On the other hand if he doesn't pick up the position, and is better at wing then just switch him and Nieds. Both of those lines would be solid two way puck possession lines, while the TK-Goose-Kaleta line would agitate opposing players and get under their skin.
Originally Posted by JPurp26
I would target Robyn Regehr
we would be a great top 4 defenseman for this team.
We need to package stafford and a dman (sekera) for an a big improvement Defenseman
I'd love to get Regehr, but face it he's not going anywhere. He's probably one of the better defensive defensemen in the game, is mean and physical, is still only 30, and only makes $4 mil a year. Not to mention that they already moved one of their big 3 dmen in Phaneuf. Sutter may be an idiot, but I don't think he's dumb enough to move Regehr unless he gets blown away by a team's offer.
I know everyone here hates Stafford and wants him gone, but unless Darcy recieves an offer, or can package in a deal for a player who could have a big impact on this team, Staff will be here once camp starts. This will most likely be Drew's last chance to prove his worth. He finally has a couple guys nipping at his heels for a spot in the top six. Ennis, Kennedy, and Gerbe will all be competing with him for a spot in the top six. I know everyone wants Drew to become a 30-30 guy but if he can just work on the other side of his game, play solid positionally, defensively, and put forth consistent effort I feel like he could be pretty good for us.
If he can produce numbers similar to the ones he put up in 08-09(20 G 45 PTS) while playing a solid all around game, put forth consistent effort, and even use his body more then I see no reason to move him. I think we'll see how much he wants it this year. If by the end of camp he's still the same old Drew then he should either be the 13th forward or be traded. If he finally shows up he's a guy I'd like to hang onto. Who knows maybe finally having a few guys around who can take his spot if he starts to not play well will motivate him to fight to keep his job.