believe me, both would rather pick to play together. so kozlov can play RW, its not a big deal. what matters more is that they feed off each other, have chemistry and enjoy playing together
I think Kozlov has said that he is more comfortable playing left wing. He seems to produce better from that side anyways. Kozzy will have chemistry with whomever he plays with because he is that kind of player.
I just read a column by EJ Hradek where he talks about his top ten signings so far. He lists Rolston as the top one and his contract numbers: 3 years at 3.2million per. I can not understand why DW could not have come up with a contract like that for him.
As far as where to put Kozy, why would you want to break up the chemistry that he, Savard and Heatley. It is true that he could probably have chemistry with who ever he plays with. But the chemistry with that line is a proven thing, and I remember that the few times that Kozy and Kovalchuk played together that they just did not look comfortable and there was not a lot of scoring. Besides I think that adding a power forward to Kovalchuk's line would be better for him than a playmaking wing like Kozy. Get him a playmaking center instead.
I wouldn't mind it if we signed a proven defensemen like Zhitnik or McGillis. Zhitnik and McGillis would both probably sign for $3m to $3.5m per year. I'd also like Nylander or Stumpel, either one, as a centre for Ilya.
I think we're all set for next season. Perhaps we could bring in one more D-man and maybe a checking line center. I think Stefan can center our second line next season so I'm not a big fan of bringing in Nylander or Stumpel.
1a) Don Waddell has stated that he is definitely shopping for a C and possibly a #2 winger. Lindros is done, Nylander IS too soft for Hartley's style and DW is not going to trade a valuable asset or spend a ton of cash. Why?
1b) DW wants Zhamnov, but at his price. I would guess $3.5 mil max for about 3 years. Don't be shocked if he tries for Allison on the cheap - remember he tried hard to get Allison prior to the trade that sent him West. High risk/high reward player who can C line 2.
1c) Stefan will not be a #2 C - not now, never. He is, however, an asset to the team at line 3, working the PK and backchecking the oppositions' best line. I hope he stays a Thrash for another 5 years as he becomes one of the top 2 or 3 two-way C's in the league.
2) We have to resign several key players - most notably Savard, Kovalchuk and Heatley. DW will wait to see what happens with the new CBA before signing long-term deals with second two fellows mentioned, but he'll work on a 1 or 2 year deal for Savard now - that's going to cost $2+ million alone.
3) Guys will make the team that you aren't considering, and guys will NOT make the team you are considering. Hartley won't waste roster space keeping both Lessard and Brennan on the team - one will go to Chicago or be let go. MacKenzie, Stewart, Stuart, and Coburn are four guys that have a pretty good shot of making this team.
4) Here's a guess based on everything mentioned, and a CBA coming together by 9/15/04:
Koz - Savard - Heatley
Kov - ? (Zhamnov) - McEachern
Aubin - Stefan - Petro
Lessard - MacKenzie - Stewart
I'm predicting that DW signs a centermen. Reading this thread I'm getting the impression he is interested in Zhamnov so I'll just predict he gets his man in Alexei. Braydon Coburn will get a long look in camp and I think he will make the team.
Ilya Kovalchuk - Marc Savard - Slava Kozlov
Shawn McEachern - Alexei Zhamnov - Danny Heatley
JP Vigier - Patrik Stefan - Scott Mellanby
Brad Larsen - Serge Aubin - Ronald Petrovicky
Jaroslav Modry - Andy Sutton
Niclas Havelid - Garnet Exelby
Braydon Coburn - Ivan Majesky