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Each NHL's team *new* top 6 forwards


jammer2
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  I figured this would be a fun summer thread. How has the balance of power shifted in today's NHL?  Who has reconstructed their offense through UFA or the draft? I was looking for who will comprise the top 2 lines of each team, not necessarily the top 6 forwards of each team. With most teams, the top few lines/forwards are cemented, with the exceptions being rookies and big trades.

 

 I'll start out with the Toronto Maple Leafs

 

 1st line

Kessel, Bozek, JVR

 

2nd line

Lupul, Kadri, Clarkson

 

 

 and....the player who might just break into the top 6...

 

 In this case, I'd take....Matt Frattin. He should start out on the 3rd line, but who knows, a big camp out of him, and a bad start by Clarkson and Matt might get the 2nd line assignment. I'm a big fan of this kid, think he has much more offense in his bag of tricks than he has shown thus far. Very odd kind of bow legged skating stride, but he gets from point A to point B with sufficient speed, even if he looks funny doing it. He is kind of an unsung hero for most Leaf fans, liked by many in the fanbase and he has a lot of backers that will be feverishly cheering for him to climb up in the ranks quickly.

 

 Will Clarkson be in the Leaf's top 6?  It's very questionable...but surrounding him with more talent may just wake him up from his slumber and increase his offensive output, this way, the Leafs have at *least* a chance to get some more bang for their buck, after a horrible first year of his 6 year deal.

 

 

 I figured this could be a nice exercise to simply refresh who has what, but also a nice early peak at who might be picking up steam for the upcoming fantasy hockey season. I can see a few spirited debates on who might make it or be left out in the cold.

 

 Just for kicks, thought I'd include a cap portion of the thread....each teams top 7 paid forwards and the year they are signed to...interesting to see each teams cap hits once it gets down to the 6-7 spots, shows right away if they are cheaping out on the forward position or if they are overpaying type thing. Should make for some nice cross referencing, see how your team shapes up compared to the leagues other teams.

 

 Leafs

1)Phil Kessel....8,000,000.....2022

2)David Clarkson....5,250,000.....2020

3)Joffrey Lupul...5,250,000....2018

4)James Van Riemsdyck...4,250,000....2018

5)Leo Komorov....2,950,000...2018

6)Nazem Kadri....2,900,000.....2015

7)Mike Santorelli....1,500,000.....2015

 

 Clarkson sticks out like a sore thumb on that list, huh?  In general, a large portion of their offense is signed up for a decent amount of years. These deals will look like gems as the cap rises up.

 

 Please feel free to post your team, or all teams if the mood strikes you.

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The New York Islanders

1st line
John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Nikolai Kulemin,

2nd line
Mikhail Grabovski, Frans Nielson, Michael Grabner,

This is by far the best depth the Islanders have had at forward in decades. The spent a lot more money than the Leafs on forwards and the line-up shows it.

Player who might break into the top 6...Ryan Strome.

This line up is very hard to figure out, because there is so many centers compared to the wingers.

1)John Tavares....5,500,000....2018
2)Mikhail Grabovski....5,000,000.....2018
3)Nikoli Kluemin...4,187,500.....2018
4)Josh Bailey....3,330,000....2018
5)Michael Grabner.....3,000,000....2016
6)Frans Nielson...2,750,000....2016
7)Cal Clutterbuck....2,750,000....2017
8)Matt Martin....1,000,000...2016
9)Brock Nelson...900,000....2015
10)Kirill Kabanov....898,899....2015
11)Ryan Strome...8,900,000....2015
12)Harry Zolnierczyk....650,000.....2015

First question moving forward...who will be the 3rd player on the Tavares line after Okposo? I'm betting my money on Kluemin, they did not give him 4 mill a year to check...you get a better bang for your buck with Nikoli on the top line. There is a lot of centers here, there will be some trades or players converted to wing. Strome is probably the 2nd most talented player on this team. He has more pure skill than Okposo, although the vet should outscore him...this year. The problem as I see it, they are paying Grabovski a lot, but Strome is kind of a tweener with Mikhail's presence on the roster. Strome's skill set is more top 6, but Grabovski can play 2nd or 3rd...so we may see a 5 million dollar 3rd line center, if things fall the way I think.

This is a DEEP team. The additions of Grabovski and Kluemin is a very well spent 9 mill. It gives the team 2 reliable vets and gives them a fresh new look.  They are gonna give people fits next year. Nice mix of vets and youth, scoring and grinding. A possible 3rd line of Grabner, Bailey and Clutterbuck would be wicked hard to play against.....maybe Strome, Grabner and Clutterbuck. That's the thing...they have Tavares, Grabovski, Nielson (very underrated gem of a player....ditto for Grabner), Strome, Bailey....5 centers, either one becomes a wing or a trade is going down. Could Bailey to the Preds be in the making....the Preds need a center and the Islanders have 5 really good ones....hmmm....

Windsorite Matt Martin led the NHL in hits again...he earned his 1 mill a year payday (2 year deal). Another few guys to keep an eye on, Kabanov and Brock Nelson are elite talents who should stick with the team out of training camp. Another rookie Casey Cziskas made a good showing for himself last year also.

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  TFG...I'll save the Lightning for you  :thumbsu:

 

hehe...thanks  @jammer2 , was just reading this thread and was pondering the Bolts' line combinations.

 

In the meantime, while I come up with some (I have a pretty good idea already), I'll comment on your Islanders section:

 

I agree the Islanders have real good depth at forward.

Thing is, will they be the same ol Islanders?

 

They've had PLENTY of talent go through their ranks over the years...some more than others..but for whatever reason, be it mismanagement of the talent, poor line combinations, or any sorts of positive endorsements from the coaching staff and/or brass, the team simply has not performed as well at the forward positions as they probably should have leading up to this point for the franchise in recent seasons.

 

Some guys seem to peak while others valley...then vice versa...then when the forwards get some traction, the defense and goaltending deflate the team by being vortexes of failure.

 

And while the Isles did grab some talent to add to their own, they latched on to guys who need to re-prove themselves as viable top six guys once again.

Mikhail Grabovski comes to mind right away.

And one of the Isle's own, Michael Grabner.

After a pretty good rookie season, Grabner has shown almost nothing....leaving the lone constant in the Islanders forward group John Taveras to try and carry the team solo.

 

I can agree with the Isles' lineups you've chosen, but again...are these guys going to show what they can REALLY do?

Or will they be the latest victims of the black hole known as Long Island, NY?

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Here is my Bolts top six:

 

1) Palat, Johnson, Stamkos

2) Callahan, Filpoula, Killorn

 

Now, on those 1st two lines, Palat and Callahan can possibly be switched depending on who is producing better.

Palat, Johnson, and Stamkos, however, found tremendous chemistry together once they started becoming regular linemates.

 

Steve Stamkos, is of course, a center (as is Alex Killorn on the second line) but both those guys play the wing just as well, and in the case of Stamkos, keeping the well playing Tyler Johnson and Valterri Filppula at their ideal C positions was worth the move to wing....and he embraces it.

 

That said, should Johnson struggle, Stamkos can be made the top center, and perhaps move one of Callahan or Killorn up to the top line to play wing alongside he and Palat.

Same is true of Palat if he struggles.

 

A wild card in all this will be Jonathan Drouin.

Word is, the Bolts really want him to make the team right out of training camp.

If he does, they  may try him out at first on the 3rd line, but if he proves to be too good there (which is the plan), HE may be move to one of the top lines, bumping perhaps Alex Killorn to what I believe would be his best fit on a deep team, 3rd line scoring/checking center.

 

Other guys like Nikita Kucherov and Richard Panik, if they prove consistent, can and have found themselves at various times skating with either Stamkos, Johnson, or Filppula on the top lines at various times.

Whether they can stay there is the big question.

 

Guys like Brian Boyle, newly signed Brenden Morrow, JT Brown, and possible callups Mike Angelidis, Phillippe Paradis, or Dalton Smith should and probably will occupy the bottom six roles along with whomever doesn't make the cut for the top two lines.

 

One other guy who is an unknown at this point is Brett Connolly.

He is still sitting as an RFA, but I thought I heard through some TB media that the Lightning were looking to give him a contract and want him to also make the team out of training camp...with the idea that he can be a top six guy.

 

He has been given a few chances in the past already, has performed so-so at the NHL level, but doing fantastic at the AHL level.

If the Bolts keep him, he makes the team, and does at the NHL level what he has been doing at Syracuse, then he could be top six, again, possibly pushing Alex Killorn, a struggling Ondrej Palat, or even a Ryan Callahan, down to the 3rd line.

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hehe...thanks  @jammer2 , was just reading this thread and was pondering the Bolts' line combinations.

 

In the meantime, while I come up with some (I have a pretty good idea already), I'll comment on your Islanders section:

 

I agree the Islanders have real good depth at forward.

Thing is, will they be the same ol Islanders?

 

They've had PLENTY of talent go through their ranks over the years...some more than others..but for whatever reason, be it mismanagement of the talent, poor line combinations, or any sorts of positive endorsements from the coaching staff and/or brass, the team simply has not performed as well at the forward positions as they probably should have leading up to this point for the franchise in recent seasons.

 

Some guys seem to peak while others valley...then vice versa...then when the forwards get some traction, the defense and goaltending deflate the team by being vortexes of failure.

 

And while the Isles did grab some talent to add to their own, they latched on to guys who need to re-prove themselves as viable top six guys once again.

Mikhail Grabovski comes to mind right away.

And one of the Isle's own, Michael Grabner.

After a pretty good rookie season, Grabner has shown almost nothing....leaving the lone constant in the Islanders forward group John Taveras to try and carry the team solo.

 

I can agree with the Isles' lineups you've chosen, but again...are these guys going to show what they can REALLY do?

Or will they be the latest victims of the black hole known as Long Island, NY?

 

 

 The one thing that always seemed to haunt the Islanders and their fan base has been goaltlending. Maybe, just maybe...Snow has *finally* fixed the problem. Halak and Johnson are the best duo they have had in decades. Their presence, along with an improving defense and new forward depth should mean the Islanders are playoff bound. They were in the race last with Poulin and some other rookies, so this year, they will be guaranteed, at least IMHO. The East is gonna get really tight.

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For the Devils...

 

Cammalleri - Zajac - Jagr

 

Elias - Henrique - Havlat

 

I think the top line is pretty obvious, given that Zajac and Jagr play well together but need somebody on the left side who can put the puck in the net. The second line is where it could get interesting. Elias and Henrique work well together, so it's natural to keep them together. I'm penciling Havlat in now simply based on the familiarity he has with his buddy Elias. If Havlat can stay healthy, I think that could be a pretty good line. If he can't, or the chemistry doesn't work, I could see Ryder or Brunner being given some time on that line. The other thing to keep in mind with the top six is that Elias and Henrique have both played center and wing. So if Cammalleri doesn't work on the top line, they could move one of them up and put Cammalleri with the other on the second line.

 

The Devils really only have 5 legitimate top six forwards. Havlat is questionable because of his health, Ryder was utterly invisible the last 30+ games of the season, and Brunner is incredibly streaky. Clowe is kind of a wild card. He's a guy who can play with top six forwards, but he's just as injury prone as Havlat and moves at a glacial pace. Ruutu and Zubrus are third liners, but both spent some time with Zajac and Jagr last year, so if they run into injuries or everything goes to hell I suppose they could find themselves there again.

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The Penguins...

Kunitz - Crosby - Dupuis

Bennett - Malkin - Hornqvist

Who is left and who is right between Hornqvist and Bennett is up in the air but I think Bennett will start on the left until we see how Hornqvist works with Malkin in his natural position.

Downie is a wildcard. As much of a piece of trash as he is Tocchet seems to love him, and if Tochett can get him back in 20 goal form he may get the slot instead if Bennett.

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@TropicalFruitGirl26

 

 I'm just taking a look at the Bolts cap dispersal for the forwards.

 

1)Steven Stamkos....7,500,000....2016

2)Valleri Fippula...5,000,000....2018

3)Tyler Johnson....3,333,333....2017

4)Ondrej Palat.....3,333,333....2017

5)Alex Killorn.....2,550,000....2016

6)Brian Boyle...2,000,000....2017

7)Brendan Morrow....1,550,000....2015

8)J.T. Brown...950,000.....2016

9)Vladimir Namestikov...925,000....2015

10)A. Maarchessault. Jr.....925,000....2015

11)Johnathan Drouin....894,167....2017

12)Adam Erne....905,000....2017

13)Nikita Kucherov....711,667....2016

 

 Don't know *how* I missed Callahan, insert him in the #2 slot at 5,800,000....he is signed through 2020. Really, the only contract that I'd deem risky of all the Bolt's forwards. Just don't know how he will be skating in 18-19 and 20.

 

I don't have any totals for Brett Connolley or Richard Panik...both are listed as RFA's, although I know Panik just signed a new one year deal yesterday. Since it is a 2 way deal, I suspect it's close to the vet minimum.

 

 A lot of talent here...I like how Stevie Y has set things up here. There are literally no deals shelling out money to unproven commodities. Almost all the kids are signed to ELC's or "show me" contracts in the case of Panik etc.

 

 

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  Washington Capitals

 

 Top 6 forwards

1st line

Alexander Ovechkin, Nickolas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov

Troy Brower, Marcus Johannson, Joel Ward

 

 The big question moving forward is will Kuznetsov relegate Brooks Laich to the 3rd line?  Kuz was placed on the top line more than a few times when he joined the team late, and was on the top pp more often than not...I see no reason for anything to change. I think Troy's job is safe in the top 6, so Brooks may just be the odd man out. One thing for sure, Kvgeny will be one of the top 5 or 7 top youngsters in the game. With his skill set, if he's paired with OV, the sky is literally the limit. He's played against men for years in the KHL, so the transition time will be very short or non existent.

 

 Caps cap space for forwards

 

1)Alexander Ovechkin.....9,538,462....2021

2)Nickolas Backstrom....6,700,000....2020

3)Brooks Laich....4,500,000.....2017

4)Troy Brower....3,666,667....2016

5)Joel Ward....3,000,000

6)Marcus Johannson...2,000,000..2016

7)Jason Chimera....2,000,000....2016

8)Eric Fehr....1,500,000....2015

9)Evgeny Kuznetsov....900,000....2015

10)Tom Wilson....894,167....2016

11)Andre Burakovsky....894,167...2017

12)Arron Volpatti.....575,000....2015

 

 I'm thinking last years first round Caps pick Andre Burakovsky is given every opportunity to crack into the line-up.....I have read that a few times over the past month or so. You can see where the Caps overpaid a tad to retain their own RFA's the past few years, guys like Fehr, Ward, Laich, Brower....so have been mainstays on the Caps and are really the ones who give them their team identity, not the OV's and Backstrom. Perhaps the Caps needed to change up the depth players a bit, cause the guys at the top can't really be changed, so the only tinkering is the 2nd and 3rd lines.

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 Well, today I picked the Sens at random to preview their forward situation....

 

 The Ottawa Senators

 

 1st line

Kyle Turris, Bobby Ryan, Milan Michalek

 

 2nd line

David Legwand, Chris MacArthur, Alex Chaisson

 

 Some pressing questions for the Sens entering next season.....will Kyle Turris take on the challange and become a legit #1 franchise center....we should know more after this year, it's a big year for him. He was kinda forced into this spot when Spezza went down...it showed a lot of faith in Kyle to deal Spezza. Many, including myself see Bobby Ryan fleeing for greener pastures when he becomes UFA after this year...and I can't blame him. Milan might be one of the most "meh" players to play on a top line...very average effort, slightly better than average skills....not a big fan.

 

 I believe Legwand will be given every chance to succeed in the 2nd line role. I expect Alex Chaisson to be promoted and get more pts chances, being the top NHL return for Spezza, the more he scores, the better Murray loooks so a 1st or 2nd line job is expected. He's really an agitator type, more suited for the 3rd line, but his being traded for Jason changes everything. The expectations, fair or not, are lofty for young Alex.

 

 

 Senator forward cap situation....

 

1)Bobby Ryan.....5,100,000....2015

2)Milan Michalek....4,000,000...2017

3)Kyle Turris....3,000,000....2018

4)Clarke MacArthur....3,250,000....2015

5)David Legwand....3,000,000....2016

6)Colin Greening....2,650,000....2017

7)Chris Neil....1,900,000.....2016

8)Zack Smith....1,877,500.....2017

9)Eric Condra....1,250,000....2015

10)Mika Zibinablad....894,167....2016

11)Alex Chaisson....866,667....2015

12)Matt Pumpel....863,333....2016

13)Mark Stone....603,333...2015.

 

 Stone may very well be the best "pure" goal scorer on the Sens roster after Ryan....I expect big things out of him this year. The nice part, from a Sens standpoint is Ryan, MacArthur, Condra, Chaisson....their contracts are up after this year, and how they play next year will directly impact their contract offers, either from Sens or the enemy....so obviously a huge plus for the Sens moving forward.

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@jammer2

 

The Sharks are hard for me to predict right now. Wilson wants to give the team to the younger players. Which is cool. But at the same time, I find it incredibly weird to think of Joe Thornton as a checking line center given he was almost top 10 in scoring YET AGAIN and 2nd in assists. Granted, he is easily the best faceoff man on the team, and that is why he got so many damn defensive zone starts in the playoffs. Only Shark winning the friggen faceoffs in the last 3 games.....

 

The Sharks also roll 3 lines relatively equally at ES, and roll their 3 defensive pairings equally.

 

At the same time, Marleau is supposedly in the same boat. I have no idea how Wilson is going to approach this season, but I suspect Thornton and Marleau will get little in the way of PP time. I can live with that. But moving Marleau off the Couture/Nieto line would be a mistake. Nieto and Marleau made Couture look invisible on that line because both have blazing speed and Couture is slow as molasses. They just clicked too well together to take them apart. On that note, I am going to assume Marleau stays with Couture and Nieto. Ill assume Thornton is going to take a role on the 3rd line outside of the top 6. Quite frankly, a fire Hydrant could score with Joe Thornton, so why not put him on his own line. He can win 65% of the defensive zone/Neutral zone faceoffs.

 

Sharks top 6. In no particular order since they are about equal

 

Marleau/Couture/Nieto

Hertl/Pavelski/Wingels

 

Couture. Excellent two way forward. Slow skater, but so smart at reading the play that it is irrelevant. Good in all situations. PP, PK or 5 on 5.

Marleau. Excellent two way forward who can play either wing or center. Speedy skater who has not seemed to age. Good in all situations. PP, PK or 5 on 5.

Nieto. Yes he only had 24 points last year, but 11 of them came in the final 20 games he played. He just really hit a groove and looked like a man among boys at the Sharks prospect game.

Hertl. I expect great things from this kid. He can play either wing or center. Responsible defensively and just gives his all every shift.

Pavelski. Excellent two way forward who can play either wing or center. Slow Skater, but smart at reading the play and usually it is irrelevant. Good in all situations. PP, PK or 5 on 5.

Wingels. Boy did he have a good season breakout. Can play either wing or center, and on any line from 1st with Jumbo to 4th with Desjardins, he finds a way to adapt and chip in. Lead team in hits last season and scored 38 points with limited PP time. Also plays on the PK

 

I suspect our 3rd line will look something like

Torres/Thornton/Sheppard

 

Thornton on the 3rd line will really frig other teams ability to match lines up. Thornton carries any line into the offensive zone. For instance, Burns CORSI was something like 60% with Thornton on the ice, 40% without him. Pavelski was similar in drop without Thornton, but not quite as drastic. He just tilts the ice into the offensive zone regardless of linemates.

 

Teams might still try to keep their best checkers on Thornton's line, but it will mean letting Couture and Pavelski's line face weaker competition. Any one of those 3 lines can match up against another teams top line and do well for itself.

 

Our defensive pairings will be another matter entirely..........

Vlasic/Burns

?????/Braun

?????/Demers

 

????? indicates one of Irwin, Hannan, Mirco Mueller, Tenneson, or Abeltshauser. Who bloody knows

 

 

Sharks forward cap situation: You wanted to know who was brought through draft or UFA or trade right? ill highlight as follows. DRAFTED, Acquired in Trade, Acquired via Free agency.

FORWARDS
Patrick Marleau ($6.667m) 2017/ Logan Couture ($6.000m) 2019 / Matt Nieto ($0.759m) 2016
Tomas Hertl ($0.925m) 2016/ Joe Pavelski ($6.000m) 2019/ Tommy Wingels ($2.475m) 2017
Raffi Torres ($2.000m) 2016/ Joe Thornton ($6.750m) 2017/ James Sheppard ($1.300m) 2015
Mike Brown ($1.200m) 2016/ Andrew Desjardins ($0.750m) 2015/ John Scott ($0.700m) 2015
Adam Burish ($1.850m) 2016/ Tyler Kennedy ($2.350m) 2015

 

Boy do we ever need to trade away some garbage forwards. Bye Burish and Kennedy

Edited by J0e Th0rnton
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@jammer2 , everyone else, I will have a detailed Minnesota Wild write up soon.

 

Was going to do it now, but my youngest is being a pill right now... :blink[1]:

 

Anyways, in short, top six for MIN at this time, IMO,

 

1-Parise-Granlund-Pominville

2-Vanek-Coyle-Niedderreiter

 

Again, will get into detail later, and these are still up in the air as well due to Nino still sitting as an RFA, not knowing the status of Jason Zucker on the team, and how Mikko Koivu will fit in (last season, he was in and out of the top six.

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Wings are easy

 

Datsyruk   Zetterberg    Nyquist

 

Weiss    Tatar      Franzen

 

Alfredsson still up in the air.

 

  Not too shabby, providing Weiss can play as expected when signed last year. if not it forces Zetterberg back to center where his aching back is showing signs of having a difficult time playing anymore, and it forces a juggling of the wingers. Weiss is the key to the Wings season. Very dicey situation.

 

  BTW why hasn't anyone taken a chance on David Booth? I keep hoping that he signs with the Wings, he played on a line with Weiss during their best years. I think he would be a good fit it Motown. Just sayin.

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Edmonton Oilers

 

Hall          Nugent-Hopkins          Eberle

Perron      Arcobello / Draisaitl    Yakupov

 

That 2C is all sorts of trouble right now, and pretty much the only way for Craig MacTavish to fix it is to trade off one of his assets for a player who can provide some solid two-way performance. My preference would be to see Justin Schultz be that guy, as I think his name and relative fame is more valuable than what he really brings to the table.

 

Taylor Hall - best offensive LW in hockey, and has the ability to push play no matter who is on the with him. A cannonball who pushes defensemen way back in their zone, opening up room for his linemates. He was 9th in scoring (2nd in the Big Boy Conference) during the lockout, and tied for 6th last year. Known as a sniper, but is really an underrated passer. Top five even-strength scorer. If he played in a major Eastern market, he'd be a superstar. Instead, Hockey Canada didn't even have him in their list of top 9 LW. This is insane.

 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - think of what he's been asked to do since he walked into the NHL: he gets to go out and match up against Toews, Kopitar, Seguin, Sedin, Thorton, Getzlaf, Koivu, Duchesne, Backes, etc, all as a physically under-developed kid who had a shoulder problem left over from junior hockey. And the real kicker: his line has still scored more than they've given up out there. Unreal. PP demon whose brain is a pitiless machine, calculating ways to break down PK units. Eakins didn't put him out there nearly enough.

 

Jordan Eberle - famous since he was an amateur player. Would go much higher were a re-draft to be held from his class. Nice hands, soft defensive player who breaks the zone early. Will score his points.

 

David Perron - pain in the ass LW that can put up points. The Blues didn't really want to give him up, but ran into cap trouble and had to send him away.

 

Nail Yakupov - who knows what the Oilers will get out of him? Was given disproportionately harsh treatment from Dallas Eakins, but in the end he has a cannon of a shot, and is a PP threat that Eakins didn't really use last year. The tools are all there, and if the Oilers can find a way to give him the right ice time with the right starts, he could do very well. People talk about him as if he were the first teenager that needed to learn to play without the puck.

 

----

 

I leave, apart from the others, the issue of 2nd line center. As of right now, the choices seem to be

 

Mark Arcobello - hell of an AHL player who has shown the ability to play with skill. While RNH was hurt early last season, stepped up and was a PPG player. Was sent back to the AHL, lit it up, and when he was brought back up and asked to play on the 4th line, still turned in positive Corsi numbers. There's a player there, but teams have forever shown tremendous difficult in seeing past size issues.

 

Leon Draisaitl - unless he comes to camp and clearly wins a spot, he needs to be sent back Prince Albert on the first available plane. Great sizem, long body, big wide ass, and can really protect the puck. The top scoring forwards in junior this year were all right in the same exact territory in terms of his production. He's probably the real deal, but I don't see the point in throwing him in water over his head. But, you know: Oilers. So, he's probably wearing a blue and orange jersey next year.

Edited by JR Ewing
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@JR Ewing   An article detailing some behind the scenes reasoning for the Purcell/Gagner deal. 

 

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/oilers-pick-up-teddy-purcell-sam-gagner-lands-in-arizona-1.2691553

 

 I'm thinking something like...

 

1st line

Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle

 

2nd line

Leon Draisaitl, David Perron, Teddy Purcell.

 

 Of course, this is all dependent on how Nail might react/play on a 3rd line....if it does not work (and really, he looks like a top 6 guy, he would be lost on a defensive orientated line), then perhaps a more deserving Purcell or Perron would reluctantly be placed on the 3rd line. Purcell could really take off in Edmonton, he looked like the type that could really benefit from a change of scenery. Teddy is 28, so you'd like to think he can handle the extra pressure of playing in Edmonton should be handled like a pro.

 

 Amazing when you think about it, Gagner had 49 pts in his rookie year, and in the following 6 years he did not surpass that initial points surge. Another guy that really needed a geographic move to refresh himself and evolve was Gagner. I expect him to have a solid year for the Yotes. Very odd how he got flipped twice in about an hour..lol.

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@JR Ewing   An article detailing some behind the scenes reasoning for the Purcell/Gagner deal. 

 

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/oilers-pick-up-teddy-purcell-sam-gagner-lands-in-arizona-1.2691553

 

 I'm thinking something like...

 

1st line

Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle

 

2nd line

Leon Draisaitl, David Perron, Teddy Purcell.

 

 Of course, this is all dependent on how Nail might react/play on a 3rd line....if it does not work (and really, he looks like a top 6 guy, he would be lost on a defensive orientated line), then perhaps a more deserving Purcell or Perron would reluctantly be placed on the 3rd line. Purcell could really take off in Edmonton, he looked like the type that could really benefit from a change of scenery. Teddy is 28, so you'd like to think he can handle the extra pressure of playing in Edmonton should be handled like a pro.

 

 Amazing when you think about it, Gagner had 49 pts in his rookie year, and in the following 6 years he did not surpass that initial points surge. Another guy that really needed a geographic move to refresh himself and evolve was Gagner. I expect him to have a solid year for the Yotes. Very odd how he got flipped twice in about an hour..lol.

 

Purcell / Yakupov - yes, Purcell could very well find himself as 2RW. In fact, I think he's likely to start there. I really think a lot of it will shake out with who will get the soft minutes. If it turns out that Draisaitl sticks as 2C, they'd be well advised to give him the easier starts and comp. I would think it's likely that Yakupov will find himself on whichever line gets those softer minutes. Either way, he could force the issue if he starts scoring.  The nice about Purcell is that he has an established history of positive possession numbers, which is something the Oilers definitely need more of (and got a lot of in free agency).

 

Gagner and his non-evolution - it's almost as if stripping down your team so that a non-lottery teenager can play NHL minutes right away and then putting him through a carousel of new head coaches every year could be bad for his career. Who figured?

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Gagner and his non-evolution - it's almost as if stripping down your team so that a non-lottery teenager can play NHL minutes right away and then putting him through a carousel of new head coaches every year could be bad for his career. Who figured?

 

 Yes, excellent point. The constant shuffling of coaches did not do Gagner any favours. Learning a brand new system every other year or so would screw up a vet, much less a kid who is trying to find his game and see where he fits in the grand scheme of things. He had a measly 10 goals last year, think he lost confidence for long stretches of time last year. Hey, didn't Gagner have that big 6 goal game last year, or was it 7 pts??.....either way, he produced more pts in game than nearly a quarter of his season......pitiful.

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 Yes, excellent point. The constant shuffling of coaches did not do Gagner any favours. Learning a brand new system every other year or so would screw up a vet, much less a kid who is trying to find his game and see where he fits in the grand scheme of things. He had a measly 10 goals last year, think he lost confidence for long stretches of time last year. Hey, didn't Gagner have that big 6 goal game last year, or was it 7 pts??.....either way, he produced more pts in game than nearly a quarter of his season......pitiful.

 

Gagner had an 8-point night in 2012 against Chicago: 4G - 4A. Hell of a night in any league.

 

 

Re: scoring only 10 goals last year... In his defense, Gagner suffered a pretty horrific injury and then came back way too early. He lost 20 pounds (and he's not a big player to begin with), and later admitted that he often had trouble breathing early on. Can you imagine trying to play NHL hockey, against men much larger than yourself, while you're only consuming smoothies and protein shakes?

 

sam-gagner-broken-jaw-photos-3.jpg

 

He came back way too soon. Eric Morris, over at Undisclosed Injury, referred to the recovery as "quite possibly the most miserable forms of treatment" and "you can't eat solids, brush your teeth, you have difficulty breathing and it's incredibly uncomfortable." His medical opinion held that the average athlete should return from such an injury in 8 weeks. Gagner was back before Halloween, wildly underweight, still on liquid diet (and would be for more than another month), and not ready for NHL hockey.

 

Way too soon, and it hurt his (and the team's) performance.

Edited by JR Ewing
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@JR Ewing

 

I would give serious thought to moving Eberle to center. This team is built a little strange, a lot of pieces but the flow isnt there. Eberle in the middle, if he could handle it balances out the roster.

 

With respect, I really think that's about opposite the answer they need. Yes, the Oilers now have tremendous depth on the wings and shocking little of it down the middle, but moving Eberle to center is probably like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

 

-He's smaller and much weaker than Gagner.

-He's barely more defensively inclined than is Gagner.

-He's taken an average of 17 faceoffs per year, winning only 40% of them in his career.

 

The Oilers didn't need to move Sam Gagner to get a small, weak, not-very-fast, poor at faceoffs center with little eye towards the defensive side of the game as their 2C. I think the change has to come from acquiring an actual NHL 2C, and that comes from trading an existing player and/or prospect.

 

They need a real center, imo.

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Here is my Bolts top six:

 

1) Palat, Johnson, Stamkos

2) Callahan, Filpoula, Killorn

 

Now, on those 1st two lines, Palat and Callahan can possibly be switched depending on who is producing better.

Palat, Johnson, and Stamkos, however, found tremendous chemistry together once they started becoming regular linemates.

 

Steve Stamkos, is of course, a center (as is Alex Killorn on the second line) but both those guys play the wing just as well, and in the case of Stamkos, keeping the well playing Tyler Johnson and Valterri Filppula at their ideal C positions was worth the move to wing....and he embraces it.

 

That said, should Johnson struggle, Stamkos can be made the top center, and perhaps move one of Callahan or Killorn up to the top line to play wing alongside he and Palat.

Same is true of Palat if he struggles.

 

A wild card in all this will be Jonathan Drouin.

Word is, the Bolts really want him to make the team right out of training camp.

If he does, they  may try him out at first on the 3rd line, but if he proves to be too good there (which is the plan), HE may be move to one of the top lines, bumping perhaps Alex Killorn to what I believe would be his best fit on a deep team, 3rd line scoring/checking center.

 

Other guys like Nikita Kucherov and Richard Panik, if they prove consistent, can and have found themselves at various times skating with either Stamkos, Johnson, or Filppula on the top lines at various times.

Whether they can stay there is the big question.

 

Guys like Brian Boyle, newly signed Brenden Morrow, JT Brown, and possible callups Mike Angelidis, Phillippe Paradis, or Dalton Smith should and probably will occupy the bottom six roles along with whomever doesn't make the cut for the top two lines.

 

One other guy who is an unknown at this point is Brett Connolly.

He is still sitting as an RFA, but I thought I heard through some TB media that the Lightning were looking to give him a contract and want him to also make the team out of training camp...with the idea that he can be a top six guy.

 

He has been given a few chances in the past already, has performed so-so at the NHL level, but doing fantastic at the AHL level.

If the Bolts keep him, he makes the team, and does at the NHL level what he has been doing at Syracuse, then he could be top six, again, possibly pushing Alex Killorn, a struggling Ondrej Palat, or even a Ryan Callahan, down to the 3rd line.

 

Quick update on my earlier "Top 6 for the Lightning".

Quoted myself for easy reference....

 

Richard Panik DID get a one year, "show me contract" from the Bolts.

Pays him $735 K (at the NHL level I assume) and much less playing at the AHL level.....the contract is two way.

He will still be an RFA at the end of that, so the Bolts have flexibility on whether to retain him or not after this season.

 

Thing is, I think the Lightning REALLY want this guy to succeed...as do the TB fans.

No one questions the guy's talent....it's his ability to put it all together consistently at the NHL level that everyone is looking for.

 

If he does, he can easily slot into one of the top lines....and I am pretty sure the Bolts wouldn't mind giving him a more substantial contract after this season if he can finally put the AHL in the rear view for good.

 

Same with Brett Connolly.

He also gets a two way contract for a year, with the Bolts having him still at RFA status after this season.

His is worth $850K.

 

Another guy who has shown the ability to star at the AHL level but has yet to find his game at the NHL level and remove all doubt that he is a full blown big league player.

 

About $1.8 million combined for two guys who, if all works out right, can be top six guys....not too bad at all.

I am sure the Lightning wouldn't mind having the "good problem" of trying to figure out how to fit these guys into their roster permanently next season with higher salaries if they do really well with the team this year.

 

I think based on training camps, both these guys will either start out at AHL Syracuse, or if they make the team, will probably be bottom six guys.

But bottom six is NOT where the Bolts want these guys...nor where they should be.

So that said, if they rise to the occasion, they most likely will bump an Alex Killorn and one other winger who maybe gets off to a slow start off the top six lines.

 

I think Stamkos, Johnson, and Filppula are 'givens' on the top six.

So all eyes will be on Palat, Callahan, and Killorn to see if they maintain their top six status.

 

Although, having a third line of say, Callahan-Boyle-Killorn sounds pretty nice too. That almost likes like a 2B line.

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
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  Lost my whole post....hate it when that happens, but I will try and reconstruct....

 

 Cally's spot in the top 6 seems to be the most tenuous. He did not look overly impressive upon his trade to the Bolts, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt...he has earned that. I do think he will have to be involved and on top of his game early to stay on the 2nd line though. He has made a career out of hard work and leadership by example, and if those two things can come to the forefront, he can succeed.

 

 I'm thinking Palat will only get better, he was very impressive looking in his rookie season. The Bolts have question marks like every team, but the players are there to have 3 scoring lines. Of course, one of the keys to this will be Panik...one of my fav Spits, the way that kid took the puck to the net in juniors, it was special. He never put it together for a long period, but he certainly showed flashes of brilliance...he needs to find consistency, like a lot of younger players...but the tools are all in the shed.

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  Lost my whole post....hate it when that happens, but I will try and reconstruct....

 

 Cally's spot in the top 6 seems to be the most tenuous. He did not look overly impressive upon his trade to the Bolts, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt...he has earned that. I do think he will have to be involved and on top of his game early to stay on the 2nd line though. He has made a career out of hard work and leadership by example, and if those two things can come to the forefront, he can succeed.

 

 I'm thinking Palat will only get better, he was very impressive looking in his rookie season. The Bolts have question marks like every team, but the players are there to have 3 scoring lines. Of course, one of the keys to this will be Panik...one of my fav Spits, the way that kid took the puck to the net in juniors, it was special. He never put it together for a long period, but he certainly showed flashes of brilliance...he needs to find consistency, like a lot of younger players...but the tools are all in the shed.

 

yea, I can go along with this assessment.

Some other Bolts fans I talked to said I was nuts for even considering Callahan out of the top six.

I think he can play there, however, I also know on the Lightning, competition for a top six slot can be very, very heated...and it won't take much for a player to get knocked down a line.

 

Besides...what's with the stigma that playing on a 3rd line is a BAD thing??

 

If the team is deep, as the Bolts are looking like they may be, at the forward position, and the coach is savvy on how to use his lines, three lines with important minutes CAN be achieved.

 

And you are right:

Callahan's blue collar type play may very well serve him better on a 3rd line with similar type players....hence why I thought Callahan-Boyle-Killorn can be a very good checking/scoring line, and be every bit as important as the top two lines.

 

Panik....I keep saying it over and over....he is like Claude Lemieux-lite in his play.

I COULD do without the Claude dirty stuff, but the agitating, skating, checking, and good hands and sniping ability? Yep...give us more of that Mr. Panik!

 

Hope he gets it together this season.

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