Thursday, July 13, 2006

Playing coach

Dany Heatley - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves
Peter Schaefer - Alexei Kaigodorov - Daniel Alfredsson
Antoine Vermette - Mike Fisher - Chris Neil
Christoph Schubert/Denny Hamel - Chris Kelly - Brian McGratton

Wade Redden - Andrej Meszaros
Chris Phillips - Joe Corvo
Tom Preissing - Anton Volchenkov
Not as menacing as last year's squad, that's for sure, but still looks decent enough to me.


At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Hondo said...

Wow, its amazing how this whole situation seems a lot better when we actually see how good the roster still is on paper. I don't know anything about this Kaigodorov guy, but his name is cool so I like him.

At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also let's not forget Meszaros, Eaves, Kelly, Emery and Schubert were rookies last year and figure to improve with an extra year of experience. Alfredsson's the oldest player on the team and he only turns 34 in December. This is still a very, very good team. Not as good as they were at the start of the season last year with Hasek, to be sure, but one that should be a lock for the playoffs and that's when the real season starts.

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd swap Vermette for Schaefer. The chemistry that Schaefer has with Fish is undeniable, and I'd argue that Vermette would offer more scoring on the second line while sacrificing nothing defensively.

At 1:25 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Schaefer is likely going to get a deal in the neighborhood of $2 million annually. Putting him on the third line makes no sense.

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully Murray won't scramble the lines like he did last year and the let them gel. Whatever works best will be the lines, and I'm sure Murray doesn't give a hoot what Shaefer makes.

At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree. Neil, up for arbitration, is likely to get a deal in the neighbourhood of 1.5 million, which is what Fisher is making, yet they're both slated on your third line. We're looking to ice the best lineup here, not sort the players in order of salary. Case in point: Alf is making 4.5 mil, Eaves around 1 mil, yet Eaves is your first line right winger because it improves the team by distributing scoring and limiting defensive liability.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

1) Chris Neil is not going to get Mike Fisher money, I can assure you of that. If he makes more than a mil I'd be very surprised.

2) If you don't think salaries come to into play when deciding to distribute ice time, you're insane. Murray's a former GM, he knows this very well.

The difference in ice time between the first and second, compared to the second is third, is not really comparabke. On this team, if you're on the second line, you're still looking at close at 16 minutes a game. Drop down to the third and it's closer to 12.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Donald said...

I agree with "Anonymous". I would also switch Vermette with Schaefer on that second line. Schaefer simply doesn't shoot often enough to be on a scoring line. I'd put him with Fisher and Neil on the energy line with an aggresive forecheck. Schaefer's strength along the boards would win a lot of battles and generate a cycle.

I also notice that there is no Varada in your mix. Have you all given up on him? I know I have...

At 4:45 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

For a guy who doesn't shoot enough, Schaefer was able to tally 20 goals. How that?

On a line like Alfie & Kaigodorov, Schaefer's grit and excellence along the boards is needed. Vermette isn't soft, but he also doesn't initiate contact as often as Schaefer, nor can he win one-on-one battles for pucks as often (which, in Schaefer's case, is about 80% of the time)

On the third line, you'd have Neil and Fisher doing all the dirty work, with Vermette able to concentrate more on providing offence.

Anyway, it's not as if this is a massive issue. Vermette on the second line and Schaefer on the third would still probably be pretty effective, but I would just prefer the way I had it.

As for Varada, yeah, he's as good as gone. Even the president of his fan club John Muckler has said the team is moving on.

He'd have to take a massive paycut (as in going from $1.2 million to, say, $500) for me to rationalize bringing him back, and I don't see him doing so. Especially not for this team. He had many spats with Murray, a few of which carried over into the media.

I recall Varada being disappointed earlier in the season when he was only a fourth line player. I can't imagine, then, he was pleased to be a healthy scratch on more than one occasion.

At 4:56 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Also, an important thing to remember when discussing line combos is Kaigodorov's lack of familarity with the North American game.

In an ideal world, he would've spent a year in the AHL getting used to it before coming up to the big league, however, our need for a true second line center and our lack of cap space to pay for a proven one makes him a viable option.

If we are to assume he's going to be Alfredsson's middle man, as has been alluded to by many including Muckler, then surely you want someone else there who can handle himself.

Schaefer's not McGratton, or even Neil or Fisher (Fisher on that line on the left side isn't the worst idea now that I think of it), but he's certainly a tough cookie.

Even if everything goes wonderfully, we still have to expect a certain amount of bumps in the road if we go with Kaigodorov.

Having Alfie there will help, but another veteran guy is also key. A mature, developed player.

I'm not sure Vermette is that yet. He's still in the development process, largely because we slowed it down. By putting him in a fourth line/PK role, we've added a dimension to Vermette's game that wasn't prominent before, but it also means we haven't let him spread his wings offensively. He's still, in a lot of ways, growing as a player.

At 5:11 PM, Anonymous tomd said...

I fell very uneasy about having a prospect come in and take over the number 2 me Fisher is still the standard

The best place for Vermette would be as a third line center between Kelly and would make for a very solid third line and keeps the Vermette/Kelly pairing for PK

We need a legit number 2 center that would move Fisher over to wing or at the least a top six winger to play with Fisher or Schaefer

As things go someone will get "pulled" up to play wing. The three candidates are Eaves, Vermette and Neil and really Eaves and I think Vermette should be played at center.

I would go with Eaves and have Neil play with vermette and kelly

Kelly vermette Neil would duplicate the dynamic of Kelly Vermette and Schubert which turned out to be a very strong line combination

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Hamel have a shot with your squad this year? I'm a Sabre fan and I liked him back when he wore the angry goat head.

I had the opportunity to see Deny in Bridgeport this year. He was a force - hitting, shooting, generating chances, scoring the OT GWG. Admittedly, it's the A but I thought he had some fire and would be worth a look in the bigs. Sure, there are probably easier teams in the league to crack the lineup but I think Deny should get another shot at the NHL.


At 2:43 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

He'll have a shot, yeah, which is more than you can say he had last season. It'll be up to him to win the job though, because I think a lot of people in the organization view him as a career minor leaguer. He has to prove them wrong, meaning good games in the pre-season.


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