Me and my brother have been bantering back and forth about what we think the lines are going to look like (as of right now) for the 2010/2011 season, so with hockey season fast approaching and me being awfully bored today, I figured I’d take a guess as to what we may be looking at for this upcoming season.
This is the only position where I think everything is set in stone. Stevie brought in Dan Ellis, and retained Mike Smith. Barring Steve Yzerman ripping off some other GM besides Paul Holmgren this month, these are going to be our two keepers for 2010/11.
Following last seasons 95/46/94 point seasons, I think we can expect this line to stick for this season. Downie is the perfect complement to the highly skilled tandem of Stammers and Marty. I would also expect his point total to eclipse the 60 point barrier this season having had a full season of playing on a top line under his belt.
Just writing those two lines out gets me pretty excited. This line has a chance to be as good as any in the NHL in my very non-expert opinion. Just like on line 1, Malone provides the skilled Gagne and 4, with a guy who is willing to throw down the gloves and protect our teams assets. Vinny4 caught a lot of shit last year for his point total, but when you’re playing with Alex Tanguay and Stephane Veilleux a lot, what can you really expect out of the guy. I’m glad that Vinny is going to get a chance to show people again why he is one of the higher paid players in the game today. I expect a 90 point season from him and a 75 plus point season out of Gagne if he can play 70 games or more. If Bugs can stay healthy, you can expect him to eclipse the 60 point barrier as well.
Moore was one of the more underated signings of the offseason in my opinion. Moore is the perfect 3rd line center. He can score at a decent clip and certainly isn’t afraid to do some of the grimey work associated with being on a 3rd or 4th line. He should also provide some help on both the power play and the PK. He’s not going to blow anyone away with a 60 point season, but is the solid role player that all teams need to compete in the NHL. The winger spots on both of the last two lines should be very competitive. Aston Carter, Blair Jones, James Wright, Teddy Purcell, Juraj Simek, Chris Durno and Marc Andre Pouiliot should all be competing for time at the 4 winger spots. That’s going to leave 3 guys ultimately on the Norfolk roster. I’m going with Purcell and Pouilot here because I like their combination of experience and upside. Pouilot played in 35 NHL games last year and Purcell played in 60. The Bolts are going to be forced to move a few centers to winger spots if our current roster stays as is, and Pouilot is the first player to be moved out of position.
Nate Thompson, Chris Durno, Paul Szczechura
I think Nate is too good of a face off man to leave him out of the C spot on line 4, so Szcz gets moved to a winger spot i.e. Pouilot. Durno will help provide some grit on this line which isn’t going to get more than a couple shifts a game and help provide some grit on the ice.
Kubina and Clark make the perfect complement to each other on the blue line. Clark might have been signed for a little high of a salary, but should be a great grinding dman for the Bolts. Look for Kubina to put up some of his better offensive numbers of his career on a team that looks pretty damned good on paper.
Victor caught some heat for his seemingly unimpressive rookie season, but anyone who went to the games knows this kid has a bright future ahead of him. People forget that he was 19 years old last year. I have never seen a player as big as him, skate and pass so effortlessly as he does. Ohlund won’t provide much punch in the scoring department, but as Hedman develops into an offensive force on the blue line, Ohlund and his physical nature will lend themselves perfectly to Hedman’s game.
Mike Lundin is one of the players that I thought in 2010 showed the most development (sans 91 the beast). He isn’t going to be a physical player, but is a very solid man defender. It looks ugly on the ice sometimes for Lundin because he gets crushed a lot and doesn’t do much of his own crushing, but his man defensive abilities make up for his lack of physical play. Smaby on the other hand is a giant beast. I don’t know if hell ever have more than 15 points in a season, but he will do plenty of crushing to make up for it. Another perfect complementary pair of defenders in my eyes.
Topics: Aston Carter, Brett Clark, Chris Durno, Dan Ellis, Dominic Moore, James Wright, Juraj Simek, Marc-Andre Pouilot, Martin St Louis, Matt Smaby, Mattias Ohlund, Mike Lundin, Mike Smith, Nate Thompson, Paul Szczechura, Pavel Kubina, Ryan Malone, Steve Downie, Steven Stamkos, Teddy Purcell, Victor Hedman, Vincent Lecavalier