Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Spitballing Forward Lines (aka Bullshitting)

Michalek – Spezza – Ryan

MacArthur – Turris – Zibanejad

Greening – Smith – Neil

Hoffman – Pageau – Condra

Subs: Kassian, Conacher

Line 1: This just seems too easy to put together, so expect Michalek to slip on a donut in the dressing room and force MacLean to call for Greening again, or even the unthinkable... which would be Spezza and Ryan having no chemistry. I can’t see that happening but stranger things have occurred... like Spezza and Michalek having no chemistry dating back several years. Yet this just seems like the right fit on paper going into the season and could be a hell of a line.

Line 2: We all know it’s going to be Turris in the middle, but I like the idea of making Zibanejad a winger right now. It allows Smith to stay at centre on the third line and loads a lot of skill into the top-6. Turris had some success with Alfie on his right side, so why not put in the young Swedish horse there this year and see what develops?

Line 3: You gotta have a grind line and this fits pretty good. Smith and Greening can both play a shutdown game with their size and Neil does a bit of everything . Plus, Smith seems to shrink when he’s shifted to the wing but thrives going up against big centres. Think of the battles this trio will get into with bigger, physical teams like the Leafs and the Bruins. Not that Alfie and the Red Wings will be given a pass. Neil “joked” on the Team 1200 when asked if he’ll hit the former captain by saying “For sure. I’ll text him before the game and tell him to blow his nose so I don’t get snot on my jersey”.

Line 4: Now it gets sketchy. Condra is a lock, but nobody else can say the same. Pageau is awfully small and skilled for a fourth centre it’s his job to lose at the moment. As for Hoffman over Conacher, I always account for one surprise every training camp and I think this is going to be it. It’s just a hunch, but Hoffman’s speed is so ridiculous and Conacher’s short stint with the team was so underwhelming, that I can smell an upset here. Of course, Conacher has had more success than Hoffman at the NHL level and he’s the favourite to stick, but I’ve always liked Hoffman (what little I’ve seen of him) so I’ll live dangerously. Kassian will go in there more than most people realize as both Bryan Murray and Paul MacLean like having that threat in the lineup during the regular season. Kassian may not be able to skate with Pageau or convert too many 2-on1’s, but he’s going to be like his big brother named Chongo and won’t let the kid be menaced by anyone out on the ice.

I’m sure you disagree with my lines completely, so go ahead and give me an earful.


worsteverything said...

Hey great to see a post from you! I can't wait to see how these lines shake out. Just one thing: do you really think Spezza and Michalek have chemistry? Goal wise Milo had the best season of his career playing on Spezza's wing. To me Milo's problem is that he doesn't have chemistry with anyone BUT Spezza. Either way, if Spezza can make Colin Greening into a 17 goal scorer I'm not too worried about Bobby Ryan :)
*looks at watch...season still hasnt started*

worsteverything said...

*Correction: Do you NOT think Spezza and Milo have chemistry

Me am post make good!

Anonymous said...

Michalek has no chemistry with anyone because he is an old fashioned puck hog. I can't recall a single occassion where he has passed the puck on an odd man rush or otherwise. That is when he hasn't blown out a knee.

Anonymous said...

I like to give my two cents.

Stone is going to be in the top six with Turris and MacArthur, Z-bad is center on 3rd/4th line with Condra and Hoffman/Conacher (although I like Hoffman more as well, he looked great before getting hurt last year). The other 3rd/4th line is Neil-Smith-Greening. Pageau will start in AHL.

I just think that they really want to give Stone an opportunity to show what he can do in the top 6. Pageau will be one of the first calls up, if it makes sense. They have a good idea what he can do.

But then again, what do I know.

Jeremy Milks said...

worsteverything: The Michalek-Spezza combo has always felt forced to me. Michalek is an up and down winger, when Heatley used to just get into empty spots where Spezza could find him. I like Michalek a lot, but he doesn't have the greatest hockey sense.

Jeremy Milks said...

I think Stone has a good chance to make it. He's a Murray pick, but they have too many forwards. Someone is going to disappointed in being sent down.

Anshu said...

I agree on your top 2 lines. But I'd change things up for lines 3 and 4 as follows:

Greening Pageau Stone
Condra Smith Neil

I think Pageau is good enough he'll make the team, despite his 2-way non-waiver status. I think Stone will get a shot with the club, but not on the top 2 lines initially (he may play his way up there, though).

I think Smith has to step up his game to deserve the 3rd line center spot. At this point in his career, Neil is a solid 3rd line player but an above-average 4th line player.

If Smith and Neil are on the 3rd line, we're probably not a contender. If there are enough guys playing so well that Smith and Neil get bumped down to the 4th line, then that's probably a good indication we can stack up against anybody.

Are you not forgetting O'Brien? Isn't he on a one-way contract as well? Will he clear waivers if sent down?

Jeremy Milks said...

Anshu: It sounds like O'Brien is done with the Sens pretty soon. Garrioch hinted that his agent asked for more playing time last year and it didn't sit well with Murray. Also hinted that Ottawa has tried to trade him but no takers. I think he's buried unless injuries really strike.