Well…sorry, Chris. But your hometown Columbus Blue Jackets stole your Free Agent pick, Vinny Prospal. So it might come to pass that our roster stays as it is. If so, here’s a quick glimpse of what our lines could look like:
Again, these are MY combinations. And here’s why I made the choices that I did…
I split up Datsyuk and Zetterberg because they’re both natural centers and it would be harder for teams to match-up their defensive pairs against with them on different lines. Of course, on powerplays and in a pinch – we reunite the Flying Circus. Franzen has one of the best shots in the league…Datsyuk is the league’s greatest set-up man. And with Cleary (a right wing by nature), causing havoc in front…Detroit’s Line 1A has the perfect combination of shooting, passing, and grinding.
The Demolition Man, Tomas Holmstrom is still the best in the business when it comes to the standing in front of the net. I put him with Zetterberg because Hank loves to shoot the puck, so having Holmstrom standing in front of Zata’s four shots per game (average) – it should lead to some goals. Bertuzzi is still a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. But with age, he has become more of a passer (and a spinner). So putting Dirty Bert with the grinding Holmer and the sniper, Zetterberg – we have our Line 1B.
Let us pray that Hudler took last season’s epic failure to heart. At this point last summer, I said that Hudler better have been the hardest working Red Wing in the off-season. It doesn’t appear that it was the case. He had just about half as many points as we had hoped for (37) and was a -7 for the season. For the money he was rewarded before he bolted for Russia to drink and get away with his strange sexual fetishes…he better have a rebound season in a big way. So I put him with Val Filppula – our perpetual third line center and Patrick Eaves – who I’m expecting to finish the season in the 15-20 goal range.
It kills me to put The Namesake at center of the fourth line. The kid is getting better and better. But I felt like putting Filppula on the fourth line would hurt his game more than it would help Helm’s game by moving him up a line…you follow? Helm is going to be Helm no matter who he plays with, if he can continue to improve his finishing touch and maintains his work ethic – I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits the 40 point mark from the fourth line. Abdelkader and Miller have proved that they can be useful…but they’ll have some kids from Grand Rapids breathing down their necks.
Now, I put Ericsson with Lidstrom from two reasons – Lidstrom made him look like an All-Star back in the 2009 Play-Offs. So, maybe we can capture similar results with increased time with that pair. Kronwall and Stuart have shown that they are a nearly perfect combination – so with Ericsson’s huge raise in pay – he should get a shot at a huge raise in playing time…with the game’s greatest defensemen. For Ericsson, it’s “put up” or “shut up” time.
White and Commodore (or possibly Kindl or Smith) round out the defensive core. White’s right handed shot will be tested on the first powerplay with Lidstrom. We’ll see how that pans out.
And of course, Jimmy will be entering as the for-sure #1 starter with our huge Conk back him up. Joey MacDonald is the quintessential third string goalie and will play the part well.
So what do you guys think? Of course – I don’t figure I have them exactly right. We pay Babcock the big bucks to make the final decision. But how comfortable are you with this roster?