Wrapping up our preview of the skaters we have to look forward to this year with a glance at the top 6 forwards. Chris will be writing about goalies soon, so stay tuned for that.
A quick update on the bottom 6: According to Khan, Babcock has his lines set and it looks like Bertuzzi and Cleary will be on the third line with Helm, which is good, and Sammy will be on the second line with Filppula and Mule.
More after the jump:
The top line will be Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Brunner. We already know what the Euro Twins can do, so the only question will be how Brunner handles his role. Graham over at WiiM wrote about Brunner yesterday and covered him well. I particularly liked the quote used from Eliteprospects where they say that Brunner plays “gritty.” Adding a guy like Tootoo means you’re ready to start earning your matching minor penalty rather than just get one for the sake of the narrative being played out on the ice. Meaning, I think the Wings might be a bit more like the ’97 team that didn’t always look like all-stars, but were willing to finish checks, fight and score the ugly goal. I’m fine with that. One other thing on Brunner: like Graham and probably most of you, I have not seen him play. Before you link me a bunch of Youtube videos set to terrible music and screaming announcers that I can’t understand, watch this, this, this, this and this and then tell me how awesome it was having him on Pav’s wing last year. No disrespect intended. I just don’t think he’s a top-winger kind of guy. Hopefully Brunner is a different story.
Franzen on line 2: Good. Last spring I wanted to see if we could trade Mule. I liked his salary cap hit and he always had good numbers, but he was our best goal scorer and wasn’t scoring enough goals. I think I said something to the effect of ‘If your best goal scorer can’t score 30 goals on Datsyuk’s wing, he’s not much of a goal scorer.’ I stand by that. But if Franzen’s goals are a bonus coming from the second scoring line rather than ones we are absolutely counting on at all times, he’ll be worth keeping around again. I’d say his best season was 2008-09 when Hossa was our best sniper. Hossa took most of the spotlight and the pressure which let Mule just do his thing.
Filppula hurt his knee in November, but it sounds like he and his immaculate hair will be ready for the season opener.
I’m a bit surprised to see that Sammy will be on the second line, but he shoots the puck every chance he gets which makes him the Anti-Hudler, so I’m willing to see how that goes.
When the season starts, the lineup will look like this:
Colaiacovo is still hurt, but should be back soon. Eaves is still hurt, but skating. Mursak and Emmerton are having their secretaries bring the specifications down to the software engineers.
We’re almost there, people. The worst offseason ever is almost over!