Now after reading over the great posts by Joe- "Why Wojtek Wolski should not be bought out", CT49erFanatic's- "Discussing Vinny Prospal", and reading you all give the "Pack Line" tag to Dubinski, Anisimov and Callahan like they were Kovalev, Messier, and Graves (Although they remind me of the second line version I must admit). I just don't see the use in lowering Dubinsky's playing time or talent level for the sake of a homegrown line that shuts down virtually everyone in the league. That's why I want to open up discussion on who should be slotted into that LW spot along side 2 all-star caliber players. Now understand that as serious as I made this post, it is only the pondering of who the orginization wants for that spot at the time. I can 110 % guarantee that the coach who changed his line combo's more than anyone in the league, will not just change his ways overnight, I wouldn't be surprised to see Rupp up there at least a couple of times during the season. So let's figure this shit out.
Personally I think Dubinsky has earned the right to play on that line. When Renney coached and put Dubinsky in the middle on the top line with Jagr and then eventually Straka, he could have messed up, he could have caved under the pressure of doing what 2 - 7 million dollar centers could not, but never did. In fact he played better than what was projected of him for that year by far. Fast forward to right now and just imagine if instead of hitting his ceiling (which I believe he hasn't) he enjoys the honor of being thought of as the top LW player to carry the team along with Gaborik and Richards towards the top of the Eastern Conference. Also, having him out there ultimately protecting the big guns wouldn't be a bad idea for hockey play after the whistle either. That honor right from the get-go would light a fire under a player like him. Now a guy like Wolski, not so much.
To be fair to the guy (before I go off) he did join a very well coached and disciplined team mid-season, but he just didn't click with anyone after the stint with MZA and Stepan. He did look better than everyone else in the playoffs, but that still isn't saying much. His shootout ability was what we really loved, let's be honest he might have won 3 games in the shootout for us because of just that. With that said he has tons of potential like Joe talked about and who knows maybe all along he, like Gaborik needed a playmaking center to come to life again. The question is has he earned the right more than Dubi has? Well his wrist shot and passing ability certainly says so, but sometimes you have to hit the corners for possession of the puck, can Wolski do that better than Dubi? or even play that game at all? He didn't show much grit last year, so I will take a pass on him for now but down the line he has proven that he hustles in the playoffs which is never a bad thing.
Join me after the jump for the rest of our options.
Now before you think to yourself 'hey is this thing in proper order' let me answer with an emphatic YES. Why do I think he should be slotted to play with them before Feds or MZA, because he right now has more skill, energy, and quite frankly a quicker shot. The offsides problems must be fixed by now, I mean that shit was really annoying. The problem is that he isn't a quite guy and could really screw Gaborik and Richards chemistry by doing something not so smart on the ice. If he can "play within himself" what ever that means, then maybe he would be a good choice later on but not from the start.
Now this is my dark horse pick for players that could show up to training camp much better. If the hobbit plays out of his mind in camp then we could be looking at our new first line LW. Unfortunetly he is still growing and I personally think they should regain some of that magic he had with Stepan and WW to start the season no matter how good he plays in camp.
Age ain't nothing but a number, which literally makes no sense because age is a word, and umm... l can't remember how this sentence ends but your mothers a whore. Okay, where was I, oh yeah Feds seems to be getting older and besides the fact that he has a lot of energy and played on the 2004 cup with Richards(which happened to be about 7 years ago, 12 goals in the playoffs can get you places just not 7 years later Feds sorry. Now that I recall he played almost all of his games on a fourth line, oh a very productive fourth line probably best in the league but a fourth line nonetheless. Now if we are playoff bound 9 months from now and he is playing great I say give him a shot, just not out of the gates, there are better options.
Two letters Ec ! : / Next!
In my opinion the only option better than Dubinsky at this point. He would come fairly cheap, he has played a lot of minutes with Richards before and Gaborik recently. He plays his heart out and is due for his up-year since his career seems to skip seasons when it comes to his production. The only issue I would have would be whether or not his knee could hold up, but why not take the shot with Vinny?
Stepan is going to learn how to win a faceoff if it kills him, so no I doubt he goes to left wing. Plus he's a righty shot,so unless his name ended in ...romir or ...vulchuk than I don't see how that was going to work out.
Hagelin gets to play third line or with the Whale for the year until he is ready.
Kreider as you all know is going to college so maybe next year.
Rupp "Hey Scooby what do you think?" "uh, Rope!"
Free Agency Still a lot of rumors out there, so a big maybe(Tan man or Zherdev fit the bill, but with this roster I would imagine someone gets trade, rather than signing another UFA.
Trades who the hell knows, something involving Boyle or a pick but other than that I don't see many takers in a Wolski or EC, so well see.
What do you guys think the coaching staff and organization should do to complete the top line?