Taylor Hall’s injury gives coach Renney a chance to shuffle the deck and elevate one of the bottom sixers into a feature role. Now, he sure doesn’t want to (Hall’s a better player than the men available to replace him) but for at least a few games (more likely longer) one of the lesser lights gets a chance on the big stage.
As a fan, I’m hoping it’s Paajarvi. 15 goals a year ago, zippo this season. If he spends three weeks in the top six and scores a goal a week, maybe his confidence shoots up and he rescues his season.
As an observer of Tom Renney, I think Anton Lander may get the chance. Just as coach MacT used to elevate Toby Petersen, so too this coach appears to trust Lander already and that’s a huge factor. Lander’s math suggests he’s a more likely candidate to get shipped to OKC and Paajarvi, but coach Renney has chosen Lander over many others this year and that may continue.
Finally, Ryan Jones. He’d be a strong temptation for coach Renney, as Jones has played the exact role required earlier in the season–and with aplomb. Whatever I may or may not believe about Jones on this roster, he’s played very well this season.
Either way, this is the second injury in 1.5 seasons for Taylor Hall and at some point we’re going to have to begin factoring in “games lost per season” into his equation. With Hemsky on the other wing, these “opportunities” are going to keep appearing.
Beginning tonight, we get insight into how the coach feels about the young forwards not named RNH, Hall and Eberle.