THE 4 LINE

One of Ralph Krueger’s biggest jobs as Oiler coach will be the 4th line. A giant sinkhole since Pat Quinn arrived, the signings this summer suggest same old, same old. Say it ain’t so, Ralph!

Walker works for the Fan in Calgary and would seem to be a reliable sort. Now, I’ve argued that the Darcy Hordichuk signing has value, and the reason for it is that the Oilers are the kind of team that is always going to be “in on” this type of player. As fans, we believe (or most of us who spend time here believe) this kind of player is not helpful in winning games.

So, as a fan, I prefer the Hordichuk signing. He’ll play half the games, 4 minutes a night, and allow the Oilers to give valuable playing time to better players by double shifting Hall or Yakupov or Eberle, etc. In this way, Hordichuk is a good fit for the Oilers. It gives the “old school” portion of the organization a chance to add that enforcer and it also gives a guy like Krueger a chance to be creative. I’ve read Hordichuk’s recent verbal about being more of a factor this coming season, but to me all that means is he’ll be playing less.

Ryan Jones is another candidate for the 4line, but the WOWY in close games for Jones in 11-12 shows there just aren’t that many players Jones can roll with successfully. Eager is a similar situation. However, Magnus Paajarvi’s WOWY in close games gives us some nice matches, among them Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky and Linus Omark.

If we can agree that the 4line needs an overhaul, is it right to suggest Magnus Paajarvi might be a nice starting point?

 

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42 Responses to "THE 4 LINE"

  1. "Steve Smith" says:

    Yes.

    (What the hell do you mean that I’m not “advancing the conversation”?)

  2. Lowetide says:

    I’m just glad you’re here!

  3. gr8one says:

    No.

    My hope is that they give PRV a long hard look in the top six…he could look awfully nice on the LW with Gagner and Yakupov, I think he has far too much upside to start thinking of him as a Pisani type yet.

    I hesitate to say “top 6″ though, as I could almost see our top three lines as 1A, 1B, and 1C…

    say Smyth Horcoff Hemsky do the heavy lifting with Hall Nuge and Eberle taking on some of the toughs as well and the roll that “third line” I mentioned above for the softer stuff but still give them ample minutes of being protected.

    I believe Belanger is going to have a bounce back year and then with Eager, Harski, Jones and Hordichuk I think we can piece together a workable fourth line on any given night.

    Of course, all of that goes out the window if Tambo is in fact not done and uses some fwd assets to bring in a D and maybe even signs/trades another forward…

    I personally would be a happy camper if we somehow nabbed Doan and got a D man with Hemsky+ going the other way…man, Can you imagine Doan mentoring PRV? perfect!!

  4. bendelson says:

    If you’re thinking PRV on the 4th line when Hordichuk is not in, I would think he might be better off playing big minutes in OKC.

    If you are thinking he starts on the 4th line with PK minutes while also providing Kreuger with some flexibility on the wings, then I Would gladly give both PRV and the new coach the green light to make it work.

    I believe can be very valuable moving up and down the line up if everyone is on the same page regarding expectations.

  5. knighttown says:

    Good post LT. Someone who grasps how (indirectly) a guy like Hordichuck helps this team. You really don’t need 12 forwards anymore. You see the top guys like Kovalchuck play nearly 1900 minutes in the season and another 500+ in the playoffs. Hall and Nuge played 1100. Eberle played 1350 in nearly a full season. Hemmer and Gagner were between the two numbers. These guys have a pile left to give. First step is to get 3 of these names killing penalties and then start to whittle away at Horc and Smyths TOI.

    If it was up to me, my enforcer would always be a defenseman that could play a little. Think Matt Carkner. Maybe Peckham or Sutton can play this role. Too many nights watching Strudwick play 24 minutes and Paajarvi (or equivalent) playing 8 due to an “emergency”. That imbalance is crazy. That’s not an emergency, that’s shit planning.

    I’m shocked 11 forwards and 7 defense isn’t standard among coaches these days.

  6. rickithebear says:

    Driving to work. Pust was on 960 with walker and warner.
    From the horses mouth.
    His girlfiend is French.

  7. sliderule says:

    I don’t commit too much during the dog days of summer and the days of rolling brownouts but the more I think about it maybe we should hold onto our assets for one more year.
    Players like MPS ,Pitlick and Hamilton are too young to have really shown what they are worth.
    MPS has to be better than fourth line .I am not sure he has the grit to be a top six but I didn’t think the Sedins had the grit either.
    If Plante and Teubert can get you Streit I am ok with that.
    I hate too say this but unless we can get a deal on one of the defenceman being talked about wait one more year.We will have a clearer picture of what we have next spring.
    When you are my age that’s hard to say.

  8. knighttown says:

    bendelson,

    bendelson:
    If you’re thinking PRV on the 4th line when Hordichuk is not in, I would think he might be better off playing big minutes in OKC.

    In my scenario (11 forwards), Paajarvi at 4LW would be always out with Belanger/Horcoff and Hall/Eberle/Hemsky. Now we’re starting to exploit matchups.

    “The gentleman” Tom Renney was always adhering to the code…coaches catch each other’s eyes…slight nod…tap 4th liners on back to play against each other.

    Fuck that. You’ve chosen to spend 40 million on your Top 6 and have George Parros on your 4th? I’ll give you the head nod and tap 93/4/14 every time.

  9. slopitch says:

    Isn’t Pajarvi a RW?

    I’d give Eager and Belanger another shot to see if Kruger could use them better. Both have a good history and I like watching Eager playing the Canucks. I’d try

    4-93-14
    96-89-83
    94-10-x
    55-20-x

    Let pajarvi, hartikinen and jones fight out the last spots.

    96 is Bure sorry Yakapov. If he doesn’t play LW then play Hemsky with 94 and 10.

    Biggest needs are #1D and size on line 2. Replace Gagner with a 2 way c with size who can get more soft minutes for 4-93-14. In fact if I’m Kruger, that’s my goal for all 9 other forwards. Forget 3 scoring lines, get 3 lines that move the puck up ice and punish them like Vancouver does.

  10. "Steve Smith" says:

    knighttown:
    In my scenario (11 forwards), Paajarvi at 4LW would be always out with Belanger/Horcoff and Hall/Eberle/Hemsky.Now we’re starting to exploit matchups.

    “The gentleman” Tom Renney was always adhering to the code…coaches catch each other’s eyes…slight nod…tap 4th liners on back to play against each other.

    Fuck that.You’ve chosen to spend 40 million on your Top 6 and have George Parros on your 4th?I’ll give you the head nod and tap 93/4/14 every time.

    There’s no way of phrasing this without sounding snarky (I find that there’s seldom a way of phrasing anything without sounding snarky, but that might just be me), but please accept that there is no snark in my heart as I phrase it: do you have any evidence of that being the understanding between coaches? I guess the fourth line plugs tend to have the lowest QUALCOMPs, and your explanation is one that would explain it, but is there some kind of published source where coaches – or others who would know – allude to this?

    Because if this is going on, I totally agree with you: there’s nothing unreasonable about taking advantage of home ice, um, advantage to throw your soft comp killers against the other team’s, um, soft comp.

  11. rickithebear says:

    knighttown: I’m shocked 11 forwards and 7 defense isn’t standard among coaches these days.

    I actually looked at this today.
    Especially if we had Rozival.
    There was 48:20 EV time 5:20 PP time and 6:20 PK time.

    1st line comp
    Smid 19:00 Even; 2:00 PK (21:00 tot)
    Petry 16:40 Even; 1:40 PK; 2:40PP (21:00 tot)
    2nd Comp
    Rozival 15:00 EV; 3:20 PK (18:20 tot)
    N. Schultz 15:00 EV; 2:20 PK (17:20)
    3rd
    Whitney 14:00 EV; 4:00 PP (18:00 total)
    Sutton 9:10 EV; 3:20 PK (12:30)
    J. Schultz 8:00 EV; 4:00 PP (12:00)

    Smid takes 2 extra EV minutes from last year rolled with bottom 3.
    Petry’s numbers same as last year.
    Rozival 1min less Ev and 1 min more PK.
    N. schultz 1:20 less @ even; same at PK
    Whitney 3:00 less EV; 0:50 less PK; 1:40 more PP
    Sutton 5:30 less EV; 1:40 more PK

  12. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The part of the strategy going forward that I don’t get is why lock up guys like Potter and Sutton on D and Petrell and Hordichuk on F this past year after x-mas on?

    Those contracts didn’t need to be signed when they were… they could have been signed in late august. These don’t strike me as irreplaceable parts… so if you lose them to FA so what?

    What happens though is that signing quality becomes if not harder than at the very least more crowded. If we do sign a Winnik type and another top 4 D… what the hell are we going to do with these guys??

    is there room for them in OKC let alone here?

    Now, if Winnik and some top 4 D never show up… great sign these guys late in August or in september and plug the holes till something better comes along… but why settle so early?

  13. Lowetide says:

    Rom: I think the Oilers had their list, Parros, Prust, etc and then hordichuk. Once they were out on the others, Hordichuk was the man. No sense waiting if he’s the target.

    As an aside, a guy I talked to today mentioned that crazy Russian Tulupov as an option. I think he’s a nuclear deterrent, no?

  14. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    Rom: I think the Oilers had their list, Parros, Prust, etc and then hordichuk. Once they were out on the others, Hordichuk was the man. No sense waiting if he’s the target.

    As an aside, a guy I talked to today mentioned that crazy Russian Tulupov as an option. I think he’s a nuclear deterrent, no?

    It’s interesting that you mention Tulupov… because I’ve often wondered why this role is so often thought of as a Forward… couldn’t peckham, or sutton or teubert play this role of tough guy, willing to fight, protect people and deter crap?

    And they’d be on the ice a lot more often then Hordichuk is going to be anyway (in his interview with Gregor Hordichuk complained that Renney didn’t give him the ice time in the 2nd and 3rd to back up his verbals)

    Back to Tulupov… do we have a review of his season anywhere? I’d be interesting in reading if he’s more than “giant crazy on skates”

    at any rate, If he ever makes the team for longer than a cup of coffee, I’ll be in line getting my Tulupov jersey minted … fucking great name.

  15. misfit says:

    I may be in the minority, but for the most part, I really don’t care what the 4th line looks like. But it seems like Oiler fans all over seem to think adding 4th line player X to replace 4th line player Y because he’s a better match for 4th line player Z.

    A great 4th line isn’t going to win you many games over a season, and a terrible 4th line probably won’t lose you many either. And EVERY 4th line gets murdered when going up against decent players. Your 4th line being on the ice means lines 1-3 are not for those 4-7 minutes each game.

    If I’m building a 4th line for my team, I’d probably have one guy (likely a center) who is a good special teams player (likely PK), and two guys with near league minimum salaries. Keep the Paajarvi’s and other players who can play in the top 9 as injury replacements in the minors until you need them and quit wasting time on day 1 of free agency trying to sign the Ben Eagers and Brandon Prusts of the world.

  16. sliderule says:

    Great post misfit!!!

  17. Halfwise says:

    I think of the 4th line as the way you break in young Shawn Horcoff. He dominated against the Golden Bears in that wonderful pre-season ritual, so we knew he was better than his peers, but he was far from ready for prime time in the real games.

    If you are going to develop forwards in the NHL, you have to play them in the NHL. 8 minutes a night at EV is about right, in my view. And by all means, have at least one D who can play a bit and is rumored to be violent.

    Actually Struds might be the template for 7D or 12F. If MPS can kill penalties, maybe he plays a role as a D or an F depending on how Ralph feels that evening. Shame that he isn’t rumored to be violent, though — that would make him the ultimate roster weapon, a guy who plays 4 positions and has unpredictable ways to scare the opposition.

  18. gd says:

    misfit:
    I may be in the minority, but for the most part, I really don’t care what the 4th line looks like.But it seems like Oiler fans all over seem to think adding 4th line player X to replace 4th line player Y because he’s a better match for 4th line player Z.

    A great 4th line isn’t going to win you many games over a season, and a terrible 4th line probably won’t lose you many either.And EVERY 4th line gets murdered when going up against decent players.Your 4th line being on the ice means lines 1-3 are not for those 4-7 minutes each game.

    If I’m building a 4th line for my team, I’d probably have one guy (likely a center) who is a good special teams player (likely PK), and two guys with near league minimum salaries.Keep the Paajarvi’s and other players who can play in the top 9 as injury replacements in the minors until you need them and quit wasting time on day 1 of free agency trying to sign the Ben Eagers and Brandon Prusts of the world.

    I completely agree that we’re overrating the 4th line. NJ so called great 4th line was a 28 yr old 5’7″ career minor leaguer in Gionta and two other journeymen in Carter and Bernier, who just happened to click for two months. I think if Belanger has any bounce back and focus he can be an effective 4th line C who can be the key to a reasonable 4th. I especially think as Hall, Eberle, and RNH move to playing more than 20 minutes a game the 4th line becomes less important.

  19. Captain Obvious says:

    I think we are massively underrating the importance of the fourth line.

    First, the fourth line plays between 10 and 20 percent of the game. It makes no sense to willingly throw away 10 to 20 percent of your opportunities.

    Second, injuries happen, and when they do the guy who used to be on your fourth line often ends up on your second line. so he’d better be able to play.

    Now, no good team can afford to waste salary on their fourth line. These guys have to come cheap. However, cheap doesn’t have to mean that they are bad players. A fourth line that was populated out of ELC’s and AHL vets could still make meaningful contributions to a team. The aforementioned Gionta is one, but also Keith Aucoin played well on Washington’s fourth line in the playoffs and was able to fill in on scoring lines and the powerplay if need be. These are the guys smart teams should go after.

    In a competitive league teams should be trying to find every marginal advantage they can. These add up over the course of the season. Wasting a roster spot on guys like Hordichuk and Prust has a pretty serious opportunity cost. Still, LT is right, signing Hordichuk for one year is a genius move in comparison to signing Prust for four.

  20. Lowetide says:

    The 4th line doesn’t have to outchance the other team, just not get beaten to death. The Oilers 4th line last season was beaten to death.

  21. stevezie says:

    Captain Obvious:

    Second, injuries happen

    I think Misfit is right that what with improved conditioning and TV timeouts the 4th line is less important than ever, but the above sentence shows why you cannot afford to ignore it. The whole reason the Oilers need to add another top 4 D is we know one of our current top four will get hurt. That’s just the way she goes, someone is going down and the lottery is full of teams who weren’t prepared for that certainty.

    Side note C.O: I think Prust’s penalty killing makes him a lot better than a “waste of a roster spot”, but a good player doesn’t mean it can’t be a terrible contract. Same with Tootoo (whom I also like as a player).

    A good fourth line is better than a bad fourth line, but you were bang on when you said a good fourth line is cheap by definition. Still better than two million on Cory Sarich, who might be mean enough to play a role but not at two million over two years. Invest wisely, Cory.

  22. Dalton says:

    Maybe off topic:

    I was watching some Theo Peckham videos on YouTube earlier. I’ve got hope for him. At least he ain’t injured. He has some pretty badass highlights on Youtube.

  23. Dalton says:

    NEW THEORY:

    Renney got fired because of his Omark mishandling. Krueger is going to bring Omark in as a star goal scorer.

  24. Dalton says:

    BRAZEN THIRD POST IN A ROW:

    Krueger keeps talking about letting players play to their instincts while finding ways to maximize their potential. Omark could be welcomed back easily with Ralphy.

    Clean slate.

  25. godot10 says:

    Darn. I just got booted back out of an alternative universe. This reality sucks. Please let me go back.

  26. spoiler says:

    godot10:
    Darn.I just got booted back out of an alternative universe.This reality sucks.Please let me go back.

    Classic. The one on the Murray thread is even better.

  27. DSF says:

    This notion that a 4th line is not important is wrong on a couple of levels.

    A winning team generally has better players at ALL positions.

    And the role of a good fourth line Is to keep the puck in the other end and pound the shit of the defenseman of the opposition.

    Might want to check Lombardi regarding the role of his 4th line in the playoffs.

    They were nothing short of spectacular.

    Suggesting the Oilers can get by with a group of scrubs is all sorts of wrong.

  28. wordbird says:

    the salary cap is the biggest influence on 4th lines now. but the bottom 6 can still be super useful/impactful, ala NJ with Bernier/Gionta/Carter this playoff year. And the Kings got huge contributions from the likes of Nolan, King, etc. in these playoffs (just as they got from Clifford/Richardson/Simmonds the year before)… like LT says, as long as the 4th line doesn’t get beaten to death. A 4th line that can either get things going, or KEEP things going.. hopefully coach Ralph can find the right combination.

    in a perfect world, we could just ice a 4th line comprised of 1998-99 Mike Grier clones. Sardine Twins et al wouldn’t know what hit them.

  29. Ducey says:

    Second, injuries happen, and when they do the guy who used to be on your fourth line often ends up on your second line. so he’d better be able to play.

    So in the next game you are going to take the guy who has been stapled to the bench for a month and play him top 6 minutes?

    That aint going to work.

    You just play a few guys a bunch more minutes the game the injury occurs in and then bring up a guy like MPS who has been playing top 6 minutes, 18 minutes a night in all situations. You have a much better chance for a decent outcome and you don’t retard the player’s development.

    MPS is not going to get worse in OKC. He probably will if he is playing 4th line minutes.

    For goodness sakes, leave him (and Lander and Pitlick and maybe even J. Schultz) in the minors for 40 games.

  30. FastOil says:

    There is a lot of summer left, but this seems sort of familiar, although the CBA could be influencing. I hope they at least decide who is staying and who is going, and get the going nice and plumped up for the deadline or draft day. It would be pretty hard to push it beyond 2013 guys, make it count.

  31. "Steve Smith" says:

    For goodness sakes, leave him (and Lander and Pitlick and maybe even J. Schultz) in the minors for 40 games.

    For all of Schultz’s noise about not being promised anything and intending to earn a spot on the team, you have to think that this would really piss him off; surely there was at least an unspoken understanding that the Oilers were going to give him the opportunity to earn big minutes.

    I mean, if he’s legitimately a worse defenceman than all of Whitney, N. Schultz, Petry, Smid, Sutton, Peckham, and Potter (all of which is possible, we Oilers fans could use some reminding), then fine, send him down. But I don’t want him sent down just because Peckham’s waiver-eligible.

  32. bookje says:

    godot10:
    Darn.I just got booted back out of an alternative universe.This reality sucks.Please let me go back.

    Welcome back to my world GotDot – your Nail Yakupov Fan Club pin is in the Mail – I chose pewter for you because bronze seemed a little over the top.

  33. bookje says:

    “Steve Smith”: For all of Schultz’s noise about not being promised anything and intending to earn a spot on the team, you have to think that this would really piss him off; surely there was at least an unspoken understanding that the Oilers were going to give him the opportunity to earn big minutes.

    I mean, if he’s legitimately a worse defenceman than all of Whitney, N. Schultz, Petry, Smid, Sutton, Peckham, and Potter (all of which is possible, we Oilers fans could use some reminding), then fine, send him down.But I don’t want him sent down just because Peckham’s waiver-eligible.

    We can’t risk losing Peckham, send Schultz down, our reputation can take the hit.

  34. Ducey says:

    “Steve Smith”: For all of Schultz’s noise about not being promised anything and intending to earn a spot on the team, you have to think that this would really piss him off; surely there was at least an unspoken understanding that the Oilers were going to give him the opportunity to earn big minutes.

    I mean, if he’s legitimately a worse defenceman than all of Whitney, N. Schultz, Petry, Smid, Sutton, Peckham, and Potter (all of which is possible, we Oilers fans could use some reminding), then fine, send him down.But I don’t want him sent down just because Peckham’s waiver-eligible.

    From the tone of his remarks about earning the spot and not wanting all the attention he might even welcome going down for 20 – 40 games. It would certainly make his transition to pro hockey easier.

    41 games in OKC didn’t hurt Jeff Petry in 2010 – 11.

  35. Lowetide says:

    “risk” losing Peckham? I don’t think he’ll be here in the fall.

  36. FastOil says:

    Ducey:
    Second, injuries happen, and when they do the guy who used to be on your fourth line often ends up on your second line. so he’d better be able to play.

    So in the next game you are going to take the guy who has been stapled to the bench for a month and play him top 6 minutes?

    That aint going to work.

    You just play a few guys a bunch more minutes the game the injury occurs in and then bring up a guy like MPS who has been playing top 6 minutes, 18 minutes a night in all situations.You have a much better chance for a decent outcome and you don’t retard the player’s development.

    MPS is not going to get worse in OKC.He probably will if he is playing 4th line minutes.

    For goodness sakes, leave him (and Lander and Pitlick and maybe even J. Schultz) in the minors for 40 games.

    Why not have players that don’t need bench stapling? In the playoffs if injuries happen, depth sorts winners from losers. How many times has there been a role player playoff hero? Usually every year.

    A great top six won’t consistently win in the playoffs without support. A weak 4th (or third pairing) based on ideas that don’t hold true given available knowledge is a win killer, especially a playoff win killer. 2012 Oilers should be evidence enough of that. 2012 Kings evidence enough for.

  37. stevezie says:

    I don’t think it would do him any harm to spend the first ten or twnety on the farm getting used to the pro game, but he’s not a kid. he’s 22, and there is a very good chance that he’ll legitimately earn a place in the top 6.

    If he comes into town and everyone agrees he’s not quite ready we’re not doing anybody any favours by keeping him here, but Bookje makes a good point on our fragile reputation. If in doubt, keep him up.
    Dalton,

    Dare to dream. He might be the perfect fit, I maintain Omark forechecked well enough to be usable on the fourth line. I would bet nothing on it, but stranger things have happened.

  38. jp says:

    Dalton:

    I was watching some Theo Peckham videos on YouTube earlier.I’ve got hope for him.

    There’s definitely hope for Peckham. May be not with the Oil, but his size, physical play and past competence as an actual player has earned him a few more NHL chances even if it’s not with this team. Last off season it was looking like he had an outside chance to develop into a top 4D. Did anyone see his crap performance this past season coming? I think many/most had him penciled into the bottom of our top 6 for a lot of years to come. He had an awful season, but there’s a lot to like in this player.

    Dalton:
    BRAZEN THIRD POST IN A ROW:

    Krueger keeps talking about letting players play to their instincts while finding ways to maximize their potential.Omark could be welcomed back easily with Ralphy.

    Clean slate.

    I think Omark does get a clean slate and they convince him to re-sign. May be they move him in the end, but so far they haven’t been able to get fair value, and they think enough of him not to let him walk. Might be pretty tough not to ice 3 scoring lines, even without Semin :)

  39. Ducey says:

    FastOil: Why not have players that don’t need bench stapling? In the playoffs if injuries happen, depth sorts winners from losers. How many times has there been a role player playoff hero? Usually every year.

    A great top six won’t consistently win in the playoffs without support. A weak 4th (or third pairing) based on ideas that don’t hold true given available knowledge is a win killer, especially a playoff win killer. 2012 Oilers should be evidence enough of that. 2012 Kings evidence enough for.

    The Kings 4th line in the playoffs involved King, Nolan and Fraser. Two of those guys spent 60 games on the farm developing. The other was essentially a reject from the Oilers.

  40. Captain Obvious says:

    I agree with Ducey. My preference would be for Paajarvi and Lander to start the season in the minors and to “ride the bus” back and forth until there are no more roster iimits after the trade deadline. However, that doesn’t mean you have to throw away the fourth line. You can still find quality players for cheap.

    The more good players you have, the more options you have.

    And while you can get away with playing the fourth line less within a game, I do think that the season is a grind and it makes sense to roll four lines as much as you can.

  41. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Peckham… isn’t word on the streets that he’s been at Mrs. Penner’s Pancake House all Spring/Summer just like last year…

    Omark… I can’t see him in Oiler silks going forward. his best shot as an Oiler was last year around the time he broke his ankle. They seem to be hoping he can be packaged as a garnish to some other deal.

  42. dessert1111 says:

    I see Paajarvi more as a 3rd line player at this stage. I’m not sure if he makes the team out of camp–I’m not sure if the coaches know this yet either, I think he has to fight for a spot and he very well might take it–but with his style of game, defensive prowess and some proof of goal scoring, I think he could develop into an excellent third line player. Play him with Horcoff and Smyth to learn the trade.

    As for the fourth line, I think if Belanger bounces back, you have 2/3 of a great fourth line with Jones. There seems to be much debate about his underlying stats, and that’s fine, but if your 4th line right winger can consistently score over 15 goals and kill penalties effectively I think you’re in a great spot. He looks clumsy on ice but I think he is a very good fourth line player. To take that one step further, when injuries happen in your top 9, I think he is also a great candidate to move up in the line-up for a few games, since he has shown that he can play on the upper lines for short periods of time in the past and not fare too poorly. By my eye, watching Petrell or Eager get time with the talented kids was painful–they looked out of place and they seemed to ruin offensive scoring opportunities. Jones looked a little out of place, but I think he also held his own and increased his scoring numbers like you’d expect him to. Still not an ideal option to play with the super talent, but in a pinch, he can get the job done. I will never understand the train of thought that he isn’t a useful bottom six winger, when I can think of few players more suited to be in this role effectively. I only hope Krueger doesn’t show him the press box too much.

    For the last fourth line spot, I would use it to introduce Hartikainen. If he forces his way up the line-up, so be it, but I think he is good enough to make the team in 12-13 and play bottom-line minutes, but I think if he started the year in the top 6 it’d be a bit rushed. I would like to get rid of Eager (and I guess Peckham) from the current crop for draft picks even to clear out room, since I think Eager would be the player I least want on my team out of the crop we still have. Actually, Petrell or Hordichuk might be less effective, but I think they know their roles more and aren’t going to be sour about being in press box. Petrell as #13 and Hordi as #14 isn’t too bad, although ideally I’d have only one of them as #14 and someone else as #13.

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