With the only remaining decision being Kyle Clifford’s signing, we can finally examine the roster going into Training Camp 2013. First I am showing a depth chart, X Style. At the last will be a screen grab of CapGeek’s current listing, just to summarize the financial aspect and, if you like, you can use the relative salary amounts to help you prioritize your own depth chart.
As you will see, in some cases players are listed in multiple positions. If a player has played Center and Left Wing, as with Mike Richards, he is listed under both positions.
A few notes on the ranking system I used.
First, a player has to have played the position to be listed under it.
Second, the order from top to bottom is “best-to-worst” but is based on competence at fulfilling a certain role, either as a scoring player or a defensive specialist. What I mean is, I put Carter at Center behind Stoll; this only means that I think Stoll is better at being a Checking Center than Carter is at being a Scoring Center. Carter can play Scoring Center, and he would be the third in line for that, but again Stoll is better at his role of Checking Center than Carter would be at Scoring Center. So, the ranking assumes that you, the reader, knows a bit about the role each player most often has been assigned to play.
Third, when a close call came, I used a rule of “If I only had these two guys, who do I want more” which disregards the dynamic of needing 2 Scoring Centers, for example. Again, with Stoll and Carter, there are instances where I would prefer Carter, but in the most common usages it’s Stoll.
Other charts will come listing players by actual position, later, listing a breakdown by “Scoring Center” and “Checking Center” for example. But now, let’s just look at the players Sutter will have available at Left, Right and Center.
Last thing before we get into the analysis, I am inserting a link here so you can open a new window with the chart on it, for side-by-side reading if you like.
With the departure of Dustin Penner and Brad Richardson, plus the unsigned status of Clifford (listed last for that reason) the Left Wing goes soft immediately past #1 Dustin Brown. I guess I would put Clifford either 2nd or 3rd if he were signed, and since I don’t have to make the tough call between Lewis and Clifford at this one position, I’m not gonna.
I have Trevor Lewis there at #2, even though Richards played there and is a better overall player. Richards did not produce there when he played with Carter and Toffoli; I felt the chemistry was between Toffoli and Carter.
Carcillo’s post-dentist Laughing gas photo comes 3rd, because Carcillo was actually doing well on the top line at Chicago last year before being injured. I do not imagine him at a scoring position, but then again I didn’t expect to see Trevor Lewis there and it happened with good results at times last year.
I am aware, and looking forward to, the likelihood of both Frattin and Toffoli being tried at Left Wing. For now, they are listed according to historical use.
You can see that Dwight King is listed very low: I am sour on King due to lack of scoring, and lack of toughness. He was barely effective but inconsistent, and I cannot stand watching him slow down into checks when he has a guy lined up for a crushing hit.
Nolan is last at Left Wing; damn right.
There should be little controversy here. I already explained the ranking with Stoll and Carter, the only other note is that when Lewis did so well replacing Stoll at Center, I wanted to drop Fraser from the team. Fraser is terrible at faceoffs and takes bad penalties; to me, that speaks of mental preparation. Not good for a Center, even if it is 4th line only. Then, we lost Brad Richardson and Fraser’s value was upped slightly. Still think Lewis should play there and put Frattin or Toffoli on the 3rd line with Stoll.
Again, this ranking seems fairly standard to me. Brown would be good at either side on any line. Toffoli os my pick and projection for 3rd line RW, let Frattin experiment on LW or use Clifford. I have Lewis ahead of Frattin, because Lewis is more effective Checking than I am aware of Frattin being at either Scoring or Checking. That could change, and I hope it does, but Frattin is facing a real problem finding an open spot as a scoring RW. Carcillo comes next cuz I don’t think he play the RW very much. Then again, his skill at scoring isn’t his main strength so I guess hitting works well on either side. Nolan and King fill out the position; Nolan would be wise to have a stronger year…
My thinking on Defense stems from Mitchell and Martinez.
I have to think Lombardi expects Mitchell to return at full form, because he did not use a compliance buyout on him to sign Scuderi.
Martinez is, to me, the boy on the bubble. I struggled with placing him above Ellerby, becuase I see Ellerby as the more valuable player to the team, but Martinez at his best is better than Ellerby at just Left Defense. Ellerby plays both sides, and is more valuable to me overall. I would love to combine the two guys, and so would Sutter I bet: remember, when Martinez returned to the lineup Sutter dressed only 11 Forwards and used 7 Defensemen. This was not scratching a forward to get Martinez in the game, this was Sutter scratching a Forward so he could have a backup plan to cover Martinez if it went bad. Old Marty, good, recent Marty, not so. I am listing Martinez 3rd only based on two years ago, this dude is undersized, plays only the Left, does not PK and isn’t a standout in the D-zone corners, plus he struggled just moving the puck, his best asset. It would take very little to see him moved to last behind Ellerby and even Schultz.
Speaking of Schultz, he is the wild card here: limited role, but we don’t know who is going to show up. Will it be the plus/minus of plus-50, or will it be the healthy scratch? Maybe Sutter will be able to get more out of him than Adam Oates could; put in those terms, I am betting on Sutter and therefore I am betting on Schultz.
Not much needed here, except that Scrivens better be ready to play 9 games. I see Quick winning 40 games, being overused like Kiprusoff and risking injury due that overuse exacerbating an already high-risk style of play. Quick is a scramble goalie, active and based on reaction and movement thru full range of motion. As a former gymnast, I can tell you that tweaks come and go, but when there is an injury it’s significant. I hate to say it all but at Hold The Point we are realists.
The CapGeek tells us that Clifford will put us over the cap if he were signed. Remedies abound, from Toffoli playing in Manchester (huh?) to waiving people to Mitchell being on LTIR, and more. If I was a betting man in anything other than Poker, I would say that Mitchell comes back and Martinez gets traded, either alone or with another 2nd tier Forward.