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remkin

The Case for More Veteran Offensive Help Next Year

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[quote name='davidrabbit wrote:


remkin']I appreciate the well thought out and well written responses.

I have agreed that it sounds (again) like JR is not going for any major free agents (though he may be posturing). I'm just making the case that this team will risk being below average next year then. If we are going to slouch through a low period and take a couple of years getting better draft picks as part of our long term plan...well I frankly don't like it.

Again, this thread was not started specifically to predict what could happen, but to make a case for what we think should happen.

To me everything does come down to making space. Making salary space and roster space. To me that means we have to move Cole and Sammy, not sign Whitney and obviously buy out Brindy.

On the Cole and Sammy thing, I don't know. I would be willing to trade them for prospects or picks if it could be done. Maybe not. If not, then we certainly can't sign Whitney if we want to let some of the kids get up here.

I guess the bottom line for me is that our current core of forwards is suspiciously weak in terms of a few guys who can be counted on to score in that 20-30 goal range. Other than Staal everyone has an asterisk by their name.

Ruutu:    injury prone, only broken 20 goals twice in career

Cole:      see Ruutu on injuries, never a decent playmaker, now can't score goals either, hands of stone, not the same post injury.

Sammy:  mostly sizzle, not much steak, had a nice run on arrival, but last year flat out non productive.

LaRose:  I still believe, but so far has just had that one magical year/ also not a playmaker.

Jussi:      what a year, and coming off a strong playoffs, I really do think we have a guy here we can count on, but again last year was an anomaly.

Whitney: has been what I'm looking for his entire Canes career, but age will likely dampen his effectiveness, and not even under contract.

Sutter:     love him. ahead of schedule. Should build on it, but ahead of schedule not proven over the long haul. Not a playmaker. Still young.

                could regress.

Kosto:     very nice player, nice year, played all 82 games: 8 goals.

I like Sutter and Jussi to bring it again. I like Ruutu to have a good year, and I think LaRose's year of two years ago was not a fluke. But none of these has much track record, and after that it really drops off. I don't expect anything from Cole or Sammy, and I think father time will catch Whtiney next year.

Plus all of that leaves little room for the Boychuk, Bowman, Tlusty's, etc.

It may be impossible to move Cole and Sammy pre-season. Maybe as long as the team doesn't fall into a pit like last year, even if we're struggling, but not like the free fall of last year, a mid-season move can be made. Maybe JR finds a guy late in preseason that fills the need. I would just like to see more youth on the third line and at least one more vet on the top line. Just what I'd like to see. That and some playoff hockey. Oh and the All Star game.

I agree with a lot of what you're saying, Remkin.  I was thinking of a compromise approach. 

It involves JR signing a couple of mid-tier free agents that work well short and long-term and

it would be best if he didn't wait until September.  Here is my plan - JR makes 3 smallish but

important free agent signings ....

Sign Toni Lydman, veteran defenseman from Buffalo, to pair with another Fin ...Joni Pitkanen.

Sign Adam Burish, a large, physical winger from Chicago to play 2nd/3rd line right wing.

Sign Atlanta's Jim Slater as the 3rd line center.  He's good defensively, has grit and some scoring.

Then, in 1 year, 2 at the most the lineup looks like this:

Boychuk..........Staal..................Niederreiter

Ruutu..............Jokinen...............Dalpe

Bowman.........Sutter..................Burish

Tlusty..............Slater/Dwyer......Kostopoulos

Gleason......McBain

Pitkanen.....Lydman

Picard/........Carson

Rodney

Ward..........Peters

If everyone develops well with the extra time in the AHL, and they come close to realizing their

potential, then that is a pretty solid lineup that could do well for years.

  Well that would be a clean break with the past, full on rebuild and a pretty near total scrapping of the current team up front. 7/12 are either new or AHL'ers. I'm all for getting some young'uns up here next year, but that line up would be rolling the dice on all of them being ready to cary the full load of productivity for a full year.

I favor mixing them in on the 3rd and 4th lines and moving them up if they break out or if injury requires it.

I'll tell you this though, I'd rather do what you'r suggesting and go full youth movement than go full current veterans.

I'd still like to see:

Jussi-Staal-FA

Ruutu-Sutter-LaRose

Boychuk-Cullen-Bowman/Tlusty

Samson-Dwyer-Kostopolous

Those third line wingers are bilateral AHL prospects, and one or more 4th liners. If say Boychuk just lights it up, move him up and slide say LaRose down. If say Bowman, just isn't ready, shuttle Tlusty up or give Dalphe a shot. Use the third and 4th lines for these guys until one of them shows he's ready to move up (or down).

I'm not predicting we'll see that line up. But that line up would win games and have a really good shot at the playoffs next year.

  

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I think Matt Cullen is great. And that's the problem. I'm willing to bet he could find a job as second line center elsewhere and for more money than what the Canes have slotted for a third line center. What we really need is a center who can kill penalties, win faceoffs, play a physical style and occasionally score a goal or two all for around $1.5 mil or so. Available FA's might fit that description:

Rob Niedermeyer

Manny Malhotra

Mike Comrie

Alexandre Giroux*

*Giroux is 28 years old and only has about 30 games of NHL experience. He also has 200 AHL points in the last two seasons. I don't know anything about him but he is a UFA this summer. Something must be keeping this guy out of the NHL.

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I think Matt Cullen is great. And that's the problem. I'm willing to bet he could find a job as second line center elsewhere and for more money than what the Canes have slotted for a third line center. What we really need is a center who can kill penalties, win faceoffs, play a physical style and occasionally score a goal or two all for around $1.5 mil or so. Available FA's might fit that description:

Rob Niedermeyer

Manny Malhotra

Mike Comrie

Alexandre Giroux*

*Giroux is 28 years old and only has about 30 games of NHL experience. He also has 200 AHL points in the last two seasons. I don't know anything about him but he is a UFA this summer. Something must be keeping this guy out of the NHL.

Some good ideas. I know nothing about Giroux, but it does make you wonder why he isn't in the NHL.

Still, the more I think about the major moves I would make, the more I want Cullen back. Now, if it's going to cost us a bundle, maybe not, but...

We have a glut of wingers both at the NHL and AHL level. All of our forwards not named Staal or Sutter are natural wingers. Thus if we could really solidify that third line center and not have to worry about it, we would have all kinds of ways to find the wingers.

If given the choice I would rather have a consistent playmaking first line winger, (and could then get a checking third line center to make cap room) but it seems like that is going to be a long shot. So, at least getting Cullen gives us tremendous depth, by shoring up our shallowest position with a solid guy. In that respect, getting back Cullen may be more important than that winger. (Did I just write that?).

Cullen just makes things go. He can easily slide up to the second line if Sutter struggles there. He can be an assist machine, which would be nice for our young guns trying to break in. He has great energy, never takes a shift off. Well, I've convinced myself at least. He may be a touch expensive, but he is our exact need and JR has a knack for bringing guys back. Yes, I'm a poet.

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Now that the Sens have Cullen it would be foolish for them to let him get away. They are a far better team with him. But if they don't make him the offer he deserves than I think we have a good chance to get him back. We are also a better team with Cullen than without him.

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Personally, I think Eric Staal would be more productive at right wing than at center. To be clear, by more productive I mean he score more points. He's terrible at faceoffs and likes to carry the puck through the neutral zone by himself and attempt a shot rather than pass to a wing. Of course, it could be that we simply lack the top level talent at wing for him to play with but I suspect he would be better served playing alongside a playmaking center and recieving passes while rushing up the right side of the ice. If that is in fact the case, then the obvious plan would be to have either Jokinen or Cullen (if available) play center on the first line with Staal as wing.

One thing that might get in the way of this is JR's enthusiasm for being strong down the middle of the ice in the mold of the Pens. Instead of building good scoring lines, I think JR may be hellbent on focusing the team's strength at the center position. That means keeping Staal at center on the first line with Sutter centering the second line and acquiring a solid but affordable center for the third line.

One more thing about Cullen: Are we sure he would even want to play on the third line behind Sutter if he can probably find a job on another team's second line? I know Matt has said before that he likes playing in Raleigh and considers it "home" and I could be wrong, but I think at least a few teams will be impressed enough with his playoff performance this year to offer him a second line spot. I guess where he ends up will depend upon what he values most - playing in Carolina or playing time.

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Im for either getting a center to come in play 3rd line in the draft or trying to get Jordan Staal from Pitt. Still it depends if Eric wants to play with his brother. Then let Sutter be the 3rd line guy.

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Well that would be a clean break with the past, full on rebuild and a pretty near total scrapping of the current team up front. 7/12 are either new or AHL'ers. I'm all for getting some young'uns up here next year, but that line up would be rolling the dice on all of them being ready to cary the full load of productivity for a full year.

I favor mixing them in on the 3rd and 4th lines and moving them up if they break out or if injury requires it.

I'll tell you this though, I'd rather do what you'r suggesting and go full youth movement than go full current veterans.

Change comes slowly.  The lineup you saw in April is likely what you'll see in October.  The only

big change may be the retirement of Brind'Amour.  Our lineups are similar in many regards, tho.

My lineup was more for opening night  2011, not '10.  So, it's not that radical of a change.  It has

most of the skilled kids in the AHL for most of next season - until the trade deadline in March '11.

 

As contracts are expiring for some of the current 'Canes - like Samsonov, LaRose and Cole - they

are traded ... whether the 'Canes are in the playoff hunt or not.  It may seem harsh but it's the best

way in my opinion.  Guys like Bowman, Dalpe, even Boychuk can continue to develop in Charlotte

at their own speed.  As some vets are lopped off, the kids get their opportunities - as warrented.

And it's not very risky, either.  A guy like Ray Whitney is good for 20+ goals and 70 points.  A guy

like Boychuk (given a top-6 slot and PP time) should be good for 15 goals and 50 points ... not the

same, but Boychuk will do it for 1/3 the cap hit and 1/4 of the salary.  I think management could live

with that tradeoff.  Down the line, everyone (theoretically) would improve.  The replacements should

end up being better than the originals.  Hopefully that would be sooner rather than later.

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[quote name='davidrabbit wrote:


remkin']Well that would be a clean break with the past, full on rebuild and a pretty near total scrapping of the current team up front. 7/12 are either new or AHL'ers. I'm all for getting some young'uns up here next year, but that line up would be rolling the dice on all of them being ready to cary the full load of productivity for a full year.

I favor mixing them in on the 3rd and 4th lines and moving them up if they break out or if injury requires it.

I'll tell you this though, I'd rather do what you'r suggesting and go full youth movement than go full current veterans.

Change comes slowly.  The lineup you saw in April is likely what you'll see in October.  The only

big change may be the retirement of Brind'Amour.  Our lineups are similar in many regards, tho.

My lineup was more for opening night  2011, not '10.  So, it's not that radical of a change.  It has

most of the skilled kids in the AHL for most of next season - until the trade deadline in March '11.

Change comes slowly most years. This time it's different. The line up in April included rolling in a lot of AHL prospects. But if we keep 

Whitney, Cole, and Samsonov, let alone Brind'Amour, there is no place for all of the AHL'ers you have on your roster. Brind'Amour was on the 4th line. So if the only big change is Brind'Amour, then really the only change in the top nine from last year would be the loss of Cullen, not exactly the guy I would have picked to lose. So, if no changes are made other than Brind'Amour you have:

Jokinen-Staal-Ruutu
Cole-Sutter-Whitney
Sammy-?-LaRose

The only place to put ANY prospect would be either out of position as our third line center, or on the 4th line.

Just doesn't make sense to me. You may be right. JR may try to get by with this line up, but I'm going to stay more optimistic that he plans to find a way to open up a couple of wings for the kids to play this coming year. The only way I can see is to keep only one of Cole-Whitney-Sammy. 

As to your line up being for 2012. Yes, that line up would make sense for 2012. Though it's hard enough to figure out what might or should happen this year let alone two years out. It does point out that the long term future does look pretty good, especially with a high draft pick and a bunch of lower rounders this year.

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lewberts wrote

One more thing about Cullen: Are we sure he would even want to play on the third line behind Sutter if he can probably find a job on another team's second line? I know Matt has said before that he likes playing in Raleigh and considers it "home" and I could be wrong, but I think at least a few teams will be impressed enough with his playoff performance this year to offer him a second line spot. I guess where he ends up will depend upon what he values most - playing in Carolina or playing time.
Two things on this.

1. Cullen has kind of shuttled back and forth on 2nd and 3rd lines the last few years. He went to NY partly to be a second line center, but it didn't really work out. I have no idea how he views this, but he has been kind of a 2.5 line center. As a second line center he is decent, as a third line center he is lights out. 

2. Sutter should still be at a point in his career that he will happily play wherever the coach puts him. If Cullen really wants the second line and that's the only issue, let him have it. Just tell him that if Sutter outproduces him over a stretch of games he might drop back. 

I really wonder what kind of cash he is going to be offered.

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Remkin, what coach whos worth a dime is really gonna give Cullen his choice where he plays?  Sutter earned his stripes as the 2nd line center and JR even said that Staal and Sutter were the 1-2 punch down the middle we've been needing.   Whos gonna tell a young kid that was the best and most consistent player on a pretty crappy team all season long that hey, you can start as the 2nd line guy because you're that good but just in case our high dollar freee agent veteran wants to move up, you might be demoted? 

Cullen would be a great sign but not at the expense of being able to fill other more glaring holes like on defense. Like it or not, this team aint spending too much more money and will likely take more chances on less expensive kids already in the system who got experience last season.  Unless Cullen is going for a hometown discount which I highly doubt since he's not exactly a rookie anymore himself, the only veteran additions will come late in the summer when most rosters are set and some guy needs a new home and fresh start.

Under/Over on how many pages this goes till JR finally makes a move to give us something tangible to talk about?  No offense Remkin, it was a good read but its going in circles now.

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Remkin, what coach whos worth a dime is really gonna give Cullen his choice where he plays?  Sutter earned his stripes as the 2nd line center and JR even said that Staal and Sutter were the 1-2 punch down the middle we've been needing.   Whos gonna tell a young kid that was the best and most consistent player on a pretty crappy team all season long that hey, you can start as the 2nd line guy because you're that good but just in case our high dollar freee agent veteran wants to move up, you might be demoted? 

Cullen would be a great sign but not at the expense of being able to fill other more glaring holes like on defense. Like it or not, this team aint spending too much more money and will likely take more chances on less expensive kids already in the system who got experience last season.  Unless Cullen is going for a hometown discount which I highly doubt since he's not exactly a rookie anymore himself, the only veteran additions will come late in the summer when most rosters are set and some guy needs a new home and fresh start.

Under/Over on how many pages this goes till JR finally makes a move to give us something tangible to talk about?  No offense Remkin, it was a good read but its going in circles now.

You may be right about the idea of telling Cullen where he'll play. Sutter is way too early in his career to have earned the second line center job. He may slide back next year. I doubt it though. Our need probably will be on the third line. Cullen left once in search of second line status, so it may be an issue. 

The thing is we have a glaring hole at third line center and the best player to fill that is probably Cullen. Thus, while JR is not prone to overspend (just ask Brind'Amour), third line center is the glaring weakness, and maybe we overspend a little to fill the glaring weakness.

As to the going in circles. Hey, it's pretty slow right now. I'm just responding to people's points. If everyone is sick of this thread, just leave it be. I'll let drift down to the message board floor.

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[quote name='remkin wrote:


fkelly']Remkin, what coach whos worth a dime is really gonna give Cullen his choice where he plays?  Sutter earned his stripes as the 2nd line center and JR even said that Staal and Sutter were the 1-2 punch down the middle we've been needing.   Whos gonna tell a young kid that was the best and most consistent player on a pretty crappy team all season long that hey, you can start as the 2nd line guy because you're that good but just in case our high dollar freee agent veteran wants to move up, you might be demoted? 

Cullen would be a great sign but not at the expense of being able to fill other more glaring holes like on defense. Like it or not, this team aint spending too much more money and will likely take more chances on less expensive kids already in the system who got experience last season.  Unless Cullen is going for a hometown discount which I highly doubt since he's not exactly a rookie anymore himself, the only veteran additions will come late in the summer when most rosters are set and some guy needs a new home and fresh start.

Under/Over on how many pages this goes till JR finally makes a move to give us something tangible to talk about?  No offense Remkin, it was a good read but its going in circles now.

You may be right about the idea of telling Cullen where he'll play. Sutter is way too early in his career to have earned the second line center job. He may slide back next year. I doubt it though. Our need probably will be on the third line. Cullen left once in search of second line status, so it may be an issue. 

The thing is we have a glaring hole at third line center and the best player to fill that is probably Cullen. Thus, while JR is not prone to overspend (just ask Brind'Amour), third line center is the glaring weakness, and maybe we overspend a little to fill the glaring weakness.

As to the going in circles. Hey, it's pretty slow right now. I'm just responding to people's points. If everyone is sick of this thread, just leave it be. I'll let drift down to the message board floor.

I thought Cullen left for $/longer contract and the 2nd line center misuse was the Rangers mistake, not Cullen's request.  Its not Cullens fault the Rags were willing to pay him big bucks and put him in a postion he wasnt suited for.  Once they moved him to third line duties, his play took off but they needed his money for other players, good for us to have the room to take him back.  Man, we could have a whole thread on Cullen and what he might or might not mean to this team.  There ya go Remkin, go for it.

Dont take offense, this was a good thread but there's nothing new to add.  It is slow, JR needs to make a move...ANY MOVE.

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[quote name='fkelly wrote:


remkin wrote:

fkelly']Remkin, what coach whos worth a dime is really gonna give Cullen his choice where he plays?  Sutter earned his stripes as the 2nd line center and JR even said that Staal and Sutter were the 1-2 punch down the middle we've been needing.   Whos gonna tell a young kid that was the best and most consistent player on a pretty crappy team all season long that hey, you can start as the 2nd line guy because you're that good but just in case our high dollar freee agent veteran wants to move up, you might be demoted? 

Cullen would be a great sign but not at the expense of being able to fill other more glaring holes like on defense. Like it or not, this team aint spending too much more money and will likely take more chances on less expensive kids already in the system who got experience last season.  Unless Cullen is going for a hometown discount which I highly doubt since he's not exactly a rookie anymore himself, the only veteran additions will come late in the summer when most rosters are set and some guy needs a new home and fresh start.

Under/Over on how many pages this goes till JR finally makes a move to give us something tangible to talk about?  No offense Remkin, it was a good read but its going in circles now.

You may be right about the idea of telling Cullen where he'll play. Sutter is way too early in his career to have earned the second line center job. He may slide back next year. I doubt it though. Our need probably will be on the third line. Cullen left once in search of second line status, so it may be an issue. 

The thing is we have a glaring hole at third line center and the best player to fill that is probably Cullen. Thus, while JR is not prone to overspend (just ask Brind'Amour), third line center is the glaring weakness, and maybe we overspend a little to fill the glaring weakness.

As to the going in circles. Hey, it's pretty slow right now. I'm just responding to people's points. If everyone is sick of this thread, just leave it be. I'll let drift down to the message board floor.

I thought Cullen left for $/longer contract and the 2nd line center misuse was the Rangers mistake, not Cullen's request.  Its not Cullens fault the Rags were willing to pay him big bucks and put him in a postion he wasnt suited for.  Once they moved him to third line duties, his play took off but they needed his money for other players, good for us to have the room to take him back.  Man, we could have a whole thread on Cullen and what he might or might not mean to this team.  There ya go Remkin, go for it.

Dont take offense, this was a good thread but there's nothing new to add.  It is slow, JR needs to make a move...ANY MOVE.Well the thread is kind of zigging and zagging into whatever people bring up. The Cullen thing is certainly part of it (the thread is about the case for more veteran help at forward and Cullen is certainly that). As I have followed this line of thinking I am feeling like he is increasingly important part. I really don't know if Cullen cared(s) about third line/second line, it might have just been the money. It was just brought up that he might be looking to a situation to be the second line center.

What I am thinking more and more is this:  While I (and others) have wanted a top winger to go with Staal for 2+ years and continue to lust for that, it is unlikely to happen unless JR can find a "value" guy. But the reality is that while we are thin on first line wingers, we are extraordinarily fat with wingers in general. Right now it is "A center, a center, my kingdom for a center".

And when I look out there, I see no one better for our needs than Cullen. So much so that I would really consider "overpaying" for him if necessary, since he is worth so much to us.

So if I could distill what I would like to see aside from the top line winger is this: find a way to lose Cole/Sammy, get Cullen back. The End. Well not necessarily the end of this thread. It might go on forever....

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I'm kinda confused as to why anyone thinks Cullen would "demand" a 2nd line spot. Did he mug someone on this forum that we don't know about?

He would however possibly scope teams whose 2nd line center situation is for the taking and sign with a team he can battle for that spot for. He may also accept a 3rd line slot with a team thats primed for a real push for the cup. I dont see Cullen coming back again, I mean you can only let a guy go/trade him so many times before he doesn't want to come back again.

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Change comes slowly most years. This time it's different. The line up in April included rolling in a lot of AHL prospects. But if we keep 
Whitney, Cole, and Samsonov, let alone Brind'Amour, there is no place for all of the AHL'ers you have on your roster. Brind'Amour was on the 4th line. So if the only big change is Brind'Amour, then really the only change in the top nine from last year would be the loss of Cullen, not exactly the guy I would have picked to lose. So, if no changes are made other than Brind'Amour you have:

Jokinen-Staal-Ruutu
Cole-Sutter-Whitney
Sammy-?-LaRose

The only place to put ANY prospect would be either out of position as our third line center, or on the 4th line.

Just doesn't make sense to me. You may be right. JR may try to get by with this line up, but I'm going to stay more optimistic that he plans to find a way to open up a couple of wings for the kids to play this coming year. The only way I can see is to keep only one of Cole-Whitney-Sammy. 

As to your line up being for 2012. Yes, that line up would make sense for 2012. Though it's hard enough to figure out what might or should happen this year let alone two years out. It does point out that the long term future does look pretty good, especially with a high draft pick and a bunch of lower rounders this year.
Once you include everyone who was out with injuries, there won't be a lot of openings for more than a couple of the kids.

One of the reasons I put Jokinen at 2nd line center was to open up as many winger spots as possible.  That, and I think

Jussi is better at 2nd line center than 1st line winger.  Sutter at 3rd line center will balance things much better.  Dwyer at

4th line center.  He's done well defensively and on faceoffs and deserves a spot among the top 12 forwards.

Brind'Amour may very well retire, but I'd be stunned if Cole and Samsonov were not here for at least 3/4 of the season. 

That's what I meant about change coming slowly.  And, no, I don't think too much will be done to hurry things along.

There are a couple of possible things that could be done.  The Islanders may be interested in Cole because they need a

banger.  Or maybe Buffalo if Torres moves on, as expected.  Someone could conceivably be interested in Samsonov. 

Could happen.  But I don't think so.  Plus, there's Whitney.  I really, really, really do expect JR to sign him as a scoring

insurance policy. 

Not much change with all of these familiar names hanging around.  But that's not necessarily bad.  It will give most of the

prospects lots of icetime in Charlotte.  They'll be recalled when the inevitable injuries hit.

 

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[quote name='davidrabbit wrote:


remkin']Change comes slowly most years. This time it's different. The line up in April included rolling in a lot of AHL prospects. But if we keep 
Whitney, Cole, and Samsonov, let alone Brind'Amour, there is no place for all of the AHL'ers you have on your roster. Brind'Amour was on the 4th line. So if the only big change is Brind'Amour, then really the only change in the top nine from last year would be the loss of Cullen, not exactly the guy I would have picked to lose. So, if no changes are made other than Brind'Amour you have:

Jokinen-Staal-Ruutu
Cole-Sutter-Whitney
Sammy-?-LaRose

The only place to put ANY prospect would be either out of position as our third line center, or on the 4th line.

Just doesn't make sense to me. You may be right. JR may try to get by with this line up, but I'm going to stay more optimistic that he plans to find a way to open up a couple of wings for the kids to play this coming year. The only way I can see is to keep only one of Cole-Whitney-Sammy. 

As to your line up being for 2012. Yes, that line up would make sense for 2012. Though it's hard enough to figure out what might or should happen this year let alone two years out. It does point out that the long term future does look pretty good, especially with a high draft pick and a bunch of lower rounders this year.

Not much change with all of these familiar names hanging around.  But that's not necessarily bad.  It will give most of the

prospects lots of icetime in Charlotte.  They'll be recalled when the inevitable injuries hit.

 See, I do think that is necessarily bad. Sure we had a nice run at the end of the year, but a lot of non-playoff teams have nice runs during the year, just about all of them who are not Edmundton in fact. Counting on the lineup above to be an above average team is not a very wise plan in my opinion. At least if we're going with an unproven line up lets go all youth, but really we ought to be able to do better.

  

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Bad, but probably inevitable if JR follows form.  If the 'Canes can hang around near the bottom of the playoff

pack until the trade deadline, despite the 'Canes being overwhelmingly average .... then it still can be done.

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lewberts wrote

One more thing about Cullen: Are we sure he would even want to play on the third line behind Sutter if he can probably find a job on another team's second line? I know Matt has said before that he likes playing in Raleigh and considers it "home" and I could be wrong, but I think at least a few teams will be impressed enough with his playoff performance this year to offer him a second line spot. I guess where he ends up will depend upon what he values most - playing in Carolina or playing time.
Two things on this.

1. Cullen has kind of shuttled back and forth on 2nd and 3rd lines the last few years. He went to NY partly to be a second line center, but it didn't really work out. I have no idea how he views this, but he has been kind of a 2.5 line center. As a second line center he is decent, as a third line center he is lights out. 

2. Sutter should still be at a point in his career that he will happily play wherever the coach puts him. If Cullen really wants the second line and that's the only issue, let him have it. Just tell him that if Sutter outproduces him over a stretch of games he might drop back. 

I really wonder what kind of cash he is going to be offered.

Every player should still be happy to play wherever the coach puts them, look at what they get to do for a living. I know what your saying but at the same time look at sutter from this year to his rookie year.. i think it can be argued that he had a lack of confidence because in his rookie season under mo he barely played at all, and now to demote him again when he clearly out played cullen its not worth it. You want the player wo most deserves to be in that position to be there and thats it

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