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Manwolf

Forward Lines and Power Play v2010-11

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For now I'll just have to trust in Mo and company. I'm hoping that there's a longer term plan in play here.

Mo's play book:

1. Play the kids over Sully. Check.

2. When I do play Sully only play him on the 4th line & the 2nd PP unit. Check.

3. Watch remkin pull out his hair. Check. :hairpull:

I too would love to see Sully get a real shot in the top 9 on a scoring line. He is not a 4th line player.

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I really don't understand why K-Stop is playing in the top 9. He's a prototypical 4th liner for us. He's a younger Scotty Walker.

While my son would love LaRose to stay up on the 1st line and get an All-Star vote, I think Chad needs to stop worrying about votes and start potting some goals.

I would seriously consider moving Skinner up to Staal's line along with Cole. We've seen Staal and Cole work well together, and Erik seems to be getting his game back, though he still can't finish on a breakaway, which is frustrating. I'd slide Jokinen down alongside Sutter, and frankly I'd move Ruutu back up. He'd be the physical presence on that 2nd line. Then 3rd line could be LaRose - Dwyer - O'Sullivan/Sammy (a small line, but nimble LOL). Wrap it up with Matsumoto centering K-Stop and the Checker Du Jour.

One note on O'Sullivan and Sammy. I'm a big Steeler fan and Mike Tomlin has a running competition each week between Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders as to which rookie WR will dress for the game that week. I think Sammy and O'Sullivan could have the same kind of competition in practices. Whichever one wants it more gets to play. Might see one of them get a little edge of their game if he's always looking over his shoulder.

Right now our best line is the one with Skinner on it. I suspect that eventually he's going to be playing with Staal, so make it happen, Mo.

EDIT: Of course I keep forgetting about Tlusty. (I wonder why?) Anyway, he's got some size and would pair nicely opposite LaRose on a 3rd line. Geez, where's Cullen? hee hee.

Edited by witchking-ch1

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I just don't get the lines Mo is putting out there given that he found something with Skinner-Ruutu-Cole.

With all the shuffling he's doing I'd throw this out there: Staal-Sutter-LaRose or O'Sullivan (or even Sammy). Sutter is buried with weaker forwards, where I'd play Staal on the wing with him (faceoffs) and see what happens. I've always liked when Philly puts Richards/Carter out there, or the Pens with Crosby/Malkin, for a few shifts.

Put two big dogs out there and move Jussi to 3rd line Center is worth a shot.

Edited by Manwolf

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OK, I give. whiteflag.gif

No more about Sully until Mo either plays him on a top line, tries to send him down, makes a comment about him, or he does something egregiously bad or good from the 4th line. For now: th_sad.gifand I wait.

I will tell you this last thing. If our top line keeps putting up goose eggs, and our power play slips from it's lofty perch at #23, I may not post it, but I'll be thinking: shock.gif and then Aarrg.gif.

For now I'll just have to trust in Mo and company. I'm hoping that there's a longer term plan in play here.

See my post in gameday. NO MORE Sully posts for me.

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" would seriously consider moving Skinner up to Staal's line along with Cole"

Mo tried this on Saturday and it was 2 words NOT GOOD In fact the bench resembled a chinese fire drill in the third and guess what...we still ended up with a goose egg :cry: Not sure what he should do but...leaving the "JET" line alone is a good starting point

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This team has looked like a very different team over the past 4 games than it did in the three before that. Dump and chase and almost no organized offense. This inevitably spills into the power play. LaRose is one heck of a player, but he is not a first line talent. In all fairness, our lack of first line talent has been painfully apparent the last 4 games. We have a couple of guys with that potential, but really only 3 who can legitimately bring that level of offensive prowess. Besides Staal, one is in the press box and one other is struggling right now (Jussi). At the end of the day, the first line needs to produce something, and needs to look skillful at least at times.

Washington, Pittsburgh, NYR, and Philly are good teams with a lot of high end talent. Still, I can't help but think either they scouted us well, or we changed up our game.

At least in the standings 5-6 is a very good outcome of these first 11 games. However, this team needs to find some sustained offense, and quick. Watching period after period of shutout hockey in the RBC center isn't good for anyone but the opposition.

Edited by remkin

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Tinker time?

I say learn from Philly and please put Sutter on Staal's wing, or Staal on Sutter's wing and see what happens. Carter and Richards kill us and everyone else as a lethal pairing. Then put Jussi at 3rd line center.

Is Sammy suddenly that good, and Jussi that bad, or is playing with Staal the difference in each?

We've got to get Sutter off the 3rd line. He's all star material.

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Production rates, 20 games in...

In the quest of propagating useless statistics, I thought I would update the numbers from when I posted 10 games in.

This is still a rather small sample, especially for a few players, so take it for what it's worth. Like with the 10 game numbers, I have combined even strength and power play stats instead of tracking them separately. (Shorthanded stats are not included.)

The production rate reflects goals + points per 60 minutes played.

I have included the 10 game rate following the 20 game rate, and the equivalent production rate from last season (after the player's name) for players who were here.

The numbers for Kostopoulos and Bodie only include games with the Hurricanes.

1st20- 1st10 *=less than 100 minutes (last season)

4.57 - 2.42 Eric Staal (3.88)

4.01 - 3.66 Jeff Skinner

3.82 - 2.67 Jussi Jokinen (4.19)

3.44 - 2.82 Sergei Samsonov (2.68)

3.36 - 2.05 Chad LaRose (2.66)

3.12 - -.-- *Jon Matsumoto

2.96 - 2.59 Tuomo Ruutu (3.33)

2.96 - 1.98 Patrick Dwyer (1.57)

2.75 - 2.10 Brandon Sutter (3.07)

2.68 - 3.02 Erik Cole (2.47)

1.83 - 0.61 Tom Kostopoulos (1.69)

1.61 - 0.00 Jiri Tlusty (1.86)

1.35 - 1.71 *Patrick O'Sullivan

1.30 - 1.30 *Zac Dalpe

0.00 - 0.00 *Drayson Bowman (2.22)

0.00 - -.-- *Troy Bodie

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Production rates, 20 games in...

In the quest of propagating useless statistics, I thought I would update the numbers from when I posted 10 games in.

This is still a rather small sample, especially for a few players, so take it for what it's worth. Like with the 10 game numbers, I have combined even strength and power play stats instead of tracking them separately. (Shorthanded stats are not included.)

The production rate reflects goals + points per 60 minutes played.

I have included the 10 game rate following the 20 game rate, and the equivalent production rate from last season (after the player's name) for players who were here.

The numbers for Kostopoulos and Bodie only include games with the Hurricanes.

1st20- 1st10 *=less than 100 minutes (last season)

4.57 - 2.42 Eric Staal (3.88)

4.01 - 3.66 Jeff Skinner

3.82 - 2.67 Jussi Jokinen (4.19)

3.44 - 2.82 Sergei Samsonov (2.68)

3.36 - 2.05 Chad LaRose (2.66)

3.12 - -.-- *Jon Matsumoto

2.96 - 2.59 Tuomo Ruutu (3.33)

2.96 - 1.98 Patrick Dwyer (1.57)

2.75 - 2.10 Brandon Sutter (3.07)

2.68 - 3.02 Erik Cole (2.47)

1.83 - 0.61 Tom Kostopoulos (1.69)

1.61 - 0.00 Jiri Tlusty (1.86)

1.35 - 1.71 *Patrick O'Sullivan

1.30 - 1.30 *Zac Dalpe

0.00 - 0.00 *Drayson Bowman (2.22)

0.00 - -.-- *Troy Bodie

It is interesting. Most surprising to me is Cole. He does other things, but at some point he needs to put up some points for the minutes. Also, clearly the Juice has found his game, and Sammy as well. I think Cole is great for Skinner and he hits and provides speed, but if 40 games in he is still near the bottom of that list....too early to say but something to watch.

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Cole is making things happen, even if not showing in his numbers. His role with Ruutu and Skinner gives the Canes a good line that makes three for Mo to role consistently.

Now I'd like to see a true "energy" 4th line with Sully being waived. Matsumoto has played well and with plenty of speed as center of the 4th line. I'm hoping Bodie can bring some energy to the team when needed, and that someone steps up as winger. So far Tlusty has been too soft on the puck, where I'd like to see Samson get his shot given his performance in Charlotte.

Edited by Manwolf

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Cole is making things happen, even if not showing in his numbers. His role with Ruutu and Skinner gives the Canes a good line that makes three for Mo to role consistently.

Now I'd like to see a true "energy" 4th line with Sully being waived. Matsumoto has played well and with plenty of speed as center of the 4th line. I'm hoping Bodie can bring some energy to the team when needed, and that someone steps up as winger. So far Tlusty has been too soft on the puck, where I'd like to see Samson get his shot given his performance in Charlotte.

I agree that Cole makes things happen and he throws hits and draws penalties. But he also has a recent history of just not putting up numbers. He's dropped off the last 10 games a bit, but so has Skinner, so no panic here just worth watching.

I completely agree about Samson though. We just have too many wingers. That's why O'Sullivan didn't get a full on shot. Samson is a beast around the boards and obviously can score too. I'd love to see him on that 4th line. But then Tlusty has to go somewhere. And so it goes. But I really have been wanting Samson on that 4th line from last year on. Guys like Boychuk, OSullivan, Tlusty, Bowman, etc. really need to be in the top 9, but Samson can be a grinder as well as a scorer, so the 4th line is a great starting point for him.

Edited by remkin

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This year, I'd be quicker to point out Ruutu as far as point production. Although both are second liners, Ruutu is getting top line dollars. He's fourth in salary behind Pitkanen, Ward and Staal. He needs to start producing a few more points.

I'm on board with Sampson, love to see him get a shot on the fourth line. A fourth liner who can grind and score, I like it.

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I agree that Cole makes things happen and he throws hits and draws penalties. But he also has a recent history of just not putting up numbers.

Just out of curiosity, what numbers do you expect from Cole? He has 10 right now, which projects out to about 41 for the season. Not great, but not bad considering the other intangibles (he had 42 in 08-09). And if he's the 10th highest producer by that formula, well, not bad for us.

By the traditional numbers, we're on pace for 8 guys with 40 or more points (probably not maintainable since we can't play the Islanders or Oilers every other night). Of course I'm still not sure that will be enough to keep up with our woeful defense. My point here is that the scoring is being spread around quite a bit. That said, if he's outscored by LaRose, there may be some need for salary adjustment next summer. :)

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Well, we finally got to see a potential return of Sutter to 2nd line center in game 26. I like the move and hope it remains going forward.

Dropping him to 3rd line center, and getting near nothing from the 4th line has hurt this team. I'm glad for Tlusty scoring vs Preds, but he he simply hasn't produced. He fails to win the puck and was flat footed on the Preds 1st goal last night. Are we that cheap that he can't sit in the press box for 3 games, or take a rotation there with Carter and Bodie so we can see if anyone in Charlotte can light a fire for 3 games?

Carter has been a net negative vs Matsumoto. I'm not sure if he needs to clear waivers (probably), but having done that once I doubt he'd be claimed. Not a loss if he is claimed. Get Matsumoto back here.

This team is too comfortable and complacent, and needs to be pushed by Charlotte for their roster spot with the Canes.

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I know there is probably no chance at all this would happen, but I hear Nikolay Zherdev may be on the trading block in Philly. Would it make sense to try him out here? We need goals, he may be able to produce that here. And at $2 mil, he isn't all that expensive. Just a thought. And yes, I know he is Russian..

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I know there is probably no chance at all this would happen, but I hear Nikolay Zherdev may be on the trading block in Philly. Would it make sense to try him out here? We need goals, he may be able to produce that here. And at $2 mil, he isn't all that expensive. Just a thought. And yes, I know he is Russian..

Sure, as long as Laviolette is cool with taking on of Cole, LaRose or Samsonov in return. Make it happen.

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Just out of curiosity, what numbers do you expect from Cole? He has 10 right now, which projects out to about 41 for the season. Not great, but not bad considering the other intangibles (he had 42 in 08-09). And if he's the 10th highest producer by that formula, well, not bad for us.

That said, if he's outscored by LaRose, there may be some need for salary adjustment next summer. :)

It's been a while for me to respond to this, but to be honest Cole is such a hard player to put a value on. Some of it is that he was just so good before the injury that one just wants to see him get some of that scoring back. (The man had 2 years where he put up 30 goals and 60 points). Some of it is that Cole was JR's big move a couple of years back and part of it is that we have too many wingers to get our young guys a look and Cole is one of them (a bit less so now that Tlusty is injured and OSullivan was waived, but still). Part of it is that Cole still looks so dang good out there. He is a natural skater, and intermittently shows grade A moves. But at the end of the day, year after year, playoff after playoff, you look at the stats and he is not putting up points commensurate with how good he looks.

Currently he has 6 goals and 12 points through 30 games, a fully healthy season would project to 14 goals, 33 points. LaRose has the exact same productivity numbers.

There is no doubt that Cole does a lot of little things (though in fairness one of those little things is to take penalties). But yes, he throws the body, he is a break away threat (not so much to score as to break away, but still), good attitude, mostly hard worker, opens the ice up some, also draws the occasional penalty (though not as much as he used to). All of this combined with that speed, seem to keep him a fan favorite and now there he is on the #1 line and everyone seems to think it's great. But he is the anti-sniper, so one would at least like a few assists from him, but alas, he has never been much of playmaker, and his 6 assists point that out this year.

In the end I like Cole very much as a 3rd liner. He brings a lot to the table and puts up third line numbers. He is a very nice third liner. The problem is that we have a boatload of 3rd liners, and that would seem to also be the most natural place to give the likes of Boychuk and others a shot. So, I guess for me to some extent, I see Cole (through no fault of his own) as a symptom of a couple of problems:

1. The lack of true first line talent after Staal (though Skinner is already getting pretty dang close). So there is Cole on our first line with 12 points. Points out a problem.

2. If certain veterans are not going to actually produce, it might make sense to do some of that semi rebuild. But it is hard to do with the top 9 in lock down. There has been some movement at the bottom, but not much.

At the end of the day I like all of Cole, Sammy, and LaRose. I like them all on the third line. I mean really like them there. A really good contending team could have any of those guys on the third line. But not on the second and for heaven's sake not on the first line.

If say, Boychuk, has finally found his mo jo and can play a Whitney like role on the second line, it might ease the problem a touch. Doesn't solve the first line thing, but at least lets Cole/Sammy or LaRose drop down the the third line. It will be tough for Zach though since Mo's thing seems to be putting guys on the 4th line to start. Maybe with the 3-4th line mix ups he'll get a shot as a scorer.

Anyway, Cole is a plus player, does do a lot of little things, and is not hurting the team. It would just be so great if he could find even a little of his scoring touch he had before the injury.

Edit: Of note I seem to remember JR saying that he needed about 30 games to see where certain veterans "will be" in their games. I'm not saying that anyone is being shopped, but it is 30 games and if Boychuk goes on a run....well you never know.

Edited by remkin

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I think there is a simple intangible why Cole is staying on either of the top two lines and it's called Skinner. JR and Mo must feel that what Cole does or doesn't bring is secondary to the great job he does mentoring Skinner, and frankly I agree. Now, I'm not saying that he wouldn't be where he is now without Cole, but he certainly looks like he is having a great time playing on the same line as Cole and he is productive to boot. Coincidence? The last think I'd want to see is Skinner looking like an over-serious, stressed out sourpuss like Hall, Seguin or Fowler.

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IMO Cole will stay in the role he's played thus far, being mentor for Skinner and his transition to the NHL. However, Skinner's development has been so quick, that he'll out grow that need well before the season is over.

The story of this year's team is still unfolding, where club ownership and the trade deadline loom later this season. It's too early for significant change, including the top 9, until the picture becomes clearer. That includes the fate of vets (Samsonov and Joni (contract), not just Cole), and those who wait in Charlotte.

A pleasant surprise has been the acquisitions of Bodie and Carter, where the latter has me eating the word "waive" anytime his name is mentioned.

For now, I like the lines but wish they'd regain the scoring pace of earlier in the season.

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I think there is a simple intangible why Cole is staying on either of the top two lines and it's called Skinner. JR and Mo must feel that what Cole does or doesn't bring is secondary to the great job he does mentoring Skinner, and frankly I agree. Now, I'm not saying that he wouldn't be where he is now without Cole, but he certainly looks like he is having a great time playing on the same line as Cole and he is productive to boot. Coincidence? The last think I'd want to see is Skinner looking like an over-serious, stressed out sourpuss like Hall, Seguin or Fowler.

I think that Cole does enjoy playing with Skinner and really has taken him under his wing. Cole seems to be happy going to work and that's good. And maybe he'll still break out, and certainly if Cole's mentoring has played a role in Skinner's adjustment, that is a valuable thing. But devil's advocate, even with a kid as talented and productive as Skinner and even with singing his way to work with a big smile pasted on his (Cole's) face, he is not that productive. Odds are he never will be. I hope I'm wrong because the pre-injury Cole was an All Star level player.

On the other hand, Skinner seems to be one of those kids that would be happy and fit in with or without Cole. Also, when it comes to the Cole/Skinner combo it's clearly Skinner creating the offense as he has done wherever he's played. Skinner is going to be superstar, he has that level of skill and determination. That's why Staal has called for him on his line twice now.

Skinner will do his thing no matter where they put him, and do it with a smile. Put him with Rosey, Jussi, Ruutu, Sammy, Staal, and Skinner is going to bring it.

It's great that Cole likes playing with him, and since Cole is a plus player and does hit, etc. I don't have a major problem with Cole, (though he's very expendable for the right trade) just wish he'd find a few more points, especially assists playing with Staal and Skinner, one would think there would be a few assists for the taking.

If Cole is ever going to put up points, now would be the time.

If not, he will contribute in other ways, but is he a first liner?

Edited by remkin

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Cole is probable never going to be 30+ goal scorer. The injuries have taken there toll. But I still think he is a 20 to 25 goal scorer and brings intangibles to the game we can overlook. I don't think it is a coincedence that Boychuk and now Skinner both seem to have thrived when on his line or that Staal seems more comfortable when he is paired with Cole. Cole still has the speed to open up ice for his mates and he still has the strength to dig out pucks and to cash in on rebounds. He skates, He hits, he can still score. Call me crazy but seem to be a better team when he is on the ice.

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If not, he will contribute in other ways, but is he a first liner?

First liners are counted on to produce and be a constant scoring threat. What speaks for him is that he works hard and does get his chances -- but he can't finish. Like I keep saying, if Cole would try to score up high as much as he tries to score down low, he'd be up there in points with Ruutu and Jussi and he would be a lot more deserving of the top line.

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Got to say, Cole made a few things happen last night. Sometimes he looks so good. Maybe the points will come.*

*been thinking this for a few years now, but you never know.

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