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Bring em back...

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I would love to have Gerber back. Many of us are forgetting who gave us the chance to get to the playoffs last year. Right now, our defense is hurting, the offense isn't scoring, but the thing I notice most, is the goaltending. Everyone keeps talking about Cam keeping us in the game, but I can't say that. These last couple of games he has been out performed. Especially in the Flyers game. I find it hard to believe that our goalie is keeping us in the game, when the other team's goalie is shutting us out night after night. We are getting just as many scoring chances as other teams, yet we cannot win a low scoring game because of our goaltending.

:shock: Are we watching the same games? Ward gives these guys a chance to win every night. His stats don't represent his play as of late and until he gets support from the offense and defense consistently, he will be hung out to dry. He is not our issue right now.

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I would love to have Gerber back. Many of us are forgetting who gave us the chance to get to the playoffs last year. Right now, our defense is hurting, the offense isn't scoring, but the thing I notice most, is the goaltending. Everyone keeps talking about Cam keeping us in the game, but I can't say that. These last couple of games he has been out performed. Especially in the Flyers game. I find it hard to believe that our goalie is keeping us in the game, when the other team's goalie is shutting us out night after night. We are getting just as many scoring chances as other teams, yet we cannot win a low scoring game because of our goaltending.

:shock: Are we watching the same games? Ward gives these guys a chance to win every night. His stats don't represent his play as of late and until he gets support from the offense and defense consistently, he will be hung out to dry. He is not our issue right now.

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Cullen was offered a four-year deal according to JR, but for "only" 1.7 million a year (which is right around what he is actually worth).

He was also offered a multi-year contract from the Minnesota Wild and turned it down because the Rangers offered more money. This is according to Cullen himself in a series of articles this newspaper did on him during the offseason (the articles cost money to view now).

Cullen is from Minnesota, BTW. Money overrides any loyalty he has. That's fine and dandy and most professional sports athletes are probably the same way, but the difference is that Cullen tried to make himself look good to the press here by moaning about how about he was "miserable" in Florida despite making a lot of money, obviously trying to paint money as immaterial to where he was going to sign. Then he went and signed the biggest contract that was offered to him.

I would love to have Gerber back. Many of us are forgetting who gave us the chance to get to the playoffs last year. Right now, our defense is hurting, the offense isn't scoring, but the thing I notice most, is the goaltending. Everyone keeps talking about Cam keeping us in the game, but I can't say that. These last couple of games he has been out performed. Especially in the Flyers game. I find it hard to believe that our goalie is keeping us in the game, when the other team's goalie is shutting us out night after night. We are getting just as many scoring chances as other teams, yet we cannot win a low scoring game because of our goaltending.
This board just keeps getting funnier and funnier.

Of course you are going to get "outperformed" statistically as a goaltender when your team only scores 2 goals in three games. The other goalies in the past three games have combined for a .67GAA. Those are unreal numbers. For us to even get a point out of the last two games, Cam would have had to post back-to-back shutouts.

Gerber "gave us a chance to get to the playoffs" because the team was scoring well over three goals a game. Gerber wasn't all that great last season and posted merely average numbers. He allowed 2.78 goals a game versus Cam's 2.81. That's .03 more goals per game that Cam is allowing, which works out to two more goals over 82 games.

Gerber, Cullen and Ward are so unbelievably overrated here it's disgusting. Gerber is a back-up/marginal starter, Cullen is a third liner and Ward a #4-5 defenseman. All the fans of their current teams can see this, but people here are blinded by the reflection of the Cup.

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Cullen & Ray played so very well together...its almost like they knew what the other was going to do before he did it.

Ray Whitney - 43GP, 16G, 28A, 44pts, +4

Matt Cullen - 40GP, 7G, 11A, 18pts, -2

Whitney is having a another great season without the amazing Matt Cullen while Cullen is struggling to succeed for the 900th time in his career.

Whitney now has chemistry with Brind'amour. What's bringing Cullen back going to do except make Cullen's point totals look better? Brind'amour will score less because Whitney isn't on his line. Whitney will score less because he has a career-third liner (that would be Cullen) screwing up the scoring chances he sets up. The net result is nothing except the quenching of meaningless emotional attachments of people here.

Not to mention his ridiculous contract and the effect on our future cap space.

I do agree that Cullen's career year got him a contract that overpaid him for what he has done in terms of career accomplishments.

However, the comparison is out of context for several reasons. Cullen's role in NY although he plays with Shanny is diminished significantly from last year with Carolina. He plays very little on the PP and when he does it isn't on the point where he thrived last year. Almost all of his scoring this year at EV.

Plus Whitney's role this year has expanded. Last year, due in large part to injuries, he was a little more than a PP specialist. While this year he started the year in Stillman's spot on the top line at a time when Staal or Cole were scoring consistently and he logs a ton of PP time. When he moved to the second line with Brindy and Williams that was a hot line and he of course contributed to it being hot.

I'm not at all knocking Whitney's contributions but his role has expanded while Cullen is in a different system and in a different role. The bottom line though is that I wouldn't expect Cullen to necessarily match his numbers from last year his versatility and speed is missed. He played very effectively as a speedy wing on the first line at times last year and often was the guy leading the rush. His skills at the point and in shoot-outs is sorely missed and have yet to be adequately replaced.

He isn't a great fit in NY and I think there is a very good chance he gets bought out especially if they can sign Gomez who they covet as a FA for next year. Cullen is an ok 3rd line center but his speed at wing, versatility, puck moving ability, skating and speed made him a multi-dimensional asset last year. If he does get bought out, I'd definitely welcome him back.

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Ward gives these guys a chance to win every night. His stats don't represent his play as of late and until he gets support from the offense and defense consistently, he will be hung out to dry. He is not our issue right now.

I absolutely agree with your assessment of Ward. He has not been quite the force he was for a good part of the playoffs but he has been very good overall.

I wish there was a stat for it but when you think of deflected goals vs. "soft" goals, he has been given up significantly more "tough" goals, i.e. those you can't do anything about than the kind you should be able to stop. Gerber gave up many more "soft" goals on average than Ward has so far.

It is all the more impressive when you think about all the blueline injuries this year compared to last. Also, a note to all Buffalo fans: the Islander game is how you win with 4 key d-men out and only 5 healthy guys (3 of whom were on the roster bubble in camp). :) :-)

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I do agree that Cullen's career year got him a contract that overpaid him for what he has done in terms of career accomplishments.

However, the comparison is out of context for several reasons. Cullen's role in NY although he plays with Shanny is diminished significantly from last year with Carolina. He plays very little on the PP and when he does it isn't on the point where he thrived last year. Almost all of his scoring this year at EV.

Cullen didn't "thrive" on the point. He was there because we had one good offensive defenseman (Kaberle) to fill four point spots. His production was below average with just 18 PP points in 372:37 of powerplay time (4:46 a game).

Cullen has gotten 2:06 a game with the Rangers and has 2 PP points. That's nearly a full game and a half of powerplay time with two points.

So what if he's not playing the point? Somehow Cullen is Mr. Versatile yet has to be put in a certain situation to put up points. Based on his rate of production, I wouldn't give Cullen much powerplay time either if I was Tom Renney.

The only person who is unhappy about Andy Hilbert no longer skating alongside Sidney Crosby is Andy Hilbert. Yes, Hilbert would have more points skating with Crosby than he does with whover in NYI, just as Cullen would have more points playing close to five minutes of powerplay time a game. But what does this solve except to make Cullen's stats look better? He's not going to make Jaromir Jagr score more, just as he didn't make Ray Whitney score more and just as Hilbert isn't going to make Crosby score more.

Ray Whitney has played 235:20 on the powerplay this season and has 18 powerplay points. And that's without Kaberle for the entire year, Stillman for most of the year and with Eric Staal who has forgotten how to skate. Whitney can still produce without ideal settings. Cullen needs his security blankets to get points because he is simply not very good offensively.

Plus Whitney's role this year has expanded. Last year, due in large part to injuries, he was a little more than a PP specialist.
And had 55 points in 63 games. Which is still eons better than Cullen's production both this year and his entire career (including last year).
While this year (Whitney) started the year in Stillman's spot on the top line at a time when Staal or Cole were scoring consistently and he logs a ton of PP time. When he moved to the second line with Brindy and Williams that was a hot line and he of course contributed to it being hot.
This is absolute nonsense.

The Whitney-Staal-Cole line never clicked and Staal and Cole both had one point in four games before it was split apart. Then Whitney/Cole were moved to the Brind'amour line and Walker/Williams to the Staal line.

Whitney was on the Brind'amour-Cole line for well over a month before Williams replaced Cole. Then Williams went on an insane scoring streak while at the same Cole scoring slump and doesn't break out of it until last night when *surprise* he's moved back to a line line with Whitney.

Please don't act like these guys were producing already and Whitney just stepped in and "contributed". Whitney has been the driving force of our offense this season.

Do you think it's just a coincidence that Brind'amour is over a point-per-game for the first time in over a decade? Go through some scoresheets and see how many goals there are with first assist to Whitney and the second assist to Brind'amour.

Cullen played very effectively as a speedy wing on the first line at times last year and often was the guy leading the rush.
Cullen was only on the first line for about 10 games towards then end of the year with Stillman-Staal and did approximately nothing.

Oh, he was on the first line in the playoffs too. The first line that never scored at even strength. Coincidence?

His skills at the point and in shoot-outs is sorely missed and have yet to be adequately replaced.
Cullen is 1-for-3 in the shootout this year. Goaltenders study video and figure out shooters, just like defensemen study video and figure out Cullen's lame toe-drag moves and blind passes that work a few times and then magically never work again.

Whitney is 0-for-2 after going 4-for-5 last year. Nothing that "clicked" one season is guaranteed to "click" the next.

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Cullen didn't "thrive" on the point. He was there because we had one good offensive defenseman (Kaberle) to fill four point spots.

Points is only one measure of how your point man plays. He did an excellent job, as compared to this year's rotation at the point, of holding the puck in the zone and keeping the pressure on. He was chosen because of his poise and ability to backtrack on D if needed. Although he wasn't great you forget that Tverdovsky was the other d-man on the point for much of the year so it's not as if Cullen was there out of desperation.

So what if he's not playing the point? Somehow Cullen is Mr. Versatile yet has to be put in a certain situation to put up points. Based on his rate of production, I wouldn't give Cullen much powerplay time either if I was Tom Renney.

Your anti-Cullen bias is in full bloom with that comment so I doubt anything will change your mind. Many players have a niche to play on the PP, and his is the point, and their production will suffer if played out of position.

Do you think it's just a coincidence that Brind'amour is over a point-per-game for the first time in over a decade? Go through some scoresheets and see how many goals there are with first assist to Whitney and the second assist to Brind'amour.

Again, I'm not taking anything away from Whitney but you are comparing apples and oranges when putting his stats from this year on the first and second line compared to Cullen's in NY. The comparison is pointless because there is so common base of relevance.

Goaltenders study video and figure out shooters, just like defensemen study video and figure out Cullen's lame toe-drag moves and blind passes that work a few times and then magically never work again.

Once again, I'd take him back if he got bought out because nobody has replaced his speed and versatility and they are missed. No biggie if we disagree but you know better than trying to compare stats across two teams with different systems and players in different roles.

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Whitney was on the Brind'amour-Cole line for well over a month before Williams replaced Cole. Then Williams went on an insane scoring streak while at the same Cole scoring slump and doesn't break out of it until last night when *surprise* he's moved back to a line line with Whitney.

I read that Cole told Lavi that he would like to play with Whitney again because he's such a great playmaker. Looks like Lavi agreed with Cole and thought playing them together would help Cole out with his slump. Luckily both Cole and Lavi knew what was best.

How did Cole say it, if you get in position, Whitney will find you whether theres players around you or not. That saying holds so true for Cole's first goal Saturday night. Whitney got that puck through 2 defenders and right on Cole's stick. Perfect.

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Bring em back...

Maybe with exception of Recchi who is still playing inspired hockey, leave them where they are.

In the last game against the Pens I was more nervous every time Recchi was out on the ice than Sid the Kid. He was ferocious! He was a huge part of the goals they scored, and even though he never scored a goal himself he came very close and kept the pressure on the entire game.

And so many people thought his career would be over after helping the Canes win the Cup.

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Points is only one measure of how your point man plays. He did an excellent job, as compared to this year's rotation at the point, of holding the puck in the zone and keeping the pressure on. He was chosen because of his poise and ability to backtrack on D if needed.
Correct. He still was merely average and was used their because of the mediocre offensive abilities of our defenseman.

Our Matt Cullen-quarterbacked powerplay was 17th in the league last year. Our powerplay quarterbacked by nobody in particular is 21st in the league this year. If you're trying to argue that Cullen is slightly better than nobody, I agree.

Points is a big measure of the effectiveness of a skater when the main goal is to score. I wonder how many pointmen in the league that got that sort of ice-time put up less points. I'm sure the list is very, very small.

Although he wasn't great you forget that Tverdovsky was the other d-man on the point for much of the year so it's not as if Cullen was there out of desperation.
I said one good offensive defenseman. Tverdovsky is not good. And Tverdovsky/Kaberle is still two people to fill four spots (two per unit).
Your anti-Cullen bias is in full bloom with that comment so I doubt anything will change your mind. Many players have a niche to play on the PP, and his is the point, and their production will suffer if played out of position.
I'm not disagreeing with this. I'm just noting that despite his alleged "versatility", he can't even score a single goal when his team has one more skater on the ice unless he's out there as a D-man.
Again, I'm not taking anything away from Whitney but you are comparing apples and oranges when putting his stats from this year on the first and second line compared to Cullen's in NY. The comparison is pointless because there is so common base of relevance.
Cullen is on the second line with Brendan Shanahan. It's not like he's playing with Colton Orr and Ryan Hollweg. I'd think someone who is allegedly as "versatile" as Cullen is claimed to be would be able to succeed on a line with Brendan Shanahan, wouldn't he?

You completely misrepresented Whitney this season by claiming that he was moved to Staal and Cole's line when they were scoring consistently and then moved to Brind'amour-Williams line when they were not. Not only is this flat out false to begin with, it discredits Whitney by painting him as simply stepping into a good situation.

I may be biased against Cullen, but at least I've paid attention to him to see how he's doing and what sort of quality of ice-time he is getting. You apparently have been watching Whitney in some alternate universe.

I'm really lost as to what this discusion is about or what exactly your point is. Are you honestly trying to argue that Cullen has similar talent to Whitney?

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Correct. He still was merely average and was used their because of the mediocre offensive abilities of our defenseman.

Our Matt Cullen-quarterbacked powerplay was 17th in the league last year. Our powerplay quarterbacked by nobody in particular is 21st in the league this year. If you're trying to argue that Cullen is slightly better than nobody, I agree.

The PP went to hell last year after Cole was hurt and was top 10 or thereabouts before. When there are two full units on the PP it's a little tough to lay it at Cullen's feet when Cole was on his unit, don't you think? The fact that the Canes were red-hot in the playoffs on the PP, and it was the deciding factor in winning the Cup, gets no mention. You decided Cullen isn't any good and are picking and choosing stats now.

I said one good offensive defenseman. Tverdovsky is not good. And Tverdovsky/Kaberle is still two people to fill four spots (two per unit).

I already criticized Tverdovsky in my initial comment but the fact is that he logged substantial time at one of the points. Lavi is aggressive on the PP and likes a d-man paired with a defensively capable forward with a good shot from the point. To imply there were 4 spots for d-men just isn't so.

Not only is this flat out false to begin with, it discredits Whitney by painting him as simply stepping into a good situation.

I may be biased against Cullen, but at least I've paid attention to him to see how he's doing and what sort of quality of ice-time he is getting. You apparently have been watching Whitney in some alternate universe.

No, I have given Whitney credit and three times now have stated you can't take anything away from him. But to think that he hasn't benefited from playing on the top 2 lines vs. the 3rd line from last year is just plain silly. He has personally benefited and he has also been of great benefit to both lines. How's that?

As stated, the fundamental point I made is that you are attempting to compare Whitney's stats this year on the top 2 lines with Cullen's stats in NY. When you consider that Whitney, regardless of his contributions, is in an upgraded role this year while Cullen is on a different team, with a different system and in a different role it makes no sense.

Are you honestly trying to argue that Cullen has similar talent to Whitney?

Not in the least but remember it wasn't me who tried and to compare their stats this year, that was you. I had two primary points - that a comparison like that is pointless given the different circumstances and that Cullen's versatility is missed. I'd love to have them both but as I stated Cullen was overpaid by the NYR. If he gets bought out, he would be a good addition. It's as simple as that.

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The PP went to hell last year after Cole was hurt and was top 10 or thereabouts before. When there are two full units on the PP it's a little tough to lay it at Cullen's feet when Cole was on his unit, don't you think?
Here we go again. Mr. Versatile Matt Cullen needs a certain player on his line/unit to produce. Are you trying to refute your own argument?

Laviolette mixed units up a lot in the regular season, anyhow.

Stillman has missed most of the season and Kaberle's been out for the year. If you want to note Cole's injury impacting last year's %, you have to recognize this as well.

The fact that the Canes were red-hot in the playoffs on the PP, and it was the deciding factor in winning the Cup, gets no mention. You decided Cullen isn't any good and are picking and choosing stats now.
I recognize that. I just happen to credit that success to proven powerplay producers like Whitney, Recchi and Weight than a 40-point third liner in Cullen.

I'm not supposed to use one season or even someone's entire career to judge them, apparently. I'm supposed to use a 25-game segment that makes Cullen look good. I believe that would be "picking and choosing."

I already criticized Tverdovsky in my initial comment but the fact is that he logged substantial time at one of the points. Lavi is aggressive on the PP and likes a d-man paired with a defensively capable forward with a good shot from the point. To imply there were 4 spots for d-men just isn't so.
Yes, and he would have logged a lot more had he not sucked. Hutchinson also got at least five minutes of powerplay time a game when he played (39 games), so there were at least three defenseman who played regularly on the powerplay. The problem was that they weren't very good (Kaberle was also fairly average as well).

How do we know this about Laviolette, anyways? Is it not possible he was simply adapting to his roster with the personnel that he had?

No, I have given Whitney credit and three times now have stated you can't take anything away from him. But to think that he hasn't benefited from playing on the top 2 lines vs. the 3rd line from last year is just plain silly. He has personally benefited and he has also been of great benefit to both lines. How's that?
Good. So basically the loss of Cullen has had no effect on Ray Whitney. Which was my point in the first place. What exactly are we arguing about, again?

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Final post Kahz. You're all over the map again. You want to knock the regular season PP % last year as a way to degrade Cullen and then ignore his contributions on the first unit in the playoffs. What purpose does that serve? Other than what I stated about you just not liking the guy.

How do I know about Lavi's style and preferences? Aside from his normal tendencies with the Canes look at the Olympic roster. He used a fast skating, big slapshot forward at the point, Brian Rolston, when he had his pick of any number of talented d point men. He is aggressive and did similar things with the Isles. He'll even put four forwards on a 4 on 3 PP now.

Your "point in the first place" was to statistically compare Cullen and Whitney and it is a misplaced point. Whitney is healthy, he is playing a bigger role and he is getting prime minutes on the top two lines. That is to his credit but has nothing to do with Cullen's stats in NY.

I don't think I can think of any more ways to state the same thing.

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Final post Kahz. You're all over the map again. You want to knock the regular season PP % last year as a way to degrade Cullen and then ignore his contributions on the first unit in the playoffs.
Cullen was on the second unit. The first unit was Stillman-Brind'amour-Williams/Staal-Hedican.

I'm not ignoring any contributions. One playoffs is a very small sample size and I'm more willing to give credit to guys with long histories of PP production. Cullen did a great job on the powerplay during the playoffs, but it was only 25 games and that rate of production has never translated to the regular season for him.

How do I know about Lavi's style and preferences? Aside from his normal tendencies with the Canes look at the Olympic roster. He used a fast skating, big slapshot forward at the point, Brian Rolston, when he had his pick of any number of talented d point men. He is aggressive and did similar things with the Isles. He'll even put four forwards on a 4 on 3 PP now.
What great offensive defensemen did the US Olympic roster have?

Laviolette's preferences here are based on the roster he is given. I'm sure he'd rather have an actual offensive defenseman who can skate a regular shift than subbing Hutchinson in and out of the lineup as a PP specialist. But he's done that the last two seasons. Do you think he prefers to do go through that hassle?

Brian Rolston is an excellent pointman and would definitely be our best option right now (even with Kaberle in the lineup). It's just halfway through the season and he already has 19 powerplay points, one more than Cullen had all last season. Rolston had 32 PP points last season, BTW.

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Cullen was on the second unit. The first unit was Stillman-Brind'amour-Williams/Staal-Hedican.

Hedican on the first unit of the PP? No he wasn't' date=' at least not in the regular season. Go check out the stats you are so fond of if you don't believe me. In the playoffs, especially against Montreal, they relied more on the umbrella formation with Staal at the top and that's where Hedican got more time. In the standard box-and-one it was Kaberele and Cullen.

I'm not ignoring any contributions. 25 games is a very small sample size and I'm willing to give credit to guys with long histories of PP production. Cullen did a great job on the powerplay during the playoffs, but it was only 25 games and that rate of production has never translated to the regular season for him.

Those 25 games equated to the Cup but if you don't put any significance on that then you must have really felt Ward shouldn't have been the goalie this year yet you criticize Gerber for being less than great. Actually I don't disagree with your conclusion on the goalies but it is at odds in theory with your earlier statement about 25 games.

What great offensive defensemen did the US Olympic roster have?
I guess you didn't tune in. Two great offensive-minded d-men were Liles and Schneider and two great PP qb's were Leopold and Rafalski. Yet Rolston played on the first unit. It is Lavi's style and though he had 4 proven #1 PP unit d-men he chose a forward to man one of the points. There goes your argument.

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Hedican on the first unit of the PP? No he wasn't, at least not in the regular season. Go check out the stats you are so fond of if you don't believe me. In the playoffs, especially against Montreal, they relied more on the umbrella formation with Staal at the top and that's where Hedican got more time. In the standard box-and-one it was Kaberele and Cullen.
I was talking about the playoffs. Hedican was on the first unit for most of the playoffs. Ocasionally they'd sub in Kaberle for Hedican or both Kaberle/Cullen for Staal/Hedican, though.
Those 25 games equated to the Cup but if you don't put any significance on that then you must have really felt Ward shouldn't have been the goalie this year yet you criticize Gerber for being less than great. Actually I don't disagree with your conclusion on the goalies but it is at odds in theory with your earlier statement about 25 games.
I would have been fine with bringing Gerber back. I just don't think his absence has anything to do with our problems and his salary is ridiculous. Gerber was average last year, Ward is average this year.

I don't dislike Cullen or Gerber. It's just annoying to see them constantly overrated here.

I guess you didn't tune in. Two great offensive-minded d-men were Liles and Schneider and two great PP qb's were Leopold and Rafalski. Yet Rolston played on the first unit. It is Lavi's style and though he had 4 proven #1 PP unit d-men he chose a forward to man one of the points. There goes your argument.
Leopold is far from a great PP qb. He had 20 points in 74 games last season and a career high of 33.

Rolston is obviously a better option than Leopold. With Cullen, Laviolette didn't have any extra viable options.

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Kahz, I agree with you on Gerber but think Ward has been better than his stats show this year. There was a period where he was playing just average but overall he has been solid and isn't giving up as many soft goals as Gerber did during the course of a game.

I also think Ward's departure causes some to think that a top pair guy got away. He was a mid-tier guy in a d-by-committee scheme who has been more than replaced by Gleason when healthy. Cullen we have a differing view on but as I wrote before bringing him back doesn't make everything better but I did like his speed and versatility. If you want to juggle the lines putting Belanger on a wing or Walker on the top line just don't give you the same dynamics. I thought I'd mention me views of Cullen in case you missed it the first several times. :)

Rolston is an excellent point man and you could make an argument for him over Leopold, even though I think you are relying way too much on just stat lines. Leopold was brought in to the Avs to replace Blake as a PP qb. But Rolston played on the first unit in Torino so if you forget about Leopold then the top two points could have been Schneider and Liles yet Lavi elected to go with a forward there. Many coaches will only consider two d-men at the point and he had his choice of elite players to choose from and did the same thing he does here.

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We need a scoring forward, Weight doesn't fit that bill. We'd have to give up too much to land him anyways.

I'd take Knuble. There are rumors floating around about him and he is fairly expensive but he would be a good fit.

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