Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blue Jackets Blogger Roundtable Part 4

Welcome CBJ Fans! I am honored to be hosting Part 4 of the CBJ Blogger Roundtable (Here are Parts ONE, TWO, and THREE). Consider yourself one of the lucky to hit this blog one of the only times it will ever feature insightful, real hockey analysis* (coming completely from my esteemed colleagues.)

I'm honored to be hosting commentary from bloggers that I read daily and from whom I have learned so much (and all of whom are pretty cool people as well!):
Andy Krygier of CBJ Blog
Mike MacLean and Dan P. from The Cannon
Greg May from Full Mental Jackets
J. Martin Postin from Martini Hockey
Jeff Little (one of the best guys I know) from Ten Minute Misconduct

I'd also like to give a special shout out to the coordinator of this entire project, Matt Wagner from The Cannon. I don't know how he does what he does, but he does it unbelievably well and is a constant force of keeping the CBJ blogging community together and involved.

With no further ramblings - I give you, the blogger insights (and if you have feedback PLEASE comment or tweet away - tell us what YOU think!)
*This is a blog from a fan-perspective only. Pervasive knowledge of hockey? Well, I'm working on that ;)

Question #7: Where do you see the team’s revamped power play this season? Above average? Average? Or back in the basement?

Jeff:  With the added talent and the addition of Todd Richards, I'm thinking the power play will be in the top third of the league.  Richards got results in Minnesota, with nowhere near the offensive talent he has here.  There is always a certain amount of luck involved, and pretty narrow margins, where a really good unit only scores at the Mendoza Line (.200), but I think it will be very good.

Alison: I will admit, watching Wiz lead the PP during that first exhibition game was an eye opener. Between the optical illusion of that white stick on ice, the respect you saw the Jets show to him, his control with when to take a shot and the fluidity that existed that did not before, our PP is definitely improved and definitely above average. We've got a lot of new faces (Wiz, Prospal, Carter, Martinek, Savard (?) Mayorov) to add and if you throw Carter and / or Nash in there to get the rebound, we've improved. For now, I'm choosing to answer this question based on the season as a whole and disregard the Wiz suspension.

Andy:  I'm gonna go with top 10; this isn't your father's power play anymore.  Last year, all the opposing team had to do stop our power play was wait for Anton Stralman to take a penalty.  This year, Tyutin could be the fourth best d-man on the PP unit behind Wisniewski, Clitsome, and Savard; last year, Tyutin was running the power play.  I am a big Tyutin fan but Nicklas Lidstrom he is not.  Speaking of Lidstrom, I noticed at the last home exhibition game that our power play is doing the Lidstrom puck drop on the entry where one D fakes the entry and leaves the puck behind for the other D to bring in to the zone; I'm a big fan of that; we have had a legion of problems on the power play and zone entry is near or at the top of the list.

Dan: I see it above average. I did some calculating and speculating earlier in the summer, and I had them coming out between 19% and 20% success. That should be good enough for top 15, or even top 10. once Wisniewski is back, there's no reason the Power Play can't succeed at that clip with a coach who's coached successful units before and the skill players now on this roster.

Greg: To be average would be a tremendous improvement over last season. I think average is certainly obtainable. When you add Carter and the Wiz to the mix, and if Clitsome continues to get better, it is not difficult to imagine this group achieving above average numbers. But I feel greedy saying that.

Martin: Above average. Scott Howson added some good pieces this year. I’d look for the Jackets in the 8-to-12 area out of the 30 teams this season.

Mike: I think that barring an unforeseen disaster, the powerplay will be one of the better units in the league. Jeff Carter is a huge shot in the arm, joining Rick Nash to form a lethal duo up front. James Wisniewski, who finished fifth in the NHL in blueliner scoring last season, is the first ever true powerplay quarterback the Jackets have possessed. The Wiz has a booming shot, and keeps things calm on the back end. You can’t forget the hiring of Todd Richards as assistant coach-he was the architect behind successful powerplays in San Jose and Minnesota. 

Question #8: With the continued development of guys like Kubalik, Calvert, Mayorov, and Johansen, Is this team finally ready to roll multiple scoring lines?

Jeff:  Absolutely.  That will happen -- only the cast of characters remains undecided.

Alison: Yes, yes and yes. We've got our veterans competing for roster spots and that can only mean we can start to enjoy a wealth of talent. We're finally able to start saying we have depth and ability within the system. However, the 3rd scoring line will need to show it can play both ways in close games, where the coaches can have confidence giving them ice time in the 3rd period.

Andy: In the past, the lack of organizational talent has prevented a three scoring line attack.  Call me crazy, but If we had the players, I would go with four scoring lines.  I think Arniel ends up rolling two scoring lines and and two hybrid lines early on.  As the young guys get some experience that will probably shift to three scoring lines and one defense line.

Dan:  I think they have no choice, especially now with Jared Boll out. Perhaps players like Mayorov and Umberger could be used on a checking line that contributes offense, but I think the Jackets will shape up like this: two scoring lines, a checking line, and an energy/scoring hybrid line. If you consider that last one a true "scoring" line, then my answer is yes. But, I see it ending up with a fourth line of something like: Mayorov--Johansen--Atkinson/Calvert. That's a lot of inexperience, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a line like that only skate for 10-12 minutes a night at most.

Greg: Let's hope so, because that is what the post-lockout NHL is all about. This is the first time in years (ever?) that the Jackets have had so many talented youngsters so close to being NHL-ready. With the addition of veterans like Carter and Prospal, and the return of Huselius and Boll looming on the horizon, these kids will not be handed anything for long. If they make it and play, they will have to earn their keep. And if they do that, it will a) be a beautiful thing to behold and b) give Howson a lot of options come the trade deadline.

Martin: Oh, wow. This has been a dream for quite some time, hasn’t it? I think it’s possible this year, but we have to see how well and how quickly that third “scoring” line can come together. I think the Jackets are close… I think we’ll see some experimentation, and it could come together by January.

Mike: Short answer- yes. The key in my opinion to rolling three scoring lines is having three centers that can play an offensive style. For the first time in team history, the Jackets can do that. With Carter, Vermette and Johansen as the top three pivots, and scoring wingers like Nash, Prospal, Umberger, Brassard, Calvert, Huselius and Atkinson on the roster, three scoring lines is a possibility. In addition to having three centers that can carry offensive lines, each line needs to be reliable defensively. Columbus has these players on the roster.

1 comment:

  1. There is no question that this is the most potent offensive lineup they've ever put together. There are, however, questions about the defensive side of the puck. With young and inexperienced players throughout the lineup, their ability to adjust to the defensive side of the game at this level will have a big impact on the overall performance of the team.