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Devils Pride 26
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My biggest *fixable* concern heading into this offseason is acquiring a 3C who is able to handle hard minutes against top lines as Zajac did. I, like many of you, have a lot of concerns about the Devils ability to play competitive hockey. What I mean by fixable is something that could be accomplished in one swoop. For example, defense is a huge concern but it’s not realistic to bring in 3 top 4 defensemen NOW. That will take time. 3C is one of the most important roles on a team. 

 

If the Devils trot out Pavel Zacha as a 3C next year and give him the hard minutes, the season is already over. He’s been awful when matched against the best players in that role. 
 

Boqvist and McLeod could perhaps develop into that but I don’t want to go into the season and giving them the job to lose. I want someone with some experience. 
 

Short of bringing back Zajac, or setting up future cap trouble bringing in the Montreal kid Danault (who has earned himself a payday this off-season), there is another available option.

Nico Hischier has the perfect counter attack, line matching, take-on-the-toughs talent. Great sense off the puck, the speed to stick with the best and ability to make teams pay. 
 

I know 17 and 59 found a home with Hughes at the end of the season, but I’d stick those guys with Nico and create an elite shutdown line with some punch. Deploy them vs. Crosby, Ovie, Bergeron and the elite players we face. Zacha perhaps could be a wing on that line, but I want Bratt nowhere near them. 
 

Anyone else have thoughts on line deployment? 

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I think Sharangovich has to be with Jack unless you have another shooter in mind. Jack will never develop if you don’t put someone like that with him. 

I agree that Zacha should not be the 3rd line center. Isn’t Blake Coleman a center? 

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Posted (edited)

Боквист Хуёквист. 

Let`s go.
What did Ruff says before previous season? Something like "I wanna play future leaders to play against other team leaders if I want to grow our future leaders into the current leaders". Hischier and Hughes must play against top-players of the opponents. 

Like it or not - Zacha is winger. Like it or not - he is top-6 winger. There were no team in NHL where he will not be top-6 player with his track record past season. And he can be productive with Bratt. They were play well together when they played with Johansson. They were play well together in the end of 19-20 season. They were play well together past season. 
Zacha-Hischier-Bratt is our first(hope, future second line).
_____________
Like it or not - Sharangovich is top-6 winger. Day ago Ek taked contract of his life because he spent pretty close season to Yegor`s results. I dont like Ek`s deal, I hope devils will not give 30+ millions to Yegor for 16 goals. Anyway he absolutely deserved his top-6 roster place for begin of the next season. 
Kuokkanen? I don`t know. He was good, but he didn`t score a lot. Hughes wingers must score. 

Boqvist or Maltsev? Ofcourse Maltsev. 3rd line center must be strong and must play against. Maltsev was league leader in takeaways per game (7+ games). He is very competitive in one on one game. Win puck battles, protect the puck. The question is where he should play. If Johnsson is in the roster, he must play center. You dont sign vet for your 3rd line for a couple of seasons to play him with Johnsson. 
If Johnsson is not on the roster, Devils can sign center or left winger. It helps to play Maltsev or Boqvist with expirienced player like Goodrow. Maltsev doesnt work well - call up Boqvist. Boqvist start to slamp - change them.

And it`s time for most meaning part. Right winger. Merkley isn`t NHL player. He is our Reid Boucher `21 version. He cant be productive enough and good enough to play forechek in top-6. He cant be tough enough to play bottom-6 role. He can score and make good pass here and there, but he doesnt exist in forechek, especially in center or defensive zone.
I really hope Devils will sign\trade for middle six right winger. Who can play with Hughes or  with Maltsev\Boqvist.

Hischier line
Yegor-Hughes-Kuokkanen\New RW
Johnsson-Maltsev\Boqvist-New RW\Kuokkanen
Wood-Mcleod-Bastian(if he will stay)

If Fitz will trade Johnsson somehow or Seattle will draft him(I dont know why) then I hope Fitz will sign expirienced bottom-6 productive player. We have Foote, but even he did recognize that he must work more. He is only one option for LW.

If devils want to be competitive and not try to win another lottery, they dont need no season for "lets play every singler young player we have". If some LW winger get injury - Devils can call up Foote. If RW - devils can call up Clarke(or even 2020 draft guys if they will deserve it).  If bottom line center will hurt - we can use Maltsev\Boqvist in the bottom, if Hischier or Hughes will hurt - We can use Zacha as interm top-6 center and call up winger from Utica.

Hischier line
Yegor-Hughes-Kuokkanen\New RW
New LW-Maltsev\Boqvist-New RW\Kuokkanen
Wood-Mcleod-Bastian(if he will stay)

Mcleod and Bastian can play PK minutes. They were not disaster 5 on 5. Devils can develope them as grind line to play against. They  hit enough, they play pretty good against in center zone. 

_____________________

This roster will not put Devils in playoff, but they can continue to develop player who distinguished himself, this roster have enough deep. I really hope Fitz will trade Johnsson and sign\trade right winger and left winger. Danault wants to play top-6 role. Anyway he will get big check. Devils should spend money for defense because we have no real prospects on the right side of defense. Even roster players. Devils dont have enough.  Granlund, Glendening, Goodrow, Sutter, Janmark are  candidates. Bonino and Glendening are good candidates to play center role and put Maltsev\Boqvist on the left wing. We can give those guys 3 year deal and specific role. Someone will take more money, someone less.
I would like Coleman to come back to us, but I think he will go to play in Dallas.

_______

The real question is - defence. 

Edited by Guadana
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15 minutes ago, Devils Pride 26 said:

Great post Guadana. Only disagreement I have is keeping Bratt with Hischier. Bratt’s commitment to defense has been questionable at best. He gets lost in the dzone and frequently loses board battles

I have this question for both Zacha and Bratt. Hope Foote will develop in the next two years and Mercer\Holtz will too. 

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7 hours ago, Devils Pride 26 said:

My biggest *fixable* concern heading into this offseason is acquiring a 3C who is able to handle hard minutes against top lines as Zajac did. I, like many of you, have a lot of concerns about the Devils ability to play competitive hockey. What I mean by fixable is something that could be accomplished in one swoop. For example, defense is a huge concern but it’s not realistic to bring in 3 top 4 defensemen NOW. That will take time. 3C is one of the most important roles on a team. 

 

If the Devils trot out Pavel Zacha as a 3C next year and give him the hard minutes, the season is already over. He’s been awful when matched against the best players in that role. 
 

Boqvist and McLeod could perhaps develop into that but I don’t want to go into the season and giving them the job to lose. I want someone with some experience. 
 

Short of bringing back Zajac, or setting up future cap trouble bringing in the Montreal kid Danault (who has earned himself a payday this off-season), there is another available option.

Nico Hischier has the perfect counter attack, line matching, take-on-the-toughs talent. Great sense off the puck, the speed to stick with the best and ability to make teams pay. 
 

I know 17 and 59 found a home with Hughes at the end of the season, but I’d stick those guys with Nico and create an elite shutdown line with some punch. Deploy them vs. Crosby, Ovie, Bergeron and the elite players we face. Zacha perhaps could be a wing on that line, but I want Bratt nowhere near them. 
 

Anyone else have thoughts on line deployment? 

My biggest *fixable* concern heading into this offseason is Ty Smith's moustache. It has to go. 

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11 minutes ago, SterioDesign said:

My biggest *fixable* concern heading into this offseason is Ty Smith's moustache. It has to go. 

You’re not kidding. I feel like anyone born after the 60’s should not have a stand-alone mustache. Maybe earlier, I’m not sure. That’s like my parents’ generation. 

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7 hours ago, Devils Pride 26 said:

Great post Guadana. Only disagreement I have is keeping Bratt with Hischier. Bratt’s commitment to defense has been questionable at best. He gets lost in the dzone and frequently loses board battles

Let more preface this by saying that I don’t watch a fraction of the games many of you do, and saw Hischier very little this year (though we all did I suppose).  That said I always thought of Hischier as someone who was very responsible defensively.  Wouldn’t you want to pair someone who isn’t as strong defensively, like Bratt, with someone who can help cover some of that weakness?  I feel like I am missing part of the equation.

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1 hour ago, AEWHistory said:

Let more preface this by saying that I don’t watch a fraction of the games many of you do, and saw Hischier very little this year (though we all did I suppose).  That said I always thought of Hischier as someone who was very responsible defensively.  Wouldn’t you want to pair someone who isn’t as strong defensively, like Bratt, with someone who can help cover some of that weakness?  I feel like I am missing part of the equation.

There is something to the idea of balancing out a line. However if we’re going to match up Hischier against every teams top line, I don’t really want Bratt out there vs that competition. Nico may be able to support Bratt against a 2/3 but I think it’s too much to carry vs the big boys of the league. 

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On 7/4/2021 at 12:55 AM, Devils Pride 26 said:

There is something to the idea of balancing out a line. However if we’re going to match up Hischier against every teams top line, I don’t really want Bratt out there vs that competition. Nico may be able to support Bratt against a 2/3 but I think it’s too much to carry vs the big boys of the league. 

I see what you’re saying.  I have to admit I am still having a rough time figuring out where our pieces fit.  We have some great young players and some good prospects, but how they fit together isn’t as clear to me at the moment.  There definitely isn’t an Elias-Arnott-Sykora combination that has presented itself yet.  

As an aside, do you guys see Bratt fixing this aspect of his game as he matures?  I know this isn’t the same thing, but I remember an article about Scott Stevens talking about his days with the Caps and how in his early days he played with less discipline, took a lot of penalties, etc.  Later on he became much more disciplined. Perhaps Bratt will have his own epiphany about his defensive performance?  I just hope he doesn’t need to switch teams to find it….

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7 hours ago, AEWHistory said:

I see what you’re saying.  I have to admit I am still having a rough time figuring out where our pieces fit.  We have some great young players and some good prospects, but how they fit together isn’t as clear to me at the moment.  There definitely isn’t an Elias-Arnott-Sykora combination that has presented itself yet.  

As an aside, do you guys see Bratt fixing this aspect of his game as he matures?  I know this isn’t the same thing, but I remember an article about Scott Stevens talking about his days with the Caps and how in his early days he played with less discipline, took a lot of penalties, etc.  Later on he became much more disciplined. Perhaps Bratt will have his own epiphany about his defensive performance?  I just hope he doesn’t need to switch teams to find it….

I think it would do a lot for Bratt to work with an Elias or a Brylin. Some players like you said just learn it as they age. Bobby Carpenter for example was a 50 goal guy once in the 80s and then became a defensive checking center for us in the 90's. 

With Bratt though, I'm kinda just happy with whatever we get out of him. A 6th round pick with 4 years NHL experience at the age of 22 (23 at the end of the month) is pretty rare. 

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9 hours ago, AEWHistory said:

I see what you’re saying.  I have to admit I am still having a rough time figuring out where our pieces fit.  We have some great young players and some good prospects, but how they fit together isn’t as clear to me at the moment.  There definitely isn’t an Elias-Arnott-Sykora combination that has presented itself yet.  

As an aside, do you guys see Bratt fixing this aspect of his game as he matures?  I know this isn’t the same thing, but I remember an article about Scott Stevens talking about his days with the Caps and how in his early days he played with less discipline, took a lot of penalties, etc.  Later on he became much more disciplined. Perhaps Bratt will have his own epiphany about his defensive performance?  I just hope he doesn’t need to switch teams to find it….

To me, it all comes down to coaching. I like that Ruff was not afraid to bench Bratt at points last year. However, I don’t think it ultimately had that much of an impact in his game. 
 

Lemaire was a true miracle worker. Worked with Stevens and others - most recently Kovalchuk. Lemaire got Kovy to play passable defense and become one of the most dangerous PKers in the league. I remember Kovy gushing over Lemaire after he left talking about how he was the greatest coach he ever had. 
 

That’s from a time when the organization had a clear philosophy from top to bottom. Hard forecheck with a responsible backcheck. Everyone knows their role and expectation. 

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On 7/5/2021 at 1:21 AM, AEWHistory said:

I see what you’re saying.  I have to admit I am still having a rough time figuring out where our pieces fit.  We have some great young players and some good prospects, but how they fit together isn’t as clear to me at the moment.  There definitely isn’t an Elias-Arnott-Sykora combination that has presented itself yet.  

As an aside, do you guys see Bratt fixing this aspect of his game as he matures?  I know this isn’t the same thing, but I remember an article about Scott Stevens talking about his days with the Caps and how in his early days he played with less discipline, took a lot of penalties, etc.  Later on he became much more disciplined. Perhaps Bratt will have his own epiphany about his defensive performance?  I just hope he doesn’t need to switch teams to find it….

If we have a lead in the 3rd, you will not see Bratt on the ice unless it's an O zone draw. He's easily overwhelmed by anyone. Great skater, but he's a perimeter guy. 

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