Over the past few days, we've been hearing about different ways to shake up our team, from a trade to a coaching change. By the way, this is my first ever attempt at a post, so I'm not even sure how it works.
Russo said that there are some who question whether or not a Laviolette system would fit our current roster. But nobody is asking if our current system fits our roster.
Know this, that when you've got a really young lineup, kids are very in the moment as far as confidence goes, we win a couple of games, their confidence could spike the other way too. Long winning streaks and long losing streaks are common with a young lineup.
Currently we run a system similar to Pittsburgh, and I believe it is reported to be similar to the majority of the teams in the NHL. But, do we have the personnel to do this? Our roster is considered smallish compared to other clubs, and we aren't exactly the speediest team either. Some of this can be because our youth hasn't fully filled out yet, some of it is because we just have smaller players. We like to cycle a lot, we like to play the perimeter a lot, we're supposed to be a puck control team, and we like to overload a side in the offensive zone with our forwards, but there is much more to this type of game than we are doing.
Along with the "Pittsburgh" system, there's supposed to be crashing the net, standing in front and screening the goalie, playing in the middle of the ice and shooting gaps, and having d-men stand their ground to hold the puck in,all things we are not doing well.
Some of our larger, more rugged players have their contracts up this year. Heatley, Rupp, Konopka, Stoner, and Prosser. On the farm, Zucker will finish out his entry level contract, meaning next year, he'll need waivers to get through, he is also smallish. Bulmer and Phillips will be on the final year of their EL contracts too.
I do not see a smallish team being effective as a cycle team. That type of team would be bumped off the puck too easily. Heatley is bigger, but he isn't strong on the boards, Currently, Only Neiderreiter, Koivu and Coyle are large and strong enough to be effective there. Parise can battle. Coming up, Bulmer will play well there but that's it.
I'm not sure exactly what system Laviolette uses, but it is supposed to be an offensive friendly system. While I watch our current chances not get buried, perhaps a more offensive friendly system would be good for changing the angles of these chances. Shortly, our roster is going to be 3 lines deep of top 6 players, with our 4th line being the checking line.
This is what's coming:
Parise-Koivu-Coyle, Neiderreiter-Granlund-Pomminville, Zucker-Haula-Fontaine, Cooke-Brodziak-Bulmer.
Suter-Dumba, Brodin-Spugeon, Scandella-Ballard.
This is a pretty good roster but doesn't really fit the cycling system. Should we pursue Vanek in the offseason, we would have an even more lethal lineup.
In conclusion, to me it looks like we are in need of a system change. I worry about this roster being intimidated down the road, but it looks like it has plenty of firepower. We may not be so fast in straight line speed, but I think we are very quick laterally and could really take advantage of a much more offensive friendly system. The roster to come is built to outscore people, not to play defense the whole time. I think the time is right for a philosophy change.
What say you Wilderness?