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TRANSITIONING INTO A NEW ERA NHL TEAM

  As I have been watching the playoffs,  I realized I was watching something of a new era in the NHL.  Teams like Phoenix were giving establishment teams like Detroit a fight for their playoff lives.  It then occurred to me just how gigantic the forwards seemed to be for Phoeix.  In checking the Phoenix roster,  it was clear that Phoenix had a matrix for building its team around big, fast forwards who not only crashed the net,  the crushed it.

 

   I then compared the 2009-2010 Hurricanes to see how the speed, size, comparison would fare.  As it turned out, the Hurricanes seemed to be vastly under-sized by comparison.  As an eternal optimist,  I then deleted, off-loaded, jettisoned, some players in the digital realm and added players who were in the system.  The result was somewhat startling.  The Hurricanes forwards as remodeled via the wonders of word processing became a team that had the speed, size, and skill to compete net rush for net rush with any team in the NHL.  Of course,  if all it took to make a Stanley Cup winner was the power of Word,  life for a GM would be simple.  There is that thing called chemistry.  Even so,  there is no way Jim Rutherford, Jason Karmanos,  Paul Maurice, Ron Francis, and Tom Rowe haven't noticed that the new era NHL is bigger, faster, and much more physical these days.  New Jersey learned the hard way that in the playoffs,  pretty play loses out to big, fast teams that hit anything that moves.

 

   To save time in the comparison,  and without adding in this post the justification for the deletions or off-loading of players,  gone from the 2009-2010 roster are (1) Brind'Amour,  (2) Whitney, (3) Samsonov; and (4) Kostopoulos.  Added to the 2010-2011 roster is (1) Boychuk; (2) Bowman; (3) Daple; (4) Osala; and (5) Tlusty.  The end result had Erik Cole at age 31 as the oldest member of the forwards.  For purposes of this post, I have not added a #7 first round pick, such as Connolly, Johansen, Sheahan, Watson, or Bjugstad. 

 

   In reviewing that roster,  the issue of the first line wing to go with Staal, still seemed an issue.  It then occurred to me that perhaps there was tremendous logic in the fact that Staal was moved to wing for the Olympics.  After all,  Staal was paired with the best players in Canada; and the Team Canada coaches were no hockey novices.  The logic seemed inarguable in some ways.  The result are lines that look something like:

 

Jokinen/Sutter/Staal

 

Boychuk/Dalpe/Ruutu

 

LaRose/Tlusty/Cole

 

Bowman/Dwyer/Osala

 

   As I stared at that set of lines,  I started to think I may be looking at the Hurricanes of 2011-2012.  It is probably too much to ask Dalpe to take a second line center position at this point in his hockey career.  Even so,  for the Hurricanes to move into the next tier of teams,  every line will ultimately need to have:  (1) two blazingly fast forwards;  (2) at least one forward who is a hybrid power forward;  (3) a center with speed who can score and who can finish on the odd man rush;  and (4) a balanced line that will hunt down the  puck in all zones and who will use their body to separate the puck from the opponent.

    The lines get influenced by the selection of a forward as the #7 pick, assuming that player makes the team.  I happen to think that if Connolly is not available,  Johansen, Bjudstad, and Sheahan seem to make sense for the Hurricanes.  If that occurs,  the results of the lines might be influenced.

 

 

Jokinen/Sutter/Staal

 

Boychuk/Dalpe/Ruutu

 

LaRose/[Johansen/Bjugstad/Sheahan]/Tlusty

 

Bowman/Dwyer/Osala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forwards

#

Name

Height

Weight

Date Of Birth

Age

Birth Place

12

Paul Bissonnette  

6' 3"

220

Mar 11, 1985

25

Welland, ON, CAN

89

Mikkel Boedker  

5' 11"

202

Dec 16, 1989

20

Brondby, DNK

19

Shane Doan "C" 

6' 1"

228

Oct 10, 1976

33

Halkirk, AB, CAN

38

Vernon Fiddler  

6' 0"

200

May 9, 1980

29

Edmonton, AB, CAN

11

Martin Hanzal  

6' 6"

228

Feb 20, 1987

23

Pisek, CZE

29

Lauri Korpikoski  

6' 1"

196

Jul 28, 1986

23

Turku, FIN

20

Robert Lang  

6' 3"

217

Dec 19, 1970

39

Teplice, CZE

15

Matthew Lombardi  

5' 11"

195

Mar 18, 1982

28

Montreal, QC, CAN

71

Petteri Nokelainen  

6' 1"

194

Jan 16, 1986

24

Imatra, FIN

43

Alexandre Picard  

6' 2"

206

Oct 9, 1985

24

Les Saules, QC, CAN

16

Petr Prucha  

6' 0"

170

Sep 14, 1982

27

Chrudim, CZE

14

Taylor Pyatt  

6' 3"

232

Aug 19, 1981

28

Thunder Bay, ON, CAN

22

Lee Stempniak  

6' 0"

195

Feb 4, 1983

27

West Seneca, NY, USA

41

Viktor Tikhonov  

6' 2"

190

May 12, 1988

21

Riga, LVA

8

Scottie Upshall   **

6' 0"

193

Oct 7, 1983

26

Fort Mcmurray, AB, CAN

17

Radim Vrbata  

6' 1"

190

Jun 13, 1981

28

Mlada Boleslav, CZE

34

Daniel Winnik  

6' 1"

201

Mar 6, 1985

25

Toronto, ON, CAN

86

Wojtek Wolski  

6' 3"

210

Feb 24, 1986

24

Zabrze, POL

 

 

HURRICANES 2009

Forwards

#

Name

Height

Weight

Date Of Birth

Age

Birth Place

17

Rod Brind'Amour "A" 

6' 1"

205

Aug 9, 1970

39

Ottawa, ON, CAN

26

Erik Cole  

6' 2"

205

Nov 6, 1978

31

Oswego, NY, USA

39

Patrick Dwyer  

5' 11"

175

Jun 22, 1983

26

Spokane, WA, USA

36

Jussi Jokinen  

5' 11"

198

Apr 1, 1983

27

Kalajoki, FIN

29

Tom Kostopoulos  

6' 0"

200

Jan 24, 1979

31

Mississauga, ON, CAN

59

Chad LaRose  

5' 10"

181

Mar 27, 1982

28

Fraser, MI, USA

15

Tuomo Ruutu  

6' 0"

205

Feb 16, 1983

27

Vantaa, FIN

14

Sergei Samsonov  

5' 8"

188

Oct 27, 1978

31

Moscow, RUS

12

Eric Staal "C" 

6' 4"

205

Oct 29, 1984

25

Thunder Bay, ON, CAN

16

Brandon Sutter  

6' 3"

183

Feb 14, 1989

21

Huntington, NY, USA

13

Ray Whitney "A" 

5' 10"

180

May 8, 1972

37

Fort Saskatchewan, AB, CAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HURRICANES 2010 -- BIGGER, FASTER VERSION OF HURRICANES

 

 

 

Forwards

#

Name

Height

Weight

Date Of Birth

Age

Birth Place

26

Erik Cole  

6' 2"

205

Nov 6, 1978

31

Oswego, NY, USA

39

Patrick Dwyer  

5' 11"

175

Jun 22, 1983

26

Spokane, WA, USA

36

Jussi Jokinen  

5' 11"

198

Apr 1, 1983

27

Kalajoki, FIN

59

Chad LaRose  

5' 10"

181

Mar 27, 1982

28

Fraser, MI, USA

15

Tuomo Ruutu  

6' 0"

205

Feb 16, 1983

27

Vantaa, FIN

12

Eric Staal "C" 

6' 4"

205

Oct 29, 1984

25

Thunder Bay, ON, CAN

16

Brandon Sutter  

6' 3"

183

Feb 14, 1989

21

Huntington, NY, USA

 

11    Zach Boychuk             5' 10"              185     Oct 4, 1989    20        Airdrie, AB, CAN

 

21         Drayson Bowman      6' 1"             190     Mar 8, 1989  21Grand Rapids, MI, USA

 

37         Zac Dalpe                 6' 1"    195     Nov 1, 1989  20        Paris, ON, CAN

 

19         Jiri Tlusty                  6' 0"    209     Mar 16, 1988             22        Slany, CZE

 

32         Oskar Osala             6' 4"    219     Dec 26, 1987            22        Vaasa, FIN

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