This is a quick first draft of possible lines in 2010-2011. I then took a guess at what would happen if Cole were moved to the fourth line and if the third line of Boychuk/Dalpe/Bowman were given consistent top nine minutes. I assumed they would begin the 2010-2011 season at Carolina and that they would have the ability to score with consistency. Here's what I came up with given those assumptions. It's a start of an analysis and is not final in any sense. It does illustrate how crucial it is for Staal to boost his play, for Ruutu to regain his health, for the 1st round draft choice (Connolly for example) to contribute on the first line. For discussion's sake, I hypothesized that Brind'Amour was bought out; and that LaRose and Samsonov were traded.
2010-2011 Hurricanes Depth Chart
[traded or bought out: Brind'Amour, Samsonov, LaRose]
VERSION 2: (moving Bowman to the third line and moving Cole to the fourth line)
Connolly (18 goals) Staal (35 goals) Jokinen (30 goals)
Whitney (25 goals) Sutter (25 goals) Ruutu (30 goals)
Boychuk (18 goals) Dalpe (18 goals) Bowman (20 goals)
Cole (15 goals) Dwyer (12 goals) Kostopoulos (12 goals)
AN ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF THESE LINES AND PROJECTIONS
First Line 2009 to date LaRose, Staal, Jokinen 65 goals; projected 83 goals + 18
Second Line 2009 to date Whitney, Sutter, Ruutu 56 goals; projected 80 + 24
Third Line 2009 to date Boychuk, Dwyer, Bowman 11 goals; projected 56 + 45 goals
Fourth Line 2009 to date Samsonov, Brind'Amour, Kostopoulos 31 goals; projected 39 + 8 goals
Total goals increase projected: 95 additional goals
Total goals for four forward lines: 227 goals
The projections demonstrate the positive impact that comes from adding a scoring forward on the first line, and adding a third line that also can provide significant supplemental scoring. Also, the return of a healthy Ruutu is a critical part of the Hurricanes' increasing their offensive productivity.