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About kloubek

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  1. I think that there are likely players in utica that would make more of an impact than Burrows seems to be having. But as a poster above me says, why not just let him play out his last year and end his career with dignity. He bleeds our colours, and deserves to go out accordingly. Maybe due to the fact we stuck by him, he would return the favour and enter some sort of coaching capacity for us. Not sure what that would be.... Perhaps training/effort coach.
  2. I was one of them. Our team was doomed by that point, so I supported getting the best draft pick possible. But I'm seeing this poll right at the start of the season. I expect this team to make the playoffs, and if there is that potential I'd certainly rather see that than to sit through another season of substandard hockey. But if I'm wrong, and we do end up sucking as bad as last season, then I'll again be on the tank bus. And yes, I'm a true fan. It's all just how one weighs the trade off between crappy hockey and better hockey down the road.
  3. In a season where Sutter has been our "standout" offensive player so far, we are basically being saved by our blue line and solid goaltending. Unless the rest of our team gets going (primarily our top line), you can expect a lot of tight, low scoring games where we continue to rely on our solid defensive play. Hopefully it can continue... But so far I've seen far more calm, stable defensive plays as opposed to last season. I think WD needs to be commended for implementing a safer overall defensive system as well. Oddly, despite these low scoring games, in my oldish age I'm starting to really appreciate the defensive and system play - which is leading me to be much more entertained than last season. Perhaps the fact I'm not constantly yelling at my screen helps too.
  4. I'd say for a floor, you are on the money. Better d, better talent throughout the lineup- due to another year experience for quite a few younger guys, replacing a useless Vrbata for Ericsson, and (fingers crossed), health. Make no mistake... we lack top end talent in all areas which would keep us from competing for the cup, but I see no reason we shouldn't be able to squeak into the playoffs. In my opinion, the key is health. But at least if things do turn sideways again, we have some depth to try to not let it end our season prematurely again.
  5. Metamucil ads aside, there was a reason people we're not keen on the Sutter signing. He isn't typically a huge scoring threat (though has done well so far this season), and though he brings many good elements, he isn't really an ideal 2nd line center. ...but put him in situations where he excels, and he's a solid player. Just don't expect him to continue countering the lack of scoring from our top line. We are barely squeaking out these wins, and he's not at all talented enough to make up that scoring deficiency.
  6. Of course, we've only squeaked out these 4 wins. We badly need to get the top line going; this isn't sustainable. But that aspect aside, the team is generally doing exactly what I expected. We clearly won't keep up this streak, but I think a lot of "experts" are second guessing their own skills.
  7. Nothing new to see here. After all, Toronto is the center of the universe.... Is it not?
  8. I will be the first to admit that I've been down on Sbisa ever since he arrived here. Between his frequent bonehead defensive plays, lack of ability to drive any offensive play, and somewhat physical (but not enough to be considered a physical threat) play, I just didn't see the benefit to having him here. For about half of last season, he seemed to turn a corner in regards to his defensive play. His decision making seemed to be simplified and he caused fewer scoring opportunities for the opposition. Still, I didn't really notice him much. I considered this a good thing, since I had previously noticed him for all the wrong reasons. This season, I'm noticing him. And for GOOD reasons. Some good defensive plays, some good movement of the puck. I will stop short of saying he is as useful as some of our other defensemen, but I am starting to change my mind as to him being a detriment to our team, as well as being well overpaid for what he brings to the table. I truly hope for him that he can continue travelling down this track of improvement.
  9. I'll certainly agree with your last statement, except to suggest we could compete for the cup. I thought most readers of my post could read into where our players are ideally situated, but let me help that along because I think you missed the very basis of what I was trying to say. Sutter is not an ideal 2nd liner. He is an excellent 3rd liner, and has good versatility to move up and down the lineup, and perform in important roles like the penalty kill and faceoffs. Don't be fooled by his good performance so far.... his stats do not suggest ideal top six ability; Ideally, you want your 2nd line players to get minimum 45+ points to be competitive. He has never got that many, nor does he realistically project to. Eriksson is indeed a top six player, so we're good there. Hence, why I said we needed a couple of high scoring players. I'd say he's a 1st line player now, and will drop to a 2nd line player further in his contract. Yes, we have dipped into the FA pool. Does that mean we cannot again in order to get our top line players? Hansen, like Sutter, is an elite 3rd line player. Don't be swayed by his point totals while playing with the Sedins. He can play 2nd in a pinch, but isn't ideal. I would, however, be comfortable slotting him in beside the Sedins if the Sedins dropped down to the 2nd line and Eriksson remained on the 1st. Bo has indeed developed well, and he is a guy who will undoubtedly man the 2nd line with aplomb in the future. He may even progress to a 1st line center - though not likely a franchise one. Still, he is the other player who I don't have an issue with in our top six. In my plan as I laid out though, the Sedins would man the 2nd line and therefore Horvat would be a highly elite 3rd line center, or a substandard 1st line center. (And really, I believe it is far too early to even consider Horvat's 1st line potential) Will Baertschi develop into the solid top six player? Possibly - though I strongly believe his ceiling is probably 2nd line. And though he has looked good this season so far, time will tell. His last season (although a career one) did not garner him more points per game than his previous seasons. Will Boeser be a top three player? I'd say he is our best shot, but even if he will be, it is unlikely he will get there in less than 2-3 years, if he does at all. Who knows where Virtanen will end up, but he too is not likely an ideal 1st liner either. I see his ceiling as a 2nd liner at best as well. Really, I see this team loaded with either current or future potentially high end 2nd, and very high end 3rd and 4th line talent. I see players who fill those roles really well, to the point of being elite in those positions. I do not, however, see definite 1st line talent available with the exception of Eriksson, and he will only perform at that level for a limited time, and we'll probably see him start to decline in 3-4 years time. Hence, why I said that I felt we could compete for the cup in short order, but only if we quickly acquired 2 1st line players, because nobody is coming down the pipe that looks to have the talent to fill those positions with the possible exception of Boeser, and he won't be ready yet. Then if you want to take a step forward to after the Sedins retire, then we absolutely require our younger guys to step up to the 1st line, or get appropriate UFAs in. Again, we have Boeser as our best chance of that but other than a now-aging Eriksson, pretty limited after that. Even if Horvat is indeed a #1 center by then, we are still missing some pieces in our top six. But I guess we do have a couple of years to figure that out still.....
  10. I think it is feasible, but I don't think that Benning/Willie are interested in getting rid of Miller right now. 1) Who would back up Markstrom? Demko? I'm not sure if that would hinder Demko's development. 2) Is Markstrom ready for 100% 1a minutes? 3) Willie has already said he's our #1 goalie this year.
  11. I'm far more optimistic about our team than the experts. I'm even more optimistic than most of CDC. (At least, eliminating the people who figure that starting the season with 2 wins now means we are an elite team). However, as much as I was nearly certain we would make the playoffs, I am equally nearly certain we will not be competing for a cup this year either. Don't get me wrong - I really like what Benning has accomplished in the short time he has been on. We have depth. We have prospects. We have a much better d than last year, and much better balance in scoring potential in our forward lines. The team is healthy. We have a much better team overall, and I believe this is a team we can start getting excited about again. BUT, what we don't have is star power. The Sedins are in the twilight of their career, and our young guns haven't fully developed yet. Our top line has to show they can score through the season and not fall off like they did last year. (Hopefully this can be achieved by rolling our lines more). But even still, we just don't have many players who are likely to turn into beasts in the playoffs, and manage to win us games by themselves. (Much like the Sedins were capable of during our cup run). And going forward: while we do have young prospects who might develop into players to man the top lines, I'm not sure we have either enough of them, nor are we guaranteed we have any players good enough to man the top line. Maybe Horvat will get there. Maybe Boeser. But we really don't know yet, and it isn't like we have any franchise players in our system. While we can get away with that while the Sedins are still playing, our lack of high end talent is particularly troublesome to me once they retire. I actually believe our competition window for the cup is potentially nearer than farther. I believe that if we can somehow get a couple more star players for the top line and reduce the Sedins' role to 2nd line minutes that combined with the solid d, goaltending, and bottom six that we do have, that we would indeed have a chance to compete for the cup again in maybe a year or two. This would require a real aligning of the stars though (literally). It would require players like Horvat and Virtanen to develop even quicker than expected, would absolutely require us to re-sign the Sedins to a final short contract (at a greatly reduced rate) and may require a dip into the free agent pool for already developed players that can play 1st line minutes. The UFA pool is looking relatively thin for 2017, so I'm looking at players like Tj Oshie or maybe even the badly undersized Desharnais....
  12. I too say it is too early to judge. Shink may very well still develop into a stud, though the window is slowly closing on that likelihood. Similarly, I like what I've seen this season from both Granlund and Baertschi, but I feel both have more to prove. 3rd liners are not difficult to get. The worth will be if either continue developing into a bonafide 2nd line 40-45+ point scorer.
  13. Enjoy it while it lasts. I feel that our team has worked hard to gain the two wins we have, but both games could have gone either way. We hardly powerhoused through either, though I believe our team has been well balanced through these two games. I feel that we have noticeably more players contributing than we have in recent years, which hopefully will help take the load off the Sedins. (Which is good, because to be honest I've found them less impressive this year so far. Granted, they had limited preseason experience to shake off the rust). It certainly would be nice if we won tonight and our team became one of only a couple that were lossless. I was near certain our team would perform far better than the "experts" believed, but the sooner we can throw it back in their faces, the better.
  14. Ditto. I really never saw the reasoning behind this trade, and was really looking forward to seeing Shink play for us. What I had seen from Granlund after he arrived was absolutely not top-six worthy, and though I'm usually pretty good at seeing potential in players, I didn't see it in him. To me, Granlund was center depth in exchange for our potential top six winger. He didn't have any qualities that stood out to me, and wasn't even big and strong enough for a bottom six role, imo. I have rarely been so happy to admit it appears I was wrong. He's still not that big body, though he uses what size he has as best he can, but the guy goes about his game in a subtle manner, which is why I never saw the potential before. He seems to think quickly and is smart about the decisions he makes. He sees the play developing well, and gets himself into positions where he can make the play or shoot on net. He has a good, accurate shot with a quick release. I read somewhere that he has "great hands" and still can't say I've really seen exceptional stickhandling from him yet, but not being flashy is a good thing - it keeps him flying under the radar. Judging by his points last season, I think I can give myself a pass for not seeing his potential. Let's just hope that this preseason and two games so far are not flukes, and that he really did improve this much over the offseason. If he can keep playing at this pace, he's going to be a real difference maker for us.
  15. ...but we all knew the impact was likely to be in our favour immediately. McCann was simply not ready for the big leagues yet, and it will take at least a couple more years before he is anywhere close to showing the kind of player he is going to be. I still believe we likely lost the trade, but in those two years McCann is developing his NHL game, we reap the rewards of having a solid, big, defensive defenseman.