Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:24 PM
I had written a blog that seemed fitted to this topic:
There is no question that the bench boss of the current back to back president's trophy winners has had a history of success. But as many economists will tell you, past performance is not an indicator of future returns. AV's style has evolved over his tenure with the club, almost allowing his players to room the dressing room themselves. He holds the veterans accountable and the team holds themselves accountable. And for the past two seasons, this has worked; but the window to win hockey's Holy Grail is closing and unless AV sings a different tune, his next cab ride won't be to Roger's Arena, it could be to the unemployment line.
Let's take a look at the facts. AV prides himself on a balanced team. 2 Scoring lines, a checking line and 4th line of grinders. He has a preference for experience over youth. Which makes sense if you are trying to win the cup here and now. But GM Mike Gillis isn't building a team that is one and done. He's using the 'Detroit' model of building through prospects, earning spots and being competitive every year. Take players Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Filppula. Working their way up through the ranks in Detroit. Given 3rd line duty at first, learn to be defensively responsible and gradually increase their ice time.
The same can be said with currently Vancouver favourites Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows. Originally 3rd and 4th line checkers, these players were eventually given more and more ice time, but the got their footing with limited minutes, behind high-end talent (Bertuzzi and Naslund, Sedins) so the can face other 3rd and 4th liners and raise their games slowly.
Fast forward to today, where we see a young Zack Kassian thrust into the (Only out of necessity) 2nd line with Mason Raymond and Andrew Ebbett. Great experience for Kassian but hardly a recipe for success, and if he struggles he'll be relegated to 4th line duty in a heartbeat. Mason Raymond is the only proven NHLer on this line and although fleet footed, has yet to gain enough strength and balance to remain a top 6 forward for a full NHL season. Andrew Ebbett has shown potential in the past with good NHL numbers alongside Getzlaf and Perry. But that's hardly an indication of overall skill, just ask Anson Carter. 2009 1st Round pick, Jordan Schroeder had an excellent training camp but AV would rather continue his development with top 6 minutes in the AHL.
I don't claim to know more about coaching or hockey than AV but I can see some fundamental flaws in the current system.
1. AV would rather ice NHL 3rd and 4th liners who have reached their ceiling versus create a 4th line of young prospects to help acclimate them to the game. On a team that is 9 deep on defence and arguably the best goaltending tandem in the league, he would rather have defence first 4th liners with zero scoring potential (Dale Weise/Manny Malhotra/Aaron Volpatti)
2. Sedin's have the lowest ice-time in the league among 1st liners. (The year Daniel Sedin won the Art Ross, he was 75th in ice-time, with less than 17 min/night) Henrik and Daniel have asked for additional ice time, which included penalty killing but AV prefers to keep the Sedins to limited minutes.
3. The reduction in the NHL Salary cap will mean that team will be required to lean heavier on Entry Level Deals for secondary scoring. Vancouver has the weakest prospect pool in the North West Division and will continue to have that if we keep developing them the way they do.
The 2012-2013 is a wild card season, with Ryan Kesler and David Booth out with injury, the team is likely to continue to stumble throughout the first 12 games or so. But I don't see how Andrew Ebbett, Dale Weise and Aaron Volpatti give you a better chance to win over, Jordan Schroeder, Nicklaus Jensen and Zack Kassian.
Keep in mind, that it is these players that will eventually need to carry the torch. To have them in the line-up, overshadowed by the Sedins, Burrows, Kesler and Booth allows them to learn the NHL game without added pressure of being relied on for the majority of team scoring.
# of years in the NHL before scoring more than 75 points.
Datsyuk = 4
Zetterberg = 3
Bertuzzi = 7
Kesler = 7
Let these kids grow on the 4th line AV. The new NHL needs 4 scoring lines, with everyone being defensively responsible.