I am in the camp that believes we need to do more to be a serious play off threat, not just good enough to win the NW division.
When we went to the final;
We had (started) with Samuelsson instead of Booth. Well one reason we lost, and the real reason Mikael was let go is he was old and injury prone. But where he does not have Booth's athleticism, he was his equal in size, added substantial moxy and he was a RW which kept our dearth of talented left side speedsters free to get ice time. Net; I'm happy with Booth if we replace the RW or Kass stands back up to his play a few weeks ago.
We had Erhoff instead of Garrison. There may be a way to make Garrison as valuable. He is 220 lbs and can move bodies in front of the net which was also an important question when we lost to Boston. But there is no doubt Erhoff added flight to our game which made the rest of the team dangerous. Edler can score his points, but does not have the same ability to help us get the puck moving up ice. We still are, possibly, the top D in the league defensively (combined with goal tending). But missing Erhoff we are nowhere near the high flying top offensive, punishing PP team we were.
Net of the last paragraph; trade one of Hamhuis, Garrison, Edler or Ballard for a puck moving, right handed shot, right D. Gotta chuck in a goalie to get him; so be it! We also die the instant Bieksa, our only right handed shot of substance, gets hurt. We have to get better at moving the puck from the back end!
We had Torres and Manny instead of Schroeder and Higgins. Guys, Higgins may be a better player than Torres, but he is nowhere near as valuable. Torres would not just rock Thornton, he was big enough he could render him ineffective. We need that size and ability to match up back in our line up. I'm at odd's as to how, or whether we should replace Manny as Schroeder does have value.
We had Tambelini instead of Higgins. Well, lets call this one a win and a hint as to where Higgins should really be playing if we scored another big forward! Ah, we would be lucky to have a guy like Higgins be able to step up from the 4th line but thats the position we need to be in!
Net of the whole conversation?
Lou + Ballard for Mike Green and Mo Jo (as much O as Schroeder + 20 lbs and 5 inches and more potential). Let coach decide who decides to be in the rotation by their play amongst the two. U guys debate whether we get a 1st as well; I want to win now. Mike Green instantly makes us that high flying team which scores, his value is lower, perhaps he's likely expendable with Carlson and Orlov and they desperately need a goalie. I've watched 5 Wash games in 2 weeks, and goal tending is clearly a factor! Add a big RW at the deadline covered by the cap hit of whoever (inevitably) is hurt.
Mike Green isn't a playoff player.
We don't need to replace that puck moving loss of Ehrhoff. In a sense I think Garrison (If he can play to his capabilities, and he has been getting better) Might be a greater benefit than Ehrhoff.
Simply because, if you look at Boston and LA, the strength of there teams was goaltending and defense, the offensive teams that relied on offense to win games (last year) like us, Philly, Pittsburgh, were all out early in the playoffs. Garrison is a big body, that is mobile and is solid defensively, like u said he can move bodies and it is really a huge asset that alot say we missed. So in some sense, we get an upgrade there. Ehrhoff's offensive IQ is something we don't have, Edler puts up his same points well bringing a better allround game, but not in the same fashion. Ballard has potential in that I believe he has the same IQ, but not the same offensive skillset (aside from the speed/skating)
Basically this team is fine. In no way, shape or fashion should trading Hamhuis ever even be a consideration (as things began to turn south in the SCF when we lost him) Edler shouldn't be moved either, skillwise he is our best Dman and can make a monster impact when at his best, Ballard is built for the playoffs IMO, great shot blocker, plays with some toughness, grit and durability. And Bieksa, well we all know what he can bring.
Really the defense is now a major strength of this team IMO, I really think that the Garrison/Bieksa duo can be a great pair, we have seen flashes (atleast I have) of something really valuable there. Ballard/Tanev have been nothing short of outstanding, and I like the prospect of having our top 2 guys on the top pair, And really once they get adjusted to each other and Edler gets more adjusted to the right side. There styles should blend well together. Rolling 3 pairs without worry is something we haven't had before and is something alot of teams probably envy. It will keep us more fresh and healthier as a group in the long run.
I disagree on Raffi, at times he can be great, he can be physical. But he plays on that edge and can cross it in a big way. And it is something that happens. Or he can completely shy away from the physical game and be invisible Plus with the way he has changed his game, who knows if he would bring the same physical element. I like what we got. To me Kassian is his replacement BTW, not Higgins.
This team has added alot of size, and really looking at how the playoffs have been going in recent years, where goaltending and defense is so heavily relied on, I think moving away from the skill and offensive game that guys like Ehrhoff and Sammuelsson brought (since they lacked size, intensity to battle and grit) aswell as the risky, dangerous & streaky game Raffi brought and moving towards size, skill, strength, smarts and power that guys like Booth, Garrison and Kassian have brought, is really a huge asset for this team moving forward into the playoffs IMO.Edit: Sorry for the gigantic wall of text. (I am on a roll with these in our conversations) but this one has alot of substance, and I found yours worth the read. Hopefully mine is too.
Edited by Smashian Kassian, 18 February 2013 - 05:54 PM.