The Great Whites
The Great Whites
L: Lemieux, Zetterberg-P4, Frolov-P3, Erat, Semin-P2, Miettenen-P1
Lemieux is God till his hip acts up again. Zetterberg is a solid #2 with upside. Frolov is emerging as an in-close specialist (wrap-arounds, garbage goals, etc), but could develop the snipers touch as he progresses – a safe #3. Erat is a waste of hockey tape and will be in Europe before long.
C: Langkow-P3, Marleau, Gomez, Nieuwendyk
Langkow could be the best of the bunch, but until he proves it with points, he’s just as likely to be the worst. Marleau has been an emerging threat to roll at a ppg for so long we have become breathless waiting for him – but the fact is he may well have a ceiling of around 60-65 pts he can’t cross without much better line-mates. Gomez is schizo, he could be the rookie who set the table for Mogilny on the way to a 70+pt season, or he could be the soft, confused skill forward whose refusal to play defense gets him traded. Nieuwendyk is padding his stats for his HOF argument – nothing more.
R: Havlat, Kovalev, Ryder, Daigle, Gaborik-P4, Svatos-P1, Balej-P1
Either Havlat or Kovalev would make a soft #1, but both are above average #2’s. Gaborik is in the same boat, giving the Whites three decent but not overwhelming gunners for the right side. Ryder was a nice stop gap till Gaborik re-emerged, but has likely reached his peak already. Svatos and Balej are both longer term projects in the Rucinsky mold, though Svatos has clearly emerged as being ready for active duty.
D: Pronger, Liles, Johnsson, Kalinin, Ohlund, Boynton, Jackman, Pothier
Pronger will get back to being the best-all-round-D-man in the league sooner or later. Liles is a nice bonus as the pp specialist in offense heavy Colorado. Johnsson is an equal treat in Philly. Kalinin and Ohlund are both more defensive than offensive, but can chip in. Boynton will need to get his feet wet now that he has signed. Jackman has been sucking pp assists like crazy, but that won’t last long. Pothier….uh, who?
G: Brodeur, Osgood
Brodeur hasn’t been the shutdown monster he has in years past, but he is still a good sight better than almost anyone else. Osgood is pure filler, and will never dress.