L: Gagne, Shanahan, Straka, Robitaille, Calder-P1
Gagne is an elite sniper but only as long as he stays healthy – something he has increasingly had a problem doing. Shanahan is still a brutish winger capable of 30+, and gives the PV an elite #2. Straka is one the most injury prone wingers in history, but he is capable of ppg numbers if he can stay off of the IR. Robitaille is padding his HOF stats and will be in tough to reach the 25 goal mark. Calder is a grinder with upside, but so far hasn’t shown the talent of a 20 goal scorer. All in all a terrific set of wingers but there are a lot of risks here.
C: Forsberg, Modano, Briere, Cassels, White-P1, Reinprecht-P1
Forsberg is still among the best pivots in the league – but his health woes are becoming equally legendary. Modano was as solid a ppg player the league has ever seen, posting 7 straight campaigns over 70 points, until his last that is. So far, he has recovered most of his scoring touch, and makes for an excellent #2. Briere has started the year like a house on fire, but the diminutive gunner will face increased attention that may blunt his stats moving forward. Cassels is still an above average play-maker, but he is winding down a career that was best when he lined up with Geoff Sanderson. White and Reinprecht are both overage prospects with little upside except as injury fill-ins – which is essentially why they were picked – both will likely be given walking papers next year.
R: Alfreddson, Mogilny, Cole, Parrish, Cammalleri-P2, Michalek-P1
Alfreddson gives the PV a top end gunner for the 1st line. Mogilny is a solid selection for the 2nd line, and Cole or Parrish are both decent enough for the 3rd line role. A solid quartet overall but nothing overwhelming. Cammalleri has the talent to eventually climb the depth chart, but this doesn’t look like the year he will do so. Michalek is excellent along the boards, and sets up his line mates well, but may lack an NHL calibre shot.
D: Lidstrom, Timmonen, Niinimaa, Spacek, Hannan, Desjardins, Cairns, Hatcher, Girard-P1, Phaneuf-P1
Lidstrom remains among the best rearguards in the league, and should rebound from a soft season where he registed below 60 points for the first time in half a decade. Timmonen is a pp specialist who should continue to provide steady points. Niinimaa is all but spent as an offensive force, and there are rumours he could return to Europe where the wear and tear on him would be far less. Spacek is a decent enough defender playing on a weak team. Any points he gets are a bonus. Hannan may well develop into a solid #1, but I don’t see it happening this year. Desjardins is playing out the string, no longer capable of rushing the puck up ice or running a powerplay. Cairns is ticketed for the AHL where his lack of foot-speed won’t be such a deterrent to his ice-time. Hatcher is a thumper in the old-school sense, but unless he shows his fearsome shutdown abilities soon a +/- role will vanish and leave him with only meagre goon points as his benefit to the team. Girard is a potential starter should he kick start his career from the idle it has been languishing in. He was supposed to be much better by now. Phaneuf has a chance at being a future all-star, but his shot is still wild, and he’s most noteworthy for the furious abuse he’s been dishing out as a rookie.
G: Khabiboulin, Joseph, Weekes
Khabiboulin will see a lot of shots in Chicago, but this is his chance to show he’s worth the big money the Chi-Hawks through at him. So far, he’s been decent. Joseph is playing out the string hoping for playoff minutes with the Coyotes. He’ll tutor LeNeveu, but shouldn’t be expected to play the 60+ games he would have in the past. Weekes is a long shot to play regularly for the Rangers, and an even longer shot to make the PV.