Full agreement, if we stay healthy we are fine, but with an injury to the top4 we are much worse. Last season we could survive one injury to the top4 and we still had a very good group.wienerdog wrote: - You're absolutely right when you say that we have one of the better bluelines in the League, but it's still the glaring weakness of this team. When you're a Contender, you're weakest link is still pretty damn good, but it bloody well has to be to match up against the other powerhouses in the NHL. IMO, our blueline needs to improve.
That IMO is going to be what breaks our back this post season should it not be addressed.
On the positive side our forwards look much better. Adding a big gritty forward to the second line is huge and Hodgson is one of the most productive 3rd liners in the league.
Our 4th line also looks a lot better and is fully capable of playing a defensive role against the best players in the league.
I would still like a 3/4 with some toughness who can bump Weise and move into the top9 if there is an injury, but that is not a significant piece.
And yeah when our defense is healthy we are the best team in the league IMO, but 1 injury changes a lot.
You are assuming that Ballard can move up into the top4 if he plays on the left side, I'm not sure that's the case.- It's not weak because of personnel per se - Hamhuis, Bieksa, Edler, Salo, and Ballard are a pretty damn good T5. It's weak b/c of the poor balance that has resulted in a left-side overload. It should've been addressable and MG has the $$ allocations for defense right, so there should have been room to maneuver. It's a funky mix - it was a problem last year and it's still a problem this year.
If we had dumped Ballard and signed Ehrhoff, there is just no discussion here. Ehrhoff plays both sides, and both special teams. He would likely drop Salo to the 3rd pairing and second unit power play which would be ideal.- I don't agree that the guy to fix this problem was Ehrhoff - we really miss his departure now, but we don't need another $5M guy on our bottom pairing. This problem is addressed with a $1.5M guy that can steady out KB4's play. Hell, if Rome could play the right side, we'd not be having this discussion (well, ok maybe we would because he can't move up the lineup for shit). Which is why I keep harping on the fact that a $1.5M #6 guy shouldn't have been too hard to negotiate for in the off season.
He is pretty much exactly what we are missing.
I know people want a player with more grit, but a gritty version of Ehrhoff simply isn't available at a price we could afford.