When I look back at last season and just coming up short of making the playoffs I hoped that this team would fix its necessary problems to move forward. In my eyes this team needed three things: much needed scoring help, a center and also to get this team a little tougher when the season begins.
First I’ll start with what I think we did well on so far. The toughness of this team has increased significantly. With the team acquiring Steve Ott in a trade that had Derek Roy going the other way to the Stars was a good move for this team. Everything I’m hearing about this guy so far has been nothing but good. He’s a hitting machine, willing to stand up for his teammates and also a pretty good guy in the locker room. Another move this team made was the signing of John Scott. Not knowing that much about him I did some research and soon seen he was one big guy. Coming in at 6’8” 270lbs he can definitely hold his own and watching some of his old fights on the web I couldn’t help but smile. Having this guy on my team and looking back at past seasons where teams just ran over us I can’t help but to be excited.
Next is something that people may see as debatable issue depending on how you look at this team. A center is something that this team has needed for some years now. I think we might have one that will eventually emerge as a number one but for right now I don’t think anyone can say right now who it is. Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson are going to be the top two centers going into the season but where to place them now is the question. Does Ennis stay with the mates that he finished last season with? Is the Vanek and Pominville line broken up? Only time will tell as to what’s going to happen. I do think that Mikhail Grigorenko will be on this team this season. The skill he will bring with his NHL ready size could only help this team.
Lastly the scoring I think needs to rise somewhat from last season. Ranking 17th in the league for goals scored last year is too low for me. I would like to see them crack the top 10 this year. The problem will be we haven’t brought anyone in that will help in this department. I mean Grigorenko if he stays on the team could absolutely help out but I think we need at least one more guy. A center would be great to get but I would have no problem grabbing a winger that could come in and contribute.
In the end I think barring any trades this team could be a 6th -8th seed playoff team. I hope something happens where that could rise but we’ll just have to wait and see. Here are my predictions as of right now for a lineup on opening night.
Vanek Hodgson Pominville
Foligno Ennis Stafford
Leino Grigorenko Gerbe
Tropp Ott Kaleta