Raking Leafs

Mixing metaphors and casting cliches about hockey and the Maple Leafs for the ether's pleasure since MCMLXVII.

7/18/2007

Blake to skate with Wellwood

Finally, some real speculation from Maurice about on-ice possibilities, and some prudent thought behind the idea as well. Maurice is liking the idea of Wellwood operating down the middle with Blake on his wing. I like this train of thought because Wellwood's abilities are maximized when he is playing his natural position. Sure he did okay with Mats, but he didn't look comfortable and would sometimes force plays or would hesitate and miss a play you know he could make. Kyle is Adam Oates reincarnate, except with better wheels. Lets not stifle the boy.

So if JFJ once again got a player who won't be playing on Mats' wing, it is easy to surmise that Mats will be playing with Pony and Antro. Stajan will be anchoring the third line paired with Steen. Then the fourth will probably be some combination of Bates and Boyd with perhaps Williams making the squad.

I'd throw Kilger with Wellwood and Blake. He can skate with those two and can provide much needed size along the boards. Tucker should play with Stajan and Steen and capitalize on their playmaking ability. Or maybe Pohl.

Overall, those line combos seem pretty solid, though I continue to lament the lack of fists in the regular line up. But it's early, and maybe our D depth can be converted to a more hard-nosed top 6 forward.

Who am I kidding?

UPDATE - Apparently my brain is still on vacation. As pointed out in the comments (thanks, btw), Mark Bell is still a Toronto Maple Leaf and will most likely make the team out of training camp. So the above is incomplete to say the least.

I'd still put Mats with what PPP calls the Soviet Bloc. Wellwood and Blake could use Bell instead of Kilger, though Chad might get a chance to play on line two a some point in the season. Steen and Stajan should have Darcy as the trigger man. That leaves Boyd and Bates with Kilger, which was a line that was very effective last year. So right now I'm thinking the lines look something like this.


Poni-Sundin-Antro
Bell-Wellwood-Blake
Steen-Stajan-Tucker
Kilger-Boyd-Bates

Doc Hoc seems to think Blake and Tucker will be winging Sundin. I don't see that happening for more than a handful of games but I could see that as a PP unit, unless Wellwood gets better at drawing defenders and/or scoring when he has the puck at the left post.

UPDATE 2 - I've tried to avoid CBA discussions for a while simply because I wanted to think about the actual sport of hockey, but a recent discussion at Tom Benjamin's House of Hockey Horrors is worth a read. Tom is being proven correct in his analysis of the CBA's effect on the league's talent market place, an analysis he has maintained despite a steady stream of mainstream opposition. It may only be the NHL and an opinion on a labour arrangement, but I consider it an act of courage and an example to be followed. It can be extremely difficult to be true to your beliefs in the face of overwhelming criticism. Kudos Tom.

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3 Comments:

  • At 11:00 AM, Blogger Ganer said…

    I like your train of thought..however:
    Where does the newly acquired Bell fit in?

     
  • At 11:05 AM, Blogger ninja said…

    Oh crap. I totally blanked on Bell. I'll have to re-think this.

     
  • At 12:23 PM, Blogger PPP said…

    I had a suspicion that Blake wouldn't be playing with Mats just because of the Soviet Bloc's extensions. It always signalled to me that they would be on the top line and any signings would go towards putting a second scoring line together.

    I would almost be willing to put money that those will be the lines on opening night which will prompt a slew of "Why isn't Blake on Mats' wing?" stories.

     

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