Tom Wilson: 2013-14 Season Review

Photo credit: Geoff Burke

I’ve been watching Tom Wilson like a hawk since September 29th, when Mathieu Perreault was traded Anaheim reportedly to make room for Wilson. A large, physical, highly rated prospect, Wilson carried with him all the risks associated with large, physical prospects who are highly rated– namely, that they might be over-rated. But while no one except Tom’s financial planner is going to say this year was a success, I’m hesitant to say it tells us anything about Tom’s future.

By the Numbers

82 Games played
7.8 Average time on ice per game
3 Goals
7 Assists
45.0% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
51.5% Goal percentage during 5v5
7.1% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
94.8% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

Peter’s Take

First things first: it was unwise– as we knew at the time– to trade Perreault to make space for Wilson. Perreault is a cheap utility player with flashes of greatness, a boon on any roster. The supposed risk of Wilson picking up “bad habits” had he stayed in Plymouth seems ridiculous now considering how dimwitted his deployment and tactical instruction was this season.

I’ve gone into great depth about this multiple times over the season, so here’s the quickest of quick recaps: Tom Wilson was given very little ice time, astonishingly weak linemates, and incentives to facepunch instead of playing actual hockey. If you were devising an evil scheme to ruin a talented young hockey player, you would do all of this and then you’d probably sweep the leg.

To my untrained eyes Wilson has unusually strong skating ability for a young player the size of a Chevy Tahoe and underrated stick skill. Yet Oates had him chasing pucks and cycling in futility for all of 7 or 8 shifts a night. Wilson got virtually no power play ice time (despite scoring his first NHL goal on the PP– though Ovi kinda banked it off him) and basically never cracked the top six.

The good news is that Wilson’s line didn’t get outscored despite getting monstrously outpossessed– thanks mostly to some absurdly good goaltending by the Caps netminders.

George McPhee did poorly in managing Wilson and Adam Oates did an atrocious job in coaching him, but I’m filled with strangely warm thoughts about the future. It was Wilson himself who chose to scale back on fighting late in the season. And when Wilson played away from some of the more troubled forwards (like Volpatti, with whom Wilson earned just 28.6 percent of 5v5 shot attempts), he did just fine. He didn’t drive possession by any means though.

I don’t know if Wilson is gonna be a good NHL player. Neither do you. But I do know that he has made it through as rough of a rookie season as most players will ever see, and he did it pretty darn well all things considered. Let’s see what happens in 2014-15, when Wilson will find out for the first time what it’s like to be coached by someone who isn’t incompetent.

Willy Baby on RMNB

In Pictures

First NHL goal, ordered up and served by Mr. Alex Ovechkin.

And his first assist was somewhat jokes. Urbom scored this, so wrap your head around that.

This is also how Tom asks girls to dance.

This Kuzya-to-Wilson slap pass and goal is– hands down– the prettiest thing to come out of the fourth line all season.

Tom hit a child. Go tell an adult.

This is less cute and somewhat more dear god someone stop this before Marino sues

Wilson did nothing on this play, but it looks ridiculous so enjoy! (p.s. Erat = jokes)

Tom was the subject of our very first segment on CRL. He was a good sport. I still think Ian let him win.

Bowling for Blue Jackets

Your Turn

I wanna revisit the question I posed in that video back in October: do you think Tom Wilson is a possible power forward, a face-punchin’ sideshow, or something else all together? Did we learn anything about him this season? And where do you wanna see him in the lineup next season?

Read more: Japers Rink, Peerless

Tagged with:
 
  • http://twitter.com/1bscarbro Benjamin Scarbro
  • DashingDave314

    Maybe it’s just me, but I sort of hope Wilson is a top 6 forward next year. I’d like to see him at least get a chance to play with Ovi and Backstrom. Maybe what that line needs is a guy like Knuble. Wilson = bigger and more angry Knuble.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    We’ll have a lot more. Looks like Ian is gonna make me do some of the scrubs like Wey.

    Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.

  • ACN

    Nah, man. We get to review the coaching staff right? Riiiight?

    …please say you are, RMNB, because I have been waiting eagerly for it.

  • http://twitter.com/1bscarbro Benjamin Scarbro

    My Adam Oates’ Departure Chipotle Burrito: A 2013-2014 Review

    By The Numbers:
    Roughly: $7
    Weight: 1 lbs

    Peter’s Take:
    It was almost as delicious as Ian’s tears.

    In Pictures:
    http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/assets/images/menu/menu_burrito.png

  • tpr04

    The problem is they wasted a year of his eligibility, meaning he’s one year closer to being a UFA than if they hadn’t had him on the roster. I was fine with him being on the roster, if the goal was to have him slowly work into more minutes. However, they didn’t even do that when we were elimated from contention.

    Instead, we’ve lost a year of his eligibility, he was in a disfunctional locker room, while being coached by one of the worst head coaches in the NHL last year.

  • Graham Dumas

    I like him as a physical 2L guy with Grabo and maybe Kuzya.

  • Sarah

    I think it’d be hilarious if he trolled us by lavishing praise on everything they did right, even if he has to go into their dental hygiene habits to do so.

  • DashingDave314

    I like that idea better! Possibly put Brouwer with Ovi?

  • Myan

    My hope for Wilson next season: more ice time, less time in the box. I felt like Wilson was just an afterthought with Oates and with his limited ice time, he never really knew his place nor established an identity on the ice. A 19 year old top prospect shouldn’t be the team’s enforcer. I hope Trotz gives him the chance to play 15:00+ a night and show what he can do.

  • Sarah

    You, sir, win the internet. You also just really made me want a burrito for lunch. I’m hitherto a Chipotle fan but will try Qdoba today in an effort to promote unity in America.

  • Graham Dumas

    Yeah, I was assuming Brouwer would be traded (contrary to previous posts) and MoJo would stay on top (which I’m not super-crazy about).

    How is it this team has so much “depth” in forwards and so little to show for it?! Frustrating.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Nah, put Wardo on first line. Dont rush Wilson, 2nd line to start.

  • DashingDave314

    Don’t want separate Ward and Chimmers.

  • DashingDave314

    I’d rather have Wilson up there than MoJo. And to answer your question, it’s because Adam Oates.

  • tpr04

    I would trade Brouwer and Mojo. Brouwer because we’re overloaded on the right side and you can get something for him. Mojo because he has regressed to the point of scoring only 2 ES goals in 80 games. He needs a fresh start elsewhere.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Thats a weak argument. Wardo & ChimChim have played will with a variety of people. It means they can adapt. Why hinder them by keeping them on the 3rd line? Time to exploit their skills. I’d keep ChimChim on the 3rd though.

  • Sarah

    Seriously, a teenager in an enforcer role makes me want to weep. Or sit him down and tell him gently that he needs to make new friends, that this crowd will never take him anywhere. Thank God Trotz is nothing if not the firm but kind father figure a good boy desperately needs when he’s starting to go astray.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Also, I believe you overrate Matty P. I was glad to see him traded. Way too inconsistent. Needed the spot for a player that will actually improve the team. I do agree that I would have liked to have seen some more ice time for Wilson, however I think playing at the NHL level and seeing the level of play was a positive. So I wouldnt say it was a completely wasted year.

  • DashingDave314

    Why separate two wings who play together extremely well?

  • Graham Dumas

    mmmmyeah. I want to give MoJo one more shot under a new system to see how he responds. I think there’s talent there beneath the surface that has yet to be tapped.

    So @tpr04, who goes to 1L if MoJo goes? Would you put Kuzya up there? Like so?

    Kuzya-Backstrom-Ovi
    Penner-Grabo-Wilson
    Chimmer-Laich(?)-Ward
    TBD-Beagle-TBD

  • DashingDave314

    I’d have it like this:

    8-19-20
    90-84-43
    25-21-42
    16-Latta-83

  • Luke Anthony

    He probably would have been playing with Ovechkin instead of Beagle, so it was a pretty terrible decision to trade him. Not to mention almost every player on the roster is inconsistent.

  • tpr04

    No, I’d have Ovie on the left side. At ES, he didn’t improve under Oates by going to RW. His number of goals was almost the same, his assists went down, and his +/- nosedived.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    (I still owe Peter this)

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    What a better welcoming to Caps hockey though? ;)

  • tpr04

    I’d trade Brouwer, put Ward at 1R, Fehr at 3R, and have Brown on the 4th line.

  • tpr04

    Because you don’t sacrifice having your best people on the top line for the sake of the 3rd line.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Because with Wardo, I think we can get more out of him. Sure they play great together, but if they could play even better with other people, would make sense to move them around.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    exactly

  • Graham Dumas

    OK, not sure I agree, but OK.
    Fehr’s also a good option on that second line if we ditch Penner, I’d add.

  • DashingDave314

    If Brouwer’s gone, I’d be OK with Ward up on the first line.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Funny story from that CRL shoot: me and Tom originally stood back to back for this shot. I was actually standing on a few books to be as tall as him, which was the joke. Unfortunately, his head was almost to the ceiling and the shot looked awkward, so we did these single shots spliced together. In Tom’s shot, I told him to look as intimidating as he possibly could. He then proceeded to make his normal face. I was like – well.. okay! I guess for you that works.

    http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/tom-vs-ian1.gif

  • DashingDave314

    Says who Ward will be one of our best forwards though? Make moves so that you can keep Chimmers and Ward together.

  • tpr04

    Trading Matty P. for next to nothing only made sense if you wanted Wilson to take his roster spot and develop. Once Oates publicly lobbied to have Wilson up, despite McPhee’s public misgivings, McPhee had to accomodate him. In the end, after having Matty moved out and losing a year of control over Wilson, Oates never bothered to give him more minutes.

    That whole messup was on Oates, IMO.

  • tpr04

    He was last year, especially at ES, he’s the only one who knows Trotz and has experience playing his style of hockey, and he’s sound defensively. Nothing’s guaranteed, but it’s a good bet.

  • DashingDave314

    I’m weary of having a guy who has never averaged anything close to 20 minutes per game in 7 seasons playing first line minutes. The stats guy in me loves his possession numbers, the eye guy tells me that if he’s on your top line, it probably won’t end too well.

  • Barrett

    He’s power forward, with a lot of similarities to Milan Lucic, which bodes well for the Capitals. I don’t see him in a top six role (however I would like to see him on the RW opposite Ovechkin and centered with Backstrom) if Ovechkin stays on the right side. He will not take Brouwers job in the 2nd line and I doubt he takes Ward’s on the 3rd. That leaves the AHL or the 4th line. The 4th line isn’t bad, if they are used correctly, something Oates refused to do. We should let him develop, just because he isn’t scoring 20 goals at the NHL level doesn’t mean he isn’t improving.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    I agree, blame that on Oates. GMGM did what he needed to, to give Wilson a chance at a proper rookie year.

  • VeggieTart

    Latta is 46, by the way.

  • Graham Dumas

    That IS his intimidating face! Look at him mind-@#$!ing that dude from the Preds. Dead-eyed stare…

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    <— eating Chipotle right now

  • Owen Johnson

    Hey, we’re 1/3 of the way through the offseason though!

  • Jonah

    i have made this case on every rmnb post since about february. but brouwer is NOT a top 6 forward and wilson/kuzya should get the 2 line winger spots surrounding our soccer-superstar center grabo.

  • Jonah

    also i think that wardo/ice cheetah compliment each other, thereby making their effect greater than the sum of their individual parts.

  • Jonah

    brouwer needs to go. wilson has the same skill set, is a better skater, is cheaper, and doesn’t have a rep for talking shit about his teammates to the media. The only reason that the caps got him was because he was on the cup winning team which raised his stock. a hawks diehard fan i met at the front page while watching a game said that everyone in CHI knows that brouwers at best a 3rd line guy. willy baby to the second line!

  • Barrett

    A 20 goal scorer doesnt belong on the 2nd line? If Brouwer isn’t a 2nd line guy, where do you put him, the 4th? Sorry, but not a chance.

    I’m not risking my 2nd line to be Kuznetsov and Wilson centered by Grabovski (who isn’t even under contract).

  • tpr04

    His numbers get a huge boost by playing the slot in the PP.

    I don’t see us as contenders next year, so I’m perfectly fine with a Kuz-Grabo-Wilson line. Brouwer has value, so I’d trade him to bring in help where it’s really need – the blue line.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Comments have slowed, so lets spark some. Here is what I want to see out of GMBM:

    1) Amnesty Laich
    2) Trade Green since rumor is he wants out
    3) Trade/sign a legit top Dman
    4) Trade/sign a 2C
    5) Resign Grabbo for small money to play 3C
    6) Sign/trade for cheap vet backup goalie, will allow Grubbi more time in Chocotown.

    Players leaving in a trade- MoJo, Brouwer

  • tpr04

    Yes, to all of the above, but I’d be willing to go with Grabo as our 2C to spend more, or trade more, to build up our defense.

    I think we need to bring in two defensemen, and they UFA pool is not that great. And I would trade Green even if he doesn’t want to go. I don’t care if it’s just for a 2nd round pick. The key is to free up the cap space. He’s gone in a year no matter what, we are not contenders, and he’s using up over $6M in cap space. Free that money up.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    No I totally think we need 2 D brought in. Part of me would love to see Green hang around 1 year to play with a legit SAH Dman just to see how it works…because I think it would be awesome. But def need 2 Dmen in if Green goes.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Here’s a bunch of general things I’d like to see out of this team moving forward:

    1) An actual forechecking Ovi, first line at 5-on-5. No more of that cross-ice pass crap, actually go in the corners and wear teams out. Look at the Rangers as a guide.
    2) A young second line that can score, and eventually take pressure, team’s plans off 8, allow him not to be the main star of the team anymore
    3) a new first pairing on defense (maybe Carlson or Alzner is part of that group)
    4) Get arid of the dead weight on defense
    5) Develop Orlov, Wey, and Schmidt aggressively for the future (this will be a strength eventually)
    6) Commit to overall team defense
    7) Commit to wearing teams down 5-on-5
    8) Commit to Hershey, challenge Carrick as #1 pairing defenseman at AHL Level with good coach. He can turn into Brian Rafalski with the right development.
    9) Don’t try to win now next year, make moves for the next few years, because the team has a lot of good prospects maturing soon.
    10) Fill bottom lines with players who have talent, character, provide value for the team (Garrett Mitchell). Make rookies earn their way from there (Burakovsky), but if they do, promote them.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Brouwer is an effective passenger type player in the top 6. I understand the argument here: he doesn’t do much by himself, not a great forechecker. He needs to be with talented players to be successful, but when he is, he is very useful in front of the net. He’s a great finisher.

  • Barrett

    Everyone on the power play under Oates had inflated stats. The team was terrible at 5v5. How can you not see us as contenders? We barely missed the playoffs under one of the worst coaches ever. A couple game swing in the standings and Washington was the 7th or 8th seed.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I think about this a lot, and I’m not sure where I stand. Teams rarely sustain power play dominance year-to-year and are likely revert to where their 5v5 play lands them. Under another season with Oates, I’d expect the Caps to be a bottom-10 ten. if they lose Grabo and Green, I’d bet they’d be bottom 5.

    That said, if it turns out that Oates depressed possession as much as 4 points (which I think it is plausible) AND the Caps can get some better players on the blue line AND not put up asinine lineups, they could be a 51% possession team with an outside chance at a Cup.

    That’s a lot of IFs. WE SHALL SEE.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    yeah but did you let him win

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • Barrett

    So you ship out Green, who are your new defenseman pairings? Throw out free agent or prospects names.

    Who’s the 2C you are chasing in FA?? Paul Stastny? His contract is going to be $6.5mil+

    Grabovski doesn’t want small money, he’s 30 and probably looking for a long term deal.

    Cannot buyout Laich unless he passes a physical, which he failed at the end of season. Limit his minutes to the 3rd/4th line to help keep him healthy.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    As terrible as our D is, there are lots of options for Dmen that would improve our team. Even some of the guys going to be UFAs that wont have a lot of draw from true contenders. Others via trade. I dont see prospects helping out top 4 anytime soon.

    Stastny…I’d take in a heartbeat. Pay him the $6.5 and term, its worth it. Kessler is another name tossed around.

    Grabbo for year as our 2C I could see, but the buy just plays better as a 3C. We cant pay him 2C money to play 3C…if he wont take little money, then we have to let him go. Pure and simple. And that would suck cause I like the guy.

    Laich must go. He claims he’s good now. Make him take the physical and amnesty him. His minutes should be limited to 3rd/4th line anyhow because thats only as good as he is. Healthy or not.

  • tpr04

    If you buy out Laich and trade Green for a pick or prospect, you open up close to $11M in salary cap space, which, together with the $13M we’re expected to have gives you about $24M. Going after guys like Statsny become a more realistic prospect at that point. It also allows you to make trades in which you don’t have to trade salary.

    In any event, you’re not going to the Cup next year, so keeping Green around for his final year at over $6M serves no purpose whatsoever.

  • tpr04

    Barrett, no I don’t see us as a cup contender. Look at our defense compared to the teams that are in the finals. Our defense was horrible. Yes, part of that was on Oates, but a decent portion was the personnel. Also, outside of the PP, we were about a bottom 8 team in just about every statistic that matters. The only reason we ended up with only the 13th worst record was an incredibly potent PP. That’s it.

    Sure, we finished just 4-5 points out, but we also got a bunch of points at the end of the season against teams that had nothing to play for. Oates, instead of giving guys like Wilson time with guys like Backstrom, was more interested in trying to win the last few meaningless games – probably to inflate the points so he didn’t look as bad.

    Could we contend next year? With 3-4 really really good moves, maybe it’s possible. But approaching it that way is wrong and results in the search for quick fixes instead of a more comprehensive approach that would result in this team being a legit contender year in and year out. If you think making the playoffs makes you a legit cup contender, then you think more than half the teams in the league are legitimate cup contenders. They’re not.

  • Barrett

    That’s assuming Laich passes his physical and Ted is willing to pay him for years after he’s no longer here.

    I’m not saying you don’t trade Green or not to sign free agents, but I want to see who people are wanting to target to replace those players. So far nobody has mentioned names. I mentioned Paul Stastny, but think Grabovski at 2C is just as good and cheaper.

    If you don’t realistically think you can win the cup, the players on teams you want that are free agents (Chicago, Boston, LA, etc) won’t want to come here. Trading a player like Green doesn’t give a SAH defenseman any incentive to come here.

  • tpr04

    Outside of Statsny, there’s not much in free agency. I think you’re right though, I think UFA’s are going to be hesitant to come here until the smoke settles – maybe a year from now. I don’t think Statsny would come here for that reason. I don’t think Grabo is as good a Statsny, but I think you get good play and excellent value from him.

    That pretty much leaves you needing to make trades. It’s almost impossible to say who they should trade for, because we’re not privy to who is available.

    To me, if you resigned Grabo, you could compete with this group of forwards, depending on how a few guys do. I think Holtby, if Oates didn’t ruin him, was one of the very good young goalies in the league. The problem is that 50% of our defense is AHL caliber. That’s a huge problem and one that won’t likely be rectified in one offseason.

  • Barrett

    The New York Rangers are the #5 seed in the East, 3 pts in the standings separated them from the #8 seed Detroit Red Wings. Washington was 3 pts behind Detroit.

    The LA Kings are the #6 seed in the West. 2 years ago they won the cup as the #8 seed.

    Yes, anyone in the playoffs is a contender.

  • tpr04

    Well, we can agree to disagree. I don’t think the Caps are legit cup contenders – they had the 13th worst record in the league. If you go by points alone, under your logic, going into next year 21 of 30 teams are cup contenders. That no longer means anything.

  • JH

    The problems with the Caps are not many, and can be solved in the offseason. I’d say they can be broken down as follows:

    1) Talent gaps (GM’ing)
    2) Utilization of talent (coaching)
    3) Gameplan (coaching)

    First,talent gaps:
    A) Re-sign Grabovski, otherwise we need to find a top-tier 2C.
    B) We need a veteran blueliner – that by itself will take pressure off everyone else. The rest of the D-men will play better, especially if we execute a better defensive gameplan. Imagine Orpik/Green/Carlson/Alzner/Orlov/Hillen – we might actually have a solid D corps.
    C) I would argue that we still need an elite goaltender for a deep playoff run, but we can see if Holtby can be that this year.
    The elements are almost all there.

    2) I could go on about Oates and his lines.
    A) On the first line, need someone up there that is a scoring threat on the wing opposite Ovi – ie, not MoJo. In my mind, that’s Fehr.
    B) I personally would love to see Kuzya and Wilson on the same line with a good center. I think Kuz-Grabo-Wilson would be sick and unbelievable. Playing with talent brings out the talent from within.
    C) MoJo is a center and he has speed. Put him on the 3rd line with Chimmer and Ward and watch things go crazy.
    D) Latta, Beagle, someone play 4L.
    E) This means maybe we say bye-bye to Brouwer and Laich – two of the greatest guys on the team personality wise, but do they fit into the structure? I always struggle with how to play them. Maybe Brouwer can play 1L opposite Ovi, but then I think you trade MoJo or Fehr. Laich…just don’t know where to put the guy. Maybe he centers the 3rd line, then.

    3) Play to our strengths. Be possession minded. We should be a goal-scoring machine. But we need better defense. We need to be tough in the corners. Don’t change the powerplay. Be tough to play against.

  • tpr04

    It’s so hard to tell with the Caps how much of it was the personnel, how much of it was the coaching, and how much of it was reduced effort or buy in by players who knew they were being poorly coached.

    There are a few things though that have existed for a long time – lack of scoring depth which tends to get exposed in the playoffs and a really bad group of defenemen. IMO, Alzner and Carlson are legit top 4 d-men. Orlov has potential, but he’s not there yet. Green is a shell of his former self – I don’t know why, but he was absolutely awful for long stretches (which is surprising since I thought he was one of our 2-3 best players the season prior and in the ’13 series against the NYR). Hillen should not be in the top six and most of the rest need Hershey seasoning. So, at a minimum, you need to replace half your defense.

  • Barrett

    There’s not much in the free agency for defenseman either. There are a handful that could be potential fits and the Capitals won’t be the only team chasing them. I’m hoping they can get one SAH style defenseman to pair with Green.

  • tpr04

    I’ve given up on Green, as he only has a year left, but I agree with you. There’s not much to chase in free agency and what’s there is probably not going to be interested in coming here.

  • Barrett

    My point was any team is a contender if they make the playoffs. The Capitals, under a terrible coach and system came within 2 wins of sneaking in. They aren’t far off. Add a few pieces (defenseman, 3C and resign Grabovski) and it could be a different story next year. No reason for a tear down. Trade your chips at the deadline if the season if off the rails.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Alright, this is making me sad clown.

    When Green was playing, the Caps were the 9th best possession team in the league. When Green was on the bench, the Caps were the 27th best possession team in the league.

  • tpr04

    I understand that argument. But when teams get in with lower seeds and advance far, it’s usually on the back of a strong defense and goalie. It’s not because they have one 50+ goal scorer – that’s almost never the case.

    So, just setting points aside, it’s hard for me to see the Caps capable of knocking 2-3 teams off.

  • DashingDave314

    Yeah, that’s what I was getting at. Neither seems to do well without the other. They’re basically Sidney and Ashley Webber from Backyard Baseball (props if anyone actually remembers that epic game)

  • tpr04

    Maybe there’s hope. I saw terrible stretches of play. Times in which he gave up the puck for scoring chances, ridiculous penalties, etc. He had one solid stretch from about December – January, but, for $6+M a year – he was awful.

  • Barrett

    I agree on defense. I want a banger with Green. I like Orpik, Douglas Murray, Matt Greene and even Willie Mitchell for his leadership. I like a Orlov with Erskine/Oleksy over Hillen. Not a Hillen fan. He’s a puck mover like Carlson, Green and Orlov with no real scoring threat.

    I would let Mojo go over Laich or Brouwer. The guy cannot win faceoffs. Go get a faceoff guy (Steve Ott or Manny Malhotra). You need that skill set to win. Look how Stoll and Kopitar dominated the Blackhawks in the faceoff circle. They also need to be more physical as a team. Mojo doesn’t bring that.

  • Barrett

    I was hoping the defense (team defense) and goal tending would improve under Trotz. We saw that under Hunter when Holtby outplayed Tim Thomas to knock off the Bruins.

  • Barrett

    Agreed. Find him a legit NHL defensive partner.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Try being the Flyers in that game and get back to me.

  • Connor

    So you have Kuzya nowhere….. how about this

    8-19-16
    92-84-43
    25-21-42
    67-46-83

    or if burakovsky is ready

    8-19-16
    92-84-43
    Bura-21-42
    25-46-83

    Brouwer and Mojo traded for D

  • Lawrence

    Not gonna lie, this makes me pretty jelly.

  • Meg

    Even if he really did ask me to dance like that, I would so be in

  • Roy Schue

    I’m pretty sure Oates would have still been a jackass and put beagle with ovechkin

  • Bugs Fire

    Hope is that it’s not Green himself, but the coaching. Hope is that Trotz can maximize the roster’s output instead of trying to reform everybody.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I agree– especially with the last part. Brouwer’s GF/20 during the power play in the last three season is second only to Nicky.

    During evens, once he got away from poor hurt Brooksy, he had relatively even possession. I think he’s a solid scorer when given good support.

  • Chris Best

    When he got to play on a line with Kuzya, you could see Wilson clearly pick it up a notch. He was excited to play with good talent, skated his butt off and made some really nice plays…the goal not withstanding. I just think Wilson could be something along the lines of a Cam Neely-eque forward given the proper development. I don’t think he’ll ever put up numbers like Neely did, but at least cut from the same kind of thinking. I mean if you put Wilson on the Ovi line and just had him screen goalies with his huge frame and collect garbage goals off rebounds, that wouldn’t be too awful. I want to see defensemen try and move someone of Wilson’s side without taking bad penalties.

  • DashingDave314

    Burakovsky is the last guy I’d want in a checking line role. You don’t put extremely skilled forwards on the checking line. That’s like putting Ovi on the PK.

    Meant 92, not 90. Why’s Fehr a top 6 forward all of a sudden? Short-term I wouldn’t mind it. Long-term, that’s a problem. Fancy stats are nice, but like Ward, he doesn’t pass the eye test. I’d rather have Wilson up there than Fehr.

  • Connor

    Fehr drives posession. Crashes net. Plays a two way game. And i think he is more skilled than Ward. Put him on the top line and watch him take off.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RVCJq1fp1s

    Burakovsky doesn’t fit 1 or 2 yet. Best case is keep him in Hershey but only other spot to develop him is 3rd line.

  • James Desautels

    Interesting fact-of the final 4 teams left last week only 1 (MTL-Pacioretty) had a 30+G scorer. And not counting Marty St. Louis (since 29 of his 30G were with TBL) the Cup teams don’t even have a 30G scorer. My point being-I love all 51 of Ovie’s goals but typically teams that rely on 1 guy doing his thing and then 17 randomly glued together puzzle pieces don’t win the Cup even if they’ve got Ken Dryden between the pipes. Teams that are consistently making deep runs usually have a leading scorer around 30-35G and then 2 more full lines of skaters chipping in 20-25G and balanced D corps. We consistently don’t have that balance anywhere. We have Ovi and Nicky and then 2 or 3 guys scrapping and grinding (yes Wardo and Chimmer were great this year but I fear the #fancystats regress to the mean next season) and a bunch of misused assets.

  • Barrett

    The Chicago Blackhawks had two 30+ goal scorers : Patrick Sharp (34 goals) and Marian Hossa (30 goals) with Patrick Kane (29 goals) and Jonathan Toews (28 goals) right behind. The other three teams: Los Angeles, New York and Montreal finished the regular season in the bottom half of the league in total goals for while Chicago was 2nd in the league.

    The problem wasn’t that Alex Ovechkin scored 51 goals. The team as a whole was 13th in the league in goals scored and if you subtract 20 of Ovechkin’s 51 goals the team still outscored Los Angeles and is right there with Montreal.

    The problem, which you touched on, is the lack of scoring depth. The team hasn’t had that since Alexander Semin was let go in free agency. They were also terrible in 5v5 play this season ranking 21 out of 30 teams. They relied solely on the power-play scoring 68 of their 225 goals with the man advantage. Chicago outscored the Capitals by nearly 50 goals at even strength.

    Both the Rangers and Kings advanced through to the Stanley Cup finals with two things : solid defense and great goal-tending.

    As I mentioned above – I think Holbty can steal you games in the playoffs and he has against Boston a few years ago. He has the skills and mindset to be a #1 goalie. I also think Trotz is fully capable of fixing the defensive zone. He just needs to work with GMBM to get the few missing pieces (ie: a SAH defenseman to pair with Green and a couple two-way forwards that drive puck possession and can win faceoffs).

  • Eric Schulz

    That fan may be “diehard,” but he isn’t very savvy. Brouwer is AT WORST a 3rd liner. I’d put him on the 3rd with Laich (playing LW but taking faceoffs) and Johansson, to pair Johansson’s passing with Brouwer’s finishing. Fehr on top RW with BackstrOvie, Wilson on 2nd with Kuznetsov and Grabovski; hopefully Kuz Nasty and Wilson playing together last year helps them entering this year. That gives us 3 great lines (plus Chimera and Ward on the 4th, centered by Latta, or Brown, or Beagle, or a FA pickup) gives us 4 great lines. Why move Brouwer?

  • Eric Schulz

    We don’t have balance? Maybe not, but we could.
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Fehr
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Wilson
    Laich – Johansson – Brouwer
    Chimera – Latta – Ward
    We have a 50 goal scorer in Ovie, and Backstrom should at least get close to 20; he’s getting 80 points, as is Ovechkin. Fehr drives possession on that line, and probably gets 20 goals and 40+ points with the opportunity to play on the top line with those two. Kuznetsov projects for 21 goals and 51 points based on last season, and even if he regresses due to on-ice shooting percentage, he’s more likely to improve as he gets comfortable and, more importantly, good coaching, plus he gets to play with Grabovski. Grabovski’s a lock for 20 goals, 50 points if healthy, and has 30/60 upside. Wilson.. who knows? High ceiling, but even if he doesn’t reach it, I think he fits well on that line, and can chip in double-digit goals.
    Brouwer is a 20-goal scorer on the 3rd, and Johansson’s passing makes it less likely that he won’t reach that even with less playing time plus, again, good coaching. Laich is a 20-goal scorer if healthy; that’s the only thing I’m really *hoping* on: him returning to form. He’s had a long offseason, so here’s to hoping.
    Chimera and Ward chip in double-digit goals from the 4th line. Even with regression, with better coaching (and more minutes than our 4th line got last year), they are still capable of 20-25 goals and 45-50 points between the two of them. From the 4th line, that’s great.
    We’re fine, as long as we keep Grabovski (and add a 4th defenseman).

  • Eric Schulz

    Hope is a strong word; the evidence tells us that it was coaching. The evidence tells us Trotz is a good coach who can roll 4 lines and maximize players’ roles, even if we can’t be sure he will open up the offense enough to maximize players’ *point production.* Things may not go well, but I’d be more surprised if Green continued declining than if Green rebounded with good coaching, since he’s been a great player (not perfect, but best offensive defenseman in the NHL isn’t shabby) when not under Oates.

  • Eric Schulz

    8) I think our top pair is Alzner – Carlson (so, I disagree with 3. I think that’s a fine top pair, we just need a better bottom two pairs. For once, I think we can fill one spot in-house; every other year I think we should’ve added a FA defender to bolster the 2nd AND 3rd pairing. This year, I think only the 2nd; the 3rd we can fill in-house, we have a lot of guys to compete). I’d have Green partnered with a FA guy on the 2nd pair, and Orlov with not-Schmidt on the 3rd (whoever earns it: Erskine if he rebounds, Hillen, Oleksy, Brouillette, even Strachan I think should get a look as a big, physical guy who can maybe kill penalties. Schmidt’s better than Strachan obviously, but stylistically, we need a guy who can be physical and kill penalties. Hopefully Wey earns it). Which means: I think Schmidt should be the top guy in the AHL; I’d have Carrick on the 2nd line. No?
    9) I think we can be a contender without jeopardizing the future. As long as we resign Grabovski and sign a 4th defender (not a ton of options, but there are some), we can contend with good coaching.