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  #21  
Old 07-17-2008, 10:26 AM
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There's not a chance in hell that Halpern ever plays again with Jokinen AND Ouellet because one of those two guys pretty much has to be traded. I think if Recchi posts at least .5 points per game he'll bounce between the second and third lines with Vrbata and Malone (all three of those guys are viable scoring-line options).
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  #22  
Old 07-17-2008, 10:37 AM
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Lawton not as giddy about Halpern's rehab as bolts37205 is sharing. From Cristodero's blog this morning...

Quote:
Jeff Halpern's knee is responding slowly, and the center likely won't be back in the lineup before Christmas. When Halpern underwent reconstructive surgery on his right knee, the window for his return was the end of October to the end of December. Seems as if the Lightning is shooting for the later of the dates.

"It's a big injury," said Brian Lawton, the Lightning's vice president of hockey operations. "There was a lot of atrophy.

The injury makes the return of Ryan Craig from injury and the signing of Chris Gratton that much more important. Adam Hall and Wyatt Smith could also fill in in a pinch. Lawton said Halpern will not be rushed.

"The athletes come first," Lawton said. "We've put some depth in the organization. We're just going to have to be able to fill in with a plan."
Lawton did tip the Bolts depth chart down the middle with Halpern's absence:

Lecavalier (assumed)
Stamkos (assumed)
Gratton
Craig
Hall
W.Smith

Both Craig and Hall are preferred wingers, but played center before turning pro.
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  #23  
Old 07-17-2008, 11:22 AM
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Interesting to see that Craig probably has the inside track on 4th line center
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  #24  
Old 07-17-2008, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBFANATIC View Post
Interesting to see that Craig probably has the inside track on 4th line center
Interesting indeed. Honestly, I'll believe it when I see it, and I'm a Craig booster from way back. He's certainly not short on heart, but now OK has got a lineup chalked full of guys with heart, so... I still think Adam Hall probably plays the lionshare of 4th line center until Halpern returns...

Tarnasky-Hall-Artyukhin

That's a fairly tenacious forecheck/energy line. I just like the feel of Hall on the line better than Craig.

But, I'll go one step further with Hall. I think he has more offensive upside than Chris Gratton does. His last couple of season's gigs with PIT/MIN/NYR pidgeon-holed him into a 4th forechecker. But when he was with NAS and getting 3rd line time, he put Eric Perrin-esque numbers, 12-15 goals and 30 points. I think a line of

Jokinen/Roberts-Hall-Recchi

has a better chance of offensively over-achieving than if Gratton centers those same wingers. And that leaves the scary tough line of

Tarnasky-Gratton-Artyukhin

intact. I guess Lawton might be thinking of the offense that a Jokinen/Roberts-Craig-Recchi line could possibly put up, since Craig has shown to be a 20 goal threat, but I just don't think he has the wheels to center an NHL third line. Thing about Ryan Craig is that he has spent his whole life proving his detractors wrong. Viva Training Camp!
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  #25  
Old 07-17-2008, 12:28 PM
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Oullett is a 20+ goal scorer, he showed that last year playing really hard with Halpern when we were out of the playoffs. Jussi is soft and has potential to be a 12-15 goal scorer. Why trade either when they make your 3rd line that much better? If you think you are getting a Seabrook in return with one of our young Dmen then we better get a decent pick in return. I would trade any of the bottom 4th liners first in an effort to secure a vet Dman but would leave the 3rd line alone. I have not paid much attention to Hall but from what Tim has written he appears to have a bit of an upside given the chance and of course I really hope that Craig can stay healthy and reach his potential of being a 20 goal scorer. I doubt they do much until training camp in order to see who plays their best and wins jobs, unless an opportunity comes along to get a guy like Seabrook, which should make things interesting. I also think given Roberts injury history that we will be lucky to get 30 games out of him this year, but of course you can say the same for Craig.
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  #26  
Old 07-17-2008, 02:57 PM
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Listen, aap, they aren't going to trade someone they just signed. And no one is going to trade veteran dmen for fourth-liners like Nick Tarnasky, OK?

Read this part carefully - the Lightning have 16 forwards with one-way contracts (not counting Halpern). Only 13 or 14 will make the team.

It's assumed that Jason Ward isn't going to make it. And the other assumption is that a trade will be made before training camp so that the Bolts don't have to waive an asset with trade value. That's why everyone is talking about Jokinen and Ouellet. One of them is likely to be dealt for a pick or perhaps in a package for a dman. And bytheway, Ouellet has never scored 20 goals in the NHL and he wasn't one of OK Hockey's "guys." So take that for what it's worth.
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  #27  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolthed View Post
Read this part carefully - the Lightning have 16 forwards with one-way contracts (not counting Halpern). Only 13 or 14 will make the team.
Technically, Stamkos will have a standard two-way rookie contract, but BH you're right in that he's as good as being on a one-way.

Ouellet makes the most sense because of he's a UFA next summer and just the simple fact of where would he slot in on the RW? That would push Recchi down and Artyukhin to the pressbox, and I don't really see that happening. Do you dress him as a 13th forward and let play on the PP only? Doubt it.

Jokinen has a higher trade value than Ouellet IMO, so if you are looking to get a Top 4 defenseman, perhaps Jokinen goes.

Both have strikes against them with the new ownership and coaches IMO. Ouellet gets dominated on the boards, and Jokinen plays a pretty soft game. One of them being moved seems almost a foregone conclusion IMO, and maybe both.
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  #28  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aapbolt View Post
Why trade either when they make your 3rd line that much better?
I think most of us were thinking that Jokinen/Ouellet would make up 2/3'ds of the third line prior to July 1 when we were hoping against all hope that new ownership would bring in another Top 6 winger besides Prospal.

Instead, ownership brought in two more Top 6 wingers (Malone+Vrbata), plus 3 new checking liners (Roberts+Recchi+Hall), re-signed two organizational players (Craig+Artyukhin) to multi-year deals that weren't part of the team last season, and finally re-signed Chris Gratton for added depth up the middle.

So... we've been forced to re-evaluate the situation in light of the players that the ownership have brought in. I don't think they are planning a system whereby you are rolling three lines of high offensive output. The new system seems to favor forwards with toughness, ruggedness, defensive responsibility, and guys that work hard and win battles on the boards. It seems that the offense will come from the top two lines and and the lower lines with be checkers and forecheckers with some modest offensive upside. That's just from the looks of the players brought in.
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  #29  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:35 PM
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If they deal Jokinen, who does indeed have more trade value, they could keep Oullet on the third line and move Recchi to LW no problem. But if they don't trade one or both of them for a defenseman and instead they have to trade one of them for a draft pick, my hope is that Jokinen stays. I just prefer him if the debate is Jokinen vs. Ouellet. Why? Just watching him you can see that he's smooth-skating and offensively polished. Plus he can play center, he's a year younger and can single-handedly win your team points with his shootout prowess. To me it's a no-brainer. Ouellet seems to have a decent, quick but innaccurate shot and knows where to be in scoring position, but that's about it. I'd gladly take a third-round pick for him and see what Jokinen can do as the third-line LW.

But if I had to consult the crystal ball, I'd say Jokinen gets traded to a team looking for a top-6 forward.
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  #30  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:37 PM
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Too add another thing, has anyone heard Lawton, Koules, or Barrie say one single word about either Jokinen or Ouellet in discussing the team moving foreward. I think I've heard them say about the same amount of words as they've said about Jason Ward -- zero.
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