Thursday, June 3, 2010

2010-2011 Roster: Two Scoring Lines or Three?

I'm sitting at a Second Cup cafe sipping on a vanilla bean latte. In the midst of this, the Detroit lineup is very much on my mind. I've done my line making for the Red Wings forwards and have them etched out as best as I can, but looking at the list, I noticed a hole, and wasn't sure why I hadn't noticed it before:

Detroit doesn't have a high-offense 1st line right winger. The top two RW we have currently are Tomas Holmstrom and Todd Bertuzzi, and with all respect to both, neither have the offensive talent to put up numbers like Hank Zetterberg on LW and Pavel Datsyuk at C. In reality, the current lineup only works because Detroit is only running two dedicated scoring lines and has two checking/grit lines. Successful Wings teams of the past have run more of a 3-1 lineup in favor of scoring lines, with that last line chalk full of grit and nastiness, able to really get in a team's face. Sadly, despite their efforts, the bottom two lines for Detroit last season did not really accomplish this.

So, with the prospect of some of the older Wings potentially saying goodbye either through retirement or re-assignment with another team (as well as Ledba and Williams almost assuredly being kicked to the curb), I pose this question: should Detroit try to set up three dedicated scoring lines to add more offensive depth and, more importantly, consistency? And if so, should the Wings make a move to gain a more offensively dangerous right winger?

I understand that Detroit struggled with injuries last year, and I haven't forgotten the March to the Playoffs. I do, however, remember a postseason plagued with inconsistent scoring, and losing key games when the top two lines simply couldn't cash in. I think a 1st line RW could help Detroit spread out their lines enough to create three scoring lines, and add the offensive depth to keep the Wings in the win column more consistently.

Here's a theory I came up with, just to play with: what about Pavol Demitra? Demitra, much like the Red Wings, is coming off a rough season, not even playing in 30 regular season games, but was still averaging around a point every game-and-a-half. His salary last year? $4 Million, which I feel has to come down with his short year last season an his age. If we could pick him up for between $3-3.5 Million, I would consider trying to acquire him. With Demitra, you have a guy to go on your 1st line, then you can bring Holmstrom down to the 2nd line and free up someone like Bertuzzi to bring offensive punch to what could now be a 3rd scoring line with more size and grit (something like Franzen-Helm-Bertuzzi). Then you have a 4th line that can focus on being as nasty as it likes with the opposition with Abdelkader leading it.

This is pure speculation, but the getting tougher shtick in the Playoffs only worked for us when we were also scoring goals. When the scoring touch wasn't there, it just looked like the kid who always got picked on in school trying to fight te playground bully: a lot of posturing, but very little difference in the outcome.

I say if the money's there, Kenny should at least take the time to look into it. Sometimes window shopping can pay off.