Monday, July 24, 2006

Depth Chart

In honor of our Select-A-Seat day this week, and given a recent IM conversation I had with Doug, I think I will write a post talking about the Sharks' current depth chart:

1st line : Bell, Thornton, Cheechoo.
2nd line : Bernier, Marleau, Michalek
3rd line : Grier, Smith, Nieminen
4th line : Goc, Rissmiller, Brown

#1 D : McLaren, Carle
#2 D: Hannan, Gorges/Ehrhoff
#3 D: Ehrhoff/Gorges, Davison/Murray

I like the current state of the forward lines... there's a good combination of grit and skill. The 3rd line could be called the "energy line" or the "checking line" or whatever, but there's really more skill than that. It's not Georges Laraque and Tie Domi- guys with basically no real puck skill. I was repeatedly surprised in particular by Ville Niemenen's hands and skating ability last season. And I've been watching Mike Grier since he starred at Boston University in 1995. He's not quite clever or fast enough to be a scoring star, but he has been lauded for his smarts and leadership ability.

The Sharks' defense is a horse of a different color. I'm convinced Carle will be an All-Star in 2 or 3 years, but I think it's too much to ask for him to be a top-4 defenseman now. He might just jump right in like Dion Phaneuf, but Phaneuf is clearly the exception and not the rule. I have serious reservations about both Josh Gorges and Rob Davison even as regular NHLers. Doug Murray can hit like a truck, but he skates like a truck too. The inexperience, and lets face it, lack of talent will hurt the Sharks this season. If the Sharks manage to trade for or sign a solid top-4 stay-at-home defensemen, the blue line corps will turn from one that has holes to one that has opportunities. No longer will Gorges, Ehrhoff, and Carle be forced to regularly take on the opposing top line and kill penalities, but can be worked into that role slowly, and will have an actual chance to win the job, instead of it being forced upon them.

1 comment:

dwsharks said...

Amen Mike. We do need another blueliner. It would be nice to see them use the money they saved on Ekman's deal to take on Sheldon Souray. He has made it known he wants to be on the West coast to be closer to his daughter. A 2nd round pick should do the trick - toss in Jim Fahy if you want.