Today’s Daily Cup of Joe identifies a few players whose placement in the lineup could indicate how Rod Brind’Amour wants to construct the forward lines for the 2020-21 season.
In an ideal world, Andrei Svechnikov would pair with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. The trio played well together in the 2020 NHL Playoffs. But historically, Brind’Amour has not been the type to build purpose-built lines, and he has shown a preference for balance rather than top-loading the lineup.
So more than any other forward, I will be curious to see what Brind’Amour does initially with Svechnikov. I think he could begrudgingly push Svechnikov to the Trocheck’s line with the hope of sparking it. Early in the 2019-20 season, Svechnikov showed a playmaking versatility to his game racking up assists. And though his stint with Trocheck and Necas was short-lived, he did help that line generate offense. Brind’Amour knows what he has in a first line that includes Svechnikov and will likely use it at some point during the 2020-21 season, but I think early on he might put an emphasis on getting Trocheck’s line going.
As noted above, Brind’Amour has not generally created purpose-built lines for checking. Even with Jordan Staal, Brind’Amour has regularly skated less defensively capable forwards with him in trying to generate scoring depth. Might Brind’Amour deviate a bit from what has been his preference through two years and try to give Staal a bit more support with a goal of building more of a checking-focused third line? Jesper Fast very much reminds me of Joakim Nordstrom who meshed very well with Staal at least defensively. A Staal/Fast combination with another defense-leaning forward would suggest that Brind’Amour is open to giving that line a focused role and counting on more scoring from the top two lines and a fourth line that should be above average offensively. If Fast instead finds his way onto more of a scoring line early on, that would suggest a preference for balance.
Nino Niederreiter/Ryan Dzingel
Both Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Dzingel have at times provided finishing in their NHL careers. Both players failed to put the puck in the net during the 2019-20 season. With decent opportunities, Niederreiter finished with only 11 goals and Dzingel only eight. I will be curious to see which, if either, of these players Brind’Amour tries to jump start early with a favorable position in the lineup and/or on the power play. The team becomes deeper offensively if one or both of these players can find a 20-30 goal scoring pace. Will Brind’Amour make a concerted effort to see if that can happen? Or will they get bumped down the depth chart in favor of other options?
What say you Canes fans?
1) What do you think Brind’Amour will do with Andrei Svechnikov at least early on? What would you do?
2) Is it possible for Jordan Staal to get back to the top of his game at least in terms of checking match ups with a bit o help on his wings? Will Brind’Amour go this route, or will he instead try to add more offense to Staal’s wings to balance scoring?
3) Who else do you see as key players to watch in terms of how Brind’Amour builds his forward lines at least initially?
1. Svech should start on the first line with Aho and Turbo – that is the best to kickstart the team. Anything else dilutes the offensive game.
2. Staal has slowed down just enough. And he has never played well with offensive-minded wings – not with Skinner and not with Dzingel and not with Svech. He is a possession center – winning faceoffs and driving play through the neutral zone, and being a big body in the defensive zone. But his game is notably in decline.
3. Who ends up on Geekie’s wings – he is not a typical 4C and he has great offensive instincts. His line should be a solid depth offensive line with the right players at wing. I actually like Dzingel on Geekie’s wing.
Foegele and McGinn are too similar in play with each other – not sure where you put one or the other. But Foegele has shown enough offensive blast in the past that he also might be better suited to be on Geekie’s wing.
Pretty safe to say that Fast will be one of the Staal wings. If we think of Rod’s likes of pairs, we know Aho/TT is one, I’d say Trocheck/Necas (though I’d prefer Svech/Necas), Staal/Fast, and Geekie/Martinook (just guessing here)are the pairs, we just need to find the “joiners”.
Looking to get wins hot and heavy in the beginning, I’d put Svech with Aho/TT. I think I’d have McGinn with Staal and Fast. Kind of inclined at this point to have Foegele with Geekie/Martinook (these guys might be able to give that depth scoring we need). That gives me Dzingel and Nino as options for Troceck/Necas. At this point, I’m inclined to go Dzingel. I think they need that guy that’s a shooter and is basically replacing Haula with Trocheck on how we started last season.