glen a richter wrote:
I feel more confident this year then last year at this time.
I feel confident IF:
1. Whoever ends up being between the pipes each night plays like two seasons ago.
2. The defense stays strong on a nightly basis.
3. The whole team decides to play 60 minutes instead of 40 minutes on a nightly basis.
4. Schwartz, Berglund and Tarasenko all have breakout offensive seasons.
5. Jaskin and Rattie make the team and contribute positively, in some way.
#1 and #2 should happen, #3 is dependent on leadership, particularly from Backes, which based on last season I think is poor leadership. At some point you have to stand up and tell the guys to stop putzing around and play the franking game right. Leadership by example is great and all, but it's not the type of leadership this team needs. #4 and #5 are dependent on Hitch loosening the reigns a little and letting the offensive guys be more creative--something I don't think is part of his playbook for this season.
That seems like a reasonable list. Agree on 1 and 2. It angers me that 3 even needs mentioning (not at you for mentioning it, but at the players that don't play a full 60). I don't know what to expect of Jaskin and Rattie, but I hope they contribute. 4 is the key IMO.
-I think Schwartz is going to be legit top 6 from the start this year. He seemed to really pick it up at the end of last year, and I'm really excited to see what he does with a year under his belt.
-I fear that we've seen Berglund break out already. Maybe not, but he has scored in bunches a few times but then disappeared. Maybe this is the year he finds consistency, but I have my doubts as to whether that will ever happen. If he is consistently at the top of his game this year, he will be the best player we've had on our roster in a decade though.
-No idea what to expect from Tank. Literally none whatsoever. He had flashes of brilliance last year, but they were pretty few and far between. That doesn't concern me too much because he was a rookie transitioning from the KHL, but still is a question mark. The conditioning thing bothers me some, but he is down 10 pounds this year (he weighed 229 last year?!?!??!). I have high aspirations for him longterm, but I really don't know when to expect him to come into his own. Hopefully it's this season.