Discussion in 'Washington Capitals' started by PuckBlueprint, Sep 19, 2020.
Let me know what you think!
Sorry if its against the rules.
We haven't seen that much of him in his short while here, but what we have seen of him is very encouraging. All the coaches here have said that he is really working hard to get back into the NHL, and very receptive in trying to do the things now that he was criticized for in the past. I think he might have been a little humbled after getting sent down to Anaheim's AHL team and then subsequent trade, but it seems like he is taking it in stride and worked hard in what he understands is his best chance to get back. Enough for him to get a 1-way contract with the Caps.
I'm happy for him, and I can't wait to actually see him play outside of scrimmages and in real games.
Absolutely. A lot of opinions from his draft year scouting report still kinda stick with him like all offence, defensive liability, etc. Don't get me wrong, he'll never be Mark Stone but neither is Kessel, Kane, etc. But he's come a long way in positioning in his own end and becoming less of a liability. He did well with the Ducks, but with Rakell, Silfverberg, Kase being established and youngsters like Terry who they've drafted and developed, he really became an odd man out. Oddly enough, he'd have great chances cracking the Penguins and Ducks lineup on the right side as both teams are thinner now than they were. But I really like the opportunity he has with the Caps the most.
I think a coach like Laviolette is perfect for a player like Sprong (as well as some other Caps players).
Caps fans are “hopeful” that he could turn into Brett Connolly 2.0 for the team. That’s our ceiling, IMO.
Or he may just be a tweener. Great AHL talent that can’t translate to the NHL. That’s our floor.
We will see. As I’ve posted a few times, I’d like to see him and McMichael stick with the big club, and play in the top 9. Trade away Hathaway.
Ovechkin - Kuznetsov - Wilson
McMichael - Backstrom - Oshie
Vrana - Eller - Sprong
Hagelin - Dowd - Panik
If you're demoing Vrana to the third line the he's definitely Bura 2.0. I don't think it's time for that yet. Give him 2LW to start and hope he (and the whole team) work to keep their spots.
If you put Vrana and Sprong on the same line and McMichael with Backstrom, who gets the matchup defensive assignment? I would expect Laviolette to tighten up their defensive game and structure. Cant do that with those options.
I wasn’t really thinking in terms of 3rd vs 2nd. I was thinking modern NHL and 3 scoring lines. I think in order for McMichael to start well, having 2 terrific defensive and veteran line mates would be huge for him.
I also think a puck possession center like Eller would be good for Vrana. My concern w that line is Sprong maybe doesn’t have an identity to him to add value there. But he’s a shooter and a crease guy, from what I’ve seen (small sample size), is maybe it would gel. Vrana may also feel less pressure w Eller.
it’s really mix and match for me with those top 9 forwards. The guy that is getting an ES demotion is Hagelin. But he’s #1 PK winger, so it’s fine.
I also think Hags-Dowd-Panik allows for a much more usable 4th line. Assuming Dowd can keep up. He the weak link there, IMO (not saying Boyd would be better, but I simply don’t see either McMichael or Sprong being viable 4th line players)
See above. Backstrom and Oshie. I think you switch it around based on game situations and matchups. Let’s not pretend Vrana is anything defensively “wow” either. So McMichael isn’t going to create much difference there. Save perhaps better at draws when pressed to it, and a seemingly “headier” player to boot.
I know you like your slots and structure, but IMO that’s over thinking it.
Ovi Kuz X
McMicheal Backstrom X
X Eller Oshie
fill in the top 9 with sprong Vrana and Wilson.
Need some fresh blood in the lines
Yes, Vrana is not much defensively but he's not a baby rookie. So much of defense is reading and so much of reading is the experience of having seen it over and over again to know the right read.
Past the defensive issues the player skating with Backstrom and Oshie has offensive pressure. Pressure that Vrana will have regardless of where he is playing and pressure the kid doesnt need.
I wouldnt put Hagelin on the 4th line either. Different strokes and all
Being a baby rookie is not the end of times. You seem to share the Capitals' aversion to the idea that you can give a young player room to grow without him having to pry the opportunity out of you.
Correct me if I'm wrong but Backstrom was being fed 3rd/4th line minutes as a baby rookie, being "brought along slowly" and "learning the NHL" almost right up until the coaching change, and then became a 20+ minute forward who soaked up tons of experience in all situations on his way to becoming a staple.
Lets not compare Nicklas Backstrom to Connor McMichael. Thats not fair. Second, you are dismissing that breaking Backstrom in easy helped him when they moved him up in the depth chart. Further, the Caps are under pressure to win a cup now. When Boudreau moved Backstrom(who i think was playing wing) to center the Caps were thought to be already out of a playoff spot. I also think I remember that Boudreau moved Backstrom from wing to center. He didnt start him with Ovechkin. His first assist under Boudreau at even strenth was on a Donald Brashaer goal.
They didnt throw him in the deep end. Them moving him up in the lineup coincided with circles hurting his shoulder also.
Am I conservative? Sure. I am assuming a normal camp for the kid and not him blowing the top off of it and Vrana having a camp to expectations. Vrana is going to have big pressure. He is going to be told that he has to put him numbers. He is going to feel that skating with Oshie or Sprong but is more likely to get his game going with Backstrom and Oshie. McMichael meanwhile is allowed to get his skates under him before skating a line expected to produce.
I have no problem whatever with McMichael putting up some numbers with Eller against lighter competition and moving him up if Vrana isnt making it work. I just wouldnt start that way
I remember a lot of him producing despite poor minutes, and an overwhelming belief that Hanlon was mishandling the talent he was given so that Backstrom could "learn defense" down the lineup. It took Boudreau a handful of games, as a new coach willing to take the situation in stride, to realize Backstrom had more to give and he got a ton out of him.
Frankly McMichael could have made a lesser team out of camp last year, you and I both know his preseason was impressive. I recognize that the teams aren't dealing with the same expectations but if you want to prolong your window, you have to let your youth get real opportunities. I get the sense that you would argue against DeBrincat and other rookie surprises out of the gate, and this team can't afford to play conservative with their window anymore. Impact has to come from guys who aren't 35 years old and the only way to do that is to press them to the fire.
I could see McMichael on the 2nd line if there were a hole there. But there isnt. The guy that was 11th in the league in evg is playing there. So I dont see the rush. You write as if I am saying the kid shouldnt be on the team.
Well, no, I write as if it's not just this player we're talking about. It's a trend, not necessarily a fault but not somewhere we will always agree. I'm also not suggesting that McMichael replace Vrana, but you had to get around to the reason why: it's because Vrana is a legitimate even strength goal scoring threat. It's got nothing really to do with how much they've learned to play defense because if that's what it were about, Vrana's not impressive enough to say he's earned a ton of slack there.
Hedging behind experience and learning defense is the same bullshit that keeps leaving the Capitals top prospects little room to grow. You're so afraid of letting players make mistakes that they can grow from that you won't give them opportunities to blossom until they're essentially perfecting a role they're not even suited for as prospects.
Its multiple things. Pressure being high among them. I am not entirely against not bringing in a 2LD and letting Fehervary do it, but I wouldnt want to gamble my season on it.
I am afraid? Dude, Ive died twice and been brought back. Whether a kid loses games for a hockey team doesnt scare me. I have a 20 year background in a performance oriented industry where I created the producted and managed the team. Throwing people in the deep end to sink or swim wasnt my style. Its your's then. We disagree. Lets see what MacLellan and Lavy say.
Personally after all this arguing i bet its less than 50 50 that McMichael makes the team and then you can yell at the team about it
Sometimes you take hfboards too personally.
Our third line was trash this year. Using Vrana to revive it is a viable option.
“passion” Tex is just ramping it up for the Lavi era.
on Sprong, how’s his shot? That’s what made Conno 1.0.
Using your 2nd best even strenth goal scorer to pump up a 3rd line doesnt strike me as the way to go.
Particularly when you have a dumpster dive on the other wing
Today’s NHL is about spreading the wealth around.
McJesus can play 2LW?
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