|28-27-8, 64 points||33-22-7, 73 points|
|12th in Eastern Conference
||7th in Western Conference|
Die By The Blade
The Buffalo News
Quick shot from me today but a few questions I'd like to pose to the group:
- If Logan Couture plays tonight do you put him on the wing with Thornton and Clowe (thereby leaving Pavelski-Winnik-Marleau intact) or do you reunite Pavelski-Thornton-Marleau and have Clowe-Couture-Wingels/Winnik play together?
- In other words, the question is this-- do you think Winnik is a long-term candidate to play with Pavelski-Marleau as a tough minutes line that goes up against top competition during the postseason or does he eventually settle into a third line role?
- Does Martin Havlat's return (whenever it comes) change any of that? How about Dominic Moore?
- The Sharks had an off-day yesterday so I doubt Winnik and/or Galiardi get any PK time tonight. San Jose's coaching staff has consistently taken their time (and rightfully so) working recently acquired players into special teams situations so they can learn the system at a productive pace. Does the rapid-fire nature of San Jose's schedule in March (17 games in 31 days) mean Winnik and Galiardi don't make much of an impact in this situation?
- When this team is completely healthy are they the deepest team in the West?
- Cap space is a useless figure to some teams in the NHL. Some teams are able to find a way around the soft cap by getting creative with contract payout structure and burying mistakes in the minors. Approximately how much money did Buffalo spend this season on NHL contracts?
- I leave Winnik with Pavelski and Marleau tonight. Points are at a premium, the line blender will make its appearance eventually. You stick with what's working in the here and now.
- I like the idea of three scoring lines, so if Winnik truly can come together with Pavelski-Marleau then spreading things out accordingly is an excellent play for San Jose. That line also frees up some space for Thornton and Couture to get some easier looks.
- Martin Havlat's return changes everything. Havlat is a guy that is best with a scorer on his line, so that rules out Thornton. If Winnik sticks with Pavelski-Marleau however, you're left with Havlat, Thornton, Couture, Clowe, Wingels, Moore, and Galiardi as the forwards who would play together. Three centers, four wingers. A lot of options, but none that necessarily have much history behind them.
- Yes, the schedule does impact how Winnik and Galiardi are used in this situation. Galiardi probably doesn't play any substantial minutes on the PK until next season and Winnik probably eases his way up around 1:45 by the time the playoffs come around. In other words, it will help disperse some minutes but San Jose will still count on their regulars to carry the torch in this situation.
- It all depends on Martin Havlat and Antti Niemi.
- About 75 million dollars.
Prediction: Sharks win 2-1. Can't spell win without Wingels and Winnik.