based on what you’ve seen and read, knowing that most of us don’t go to the practices, what lines would you put out for the exhibition and why? Let’s get a conversation going here...
To first establish lines, you have to establish who plays what position. While wings can be largely interchangeable, not everyone can play center.
Based on last year, here is the positional breakdown of the forwards.
Left Wing: Abate, Conley, Keck, Sullivan-^, Sundberg-*
Center: Brushett, Kothenbuetel-#, Primeau, Prokop, Pulkkinen
Right Wing: Boyer-^, Jordan, Ward, Weiss-*
The defense I broke down simply by handedness.
Left-handed: Jones, Klehr, Knoepke, Proctor, Roy, Scanlin, Schuldt
Right-handed: Enns, Smallidge, Stewart
#- Kothenbuetel saw time at all 3 positions. ^- Boyer and Sullivan were only listed as forwards in research, they were placed based on handedness. *- Sundberg and Weiss saw time on both wings, they were placed based on handedness.
The difficulty with the exhibition game, is that Omaha generally dresses more than the requisite 18+2/19+3 roster. I suspect all 14 forwards will play (though, I'd hold Jordan and Pulkkinen out). I don't think he will dress all 10 defensemen. I would scratch Klehr and Jones -- letting Stewart dress at least as captain for influence on the ice.
$- rotation of Weiss, Jordan, Ward, and Sundberg
To be honest, I think we will see a random line generator for each period, as Gabs will probably mix things up to see who clicks.
You're probably right, but I took a flyer at it from this perspective...
Digging bag at scouting reports, plus what I have already seen, I came up with this:
Really think that Conley PK and Ward would be a productive group. Offensive, energy.
Adding a freshman (Brushett) to Sophmore line may seem reckless, but they need to be spread out and I like Prokop as a center as opposed to on wing.
He goes with Seniors next, backed by Kothebeutel in situations and relief.
4th line is sizeable and relatively solid, giving us what we need and adding some long needed relief.
I have a bias on defense, but would like to keep that close to the vest until I actually see some play to decide if the scouts really called this right.
We were thin up the middle last year. Pulkkinen, Primeau, and Alferd were the only true centers on the roster -- and Alfie couldn't win a faceoff to save his life. Olofsson and Galt got pressed into duty as centers, with Galt being worse than Riley.
I expect Kothenbeutel to be in the mix at center -- you can't rely on two freshmen to secure faceoffs. Travis was actually better than Teemu by percentage.
Let's be honest: we were abysmal at the dot -- and it's a contributing factor to wins and losses in the standings.
Kothenbeutel stands out because he took more than a handfull of faceoffs -- like Conley's 7-for-12. That said... in the exhibition, I think Conley might see some extended time in the circle. We simply have to find a solution. Pulkkinen's 50% success rate will not suffice -- though I think Primeau will improve on his 47%.
The past four years, we have been below average on faceoffs: 45%, 50%, 47%, 50%. Win the faceoff and you can control the play.
I’ve read very good things about Prokop and Sullivan in the circle, hence my picks for them. Prokop is a scrapper, and Sullivan is thought of as mature. Would like to see them get the shot.
Nolan Sullivan #19 (L, F, 6’0, 200lbs, Muskegon Lumberjacks, 1999)-The Lumberjack captain was a force all game. Was excellent at protecting the puck with his body as well as using cut backs and body position to create time and space. Great size and excelled on the PK. Always in good position to break up plays with strong stick and blocking shots. Won big draws and did the little things extremely well. Went to the net hard and was rewarded burying a nice goal. Grade: A- College: Nebraska-Omaha
Noah was all over the ice every shift he was out there. He is a strong skater with a smooth, powerful stride and he puts it to good use. He was moving at full speed and never took a shift off. He was tenacious on the forecheck, used his active stick to disrupt numerous passes and did a great job of clogging passing lanes. He was a monster at the faceoff dot and was a regular fixture on the penalty kill. His defensive game is excellent and appeared to be his stronger suit this weekend, but that takes nothing away from his offensive abilities. He makes good decisions with the puck and sees the ice well, all the while using his speed to gain zone entries and beat defensemen wide. He has no fear of driving the puck to the net either. An all-around excellent weekend for Prokop, showcasing nice two-way ability.
There is a lot more of the same type of stuff both on the same site, and others. Going into the year, I don't think we can know how it will shake out but I believe that we WILL be entertained. I do believe that if the underclassmen gel, next year could be a big one...
The exhibition is going to be 'lines in a blender'.
I will be interested to look at the faceoff numbers after the game. I honestly expect to see a lot of guys taking faceoffs. If Manitoba is a test of anything, faceoffs will be one -- some of those guys have played professionally. It's a good measure in a realtively non-competitive game.
Probably end up facing off against my boy Zach Goberis!