Tuesday, 27 February 2007

On The Perimeter (a Smyth Continuum posting)

The problem with starting this blog so late (in my fandom) is that I have so much to say and have said so much (on other blogs and at certain message boards) . Hence, when something momentous happens, something so momentous that it outright REQUIRES me to start a blog of my own, I actually have to go back in time in order to start at the beginning. So...

Perimeter players

We all know who they are. Playing on the wings or at the center spot they tend to have good skill sets but be defensively deficient, disappear when leaned on and don't play any sort of effective physical game. The best have very good skill sets and are 'okay' defensively. The very best can dominate a game when they are 'on'.

Problem is that the whole reason they are perimeter players in the first place is because they lack the desire to play every game with the switch turned 'on'. Yashin, Huselius, Jagr, Sykora, Cassels, Lupul. Rank them or slot them in, in terms of effectiveness, where you will.

There IS a place for perimeter players in the NHL. Physical teams that lack in offensive skill sets can get a great deal of mileage out of a couple of perimeter guys (Huselius is, currently, a great example of this in Calgary). The trick is balance.

Too many bangers and your team can't score. Too many perimeter players and you get walked over by a physical team that can match or neutralize your skill. At the highest level (the NHL) it all becomes about exerting YOUR will to dominate that of your opponent. The wildcard in hockey is the goalie... but that is a wholly different post for another day.

So. Given that this post is from the past, about the future, if someone had asked me to discuss the prospects of the NY Islanders before February 27, 2007, I would have told them that:

- Petteri Nokelainen should be avoided because the risk factors are too high - guy doesn't score and how good is his defensive play in the 'tap me I hear a whistle calling' NHL?,
- Ryan O'Marra is the real deal but tops out at 'okay' 2nd line center - probable 3rd line guy with the question being 'Halpern, Madden, Peca, Marchant good? or Reasoner good'?,
- Jeff Tambellini is a player I don't know enough about to even form an opinion** - to be fair he seems like a pretty decent scorer so maybe I should care
- Grebeshkov will be a very good defenseman in the NHL should he ever come back over - the problem wasn't his play it was his salary demands,
- Kohn and O'Neill are pretty good d-man prospects that don't get much press and of the two I like O'Neill better,
- Robert Nilsson is a perimeter player and the question becomes - how perimeter? Nolan and MacT demand similar attributes from their players and Nilsson can't play for Nolan,
- Kyle Okposo is the real deal and is one of the best prospects out there - period.

It is now the future. Nilsson is an Edmonton Oiler.

The question is pretty simple: on a team that was already heavy with perimeter players of varying skill levels (Hemsky, Sykora, Lupul, Nedved) where does Nilsson even fit in?


In regards to the Smyth trade itself,
mudcrutch is rather upset about it all while speeds and lowetide thought it pretty good.


** generally a bad thing as it means the player/prospect has never done anything to get my attention and so I don't really care

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