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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Playoff Lines and Rotation

The first of my articles this week deals with the lines and rotation for the playoffs. We're going to have to assume that everyone is healthy... even though we don't know that for sure. The only things we know for sure is that DeSerres is not going to be ready to go and Chaffin is out for the season.

Line 1
Rai - Boyer - Scott

This line has been working very well together and it allows O'Brien to slip down to the 2nd line and give you some real strength and depth on that line.

Line 2

Parker - Nielsen - O'Brien

I love this line... this line has a center who can win faceoffs, a couple of scorers, can backcheck and an overall plus/minus that is still on the plus side thanks to O'Brien

Line 3

Leblanc - Cloud - Richard

Once we get down here it gets a little tougher. This could be a very nice energy/defensive line. Richard excels as a penalty killer and keeping him on the 3rd line keeps him freed up to do that job. This line can hit a little, fight a little, and would excel at chipping the puck to the corner to win battles down low.

Line 4

Acolatse - (Wells/Lockhart/Silvester)

Gets a little tougher down here too. Having Acolatse down on line 4 probably limits his minutes a little bit, but it also frees him up to get those additional minutes on the 1st or 2nd power play unit, which is a position where he can excel. The other two spots are a little tougher. Lockhart has shown great energy at times and is the only guy on this team who consistently is willing to hit people... but he also has appeared to wear down as the season has gone along and he may not have much left in the tank. Silvester and Wells have both shown flashes at times and both have shown nearly nothing at other times. I think you rotate these two spots between these three kids with each taking a turn getting the healthy scratch.

Lund is a scratch...


Defense is fairly easy...

Hickey - Haber

Haber hasn't looked great lately but when paired with Hickey he does just fine (most are this way). Pairing Hickey with Haber allows for...

Warg - Schappert

This pairing is a natural second pairing with Warg making incredible strides over the course of the season and Schappert being the teams most improved player.

With Chaffin out...

Fleming - Dillon

This becomes your 3rd pairing and really shouldn't play much at all... and really only goes out when needed. I like how Fleming has played lately but this is the playoffs and he isn't quite ready for the big time.

Power Play lines

PP 1

Rai - Scott - Boyer - Hickey - Acolatse

PP 2

Parker - Obrien - Cloud (Nielsen?) - Warg - Schappert

I'm not as sure whether Nielsen fits into the plans on the Power Play. Nielsen will be one of your first penalty killers if healthy so he may not be in regular rotation on the PP. Also depends on his health... but we're assuming he is good to go.

Penalty Killers - always depending on the guy or guys in the box obviously.

Scott - Nielsen - Hickey - Haber

Richard - Boyer - Warg - Schappert


Seattle is really top heavy and I think Sumner would do well to cut the rotation down in the playoffs. Unlike past years where the team was easily able to rotate 3 and sometimes 4 lines... I think this team is really only 2.5 lines deep. I know some players are simply not going to be happy about that, but there is a reason why this team has so many glaring minus ratings. To beat Spokane... I think the top 2 lines need to shine and the 3rd lines need to hold down the fort when they are in there for this team to have a chance.

There are a handful of line situations that I tinkered with... so let me know what you guys think... I have a feeling there will be plenty of different opinions on this.


Anonymous said...

Other than replacing Neilsen with Richard on PP line #2, i completely agree with your out look on your lines.

Line 4 is VERY tough. Acolatse, Silvester and Wells though is what i think we need to go with.

Unknown said...

i agree with most of this. im really big on a cloud leblanc and neilsen line. i think that line would really excel. letting cloud and leblanc crash while neilsen stays back in more of a defensive forward like he did with bud and greg last year. richy has really played well and it seems his offense is really getting going, getting him on a line with a playmaker like jimmy would really help him out. i would go with something like this...

rai boyer scott

parker obrien richard

leblanc neilsen cloud

acolatse silvester wells

i would keep the d exactly how you have it.

hickey haber

warg schappert

dillon fleming

one thing ive noticed lately is that are d has really shuffled through out the whole game. i just hope we dont get caught with a dillon haber line out there, cause then we are in trouble.

also, if this team does fall down 2 to 0... i would really like to see jacobs, sanvido and muth all play. beating spoke is going to be tough, and it would be really nice to get those guys some experience.


Anonymous said...

So according to Thom, Colin Jacobs has been added to the playoff roster.

Anonymous said...

So let me through this out....





I was temted to through Jacobs on the line with Parker and Neilsen but thought better of it. This kid is going to be a good one from the sounds of it though.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with quite a bit first of all I don't know how healthy Nielson will be even if back. I would go....





Scratches - Wells, Lund, Jacobs

If Nielsen doesn't play I move Lockhart to play with Cloud/LeBlanc. And Richard up to Boyer/O'Brien.... And put Wells with Acolotse/Silvester.

People seem to say Luke is breaking down, but he didn't even turn 16 till 3 months into the season. And I think has played better than Wells all season. I keep him on.

On defense I agree that the less time Haber and Dillon are out the better the chances. Fleming is still undersized and young. The others need to elevate because it's going to take a lot to pull any sort of upset.

In reality it would be nice to see the young guys get more playing time because to win a championship we first would need to through defending champion Spokane... Most likely best team in West Vancouver in the 2nd round......Then most likely the hottest team in the West Kelowna....And finally the best team in the league Calgary.... That would be the road. As much as I want the team to succeed the outlook is bleak...

Anonymous said...

Boyer has stepped up his game recently and he really played well on the line with Obrien and Scott. Rai and Scott have played excellent together most of the season. Richard has been playing well the last few games with Cloud and LeBlanc. Lockhart has out played both Wells and Silvester all season and plays the center position extremely well. The last 4 or 5 games of the season Wells has been with Lockhart and Acolatse. That line was effective, played with a lot of energy and seemed to click. So, I'd leave it the same. Jacobs looked alright for the 2 games he played in Dec but I'm not sure he could step in and be effective for us during the playoffs. Of course who knows if Rai and Nielsen are 100%. That could change everything!





Scratches - Silvester, Lund, Jacobs

Hickey has been amazing all season. But our defence has had problems since the beginning of the season. But if they can play strong I like our chances.


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