I know, I know. Without a season to speak of, where's the fun in throwing out potential line combos? Just because our players are scattered all over the place -- in European leagues, at home, on their couch eating potato chips -- doesn't mean that the coaching staff isn't still trying to get things ready for the season. It's probably a drag for them as well to know that their line combinations won't get any ice time anytime soon, but at least whenever camp decides to start, they'll be ready to try some new things out.
In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the other day, Jeremy Rutherford spoke with Ken Hitchcock about a variety of things. One of these was where Hitch saw Vladimir Tarasenko fitting in when he came back from the KHL and the season began. Here's what Hitchcock said:
"Our plan was to play one line together all the time and see where it gets and that was (Andy) McDonald, (Alex) Steen and (Vladimir) Tarasenko. That was our plan. The rest we were going to experiment with. We were going to keep twosomes together. We were going to keep (David) Backes and (T.J.) Oshie together, (Patrick) Berglund and (David) Perron together, we knew that worked. But that’s the one line (McDonald, Steen, Tarasenko), we met with all three players and we said this is the line that’s going to stay together from start to finish. It’s going to practice together, it’s going to play together and I don’t see us coming off that.
"I watched those guys. They skated out here as a group and the two or three times they skated together they looked terrific. And both Alex and Andy had really embraced Vladi, and the whole team embraced Vladi, so I think if we started up tomorrow, we wouldn’t change our mind on that at all. We really feel confident that it would be a good combination to start and go with."
What do you think of Hitch's plan? Do you like the idea of each line having two core players with the third being available for movement between lines, or do you think the whole shebang should be shuffled whenever need be? Also, that would probably be the second line, with David Backes, T.J. Oshie, and David Perron remaining together, with possibly Perron being moved to play wherever Berglund is. This week's question is this: what're your ideal lines?
Hitch also answers questions regarding defensive pairings in his interview, so be sure to check that out and add that in the comments.