I don't want to pretend like I know more than coach Davis Payne, but he doesn't try to tell me how to loom like an accountant and he's pretty good at that, so we'll just call this an free exchange of information.
Tinker all you want, overthink all you want, Davi
ds, but the tried-and-true NHL model is this:
- Roll four lines, giving the top scoring minutes to lines one and two, the top checking assignment to line three and the energy/secondary checking line role to line four. If line three and four can also score from time to time, all the better.
- As best as possible, each line should have a playmaker, a sniper and a power forward.
- Your defensive pairings should be one offensive-minded guy and one defensively-responsible guy.
- Your defensive pairings should have one right hander and one left hander (harder to do since only 30% of NHL blueliners are righties.
All that said, here are the lines you should be using, D-Payne.
T.J. Oshie (sniper) - Patrik Berglund (playmaker) - Chris Stewart (power forward)
Alexander Steen (playmaker) - David Backes (power forward) - Matt D'Agostini (sniper)
Vladimir Sobotka (playmaker) - Jason Arnott (power forward) - Jamie Langenbrunner (power forward)
Evgeny Grachev - Scott Nichol - Chris Porter
Barret Jackman (LH, defensive) - Alex Pietrangelo (RH, offensive)
Roman Polak (RH, defensive) - Kevin Shattenkirk (RH, offensive)
Nikita Nikitin (LH, offensive) - Carlo Colaiacovo (LH, offensive)
The only assignments that go against my rules are on the second and third pairings, where I've put two right handers together and two left handers together. Bring Kent Huskins back (lefty) and everything goes back to normal as Jackman slides down one pair, Polak switches to the right side on the third pair and Colaiacovo switches back to the left side (only on the right because I'd rather have the vet playing his off-hand side).
Go ahead and ignore me, Davis, but you know I'm right - this is the lineup you should be running 90% of the time.
I assume some of you might disagree, tell me where I'm wrong in the comments.