I know that only a couple posts ago I was talking about this team turning a corner...turns out there was a brick wall around that corner...and though we still have a chance, I get much more excited about what this team COULD be next year.
This list isn't intended as what will happen, but what could happen. Some of it is very much a dream and some of it is about being stuck with a player I'd rather move...but here goes.
Forwards OUT: Penner, Pouliot, Nilsson, Reddox, Jacques, MacIntyre, Moreau
Defencemen OUT: Staios, Strudwick
Random d-man (.5)
Goalies OUT: Roloson, Deslauriers
Coaching Staff - HC-Steve Ludzik A-Rob Daum A-Charlie Huddy A-Perry Pearn
This is a dream for many reasons, though I think you could actually accomplish it.
I like taking chances with goalies. One of those 2 goalies is gonna go for cheap and I say we need him. You also grab this Gustavsson guy from Europe and make it a competition. Get a veteran backup insurance policy for cheap too, I like Sanford.
On D, we're deep enough to play Peckham there. All 5 top 5 guys can play 20 in an evening if they have to.
At forward, the guy we need on this team is Jason Arnott. He's cheaper than Franzen would be, actually plays centre, and is consistent, strong, mean, has a great shot, is a leader. The guy is was and always has been since '93 what this team needed. He was one of our great screwups in contrast to Weight, one of our great successes.
Line 2 is fast, responsible, and can create offence. It also gets our young guys out of the damn faceoff circle.
Line 3 is a royal pain in the butt to play against. Laperriere is a guy I've always watched and admired (other than the Smid thing) during his play for other teams, Kopecky is big and is following a solid career track for a low-minute Detroit guy so we should give him a little more cash and grab him before he becomes Johan Franzen, Pisani should finally be back to form and playing for a new deal.
The fourth line might be my favorite. Schremp finally makes this team because Ludzik really likes him and gives him his shot once and for all. Brodziak gets some competent linemates. Kotalik gets to do what he best at; play responsible hockey with the occasional hit and a booming shot on passes from a guy who knows how to find him. This line would do well.
The coaching staff I'll admit to having not much insider knowledge of this particular group, but Ludzik was solid in Tampa with a really interesting team, I've always liked Daum's style, Huddy can obviously coach and develop d-men, and Pearn is a local guy who knows the game and has a lot of experience. This is a versatile group that would get things done and has the right mix of personality and skill. They're also equipped with a team that's bigger, more efficient, and strong up the middle and on D. That's recipe to win.
Omark and Eberle both have great camps but fail to make the team because we're a really good team that can afford to take some time with them. Omark can go lead the AHL in scoring and we'll fit him in soon enough.