Assuming we sign Billy Guerin, our top 9 is pretty much set. That leaves three guys left in the line-up and 1-2 extra guys. We have a problem and it needs to be solved on who gets those last 4-5 spots. There is one major variable in this problem and his name is Blair Betts. If he is healthy (which I am not counting on), then we are much better off. If he is still injured then we need some maneuvering. There has been lots of talk all over this site, so I am trying to centralize the conversation.
* I am assuming all of this without Ian Laperriere because of his head injury
Scenerio One: Blair Betts is healthy
Last season we acquired Betts and Lappy to take PK minutes away from our best players (Richards and Carter). If we do not have a fourth legitimate PK guy (I am assuming that Richards/Giroux/Carter are the first PK set, with them all rotating, while Betts and another guy man the second unit) then we are in trouble. Having all three guys kill penalties without sharing minutes is a predicament. How do we solve it? One of our fourth line guys. If Betts is healthy, the easy answer is have a fourth line of Shelly/Betts/Powe with Carcillo as our top 9 replacement player. I think that without Lappy to fight, it is important to have Shelly over Carcillo. But Powe must play now that Lappy is done.
Scenario Two: Blair Betts is not ready to go
The common hockey fan says, "problem solved... Throw Carcillo into the lineup for Betts, and move Powe over to center. That would be fine, but then we are down a man on the PK. Solution: Andreas Nodl. He impressed everyone in the playoffs, then got put on the shelf for a not healthy Lappy. We have been talking about how snake bitten Nodl has been, but I think this is his opportunity to play. Unless a guy like JVR, Lieno, or Guerin can kill PK's then Nodl has to be the guy. Playing this over and over in my mind, I have only one other alternative, and it is kind of out there. Remember Luca Sbisa? Remember how we dressed 7 d-men and played him at winger? Well, if Pronger isn't ready for the start of the season, which he probably wont be, then why not dress Oscars Bartullis and play him on the fourth line with Powe and either Carcillo or Shelly. The benefits here are he can eat up some d-minutes, and he is young enough that maybe... just maybe... he could be a defensive forward. We tried it with Sbisa, so why not?
This conversation has been all over today since we found out about Lappy... now that it has regestered, who would it be in the fourth line if you were Coach Pete.