I'll start with the defense for this year. I've suggested on a few posts that they may want to bring back Sean O'Donnell for one more year to split time with some of the young guys like Bartulis, Gustafsson and Marshall. Everyone was pretty much against this idea for valid reasons such as age, injury concerns, and him playing against weaker competition.
So, if we don't bring back SOD, what should they do? Do you bring in a different veteran D-man or do you go with 2 of Bartulis, Gustafsson or Marshall?
Part of my concern with not bringing in a veteran is that none of the young guys got much playing time last year. Bartulis played 13 games, Gustafsson played 3, and Marshall played none. If we go this route, what happens if Pronger isn't healthy enough to start the year or if he is plagued by injuries again ?
And this leads into the second part of my post. How does everyone see Bartulis, Gustafsson, and Marshall developing down the road ? I think they can all be solid second and third pair defensemen but I'm not sure if any are top pair, elite D-men.
So do we start drafting top defensive prospects over the next few years (assuming we have any high draft picks) or do we try to move Timonen and trade for an elite D-man to fill that need?
Also, what are our options with Pronger's 35 + contract ? Do we have any or do we just have to eat that money for the next six years ? I can't see anyone trading us for him but can we buy it out at some point?
Looking forward to everyone replies. I have been very impressed with the level of hockey knowledge and the discussions on this site.