Calgary released their official starting line-up for 2013 yesterday. So now, after almost 10 momnths of wondering, waiting, debating and arguing, we can finally start discussing actual line combinations and match-ups for this iteration of the team.
For those who missed it, here’s the list.
Bob Hartley has been running with particular duos during training camp and there’s a better than even chance many of them will stick when things starts for real tomorrow evening. The most enduring pairs seemed to be Tanguay-Iginla, Backlund-Baertschi for the forwards, while the defense seemed to settle out at Giordano-Bouwmeester and Butler-Wideman.
Feel free to keep that in mind when constructing your line-up. Or not. For this exercise, you can go with what you think is most likely or what is most ideal. Or some combination therein.
My line-up looks like this…
- Glencross – Tanguay – Iginla
- Baertschi – Backlund – Cammalleri
- Comeau – Stajan/Hudler – Stempniak
- Horak/Begin – Jones – Jackman
Im willing to give Tanguay at center a chance, if only because I really like the second lines’ potential to do damage.
The third line is a dogs breakfast, but that’s true almost no matter what you do with Stajan at this point. The other obvious problem that jumps out is: who plays the tough minutes? It has to be Iginla’s line in this configuration, but that could be a disaster, especially with Tanguay playing center since he’s not practiced at that position.
Another option would be to drop Glencross down with Backlund, put Comeau on their line and then give them the most defensive zone draws and hard match-ups. Then move Baertschi or Cammalleri up with Tanguay and Iginla and give them as much of the underbelly as possible:
- Tanguay/Baertschi – Cammalleri – Iginla
- Baertschi – Stajan/Hudler – Stempniak
- Glencross – Backlund – Comeau
This way, Stajan and Baertschi stick to facing other middle-tier forwards, Iginla’s line doesn’t have to take a lot of own-zone draws against other top guns and…well Backlund gets fed to the wolves and probably denounced as a bust again.
It’s a tough call. Also, when Cervenka and Hudler get back in the line-up, I don’t know where Stajan is going to play.
I agree with Hartley’s training camp pairings. At least for the top-4:
- Bouwmeester – Giordano
- Butler – Wideman
- Brodie – Sarich/Smith
Gio is the best compliment to Bouwmeester on the #1 pairing, as evidenced by some of their work in the distant past. I consider Butler and Wideman to be ideally suited to a second pairing at best, so it makes sense they’re together. I know that makes some people nervous, but if JayBo and Gio do the heavy lifting, I think Butler and Wideman should be able to at least tread water against middle-tier forwards.
As for the third pairing, as long as Brodie is playing, Im indifferent to who he is skating with think I figure he can float that pairing regardless.
Hahaha, just kidding.
Anyways, those are my lines for now. We’ll see how things shape up tomorrow and how Hartley uses everyone and adjust as needed.
Now it’s your turn. Post your lines and defense pairings in the comments and let the arguments commence!