Making lines in August is fun. Seriously, it is, and if you haven’t tried it, well, you’re missing out. Players are (usually) healthy and fit so neatly into place according to your idea of how they will succeed. Missing a right winger? No problem! Ol’ Tyler played RW in first-year bantam, it’ll work fine. Need a LD? Not to worry, how hard can it be to change sides!
You see? It’s easy and fun and that’s why we’re here to do it on a Wednesday.
The Flames’ lineup is basically set, save for one or two small additions up front, preferably one with a winning smile and great dreds (h8ers step off), and possibly on the backend. So where does that leave the team for opening night? I am sure many of you, dear FN readers, have been scribbling lineups on the back of pizza boxes, gum wrappers, or in your minds as you drift to sleep.
Well, hard truth: none of that counts. I know you knew that Tkachuk was going to step into the NHL and be an effective player with Backlund and Frolik, but your co-workers, frankly, don’t believe you. It’s time to put your name on it. Here’s a chance to go on record with how you would arrange the lineup, front to back. Here’s what you have to choose from (among players with at least a modicum of NHL experience, aside from Foo):
- Gaudreau, Ferland, Tkachuk, Bennett, Shinkaruk, Hrivik, Poirier, F. Hamilton
- Monahan, Backlund, Bennett, Stajan, Lazar, F. Hamilton, Jankowski
- Frolik, Ferland, Brouwer, Versteeg, Lazar, Hathaway, F. Hamilton, Foo, Poirier
- Brodie, Giordano, Kulak, Bartkowski, Wotherspoon, Kylington
- D. Hamilton, Hamonic, Stone, Brodie (he’s done it before), Andersson
From here, you know the drill. You have to create a roster from these players, or with a free agent signing of some variety. I would suggest that you leave any trades you may have made (i.e. Stajan for Brad Marchand) off of your roster, but you know what? You do you.
As you can see from the choices, there are some players that can occupy multiple spots. I am pretty sure I saw Freddie Hamilton play every single position including goalie last year. This is about getting your name down on the eternal internet tubes so that when Troy Brouwer drinks that elixir, visits that high priestess, or figures out that he actually shoots left handed, you’ll get credit for putting him with Backlund and Shinkaruk long before Gulutzan figured it out.
I will give it a go, though I am only promising that it will be perfect in every way:
- Gaudreau – Monahan – Verstee(i)g(inla)
- Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
- Shinkaruk – Bennett – Ferland
- Jankowski – Stajan – Brouwer
- F. Hamilton – Lazar
- Giordano – Hamilton
- Brodie – Hamonic
- Kulak – Stone
There you have it. My wild stab at predicting how things will look. There aren’t a whole lot of mysteries surrounding this year’s team, but I can say that it’s still fun imagining how it will all look come October. So have a go, don’t be afraid, and don’t miss a valuable chance to rub others’ noses in your brilliance once the season starts.