Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/30/13 at 07:08 PM ET
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
... some players are so critical to the success of their teams that there’s no way to fill the void if they’re lost long-term.
Here are the players we think are next season’s most irreplaceable.
8. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
It’s one thing to ask Tom Gilbert to play 27 minutes a night out of necessity. It’s another entirely to have someone like Suter who can make something happen with that backbreaking workload. His 200-foot game was the biggest difference between the Minnesota teams that strung together four consecutive playoff DNQs and the one that clawed its way into the postseason in 2013....
7. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
The talent gap between the starting goalie and the gate-opener has become a chasm of late, with most teams seeing the player they’ll use the least as the most obvious place to save a few bucks. There aren’t many, then, who can lose their No. 1 guy for an extended period and not suffer some kind of letdown. For some, like the Bruins, it could be borderline calamitous. If Rask goes down, Boston’s backup plan revolves around Chad Johnson, a 27-year-old with solid career numbers (1.97 GAA and .929 save percentage), but just 10 games of NHL experience; Niklas Svedberg, a 23-year-old with 48 AHL games on his resume; 2012 first rounder Malcolm Subban and maybe Gerry Cheevers....
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