from Stan Fischler at The Hocky News,
Competent broadcasters such as Mike Rupp and Devan Dubnyk – along with GM Lou Lamoriello – are embracing Alfred E. Neuman’s “What, Me Worry?” view. That is, simply that 2022 was an aberration. That‘s in contrast to others, such as the Hockey News, which suffer doubts about rookie coach Lane Lambert's crew. So who’s correct? Neither, I say.
While the Elmonters' offense ranked 21st, 23rd and 24th in recent years, it didn't hurt during their successive playoff runs.
Nor do I buy the bromide that Barry Trotz suffocated Mat Barzal – No. 13 generated oodles of high-quality chances, yet his shooting was as unlucky as his uniform number. All of which raises the question of how elite the flashy center truly is.
Ownership certainly thinks the highest of Mat as his new, long-term contract proves. While Magic Mat is here to stay, Lambert's puzzle centers around finding the most productive wings for Mat and, brother/sister that is a challenge.
Here's the upside to soothe the Blue and Orange Army. A Vezina-caliber goalie, Ilya Sorokin, is entering his prime. The addition of rock-solid 'Big Al' Romanov to an already stout blueline featuring blossoming Noah Dobson is large, plus. And although it pains me to say it, jettisoning the revered 'Big Z' Chara and Andy Greene is addition by subtraction. Youthful replacements Robin Salo and Sebastian Aho will boost the squad’s energy.
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