I keep looking up and down our lineup and I see one glaring weakness in the bottom 6. A solid left or right wing player in his 20′s, with experience, ideally a Cup to his name, who has an aggressive forecheck, can play both ends of the ice and has the hands to chip in 10-15 goals. Essentially, a legitimate replacement for the loss of Wayne Simmonds’ depth scoring and forechecking, which Ethan Moreau (no offense intended) is not and while converting centers to wing is a fun experiment in the short term, at some point it gets old.
If I spin the NHL wheel of wingers, I get a few names but I keep coming back to Chad LaRose. He is 5’10″ and about 175-180 pounds. 29 years old (good age). Has been in the league since 2003. He was a late bloomer. Plays for the Hurricanes, his only NHL team, and has put up respectable numbers. 16 goals, 15 assists in 81 games last season. 11 goals, 17 assists in only 56 games the season before. 19 goals, 12 assists 3 seasons ago in 81 games. He has a Cup to his name (on the same Hurricanes’ team as Justin Williams of course). Though he was a sniper in Juniors, he has become a solid forechecker and rounded out his game. He kills penalties (critical in a bottom 6 role) and can skate. Oh, and he can play both left and right wing without breaking a sweat.
I saved the dollars for last – his cap hit is $1.7 million per season through 2012-2013.
I want him. I want him alongside Kyle Clifford and Jarret Stoll. How badly do I want him? Not sure yet. Our depth is defense so that is where I look first. I doubt Carolina wants anything we are even willing to give up in the bottom 6 so, if a forward goes the other way, it’s probably a prospect unless it’s, gasp, Penner but that is nuts. That brings me back to defense. Who do you give up? If I wrote Scuderi, you would think I am crazy and I am not saying I would. I am wondering though if I was Dean Lombardi, I wouldn’t look at a LaRose or someone like him in the league and make a play. I think I would.
So, do you think we need help at wing in the bottom 6? Or are you drinking the Ethan Moreau Kool-Aid?