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or, Can "playing the system" work out? I'm curious, what do people think about this?

Over this off-season, for example, the rangers spent nearly 20 mil per year on Drury and Gomez alone. Noone can deny that these are premier players, and these additions have caused talk of the rangers being the powerhouse of the atlantic division. The islanders, on the other hand, seemed to lose on July 1. But, since then, they've been assembling a team out of smaller-name free agents. Sutton, Guerin, Comrie, Fedotenko, Sim, and rumors of at least one or two others in the coming week. None of these names would turn a team around on their own, the way Chris Drury could. But, a team has 18 players. The islanders are set to chose 1/3 of their roster off of the UFA list. And while none of these are the "big-names", they all seem to have that intangible "Nolan-type player". Nolan is looking to do what he's famous for: Take a roster of players that might not catch anyone's eye, and have them all buy so completely into his system that they gel into a solid team. The question is, can this work?

Another example is the Sabres. They are famous for relying on home-grown players instead of going out for the big-name. Their big signing of the summer (forced by Lowe, but that doesn't matter) was Vanek, a homegrown player. Their current roster is predominated by young guys who were teammates down in Rochester with the sabres affiliate. It seems Coach Ruff really trusts this system, and it seems to have paid dividends during the regular season. However, the sabres haven't made the post-season splash expected by the presidents-trophy team, and people have blamed this on the "system", on not going out and getting the big-name final piece to the puzzle. And now that the two captains are gone, people fear it will be even worse. But, can they pull through just by relying on the system?

The cup-winning ducks added Pronger, a big-name player, and they won the cup. but the year before that, the "big addition" that I remember the TV commentators talking about on the Carolina champoinship team was Mike Commodore, and he was mostly talked about for his big hair.

So how important is that big-name addition? I, being an optimistic Isles fan, think that if a team plays the system well, it could work out for them. But there is piles of evidence saying you need the big-name. What do people think about this?
Filed Under:   Islanders   Rangers   Sabres   UFA  
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