The new top line of Hoffman-Turris-Stone has been one of the best-looking in the league through the first couple games of the season and has been carrying the Sens offence. Last nights 3-1 loss to Montreal and rookie goalie Mike Condon showed why having one line play so much better than the rest of them is not the best strategy for maximizing offence. I am going to propose splitting this line up, but when I do this keep in mind that this is not a high-risk situation, just for a few games to see if any magic happens.
Pageau and Lazar and an undeniably great duo, both young, fast, and very hard workers who are trying to get their offensive game going while still playing a defensive role. I don’t think Pageau gets enough credit for his offensive abilities, he tore up the AHL last time he was there and would look great in a top six role depending on the line up. And there is clearly a strong chemistry between players that developed on the AHL Binghamton Senators together, look at Hoffman and Stone. Stone, like Lazar and Pageau, has a fantastic defensive game – thanks to his amazing puck-stealing abilities – and great offensive upside. Imagine how hard it would be to play against a line like
To me that line sounds awesome and I would love for Cameron to try it for even just one game. The combined defensive abilities and work ethic and energy on this line should mean we aren’t chasing the puck much when these guys are on.
Next, I think Zibanejad and Ryan both need an offensive force they can kind of lean on a bit while they find their own offensive games. There are multiple guys who can fit that role, but it definitely wasn’t Lazar. Frankly I wouldn’t even put an offensive guy like Hoffman on that line just yet, I would split up Zibanejad and Ryan entirely. That puts Ryan with Turris and one of Hoffman, Michalek and MacArthur. I think this team needs Hoffman and Turris together to lead our offence, and if they can get Ryan going we could really kick ass.
If enough people read this maybe someone in the Sens organization will hear about it and we try it out before another rookie goalie stones our offence!
Comment if these lines sound as good to you as they do to me, or if you think a different combination would be better!
Thanks for reading
side note: This doesn’t mean I support Ryan being on the ‘first line’ or Stone being on the ‘third line’ but that these combinations should be played evenly if they perform evenly and the best players/line will emerge with the most minutes.