This is what training camp has led me to think we will see from Ralph early in terms of player usage up front:
Jack and Sam will be his #1 offensive duo, Marcus and Jeff his #2.
Casey will be his 3C in a sheltered role.
Jimmy, Conor and Victor will be his primary complementary scoring wingers, pushed by Tage and Kyle.
Zemgus, Johan, Evan and Vlad will be his utility guys - PK, defensive consciences, situational players. Not sure of their pecking order yet.
It’s basically last year’s template, with MoJo, VO and Jimmy taking over the roles of Casey/Vlad, Pominville and Okposo/Tage, pushing the remaining four players down the depth chart and pushing Wilson/Elie/Berglund off the roster entirely.
I’m less sure with what we’re going to see on defence.
Dahlin, Miller and Risto will be in the top four to start, with Risto getting less minutes, but still more than 20
McCabe will likely round out the top four, with Scandella and Nelson in the last two spots.
Gilmour will be the spare until Montour returns, which will likely push Nelson to the spare list unless he outplays Scandella.
Essentially, it’s Miller in for Beaulieu and Montour for Bogosian, with less ice time for Risto. It will be interesting to see how Bogosian and Pilut fit when they return.
The goalies will platoon, at least until one separates himself from the other. Hutton gets opening night.
The PP will be Eichel Dahlin Olofsson Reinhart Skinner backed by five of Miller Ristolainen Vesey Mittelstadt Johansson Tage
Sobotka and Scandella make the team in part for their PK ability. They will be joined be McCabe, Risto and Miller on the blueline and Girgs, Larry and ERod up front. Jack and Jimmy will get time up front too.
I think the additions (Miller, Montour, Vesey, Olofsson, Johansson) have improved the roster, but not hugely; we will have more mid-roster depth, a more mobile defence and more options to create internal competition.
If we are in the playoff race, it will be largely because of Ralph.
But his decisions so far look suspiciously like Housley’s.