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Taro T

Thoughts on Power Play Units

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Until we see the final roster, and whether Ristolainen is still giving up the blue line too easily or his doppelganger is lining up between Olofsson and Reinhart, this is a bit premature. 

But I believe they have the talent to ice 2 effective units with just a bit of mixing and matching.  I'd like to see at least 1 finisher on each unit and also have a player to funnel the play through.  Keeping that in mind, I don't necessarily put the 5 best players out with the next 5 cleaning up the final 40 seconds.

1st unit would funnel through Eichel at the 1/2 wall.  I'd keep Reinhart as the low man and would use Olofsson rather than Skinner on the other 1/2 wall as he seems to be better at scoring further from the net than Jeff is & Jeff seems to be better in the "dirty areas.". Would have Mittelstadt in the high slot as he seems to want to be in the phone booth and has the hands to either get the shot or dish should the D cheat to cover Jack, and would use right handed Montour at the top of the umbrella.

Montour would be the 1st to get replaced and obviously by Dahlin who will QB the 2nd unit.  Would have more of a jumble in front with Skinner and Vesey cycling from the low to high slot and swarming around the net.  Okposo would work the right 1/2 wall and when Jack finally leaves the ice would have Rodrigues work the left 1/2 wall.

That 1st unit would move the puck very well with the threat of the 1 timer coming from either side.  That tic-tac-toe that worked well in October from Jack to Sam to Sheary could work as well or better with Mitts taking Sheary 's role but having the additional option of slipping it to Victor to finish.  And Eichel would have 4 threats (well 3-1/2 but where Casey lines up, he'd also be a threat) for 1 timers or give & go's from all but Victor.

The 2nd unit would flow through Dahlin with 2 options for tips, rebounds, or 1 timers in front and the still powerful shot of Okposo off the 1/2 wall.  E-Rod would basically be a utility knife on the other 1/2 wall regaining loose picks and reloading Dahlin.

Last year the 2nd unit was extremely ineffective.  This unit should be able to take advantage of mismatches by either facing exhausted 1PKs or less talented 2PK's.

And, totally understand the thought of having Dahlin & Montour flip, but there's only 1 puck and 2 guys that should have it on their stick setting stuff up.  (Actually expect Dahlin & Montour to flip; likely Jeff & Victor as well; but IMHO that top unit wouldn't be as cohesive, and the 2nd unit would be significantly weaker.)

[Edit: completely forgot about Johansson.  Plug him into E-Rod's role.]

Edited by Taro T

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Good stuff @Taro T

These are the guys I see best in each role:

Vesey and Skinner in the dirty area

Dahlin and Risto at the top of the umbrella

Mitts and Kyle high slot

Olofsson and Johansson on the right half-wall

Eichel and Reinhart left half wall

 

The guy that’s been overlooked is Miller, who is very good on the PP and can play the left wall and the top pretty easily.

I think Sam can also play low, obviously, and Dahlin could take a QB role of the right half-wall, opposite Jack and make the PP ambidextrous. Also think MJ might be interesting in the high slot but I’m not sure if he’s done that.

I like Pilut better than Montour on the PP, but either can fill in a pinch, as can ERod. And Thompson’s shot is something to consider if he’s learned to protect the puck better.

Unlike most teams, we can ice two defencemen on each unit if we wanted and not lose anything. I see 5 on the roster capable of playing the PP.

Ralph really has more options to play with here than any coach since Lindy. I think he may surprise with some of his decisions, but I will be very disappointed if he can’t fashion these pieces into a top 10 unit.

Edited by dudacek
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25 minutes ago, MakeSabresGrr8Again said:

Good start and I agree with your assessment.

One guy I would consider for the 2nd unit would be Johansson, maybe in place of E-Rod.

Caught that (see edit at bottom of OP).  Agree that Johansson would be better in that role, but had forgot about him when putting the post together and figured it was better to just put the disclaimer rather than try to replace all the mentions of E-Rod and inevitably missing 1 or 2 and then making the post confusing (more confusing?)).

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19 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Good stuff @Taro T

These are the guys I see best in each role:

Vesey and Skinner in the dirty area

Dahlin and Risto at the top of the umbrella

Mitts and Kyle high slot

Olofsson and Johansson on the right half-wall

Eichel and Reinhart left half wall

 

The guy that’s been overlooked is Miller, who can play the left wall and the top pretty easily.

I think Sam can also play low, obviously, and Dahlin could take a QB role of the left half-wall, opposite Jack and make the PP ambidextrous. Also think MJ might be interesting in the high slot but I’m not sure if he’s done that.

I like Pilut better than Montour on the PP, but either can fill in a pinch, as can ERod. And Thompson’s shot is something to consider if he’s learned to protect the puck better.

 

Ralph really has more options to play with here than any coach since Lindy. I think he may surprise with some of his decisions, but I will be very disappointed if he can’t fashion these pieces into a top 10 unit.

I shied away from Ristolainen for 3 reasons:

1. not convinced he'll still be here come October 3;

2. want to reduce his overall TOI, and with Dahlin, Montour, Pilut (when healthy), and even Miller available, see dropping him from the PP an easy way to move toward that goal; and

3. his decision making is slower than I'd like if he's feeding guys for 1 timers; his telegraphing that pass takes away several of those chances.

Very intriguing, the idea of moving Okposo to the high slot.  Wondering why you'd go that way.  I want with him near the boards so he could win lose puck battles after errant shots and also because of the hardness of his shot.  He can zip them past a goalie from that distance.

Pilut at the top of the umbrella could be better than Montour.  Not convinced he'll be ready to go at season's open.  But will likely include him in a future iteration.

If things aren't working with Reinhart low, he definitely should be able to play off the 1/2 wall.  But I'd probably rather try him at high slot before moving him off to the side.

And part of my logic of having both Vesey & Skinner together is both can do a solid job crashing the net and the structure/feel/strategy of that 2nd unit would be different from the top unit forcing teams to be prepared to play both a loose box/diamond against the 1st unit & a tight box against the 2nd one.  Maybe the 2nd unit can get some mismatches going as the other team has to defend differently.  (Likewise on the 1st unit; if guys that can move the puck well like Reinhart and Mittelstadt are there inside the box, do the defenders have to back off Eichel opening up a give & go 1 timer w/ the pointman?)

Edited by Taro T
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Sam is right there with Dahlin and Jack as the best distributor on the the team and has been miscast as a finisher. I’d love to see him finding VO for the one timer or Skinner backdoor, or working the give-and go off the wall. Your case for moving him inside though does make sense. I just want him to handle the puck more,

As far as KO goes I don’t think we’re picturing much of a different role. He wouldn’t be static in the high slot, I see him rotating off the right boards. He’s got the wrister to score from the high slot and the size to drive the net for rebounds. He can also dish pretty well in space. He’s averaged 30 assists a year over his career. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I’m pretty sure he did a lot of work here in New York, with Tavares coming out of the corner.

I think Risto is better on the line than you are giving him credit for, but agree it’s likely moot and we have lots of other options.

Edited by dudacek
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8 hours ago, dudacek said:

Good stuff @Taro T

These are the guys I see best in each role:

Vesey and Skinner in the dirty area

Dahlin and Risto at the top of the umbrella

Mitts and Kyle high slot

Olofsson and Johansson on the right half-wall

Eichel and Reinhart left half wall

 

The guy that’s been overlooked is Miller, who is very good on the PP and can play the left wall and the top pretty easily.

I think Sam can also play low, obviously, and Dahlin could take a QB role of the right half-wall, opposite Jack and make the PP ambidextrous.

I like this and think it’s what we need the most. It seemed like most teams knew we were either going low to Sam or Jack trying to force a play else where. This would help prevent the opposition from collapsing their defensive box to the net or left wall. Depending on which side the play is on Sam and Jeff could rotate as well.

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I don't like the idea of a so-so second unit but I would love to see the creativity of a first unit with Jack, Sam and Dahlin on it. Skinner patrolling the dirty areas and VO sifting through traffic to get open would be my choices to join them.

I can't wait to see Dahlin try some "unique" moves that baffles his man or frees up a teamate. He just seems eel like to me.

The second unit would probably be more effective if Dahlin was running it and not sharing the puck with Jack.

I would keep KO on the second unit but with a short leash. He has a good shot but I find his shot selection goes into Evander Kane mode once in a while.

 

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13 hours ago, French Collection said:

I don't like the idea of a so-so second unit but I would love to see the creativity of a first unit with Jack, Sam and Dahlin on it. Skinner patrolling the dirty areas and VO sifting through traffic to get open would be my choices to join them.

I think it's easy enough to split that unit for a "normal" power play situation but put them together then they desperately need a goal, get an abbreviated power play, or when they get a 5-on-3.

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On 8/14/2019 at 12:10 PM, dudacek said:

Sam is right there with Dahlin and Jack as the best distributor on the the team and has been miscast as a finisher. I’d love to see him finding VO for the one timer or Skinner backdoor, or working the give-and go off the wall. Your case for moving him inside though does make sense. I just want him to handle the puck more,

As far as KO goes I don’t think we’re picturing much of a different role. He wouldn’t be static in the high slot, I see him rotating off the right boards. He’s got the wrister to score from the high slot and the size to drive the net for rebounds. He can also dish pretty well in space. He’s averaged 30 assists a year over his career. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I’m pretty sure he did a lot of work here in New York, with Tavares coming out of the corner.

I think Risto is better on the line than you are giving him credit for, but agree it’s likely moot and we have lots of other options.

Very much agree with the bolded. Reinhart can play in the dirty areas because his IQ and hand-eye are so strong, but he's maximized in space with the puck on his stick. He weirdly has a shot that seems to find it's way through more than it should, but dishing from that spot is where he's at his best. 

Dahlin will be on the first unit because he'll probably be our best player at some point (early) in this coming season.

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Kyle Okposo on the power play? Barf. Same with Evan Rodrigues.

 

1st unit: Eichel, Skinner, Reinhart, Vesey, Dahlin.

2nd unit: Mittelstadt, Johansson, Olofsson, Sheary, Ristolainen. (If Risto is gone, it's Montour.)

Or some mix of those 10 players.

You put your 8 most offensively inclined forwards, and 2 most offensively inclined defensemen, out on the power play.

 

Guys like Okposo and Rodrigues do not belong on the power play...they can't score goals and they're not good distributors.

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4 minutes ago, OhMyDahlin said:

Kyle Okposo on the power play? Barf. Same with Evan Rodrigues.

 

1st unit: Eichel, Skinner, Reinhart, Vesey, Dahlin.

2nd unit: Mittelstadt, Johansson, Olofsson, Sheary, Ristolainen. (If Risto is gone, it's Montour.)

Or some mix of those 10 players.

You put your 8 most offensively inclined forwards, and 2 most offensively inclined defensemen, out on the power play.

 

Guys like Okposo and Rodrigues do not belong on the power play...they can't score goals and they're not good distributors.

As per the edit at the bottom of the original post, had forgotten about Johansson and plugged him into Rodrigues' spot.

Agree that Okposo isn't particularly good at passing but he does have a good shot, especially on the PP.  And wins battles on the boards.

And am pretty sure there's a reason nobody (Pittsburgh nor Buffalo) have used Sheary on the PP consistently.   He tends to need to be able to get off a clean 1 timer from close to the crease to have an effective shot & only seemed to be able to get the puck that way the 1st couple games of last season.  After that the Eichel-Reinhart-Sheary tic-tac-toe was completely shutdown.

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I don’t have any concrete tactical suggestions, but I just wanted to say that I wouldn’t worry much about trying to spread the talent evenly between the two PP units.  I would like to see the 1st unit loaded up with talent and out there for 75%+ of the PP time.

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Olofsson on that 1/2 wall opposite Eichel seems to be a great choice by Krueger, especially w/ the left handed Dahlin at the point & Eichel able to make a pass to anywhere in the zone given even a smidge of space.  ( Would still be OK with a righty there and Dahlin running the 2nd unit, but don't f### with what's working.)

The last year Bob Wood ran the PP, they had the best in the league.  "Power Play Phil" managed to have that unit about 20th before Eichel & O'Reilly got him to run it the way it had been run the prior year and it still ended up middle if the pack.  And he went back to his own ideas again last year with less than stellar results.

These units won't stay above 50% for the year, but a team record of above 25% is plausible.  Keep moving the skaters and moving the puck.  When you have 5 guys that can score, it's tough to take everything away.

Edited by Taro T

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