Earmarked for Success (West 2011): Part Two

Ryan Ma

2011-07-19

Nash

 

For the past couple of seasons, I've written a few columns breaking down each of the Western Conference team's top-six from the bottom-six. So for the next couple of weeks, I'll go back to the well once again and give you some insight on each of the Western Conference teams for the upcoming campaign.

 

(Part One)

 

At the end of the day, point production can easily be attributed to one thing; opportunity. A top-line player, who is the focal point of his team's offense, will generally receive every possible chance to succeed and put up big points. A top-six player will receive decent even strength/second unit power-play ice-time, but may not put up dazzling fantasy numbers. A cavalry candidate is a player who may find themselves in line for a top-six role if things fail to remain status quo (injury or poor inconsistent play, etc.) Finally, a bottom feeder will most likely receive checking line time and probably won't receive ample optimal scoring time to put up fantasy roster worthy numbers. Their big break will only come if there are injuries or sudden collapses of young players from their team's top-six.

 

We all like to be optimistic with our projections, but there really isn't a point in projecting 80 points for a player who won't even crack a team's top-line let alone top-six. If you haven't read my projections article from earlier this summer, go back and take a gander. I know I had an eye-opening experience when digging up all the stats. Note: Take the line combos with a grain of salt. They are just arbitrary and are used primarily to separate a team's top-six from the bottom-six. I really don't want to get into arguments about player X had chemistry with player Y therefore they'll be on a line together during the season.

 

Now onto the good stuff:

 

Colorado – Top-three cemented, plenty of room for competition between the top-six and cavalry

 

Top Six
Peter Mueller* – Paul Stastny – Milan Hejduk
Brandon Yip – Matt Duchene – T. J. Galiardi

Cavalry

Joey Hishon, Gabriel Landeskog*, Ryan O'Reilly, David Jones, and Ryan Stoa

Bottom Feeders

Joakim Lindstrom, Jay McClement, Chuck Kobasew, Cody McLeod, Kevin Porter, Mark Olver, Greg Mauldin and Daniel Winnik

 

After a pretty strong start to the season, the wheels fell off the Avs' bus by the end of January. The departure of Chris Stewart has left a gaping hole in the top-six for the Avs to fill, so it'll be very interesting to see who steps up to the plate to answer the bell. I temporarily placed Yip and Galiardi in that slot, but it could fall into either Hishon's or Landeskog's lap come training camp, so keep an eye on that situation. With 255 points in 214 career junior contests, there's not a lot left for Hishon to prove spending a y