Meet The New Depth Chart, (Mostly) Same As The Old Depth Chart
Tomorrow night the Buffalo Sabres will roll out new lines to accommodate the inclusion of Brad Boyes into the top six. What will they look like? Well, it gets a bit complicated.
The de facto scoring lines lately have been Vanek-Hecht-Pominville and Ennis-Connolly-Stafford. For all intents and purposes, it looks like Vanek-Hecht-Pominville will remain intact. Meanwhile, Lindy Ruff has already said that Boyes would join his former junior teammate in Erie, PA at RW. This changes the second line from Ennis-Connolly-Stafford to either Stafford-Connolly-Boyes or Ennis-Connolly-Boyes.
I prefer the former. This would unfortunately put Ennis into the bottom six, where the Sabres have two grinding lines. Ennis could either play LW with Niedermayer or Gaustad at C and Kaleta or Grier at RW, or possibly play on RW himself opposite of Gerbe with Niedermayer or Gaustad at C. That would create a fourth line with McCormick at C and Kaleta and Grier on the wings.
Going with the latter, Drew Stafford would be thrust into a bottom six position that would only work to his advantage if Paul Byron were to return and center a line with Gerbe at LW and Stafford at RW. This would need to result in Niedermayer sitting. It would also result in one of the four following players to sit – McCormick, Gaustad, Kaleta, and Grier. Let’s face it, McCormick has earned every game he’s played this season and then some. Gaustad has been better, and he’s great at the faceoff dot. That leaves Grier and Kaleta, who have both been bad enough at times to warrant either of them riding the pine.
I honestly have no damn clue what the forward lines are going to look like tomorrow outside of Vanek’s top unit and the fact that Connolly will center a line with Brad Boyes at RW. Beyond that, it’s a crap shoot. I’m glad I’m not the one whose job it is to figure this all out.
And don’t even get me started about the power play units.