Monday, October 03, 2011

Blazers Have "Good" Problems

Granted it was only a weekend's worth of games but the Blazers are smiling after a pair of dominating performances on home ice Friday and Sunday.

The Blazers won't play now until Friday night when they host the Spokane Chiefs and there's a couple of potential issues with the line-up on the horizon. With Brendan Ranford set to come back from a six-game suspension dating back to last season and F JT Barnett likely healthy enough to play, the Blazers will have to make some room.

So what do you?

 It makes sense to put Ranford back on the top line with Chase Schaber and Jordan DePape to see if they can re-capture the chemistry they had last season which at times made them one of the best lines in all the WHL.  I would think this is also the plan of the coaching staff. 

What about JT Barnett?  The early production from guys like JC Lipon, Colin Smith ,Tim Bozon & Logan McVeigh has bought them more ice-time.  Dylan Willick has played well. He's generating chances but just doesn't have anything to show for it.

Ryan Hanes has played some of his best hockey in his last couple games while Matt Needham and Aspen Sterzer have been fine. Chase Souto popped a pair of goals Friday night as well. Plus 16 year-old Cole Ully needs games to develop. 

The Blazers dressed 11 forwards and seven defenseman last night.  Inserting Ranford and Barnett into the mix makes for a tough decision of who to sit.

And then there's the blueline.

There's eight defenseman on the roster...and they're all healthy right now. It means Landon Cross, Brady Gaudet and Tyler Bell are in an early rotation for game action.  Not an ideal scenario but one that will have to work for now.

Don't forget goaltending.... the Blazers have started all three of their goaltenders in the first three games.  Cam Lanigan lost on opening night 1-0 to PG and played well. He ran into the misfortune of a game-stealing performance from PG's Drew Owsley.

Cole Cheveldave played well in a 6-2 win Friday vs Vancouver.and Taran Kozun was steady in last night's 8-2 win.  It's early, but I think Kozun can be a serviceable back-up goaltender at 17 and get into 15-20 games at least.  So then a decision will have to be made between Lanigan and Cheveldave.  Problem is, they aren't making it an easy decision.  Perhaps the Blazers can ride out three goaltenders into late October to get a better feel before making the call.  There's a few teams out there looking for some quality goaltending.  I'm not sure the Blazer phone is ringing off the hook though for what are three unproven goaltenders.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

New season new team new attitude nice to see focus on developing four lines this year instead of only "one"