Sunday Conversation: Let’s Talk Lines Shall We?


Today’s music video is Knives Out by Radiohead.

We are just about a month from training camp starting.  I felt that today would be a good day to discuss the way the Florida Panthers might actually set their lines.   While most of the positions were pretty simple, new head coach Kevin Dineen will have a few decisions to make especially if a younger player really shines.  The good thing is that for the first time in years the competition is not only about making the team, but how much ice time you’ll get.

Top line, or your scoring line:

David Booth, Stephen Weiss  and Kris Versteeg.

By default Weiss is the number one center on this team again, as there wasn’t a free agent available to fill the role, and a trade wasn’t made.  While  none of these players are true first liners, we have to make them one, and all things considered, if they each play to their maximum potential and are at least consistent, we could see 65 goals or more from them.

Second line:

Tomas Fleischman, Mike Santorelli and Scottie Upshall.

This is an interesting line which could become the most impressive of the four.  Flash if healthy is probably the fastest player on the team, and Santorelli and Upshall are hard working guys with a nose for the net.  Again, another line that can produce 60 plus goals with ease.  Upshall is entering his prime, Santorelli picked up 20 goals in his first season, and Flash if healthy should get 25.

Third line, your checking line:

Sean Bergenheim, Marcel Goc and Tomas Kopecky.

Bergenheim is the most talented of the three on this unit, and Goc is a gritty checking centerman who’s good in the dot.  Kopecky had a breakout season last year and while he played with some talented players, if he minimizes his mistakes, we can count on some quality ice time.  This line also has some goal scoring potential which is something we haven’t had on a checking line recently.

Fourth Line, your energy line:

Evegeny Dadonov, Shawn Matthias (or Ryan Carter) and Matt Bradley:

Now I know it seems crazy to have Dadonov on this line, but for starters this is how it might look.  Depending on how Kopecky or even Bergenheim do, unless he’s lights out in camp this is where I see him.  Matthias still needs to be signed, and it will be a fight with him and Carter.

On the outside looking in:  Jack “Crash” Skille, Michal Repik and Quinton Howden could be a long shot,

Unless one of these three impresses tremendously I don’t believe we’ll see them, but hey you never know.  Skille probably is the extra forward who tallies up the frequent flyer miles.

Defensively.  The first pair:

Brian Campbell and Dmitry Kulikov.

I see this combo as a good fit for Soupy like he had Niclas Hjalmarsson in chicago.  Plus Kulikov is easier to say.

Second pair:

Ed Jovanovski and Erik Gudbranson.

The stud line line.  Two big dudes who can play mean and nasty, yet have enough skill to be smooth.  I’m fully


campaigning for Big G to make the team, and what better player to teach him the ropes that Jovo Cop.

Third pair:

Jason Garrison and Mike Weaver. 

The most consistent pair of defenceman all last season.  Didn’t hear much from them which is a good thing.  If you’re not making too many bonehead plays, then you’re doing your job.  I also think that Weaver was one of the biggest reasons for our penalty killing success.  He came as advertised.

Waiting in the wings:  Keaton Ellerby.  After last season’s solid finish and his reward of a one way contract most of us thought his time had come.  That was before the arrival of Brian Campbell and Ed Jovanovski.  That and the growing of of Big G, will create if nothing else some healthy competition.


Jose Theodore

Scott Clemmensen

Jose is the starter.  In my estimation he’ll play about 55 games.  Scott Clemmenson will be the backup.  I can certainly live with this since we have more offence and are better defensively.  We won’t rely on goaltending anymore like we have in the past.

All right boys and girls.  Hit the comment link at the top and tell me what you think.  Is this anywhere close to what we’ll look like?  Tell me if you agree.  What would you change, and why.

By the way, have you entered our contest?

Thanks for reading.

Please visit our NHL main page: Too Many Men On The Site.

Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @TheRatTrick , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Josh Luecht @joshluecht, Adam Reid @AdamReid,  Patrick McLaughlin @patrckmclaughln and Scott Mullin @ScottFMullin. Also, please join our Facebook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and make some comments.