I know popular opinion when creating lines for next year’s Caps squad always starts with “Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble” and works its way down. I’m wondering whether we might consider another option:
No? Give me a sec here…
If Morisson is back to being healthy (which his last 25 games with Dallas showed me to be true), he has the speed to keep up with Ovie. He has also shown that he plays his best with premier talent, as the Naslund-Morisson-Bertuzzi line in Vancouver was probably the league’s best for a few seasons. And I notice big similarities between that line of old and this proposed one: a speedy shooter on one side and a garbage goal grinder on the other. I think this could work.
As for line two, I think Semin’s game is aided by a great passing center. Ovie usually gets the puck at mid-ice and takes it in, using the D as a screen. Semin’s game is all about trickery and his amazing release. Having a center of Backstrom’s ability would allow Semin to move more freely in the neutral zone and, hopefully, avoid the contact that has caused him past injuries.
As for Bourque, I think all he needs to have a break-out year is solid complimentary players. I think he could be a 20-30-50 guy NEXT SEASON if you put him on a skilled line. Plus, he gives the line a tenacious pest to create turnovers. If you’re not sold on him playing here, I’d substitute him for Eric Fehr. I like Fehr’s size and shot on a skill line. I think, with time, he could become a Bertuzzi type. And having Knuble’s game to watch, I think he becomes more of a presence in front of the net.