Today we wrap up the review of the forwards.
Forwards Pt II:
Park, as always gave all he had over a sixty minute game.
His speed and ability to carry the puck/create chances along with his hard work always stands out and there will be a small handful of games he will carry the club when he is scoring. Having written this the penalty kill struggled badly and this is a big part of his role here. This team is over-matched in the size/physical department, he is not going to produce big offensive numbers over eighty two games.
Scott Gordon fell into the same trap, Ted Nolan did in the past by giving him prime offensive opportunities when Park scored some goals. Who can blame them when no one else is scoring or carrying the puck/creating chances? When Park is scoring for brief stretches he earns more chances and does pick up the entire team, but the long stretches where he struggles on offense are his career trend.
Gordon, to his credit dialed back his offensive role early this season but had him out on some powerplays, his offensive struggles for a good part of the season were a big part of his minus nine rating.
Park enters this summer as an UFA and a tough call for management because no doubt he is a respected leader. This team needs to become bigger, with more offensive upside and despite his versatility to play all three forward positions and carry the puck, there are too many prospects/veteran free agents with more potential offensive upside.
Park signed here as a camp tryout player during Sean Bergenheim's contract problems, his huge goals in Philadelphia and New Jersey the final weekend three years ago were a huge part of this team making the playoffs.
I see his time in New York ending, it could be a gamble that fails because his ability to move the puck is lacking here, but a risk that needs to be taken.
I felt it was a mistake to resign Weight last summer. I'm not in the lockeroom so for me to write about that his leadership ability makes no sense. I can only write about what I see during games. No doubt he is respected by Tavares, Moulson and the players on the team by their quoted comments.
On the ice, I saw an injured player, who had been hurt basically from December of the previous year, who was a non-factor on a team that needed a twenty goal veteran who could move the puck and provide some big goals. His powerplay passing skills were visible, was it worth a defender with a possible offensive upside watching for him to play that role when he could play?
Doug Weight is a career center who needed to change position, that alone even if he were healthy and not approaching forty is a big problem.
Weight says he wants to play next season and he hopes it is here but I cannot see him being given a roster spot and absolutely not as a top three center or forward.
For Garth Snow it seems best to thank him and move on. His veterans need to score twenty goals and have the speed/skills/size to set up these young players and stand up physically when needed which he did do his first season.
These are intangibles beyond Doug Weight's abilities at this stage in his career.
Jackman showed a ton of guts to come back from having his orbital bone broken after being mugged by Carkner and two other Ottawa Senators, his skating is not bad along with his middle-weight fighting ability, however his impact is minimal on games and far too many nights at best you can hope for is an even shift.
He created more chances a year ago offensively and at rare times has these shifts where he was flying and creating chances, but that's far more the exception. Jackman is not going to antagonize the opposition into many penalties or throw the kind of hits that draw many powerplays to turn a game around.
Scott Gordon would put him on the ice to set the tone after goals against or to start periods, but if most shifts at best are even what tone is being set?
How many times did we hear before games, the Isles are going to have to weather x team's offense/momentum in the opening ten minutes coming off a bad game? Can you say that for this team starting games or periods with Jackman that the other teams had to weather the Isles attack early with him on the ice?
Tim Jackman enters this summer as a pending UFA.
On a roster lacking in players who can produce or who can impact a game in the physical department on a regular basis it seemed a mistake to resign Jackman so quickly at the end of last season. He was a twenty goal AHL player so he does have the ability/hands to score goals, but if his signing was based upon a step up in production this season that did not happen.
No doubt Jackman is a character player, but he is not the right fit for this team because he cannot score enough on a team desperately needing goals who turn games in the Isles favor with his physical play.
I feel like I have been writing the same season ending review now for three seasons with Trent Hunter, after the third one I'm not going to be generous with my patience or grade.
He has stretches where it seems he is past his injuries and we will finally see the consistent offensive player we saw in 03-04, but it's never sustained and despite his positive impact in so many other areas on this team the physical/scoring/skating game just are not nearly consistent enough.
He also simply cannot stay healthy and it's obvious he does play hurt a lot of the time. The ability to fight off players for goals/draw penalties with his power skating or that extra step with quick moves off the boards seem to be gone for good.
He will dive in front of any shot to help his team, he is giving all he has but his impact in games dropped again this year and on a club needing his veteran offense desperately. He can play defense which speaks to his plus three rating, he still has a slap-shot, but cannot seem to release it on the fly anymore.
Trent Hunter is signed for the next three years at a bargain 2m contract, he took less than market value at the time so he does have value on the trade market. On a club lacking in physical players, veteran scoring it may well be time for Garth Snow to see if he can improve his roster by trading Hunter, who may well need a fresh start or more veterans around him.
Sim signed here off back to back seventeen goal seasons for Atlanta, an injury that ended his first year and waivers twice before a demotion ended his second NHL season.
To Sim's credit he kept working and to Garth Snow/Scott Gordon's credit he was allowed to earn back a spot which started how he played for Bridgeport.
Like his production, he was all over the place. Left wing/right wing, on the top two lines or the fourth line, you never knew where Sim would play. This year his production was acceptable, unlike many past goals on outside shots created a lot of goals jamming the crease. Sim tried to play the antagonist role with a hundred twenty eight minutes in penalties for his teammates and did whatever was asked.
Is he the correct player to put on the wing of a Rob Schemp, who wants to make a skilled open ice play to setup a winger vs Sim who grinds it out? ?
Answer to me would be no.
Sim enters this summer as an UFA.
Nothing illustrated this teams physical/size problems better last season than watching Sim looking up, trying to push bigger players around during scrums he was over-matched badly when two other players joined in for the opposition who also towered over him. He's a solid role player on a team with far too many similar veterans and maybe a good fourth line fit if he were resigned, but with so many prospects, not give them a chance?
It's time to give someone else, younger or a veteran UFA with better offensive upside and size an opportunity in his spot.
Jesse Joensuu/Trevor Gillies:
Joensuu had eleven games here to make an impact with his size and despite one goal in brutal loss to Florida was not a big factor where he could have pushed someone out of a spot, his plus four no doubt is a positive.
Gillies was resigned for next year. I would guess it's a two-way contract where he will make his cameo's with Joel Rechlicz entering the final season of his three year contract, but little else. His career resume and brief time here are clear he cannot take a regular shift.
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