Tweaking The Lines

According to a tweet by Sabres beat-reporter, Paul Hamilton:

Hecht not skating. Adam moves to LW with 9 and 21. Other lines, 26 23 29. 8 37 22 and 42 28 36

This is an interesting tactic by Ruff. His M.O. is usually demoting struggling players and making them work their way back into more prominent roles. Here, he’s giving Leino the opportunity to play with the team’s top two scorers in Vanek and Pominville. I don’t see much downside in this move.

The worst-case scenario here is that things stay the same. It doesn’t matter who you put with Vanek and Pominville at this point with the way they are playing. Those two are still going to produce. The upside is if Leino can get going, that line will be significantly more dangerous than it was when Adam was on the line. It doesn’t really matter that Leino has been a bust at center so far either since Pominville has been pretty much playing the role of center on the Vanek-Adam-Pominville line all season. I expect things to stay the same in that regard with Leino playing on that line now. There’s some extra incentive for him to start turning things around as well. Ville will be playing his old ‘mates in Philly Wednesday night.

As far as Adam goes, he’s probably a little annoyed at not playing with those two, but Stafford and Roy aren’t exactly chopped-liver. Roy has progressively gotten back to his old form and is right on the cusp of breaking out offensively and Stafford has been a consistently good player for most of the year, even when he hasn’t been scoring. Stafford’s more than capable of creating goals for himself, but I think the formula for success for this line for the most part will be Adam and Stafford creating space for Roy to skate and create shots for himself. Roy’s a better shooter than he is a passer and he’s at his at his best when the puck is on his stick as much as possible.┬áHis wingers are very good finishers and should be able to clean-up plenty of rebounds that come from any of his shots.

That wraps up this post. Like I mentioned earlier, Buffalo’s next game is Wednesday night at home against Philly and puck-drop will be at 7:30. Keep an eye out for the 2nd edition of this season’s NHL Power Rankings too. I’ll have those up about a week from today. ┬áHave a good Halloween!

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