Greene's Injury Changes the Summer Plan

Matt Greene is out for 3-4 months. Maybe this means he'll be back in November. He's not going to be up to speed (Greene speed, that is) until January. So what, if anything, does his absence mean for Lombardi's options in August and/or opportunities for the prospects fighting for a spot?

Let's imagine for a moment that Lombardi simply does nothing and lets the prospects fill all the holes. And we'll assume (in this hypothetical) that prospects who have played NHL games win out over prospects who have not.

 

Scuderi - Doughty

Johnson - Drewiske

Harrold - Martinez

Voynov

Okay, well, that's not going to happen. Not only is Martinez the only prospect with NHL game experience, but the bottom three players are all of the same puck-moving type. The only even remotely "shut-down" guy out of these seven is Scuderi.

Maybe we'll do better if we open up the prospect pool, to allow for prospects with no NHL experience.

Scuderi - Doughty

Johnson - Muzzin

Hickey - Fransson

Drewiske

The bottom two pairs are better, but that's still not going to work. I can see Lombardi allowing two spots to be filled by prospects, but three is absurd, and without Greene's veteran presence, even two becomes questionable.

With Greene out for at least the first month, I think it makes sense to allow this to create more incentive for the kids to win a spot, because there will be this open for the first handful of games. But I think a likely scenario is that Lombardi will sign or trade for a veteran stay-at-home defenseman, and sign a depth defenseman, and let the prospects fight it out for the remaining one or two spots, none of which will require them to take on roles with pivotal responsibility.

 

Scuderi - Doughty

Johnson - [veteran stay-at-home guy]

[Muzzin/Hickey/Fransson] - [depth signing]

Drewiske

An example of what this might look like:

Scuderi - Doughty

Johnson - Tim Gleason

Jacob Muzzin - Andreas Lilja

Drewiske

I think that idea looks pretty solid. Compare to last year's line-up, which was pretty good defensively, despite certain issues:

Scuderi - Doughty

Johnson - Jones

O'Donnell - Greene

Drewiske

It's also possible that Hickey (or, in any case, a second prospect) comes into camp and simply blows everyone away, making a depth signing unnecessary. Maybe Lombardi makes a trade to lock-down the "Gleason" slot, and waits for camp to see who rises to the occasion, knowing that he can always add the depth defenseman in October if he needs to (as he did with Kyle Quincey, Sean O'Donnell and Randy Jones). Yeah, now that I think about it, hat seems to fit with Lombardi's style.

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