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There are many changes this year. Not only is the coaching philosophy a change in direction (forward pressing + hard working), but also Heatley is out and Mikalek & Cheechoo are in. Until chemistry is found the lines will be juggled like we haven't seen in a long time, there's only a few things we can take as guaranteed:

  • Clouston rewards hard working players, but he will be hard pressed to put Fisher the #1 Centre, likely Spezza will be #1 Centre and line #1

  • Spezza, Kovalev, Alfredsson, Michalek have too much talent to be kept off the 2 power play units for long. If Cheechoo shows something he'll play a part in there somewhere

  • With Vermette gone, Kelly will be even more needed for PK. Foligno and Alfredsson will likely be useful on PK.

It will be interesting to look at what the line combo's will be. Assuming no injuries + the players at hand + what we've seen of Clouston so far - the following 2 lines might have a possibility:

  • 1st: Spezza, Mikalek, Kovalev

  • 2nd: Fisher, Foligno, Alfredsson

Cheechoo is the deciding factor - will he outplay one of those wingers?

The good news is that there's a few slots that will be highly fought over - guys like Winchester, Regin and even Cody Bass are by no means lockins. Also, maybe Brian Lee is trade bait.

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