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  • The Magnificent 7: 4th Line Depth


    Schroeder has been somewhat of a revelation in the limited opportunities he has had with the Wild this year. He can score and would contend in a race with speedsters Zucker and Haula. He also drives possession at a higher rate than other guys on this list, and has the ability to keep the puck on his stick in the offensive zone. Schroeder has been a depth scorer, and would be used to drive offense from the 4th line.

    This has essentially been a lost season for Matt Cooke due to multiple injuries. He also has not brought a lot of value to the team when he has played, bouncing between the 3rd and 4th lines. When Cooke is on top of his game, he becomes the annoying mosquito buzzing in your ear while you are trying to sleep. He is rugged, chirpy, and everyone's favorite player to hate. He once held an important role on the PK and also has playoff experience, so his value is in his experience and leadership.

    Looking at his HERO chart, Bergenheim's numbers jump off the page. But the cold fact is he has struggled since being traded to Minnesota and hasn't really found his role with the team. The Finn is a gritty player that throws his weight around and is strong on the forecheck. He also brings a history of playoff success with more than a half-point per game production. Bergy is a player that tends to find another gear in the post season.

    Potential Lines

    The Speed Line

    Fontaine - Haula - Schroeder

    Against a physical team like St. Louis, perhaps the best way to counter a heavy lineup is with a group that can out-skate and out-skill the larger and slower opponents. This line might be the fastest line in the postseason, but is not a likely combination as Haula is in the dog house. It might be more likely to see Haula swapped out for Brodziak.

    The #Gritz Line

    Bergenheim - Brodziak - Carter

    If the Wild choose to try to match the physicality of the Blues in the first round, this would be the group to do it. And essentially, Matt Cooke could slot in on either wing and the outcome would be similar. This line is scrappy and Bergenheim is a wildcard that might be able to bring the offense. This line won't probably be best suited to face the Blues, but could be used against Nashville or Chicago.

    The #Yeolo Line

    Cooke - Brodziak - Fontaine

    This line is what we were most likely to see to start out the postseason as Yeo is well-known to stick with his veterans and disappoint arm-chair hockey coaches. Cooke and Brodziak are "Yeo's guys" who buy into the system, and Fonzy simply has been too good to be in the press box. Cooke is now hurting and won't play game 1, but we will see some variation of this line, which lacks a true identity, but is balanced with some #gritz and some speed/skill.

    Good Problem

    The fact that we are examining which three out of seven players sees the ice tells you how deep this team is. It has the bandwidth to protect the team from injuries as well as deploy the fourth line in very specialized roles. Though we in the blogosphere yearn for those lines to be either really fast or really gritty, it is more likely that Yeo sticks to more balanced combinations such as the #Yeolo line. Either way there are a lot of moving parts, and this should continue to be a storyline throughout the playoffs.


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