2011 Exit Interviews: The Plumbers

In the next installment of our exit interview series, we'll take a look at the forwards who patrolled the bottom two lines for the Jackets this past season. We'll see how these players performed against the expectations they had prior to the season.

Some of these players moonlighted on scoring lines at various times this past season, but we are going to look at these guys from a bottom-six perspective.

Going in to the 2010-2011 season, the Jackets thought they possessed one of the best pure checking lines in the league. The only player acquisition in the summer was to pick up former Edmonton captain Ethan Moreau, who was supposed to join Samuel Pahlsson and Chris Clark on the team's top shutdown unit. This unit was supposed to help the Jackets in the goals-allowed department, but at the end of the season the trio rarely played together and the Jackets finished 25th in the NHL in goals allowed.

 

Samuel Pahlsson- Center

  • Age: 33
  • 7 Goals, 13 Assists for 20 Points, in 82 Games Played
  • -13
  • 30 PIMs

What We Expected:

As I mentioned earlier, Sammy was expected to anchor the checking line, and provide penalty killing. Pahlsson is one of those players that doesn't make an impact on the scoresheet, unless you are looking at why the oppoistion's top forwards were kept off it. His value is exponentially increased in the tighter-checking playoffs, but he hasn't had an opportunity to show his value with the Jackets yet, and I'm concerned that he may never get a chance to prove his true value as a member of the Jackets.

What We Got:

Sammy held down the role of third line center for the entire season, playing in all 82 games. He provided a solid checking presence, often matched up against the other team's top pivot. His 20 points were a solid contribution, and he even chipped in with a shorthanded goal. He won just over half of his faceoffs, and was a fixture on the penalty kill.

What We Need to See:

While the 20 points were nice, the great teams in the league have their third center contributing in and around 30 points. Those ten points could be part of 10 more goals supplied by the third line, which could have led to more wins generated. He is known as a good faceoff man, so having his percentage under 57-58% is a minor disappointment. The biggest thing we need to see is Sammy play in the playoffs- where he can show us the kind of player he was when he helped the Ducks win the 'Cup in 2007.

 

Ethan Moreau- Left Wing

  • Age: 35
  • 1 Goal, 5 Assists for 6 Points, in 37 Games Played
  • -9
  • 24 PIMs

What We Expected:

Moreau was the one "major" acquisition prior to the season. He was brought in to play on a checking line and provide leadership. Moreau only had 18 points the previous season with Edmonton, so offense wasn't expected.

What We Got:

Moreau was given an "A" at the end of camp, showing that the leadership portion of his game was working initially. Fast foward to the end of the season, and Moreau dealt with a series of injuries and was a non-factor for most of the season. His offense was non-exisitent, only scoring one goal. He rarely played on the checking line with Pahlsson, rather he bounced between the third and fourth line in the games he was healthy. While he may have still had an impact in the room, on the ice he wasn't much of a factor due to the time he missed.

What We Need to See:

There's almost no chance that Moreau will be back in a Jackets sweater next season. He made next to no impact this past season, and given that he is an unrestricted free agent he will not be offered a contract.

 

Chris Clark- Right Wing

  • Age: 35
  • 5 Goals, 10 Assists for 15 Points, in 53 Games Played
  • -3
  • 38 PIMs

What We Expected:

Like Moreau, Clark was expected to be a checking presence, providing the primary offense from the hypothetical Moreau-Pahlsson-Clark line. He was one of the forced-leadership acquistions, expected to be a veteran presence in the room.

What We Got:

Again, like Moreau, Clark dealt with injuries and ended up now being a checking line fixture. He was often a healthy scratch when not on IR, and when he was in the lineup he was usually on the fourth line playing limited minutes. He fell out of favor with Scott Arniel, and had a limited impact.

What We Need to See:

I should have just lumped these guys together. He will join Moreau in looking for a new team next season. He's a UFA, and won't be brought back by the Jackets. On paper, the planned checking line could have been a solid unit, providing consistent checking and a bit of offense. Instead, the three rarely played together and combined for a pathetic 41 points.

 

Derek Dorsett- Left Wing

  • Age: 24
  • 4 Goals, 13 Assists for 17 Points, in 76 Games Played
  • -15
  • 184 PIMs

What We Expected:

After an injury-filled season in 2009-2010, Dorsett was expected to continue providing energy in an agitator role. He only had 14 points in '09-'10, so at least doubling that total was reasonable.

What We Got:

Dorse played in 76 games, but only increased his point total by three points. He played his agitiating role well, however, drawing numerous penalties and truly getting under the skin of the opposition. Moreso than most agitiators in the league, Dorse backed up his words by dropping the mitts 17 times, and ended up leading the Jackets in penalty minutes taking over from Jared Boll in that respect.

What We Need to See:

We don't need Dorse to be an offensive leader for the Jackets, but he needs to provide a bit more offense. Ideally in and around 25 points. He's a player who isn't afraid to go to the net, but he needs to do just that on a more consistent basis. Scoring only four goals isn't acceptable, he needs to be scoring around 10 goals, given the fact he actually possesses decent hands. The fighting and agitiating is spot-on.

 

Jared Boll- Right Wing

  • Age: 24
  • 7 Goals, 5 Assists for 12 Points, in 73 Games Played
  • -2
  • 182 PIMs

What We Expected:

The expectation for Boller going into the year was to add a bit more discipline to his game. He wasn't going to be relied on for offense, but he was going to have to maintain his role as team enforcer.

What We Got:

Boller still led the team in fighting majors, with 23. He had some entertaining bouts throughout the year, and also provided physical play along the boards, pasting many an opposing player into the boards. Personally, I am impressed with Boller's 7 goals. That was unexpected production. His play was more disciplined, and he played well defensively. From an enforcer perspective, he had a great year.

What We Need to See:

Status quo. If Boller can maintain this level of play and production, he will remain a fourth line fixture for the Jackets. It would be great to see him get to the ten goal plateau.

 

Andrew Murray - Center/Wing

  • Age: 29
  • 4 Goals, 4 Assists for 8 Points, in 29 Games Played
  • +2
  • 4 PIMs

What We Expected:

I don't think anything more than energy and a few goals were expected from Murray. For a big man, he's a great skater, and he isn't afraid of getting physical. Holding down the fourth line center job was an expectation.

What We Got:

Murray had a negligible season. He dealt with injuries this season, and was often a healthy scratch. He wasn't able to secure the fourth line center position, and when he was in the lineup he sometimes played on the wing, rarely at his natural center position.

What We Need to See:

Murray is on the way out, he's a free agent and won't be brought back. He doesn't supply enough offense, and while his energy and speed are good assets, he just doesn't provide enough to stay in the lineup, even in a checking capacity.

 

Derek MacKenzie - Center

  • Age: 29
  • 9 Goals, 14 Assists for 23 Points, in 63 Games Played
  • +14
  • 22 PIMs

What We Expected:

D-Mac has been in the organization for a few years now, providing offense and leadership in the AHL. He was the captain of the team's AHL affiliate in 2009-2010, and was expected to lead the Springfield Falcons again this year.

What We Got:

D-Mac was the surprise of training camp, impressing coach Arniel enough to earn a roster spot. Some thought that this move was going to be short-lived, but he proved the doubters wrong by staying with the Jackets for the entire season. He ended up providing some crucial goals, and ended up leading the Jackets in the plus/minus category, setting a new franchise record in the process.

What We Need to See:

MacKenzie nailed down the fourth line center spot, and he is expected to hold the same position next season. His offense was perfect for a fourth line center, and his energy was always appreciated.

 

Scottie Upshall-  Right Wing

  • Age: 27
  • 22 Goals, 12 Assists for 34 Points, in 82 Games Played
  • -7
  • 52 PIMs

What We Expected:

Upshall was acquired at the trade deadline. At the time, the Jackets were in the thick of the NHL playoff chase, and Upshall was expected to supply a dose of offense and energy.

What We Got:

While he started off hot offensively after the trade, his numbers plateaued toward the end of the season. That said, he still finished with career-best offensive totals. His style of play fit in well with the Jackets, and while he mostly played on the third line down the stretch, he didn't look lost filling-in on scoring lines at times.

What We Need to See:

It would have been nice if he could have maintained his production that he showed shortly after joining the Jackets, but the energy and forechecking ability he provided was key. Upshall is a free agent this summer, and if he is brought back it's expected that he can provide 25 goals, and more of the forechecking and energy he showed this season. He would be a good linemate for Pahlsson next season, and he would be a natural choice to fill in on a scoring line if/when a winger in the top six goes down to injury.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Cannon

You must be a member of The Cannon to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Cannon. You should read them.

Join The Cannon

You must be a member of The Cannon to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Cannon. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker