The 2011 off-season was busy, and as much as the signings and acquisitions made headlines, a number of players will not be returning to the team next year. The penalty kill is one area of the team that has generally been decent over the last few seasons, so how will it shape up this year?
Key Depatures for the PK: Chris Clark, Ethan Moreau, Andrew Murray, Jan Hejda
Additions for the PK: Jeff Carter, James Wisniewski, Radek Martinek
A lot of grit and defense was lost in the players not returning, but it's important to note the Jackets got younger, faster, and have much more of a scoring punch even when a man down. Carter and Wisniewski will certainly see some penalty kill time, as two of the highest paid and most talented players on the team. But much like Rick Nash last year, I expect that role to be a bit smaller than most expect.
Coach Scott Arniel will look to spread the minutes around as much as possible. Players like Antoine Vermette, R.J. Umberger, and Marc Methot will continue to fulfill roles with increasing responsibility. Arniel will want Nash and Carter to be fresh for even strength and power play opportunities.
The PK forward pairings will probably look something like this:
I expect the defensive minutes to be spread out as much as possible. With pairings of Fedor Tyutin-Wisniewski and Methot-Martinek, you should see Grant Clitsome get some decent minutes to relieve both Wiz and Martinek.
What do you think of that PK line-up?