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“It’s The Results On The Ice That Matter” To Determine 2nd Line Winger

It appears to be Haula’s gig to lose, but it’s not necessarily up to him to keep it. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s been a question since the moment Paul Stastny signed and it only ramped up when Max Pacioretty was acquired via trade. Will be it Alex Tuch, Erik Haula, or someone else playing as the second line right winger?

We expected the preseason to help reveal the answer to the question, but to this point, it hasn’t. Heading into last night’s game, both Haula and Tuch played with Pacioretty and Stastny once. Haula got his second shot last night.

To be honest I couldn’t really tell. Like I said it was a messy game, I don’t think anybody played really well. The execution wasn’t good for our team. It’s probably a lot of what I expected after two days in Montana so I didn’t take a lot out of it to be honest with you. -Gerard Gallant

Tuch is expected to get the final chance Sunday in the last preseason game and certainly can grab hold of it heading into Opening Night.

It’s the results on the ice that matter. It’s not what I think or what they think, it’s the results on the ice that matter. The Karlsson line, we put it together and I didn’t have to touch it because they were good. That makes it easy for a coach and players enjoy that so they like to know, coming to the rink, who they’re playing with. They decide it when they play well. -Gallant

Gallant admitted he doesn’t see anyone other than Haula or Tuch starting the season on the second line in the preseason, which means it’s going to be one or the other on October 4th. 

I want to make the best team possible. If you have to spread the wealth and that works better than that’s what we’ll do. If we have to try and load up the second line, then that’s what we’ll do. I wanna make our team better. That’s the bottom line. -Gallant

If I had to guess, it’ll be Haula that gets the call on Thursday, which leaves Tuch on a line with Cody Eakin (if healthy), Ryan Carpenter, Tomas Nosek, and/or Oscar Lindberg. It’s going to be very interesting to see how quick Gallant will be to move things around if either the second or third line struggles.

If Haula isn’t playing well, of course he’ll go to Tuch, but what if Tuch is struggling on the third line and Haula is playing well, would he consider a swap then?

Gallant’s M.O. a year ago, when he won the Jack Adams award (have we mentioned that?), was to keep things static after wins and tinker after losses. To win games consistently, this team is going to need success from both the second and third lines. It’s going to be a tough balancing act for Gallant for as long as it takes until both lines click, which may never happen.






  1. Keith Magnuson

    “……which may never happen.” ??? That almost sounds like the Kengineer of the Doubtwagon……..! Lets at least get some real games under the belt before we throw it under the bus…….errr, wagon.

  2. Bent Hermit

    There was a quote by Anatoly Tarasov that basically went something like “The best lines have a fast winger that can score and a winger that can work the boards and do all the dirty work.” You don’t have to look any farther then VGK’s 1st line to see how true that is. When you look at the top lines in the NHL most of them have that formula. There’s no doubt Patches is the shooter. Tuch fits the role of a winger that can work the boards and do the heavy lifting more then Huala. I think Huala is definitely a 2nd line guy but he’s more of a shooter type winger. The real value of Haula is as a center. He is a 2nd line center on most teams. A team’s best centers should always play center. Look at the Pens, Malkin is a #1 center on just about every other team but on the Pens he’s a 2c because there’s more value to the team with him playing center and not Crosby’s winger. As a 3c Huala should be able to dominate the bottom 6 of other teams and create match up problems. If you put him with a guy like Nosek I see 2/3 of a line that could dominate. He might start on the 2nd line to start the year but I believe he will eventually move to 3c. It’s not a demotion it’s just he has more value as 3c then 2nd line winger.

    • daVERG

      who is other winger on 3c line with Nosek ? Lindberg ? Carpenter? Carr?

      • Bent Hermit

        Someone that can finish would be ideal. If one of those guys don’t stand out I would think a trade for a player like Stone. He would be a rental but GM seems to be all in for the cup. Huala can play with top end players so a trade would not be a waste like Tatar was. I would prefer to try as many guys as possible that’s in their system before making a trade.

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