Secondary Scoring: The Quest for Lord Stanley's Cup, Atlantic Division Edition
Winning Lord Stanley's cup is one of sports greatest challenges. It requires months of perseverance, blood, sweat and tears. When the going gets tough, players need to dig deep and battle through any obstacles standing in between them and that Shiny Silver Mug.
Through the duration of the season and even more importantly during the playoffs, secondary scoring becomes the bread and butter for any teams success. Having just one strong line is no match for the intensity and momentum a second, third, and even fourth line that lights the lamp can bring.
In this Part 1 of 6 series we look down into the depth of teams' rosters and their capacity to have secondary production.
New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils are the power house of their division and a strong contender from the Eastern Conference. With an impressive record of 38-19-3 the Devils have proved they know what it takes to win.
First looking at their primary scoring we see a solid first line of Parise, Zajac, and Langenbrunner, all who have put up 40+ points. These three alone are productive enough to give New Jersey a chance of being competitive in the playoffs, especially with a healthy Brodeur.
Beyond their first line is where we see the deep support that a winning team needs. We have a first liner in Patrick Elias spear heading the second line with 23 goals 31 assists for a total of 64 points. His line mates Gionta and Zubrus are no strangers to scoring, with the two combining for 77 points.
Their third and fourth line are looking good with players like John Madden, and Brian Rolston the Devils will be a threat to any team they face in the playoffs. The Devils forwards have strength, leadership, and the ability to find the back of the net.
New York Islanders
The New York Islanders are right in the battle for last place with their laughable 18-35-6 record. There is no chance of this team finishing in a playoff position. All that Rhode Island has to cheer for right now is the potential for a first round draft pick.
Before we get into their offensive capacity it should first be mentioned that their leading point getter is defense man Mark Streit. If that statistic isn't embarrassing enough, he is the only 40+ point player on the whole team. Trailing not fair behind are the geriatric specialists Bill Guerin and Doug Weight both with 35 points.
Looking into the depths of this team we see little to no potential. It could be the fact that the Islanders locked up considerable amounts of money in Rick Dipietro who is still yet to prove himself.
Richard Park and Kyle Okposo have career potential to put up secondary scoring. Before anything the struggling Islanders need to find themselves some offensive depth, because all they're winning now is the race for John Tavares.
New York Rangers
As the Rangers head into their first game with new coach John Tortorella, the Big Apple is looking for a turn around. A team that commonly has all of the talent in the world, but little success, still has a great deal to prove. Sitting at 31-23-7 the Rangers fate is in their own hands.
With no one on their team boosting primary numbers, the Rangers need one of their big names to step up to the bar and start putting up solid numbers. Looking at the top players on other teams we see them hovering around 60 points.
Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, or Markus Naslund needs to take on the role of being a primary scorer. Aside from Dubinsky and Callahan who are both sitting above 20 points, the Rangers have no one to rely on for consistent scoring.
If it weren't for their strong goaltending the NYR could very well be in a position similar to that of the Pens. Tonight we'll see if their woes continue with a second loss to the Buds, or if their big names do what they're paid to do, score.
After proving that they can compete with the big guns in the East with their defeat of Washington last night, Philadelphia is in pursuit of playoff success. With a record of 32-17-9, the Flyers are sitting in 4th place with potential to move upward. Coming off a recent rebuild Philly has put a youthful team on the ice with a thirst for victory.
With the youthful talent of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, this teams primary scoring has no problem putting up big numbers. Both of these young guns have posted 60+ point seasons, with an injury prone Simon Gagne not trailing far behind.
Looking at this teams secondary scoring the boys of Broad Street may be resting too much of their hope on Richards' and Carters' shoulders. Lupul, Knuble, and Hartnell have all had respectable seasons. However, the Flyers downfall may be within a lack of presence from Scottie Upshall, and an injured Daniel Briere.
These secondary scorers really need to step up their appearance on the game sheet. If Richards or Carter cool down the Flyers could be in big trouble. All in all this team has potential to put together a cup run, but the deeper they go the more important secondary scoring will be.
From being just games away from Lord Stanley's cup last year, the Pens find themselves battling for a playoff spot at best. There are plenty of reasons for this lack of success, but you'd expect more from a team with players from as high of a caliber as Crosby and Malkin.
With two of the leagues leading scorers putting up good numbers on a nightly basis the Penguins have no excuse for their 10th place performance thus far this season. Between Between Crosby and Malkin they have 166 points, but this offensive onslaught has not rubbed off on the rest of the team
It could be the fact that the Penguins secondary scorers have done only enough to match the point totals of Crosby and Malkin. Combining the point totals of their next top forwards we see a total of only 174 points. Clearly the lack of scoring has been one of Pittsburgh's greatest problems. These gents need to step their game up, especially the big talents like Sykora, Satan, and Staal.
If they don't get it together, the job losses may continue beyond their coach. From near Stanley Cup triumph, to a nail biting struggle the Penguins have made a turn in the wrong direction. Either they need a deadline move, or kidnap Hossa, something needs to be done, and fast.