I’m a big believer in NHL depth charts in much the same way I like seeing the ingredients that go into my soups and salads.
Sure, it’s nice to just savor the meal and not worry about the building blocks, as it is just watching a hockey game from the cheap seats without a roster in front of you.
But I’m a nut when it comes to line combinations and defense pairings. They’re always a good indication of who the go-to offensive players are and who the shut-down guys are. Invariably, there’s someone auditioning on one of the top two lines or an offensive specialist relegated to the checking lines. I make my own judgments on which lines work best and which ones need a Scotty Bowman-like shuffle.
I like seeing teams with four-deep trios, the way the Sabres were last year. And I also marvel at the one-line teams that sometimes hit, sometimes miss, the way Tampa Bay and Atlanta often do.
I keep the latest depth chart on my coffee table at home, because you never know when it’s going to hit you that you don’t know who plays on the third line for Columbus.
So it was with great sadness I had to accept that, as a result of our reconfiguration, The Hockey News was losing its published depth charts this season. We still provide them, mind you, but in a printable version on our revamped website.
The printed version of the magazine has gone through a remarkable facelift, both visually and content-wise. Our editorial is more relevant than ever with features, analyses, insights and timeless off-ice elements in our Inside The NHL section.
The casualty in the printed version was depth charts and statistics (both of which you can find here). It’s impossible to keep statistics fresh if you’re not a daily paper and the hard figures are always available online anyway.
But the depth charts? Eating soup just isn’t the same anymore.
We heard about it from our readership. A good handful of our loyal readers like depth charts for the same reason I do and they let us know. It doesn’t really matter that they’re a week or two old. They’re still a good indicator of the lineups teams are icing.
Sure, we know line combinations change from period to period, game to game, but it’s still a good barometer for my own personal evaluation of team talent.
So I’m happy to report we’ll be bringing depth charts back to the printed pages of The Hockey News. Not every issue, mind you, but more often than not.
This is another aspect that keeps us unique and now it’ll be available on our website and in the issue.
Let us know what you think.
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